The Human Division Episode Release Dates + Cover Art Reveals + More!

Lots of news about The Human Division to get to today, so let’s just dive in:

One: The Human Division begins its eBook episodic run on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, with the release of “The Human Division, Episode One: The B-Team” in DRM-free eBook form at most major eBook retailers, including Apple, Amazon and Barnes and Noble (all of whom right now have the entire episode run available for pre-order). A new episode will be released every Tuesday through April 9th. Tor was worldwide rights to the English-language version, so wherever you are on the planet, you should be able to get the episodes as they are released: I see them on the local versions of Amazon in the UK, France and Germany, for example. Each episode is priced at 99 cents in the US (69 pence in the UK, EUR .79 in France and Germany, etc).

Two: Each episode, in addition to my words and stories, will feature new, original, fantastic cover art by John Harris. You see the art for Episode Two (“Walk the Plank”) above. If you would like to see even more incredible John Harris episode cover art, visit, io9, GeekDad,, and at some point in your day. And be prepared for awesome.

Three: When each episode is released, writer and Internet raconteur Ron Hogan of will lead a discussion of the episode over at, which will include mini-interviews with me, THD editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and others involved in the production. It’ll be a great way of getting a behind-the-scenes look at The Human Division as well as a way to connect with other fans of the episodes.

Four: For those of you with an audiobook preference, yes, there will be audiobook episodes as well, from Audible, which I believe will be released simultaneously with the eBook episodes. More details on those to come.

Five: Want to know more about each individual episode? Here’s the (spoiler-free) write up on each, along with their release dates:

Episode One: The B-Team (1/15/13): Colonial Union Ambassador Ode Abumwe and her team are used to life on the lower end of the diplomatic ladder. But when a high-profile diplomat goes missing, Abumwe and her team are last minute replacements on a mission critical to the Colonial Union’s future. As the team works to pull off their task, CDF Lieutenant Harry Wilson discovers there’s more to the story of the missing diplomats than anyone expected… a secret that could spell war for humanity.

Episode Two: Walk the Plank (1/22/13): Wildcat colonies are illegal, unauthorized and secret — so when an injured stranger shows up at the wildcat colony New Seattle, the colony leaders are understandably suspicious of who he is and what he represents. His story of how he’s come to their colony is shocking, surprising, and might have bigger consequences than anyone could have expected.

Episode Three: We Only Need the Heads (1/29/13): CDF Lieutenant Harry Wilson has been loaned out to a CDF platoon tasked with secretly removing an unauthorized colony of humans on an alien world. Colonial Ambassador Abumwe has been ordered to participate in final negotiations with an alien race the Union hopes to make allies. Wilson and Abumwe’s missions are fated to cross — and in doing so, place both missions at risk of failure.

Episode Four: A Voice in the Wilderness (2/5/13): Albert Birnbaum was once one of the biggest political talk show hosts around, but these days he’s watching his career enter a death spiral. A stranger offers a solution to his woes, promising to put him back on top. It’s everything Birnbaum wants, but is there a catch? And does Birnbaum actually care if there is?

Episode Five: Tales From the Clarke (2/12/13): Captain Sophia Coloma of the Clarke has a simple task: Ferry around representatives from Earth in an aging spaceship that the Colonial Union hopes to sell to them. But nothing is as simple as it seems, and Coloma discovers the ship she’s showing off holds suprises of its own… and it’s not the only one with secrets.

Episode Six: The Back Channel (2/19/13): The Conclave is a confederation of four hundred alien races — many of whom would like to see the Colonial Union, and the humans inside of it, blasted to extinction. To avoid a conflict that neither side can afford, Conclave leader General Tarsem Gau appoints Hafte Sorvalh to resolve an emerging diplomatic crisis with the humans, before the only acceptable solution is war.

Episode Seven: The Dog King (2/26/13): CDF Lieutenant Harry Wilson has one simple task: Watch an ambassador’s dog while the diplomat is conducting sensitive negotiations with an alien race. But you know dogs — always getting into something. And when this dog gets into something that could launch an alien civil war, Wilson has to find a way to solve the conflict, fast, or be the one in the Colonial Union’s doghouse.

