The Human Division, Episode Seven: The Dog King is Now Live

This Tuesday marks the mid-point of The Human Division’s 13-week run, and it also marks the release of one of my favorite episodes in the series, “The Dog King.” Here’s the description:

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.

That’s right, the story has a dog — an adorable Lhasa Apso in fact — as a major plot device. Because that’s how I roll, y’all.  I thought the mid-point of the series would be a nice place to have a bit of a lighter episode, while still moving the plot and characters forward. The work this one has most in common with is actually “After the Coup,” the first story I wrote to feature many of the characters that appear as principals in The Human Division. So if you enjoyed that story, this episode should likewise jangle your bells.

It’s one of my favorite episodes in the series mostly because I do one of my favorite things to do, which is to put my characters into a fairly ridiculous situation, and then have fun watching them get out of it. I love it! I think you’ll enjoy it too.

As always, there will be a discussion of the episode over at; I’ll post the link for that as soon as it goes up (update: Here’s the link!). And if you feel like rating or reviewing the episode; feel free to do that on Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter or wherever you prefer — even on your own blog (you remember blogs? Man, those were the days).

Things get rather more serious again next week in “The Sound of Rebellion,” so remember to tune in again then!

The Dog King: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|iBookstore|Google Play|Kobo|Audible (audiobook) (All links US)

38 Comments on “The Human Division, Episode Seven: The Dog King is Now Live”

  1. Will the collected version of the stories include “After The Coup” from the Tor website? I’ll be buying the hardcover anyway, but I’d love to see this story in the collection!

  2. Oh golly, so not only am I likely to buy the consolidated e-book, I may also buy the hardcover as well!

  3. Now that’s the Scalzi I came to love to read — smart, and wonderfully silly! To quote one of the walk-on characters, “This is the best day ever!”

  4. Okay, there’s my lunch entertainment downloaded.

    John, I must say, I’m really enjoying the stories themselves *and* the once-a-week episodic delivery. I hope other authors give it a shot, especially if their publishers can work out a subscription model that includes a full all-in-one ebook at the end.

  5. 1. John, I thought you’d outdone yourself when you had churro and a goat be major plot-points last week. A dog? I can’t wait.

    2. Admit it, you chose a Shih Tzu just because it’s fun to say. ;)

  6. an adorable Lhasa Apso
    I was bitten by a lhasa apso once. That may have been the incident that cemented by strong dislike of small, useless, yippy, dogs.

  7. Oh jeez. Wife is stuck somewhere in Kansas, and I’ve been in charge of a 13 year old since last Tuesday. I think I’ve regressed to 14 now (that makes me older than him still). We have a new episode already. Timing has a funny way of slipping up on you. Bug, meet Mr. Windshield.

  8. Lhasa Apso sounds like a tea only available in Central Asia or in obscure worker-owned vegetarian restaurants.

    Proper dog breeds have good American names, like German Shepards or Irish Setters.

  9. Just so you know… Kobo isn’t selling it yet (thay have the pre-order), that means that I can’t buy it using paypal with any of the links that you have made available.

  10. “John, I thought you’d outdone yourself when you had churro and a goat be major plot-points last week.”

    Oh, man, I TOTALLY spaced on the significance of the goat when I was writing last week’s read-along.

  11. Looking forward to reading it when I get home from work.

    OK, I looked at the listing for the hardcover, and it mentions “the first tale of Lieutenant Harry Wilson” and a coda that’s not part of the serialization. I’m assuming the former is “After the Coup”, but will there be any way for people buying episode-by-episode to legitimately get their virtual hands on the coda?

  12. I’m sure I’m not the only reader to think it, and certainly not the first to suggest this to you John, but after a couple of Old Mans War movies are in the can, this is going to make an excellent TV series.

  13. This was the perfect lift i needed after a book i just read. Also, to mr Scalzi, you have to go find time to read kristine rusch’s book Bleed Through. You may have to make yourself get through parts of it because they are grim. But this is a must read, for every owner of teenagers, and writers, and decent human beings. Rusch is not marketing the book for reasons she talks about on her website. But you should read it it. Soon.

  14. I can’t imagine keeping a straight face is easy when you’re negotiating peace with a representative of an alien species named “Gunztar”.

  15. I have to say that Wilson remains one of my favorite characters in the Old Man’s War setting.

  16. Hmmm, I wonder if Scalzi has brought back the “offog”? Look forward to when the entire collection is published for us old time pulp sci-fi readers.

  17. Well played Scalzi – this episode was like all the others so far a good read.

    Applaud the serial concept as well.

  18. No joy trying to post on Tor. So I’m saying here how much I enjoyed the episode and how it’s bugging me that I’ve heard some of this somewhere before. John, did you perhaps read parts of this at Capclave?

  19. Ok I’ll buy the old ship as a ship of convience. But an old shuttle? The CDF is that hard up that they couldn’t come up with a shuttle? It would be more work, and ultimately more expensive to round up the antique from the junkyard, and get it functioning, even at a minimal level.

    Now if you had said the Clarke wasn’t capable of carring a modern shuttle I could believe it, with a design 50 years out of date. But then again, I would be willing to bet, the modern shuttles aren’t that much different, as that sort of thing tend to be designed to interchangable and upgradable.

  20. Gah… I nearly ruined my laptop with exploding tea yesterday morning while reading the whole sequence with the groundskeeper.
    My neighbours probably wondered why I was cackling so loudly so early in the morning. I might have woken their baby. It’s all your fault.

  21. Oh man, between the groundskeeper and “play dead” I’m dying. My coworkers keep looking at me funny because of how much I’m laughing. I love Harry Wilson. Thank you for brightening my day!

  22. I have been enjoying each and every episode, especially The Dog King. I just wish they were longer – they end too soon.

  23. Late entry, but I have to report that I (and I am apparently alone in my opinion, I’m OK with that) that I didn’t enjoy the episode as much as the others. I love Scalzi humor, but this seemed like it was just trying to hard, and it did little to move the major story arc along.

  24. Really feeling these as individual, rather than parts of a coherent story arc right now. We shall see how it comes together!

    I did enjoy this one quite a lot.

  25. So, is the dog now postcanine in the same way CDF forces are posthuman? It probably wouldn’t get the BrainPal (good thing, it would just confuse the poor dear) or the green skin, but was visibly able to live longer without oxygen, and IFAIK it gets regenerative abilities as well. It would be funny if the little yippy dog was stronger and faster than normal like CDF forces are, just for an inevitable “Tuffy…KILL!” scene.

    The book so far does read like a bunch of short stories. I’m reminded of Niven’s old “Beowulf Shaeffer” stories, which did have an overarching storyline but were anthologized through multiple books. I really liked those stories.

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