Episode Eight: The Sound of Rebellion (3/5/13): The Colonial Defense Forces usually protect humanity from alien attack, but now the stability of the Colonial Union has been threatened, and Lieutenant Heather Lee and her squad are called to squash a rebellion on a colony world. It seems simple enough — but there’s a second act to the rebellion that finds Lee captive, alone, and armed with only her brains to survive.

Episode Nine: The Observers (3/12/13): In an effort to improve relations with the Earth, the Colonial Union has invited a contingent of diplomats from that planet to observe Ambassador Abumwe negotiate a trade deal with an alien species. Then something very bad happens to one of the Earthings, and with that, the relationship between humanity’s two factions is on the cusp of disruption once more. It’s a race to find out what really happened, and who is to blame.

Episode Ten: This Must Be the Place (3/19/13): Colonial Union diplomat Hart Schmidt is back home for Harvest Day celebrations — to a family whose members wonder whether its youngest son isn’t wasting his life clinging to the lowest rung of the CU’s diplomatic ladder. When his father, a legendarily powerful politician, presents him with a compelling offer, Schmidt has to take stock of his life and career.

Episode Eleven: A Problem of Proportion (3/26/13): A secret backdoor meeting between Ambassador Ode Abumwe and the Conclave’s Hafte Sorvalh turns out to be less than secret as both of their ships are attacked. It’s a surprise to both teams — but it’s the identity of the attacker that is the real surprise, and suggests a threat to both humanity and The Conclave.

Episode Twelve: The Gentle Art of Cracking Heads (4/2/13): United States Diplomat Danielle Lowen was there when one of her fellow diplomats committed an unthinkable act, which had consequences for the entire planet. Now she’s trying to figure out how it happened before it can happen again. Putting the puzzle pieces together could solve the mystery — or it could threaten her own life.

Episode Thirteen: Earth Below, Sky Above (4/9/13): At last, the Earth and the Colonial Union have begun formal discussions about their relationship in the future — a chance for the divisions in humanity to be repaired. The diplomats and crew of the Clarke are on hand to help with the process, including Ambassador Ode Abumwe and CDF Lieutenant Harry Wilson, both of whom were born on Earth. But not everyone wants the human division to be repaired… and they will go to great length to make sure it isn’t…

Six: For those of you who prefer print, the hardcover edition of The Human Division will arrive May 14, 2013. And yes, at this point we are planning a tour to support its release. No more details than that, as we’re in the very early planning stages.

Seven: What? You want to see more cool John Harris episode covers? Well, I don’t blame you. Okay, a couple more for you.

Seriously, how spectacular are these? Super spectacular. If I do say so myself.

And those are your update for The Human Division for today.

64 Comments on “The Human Division Episode Release Dates + Cover Art Reveals + More!”

  1. …and first 6 episodes pre-ordered. It would be nice if Amazon would let you subscribe to all the episodes, but I didn’t see a way to do that, so I have to purchase each one individually. Tedious, but worth it, I’m sure.

  2. Please tell me that you are going to put your vast powers of awesomeness to work on making sure that the Tor print release has color plates of each great Harris cover before each chapter in the book! Pretty please?

  3. Click click click click (whew) click click… et cetera.

    OK, I’m done; all 13 episodes pre-ordered from Would have been nice to have a “take all my money at once” option, but, eh, no great hardship. 64p an episode is pretty good, too – only £8.32 for the whole run.

    Good pricing, no DRM, simultaneous international release – that’s how you do it.

  4. I preordered all the episodes last night. They are sitting on my Nooks John Scalzi shelf, waiting to be filled in. Yes, you have your own shelf. That’s what happens when you have that many books on my Nook. Charlie Stross has his own shelf. Jim Hines as well, among several others. So don’t go thinking your mister special. Although I did preorder the hardcover as well. Maybe there is the tiniest obsession with you fiction. Mostly it’s my general addiction to books though.

  5. Why are U.S. publishers the only ones that haven’t figured out that ‘spaceships around a planet’ is bad cover art? The only thing that saved Ghost Brigades from mediocrity is the wire frame human head.
    If you ran a poll of the top 500 pieces of cover art in the last 75 years, I bet NONE would be ‘spaceships around a planet’.

  6. “Harry Wilson” turned up four results in the search function. Sold.

  7. I just realised some of these stories feature Ambassador Abumwe, Hart Schmidt and Harry Wilson from “After the Coup”. I loved that story.

  8. I mean, it was cool for an up and coming writer, trying to get ones book out. But, now, here you are and … ? Still, it does allow more opportunity for cover artists, so it does have its positives.

  9. And now that I think about it, given the episodic pricing, you are doing a service to Mr. Harris. One would have to be a dork to find fault with generosity. Kudos to you, John.

  10. Benjamin Schild:

    “Why are U.S. publishers the only ones that haven’t figured out that ‘spaceships around a planet’ is bad cover art?”

    1. You’ve not seen my German covers.

    2. You’re wrong. Cover art is explicitly commercial art, the point of which is to help sell the book to people who would be interested in purchasing these particular types of stories. One reason spaceships around a planet are a common trope in SF cover art is because it works well as a commercial advertisement for the work. And in particular, John Harris’ work does very well in this regard in part because it’s associated with some of the best selling science fiction works in history, including the “Ender” series of books (and also, you know, the OMW series, which does just fine). So in fact “spaceships around a planet” is good cover art. You may not think it is good art, but that’s a different discussion.

    3. Also, as “spaceships around a planet” art goes, John Harris’ work is the bomb.

  11. When will “After The Coup” find its way between covers? It seems like a perfect story to add to the print edition.

  12. According to Amazon, each episode is 368 pages long. If only that were so! (Extraordinarily long chapters, I mean, not hundreds of tiny pages.)

  13. I don’t have any Apple hardware, Nook or Kindle. I really would like to order just the raw file for download (PDF maybe?). But where?
    (As an aside, Amazon UK offers the ebooks only to UK customers so as
    a non-UK person I would be out of luck even if I had a Kindle).

  14. Thanks to the first-movers who did all the searching for the individual episodes on! I capitalized on their hard work by ordering mine using the “people who bought this also bought…” feature :-)

  15. I can’t recall, though I seem to remember it was mentioned. Will not having read the previous works impact my enjoyment of these?

  16. Will be pre-ordering in January when the budget is being sucked up by Christmas. It was interesting comparing the Amazon price $1.17 with the iBooks price of $0.99. Is Amazon marking it up past your list price?

  17. Looking forward to reading these. I had been nervous that buying each episode would be an expensive way of doing things, but these look like sensible prices.

    Of course I’ll probably end up buying the whole thing again to put on my boookshelf in physical form …

  18. John, I realize this topic is probably for another discussion so feel free to Mallet me.

    I find it amusing that John–a very established writer–is putting these out as DRM-free eBooks ahead of the hardcover, while Robert Jordan’s widow is delaying ANY eBook release of the final Wheel of Time novel for several months after the hardcover and audiobook. (She did the same thing with the penultimate novel as well). Her stated reason is that she wants to “prevent” piracy (although with the last novel I found a pdf of the book online approximately 3 days after the hardcover release; so much for that).

    People here on this thread are already saying they’ve ordered the eBook and will also buy the hardcover. Somebody should really explain to Ms. McDougal that the eBook market doesn’t automatically mean your work is pirated, and in fact treating your readers with some respect can get you more purchases.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve tried making these points on the Tor (the publisher of WoT) site, as well as making phone calls, tweeting, etc., but I’ve never received any response whatsoever.

  19. John-

    Will all the cover art be included in the dead tree editions? Luddite technologists want to know!

    There’s something about the physical experience of a book that I just don’t get from an e-reader – or maybe it’s just that I spend too much of my day already looking at a screen.

  20. On my Nook, I searched for “scalz” and it immediately said “scalzi john” and I pushed that, and blammo, down there at the bottom of the 36 listings, all in a row, are all 13 episodes of “The Human Division”. So I poked “Preorder” and “Confirm” 13 times (kind of a pain, but there it is).

    My 99 cents times 13 are ready to go to B&N!

  21. John says: “And yes, at this point we are planning a tour to support its release. No more details than that, as we’re in the very early planning stages.”

    Oh, please come to the Baltimore / Washington DC area *somewhere*. You have a HUGE following in the US Government, and I’m not just talking about the guys at the IRS.

  22. I am going to wait until the hardcover edition is released. I would also love to see all the cover art in the hardcover edition. However this may increase the cost of the book (particularly if they go with color plates) and Tor may not go with it. Mind you I would not mind paying more if I know all the color covers are going to be included..

  23. Love the (cover) art, love the background under the test, feel your name is too huge (sorry), and . . . really hoping that the hardback has all the cover art. I doubt it will, but I’d pay extra for it (not that this matters to anyone). ;-)

    But overall, I’m just really looking forward to it! But I want the hardcover to go with my others, so I will be waiting. Sorry, just can’t see buying a readable version twice. BUT . . . I may buy the audiobook episodes and then the physical book. . . .

  24. has them in a slightly weird arrangement — searching for “The Human Division” gets what looks like just the first one, but click to expand the “NOOK Book” heading in the formats list near the top and you get all thirteen.

  25. Some of us LOVE “spaceships orbiting planets” covers.

    Also — 13 episodes would be just the right order for the first season of a cable series? Coincidence?

  26. Strange – won’t sell me the books as it’s “for UK customers only”, iBooks (Finland) doesn’t have them and, my go-to source of ebooks wants $3.44 per episode?

  27. Am I the only one who’s seeing Amazon prices of $3.44 per episode? I’m in Europe and I know Amazon has algorithmic pricing but more than 3 times the original price seems a bit excessive :(

  28. Every episode is $3.8 for me, for example: that’s because the 0.99 price will magically turn into $3.something if you’re not in the US and not in one of the few regional Amazon market’s because Amazon screws you with their “delivery fee” every single bleep time. It’s less bothering when an $12 book turns into a $15 one, but much more when it, uh, makes every episode almost four times more expensive.

    I myself will have to find another e-store for buying the books (then convert them into .mobi), probably by lying to kobo and/or sony that I am in the US if their store will carry it. (or if I can rip the files out of itunes to convert them then I can just go with the iStore version)

  29. I’m really looking forward to these books!

    One question since you’re going DRM-free anyway: will Smashwords be on the list of bookstores?

    Smashwords was the first ebook store I used, and I discovered it because Walter Jon Williams puts up his back catalog there. I’ve found it very convenient compared to the lock-in vendors.

    A tip to other posters concerned about the file format these ebooks will be published in: as long as the book is DRM-free, Calibre can convert any ebook format into any other ebook format, without you having to make use of the dark side. It can most certainly do the conversion from amazon’s kindle books into the epub format used by my Sony PRS-T1.

  30. In Germany each episode is indeed 79 eurocents. But for me (and I live in the Netherlands two kilometres from the German border) they are $3,44, from How come?

  31. I’ve pre-ordered my Nook copies of the whole series.


  32. I tried ordering from where I normally shop physical items (DVDs and books), but the kindle store there was for UK customers only (I live in Norway) and I should go to, which I did. The price was USD 0.99, but once I had logged in, it was USD 3.44 (but they didn’t complete the one-click since they had bumped the price).

    Will there be a site where we who don’t live in one of the ebook store “blessed” countries can shop, and get a reasonable price (reasonable is “whatever the people in the US, Germany and the UK are paying”)? Smashwords is nice…


  33. Why not implement this as a Kindle Serial so that each episode is delivered seperately, but automagically turns into one book as they are released?

  34. John Scalzi:
    I hope my last message didn’t come over as a surly demand? If it did, that wasn’t my intention.

    I really really want to read these episodes as they come out. But the current crop of ebook stores selling them makes it either impossible or rather expensive…:-/

  35. I’m curious, does all the extra profit from us foreign barbarians paying $3+ end up in Amazon’s pocket or does some of it flow back to the author as well? That would make it at least slightly easier to bare.

  36. Glorious artwork… and can’t wait for the releases. Have them all preordered already!

    Only thing… will the artwork be released later on for Desktop use? I’d absolutely LOVE to have those as my background. It would get my brain in gear every day of the week.

  37. Really looking forward to it! Pre ordered Episode I on iTunes. I wish I could get a “season pass” or something so that new episodes just show up, but hey, I’m just really happy that you make it so easy to buy your stuff.

  38. I pre-ordered the first one on, who think I am an American (I am Dutch). There it was 99 cents.

  39. Been looking forward to more OMWverse goodness. Side note: Redshirts was a very good read. May your wellspring of inspiration never run dry!

  40. How much did I love the first instalment? Well its officially January 22nd on the East Coast and I’ve been sitting here since midnight waiting for #2 to be released. Tell me I’m not gonna have to wait for midnight in California, or Hawaii (or Guam for that matter)! Something is afoot because now it isn’t even showing up in the iBook store. Last time I checked Amazon it was still per order only. This is torture.