The Human Division, Episode Twelve: The Gentle Art of Cracking Heads is Now Live

It’s Penultimate Tuesday — the week before the thrilling finale of The Human Division. Which is not to say that this episode — “The Gentle Art of Cracking Heads” — does not have a few explosive moments of its own (look at that cover art! It’s got an explosion!). Here’s what this week’s episode is all about:

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.

Readers of The Human Division will remember Danielle Lowen from Episode Nine, “The Observers,” as part of the contingent of diplomats from Earth. In this episode, we’re actually on Earth, and Lowen gets her moment in the spotlight. I’m happy with this because I’m pleased with how she turned out as a character, and wanted to give her a piece that let readers spend a little more time with her before we plunge headlong into the finale.

As ever, the episode will be chatted about over at today, and I’ll include a link when it’s up (update: It’s here!). Also, and again as ever, feel free to drop reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, your personal blog or wherever you like, if the mood strikes you. As this is the shortest episode in the series (just over 6,000 words) I’m sure there will be some reviews griping about length, so it would be nice to have some reviews that talk about story instead.

Speaking of length, however, next week’s finale, “Earth Below, Sky Above” is a double-length episode — because we have quite a lot of get through before The Human Division comes to an end. You’re not going to want to miss it. Trust me on this.

The Gentle Art of Cracking Heads: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|iBookstore|Google Play|Kobo|Audible (audiobook) (all links US)


28 Comments on “The Human Division, Episode Twelve: The Gentle Art of Cracking Heads is Now Live”

  1. Okay Scalzi, just how much we’re you chuckling to yourself as you tweaked elements of the plot and characters, simply to allow you to use the following line?

    “I have no idea, Jim,” Lowen said. “I’m a doctor, not a private investigator.”

    Good episode. It appears the conspiracy may be unraveling.

  2. It was very good and moved the plot forward. I’m still not sure how you are going to finish this with only one episode left, even double length.

    I find the way the story is told very interesting it is not quite a multi viewpoint novel, and not quite a fix up novel, the serialization is a clear influence on the structure of the novel.

  3. John, this one is really good. Really dense and satisfying with crunchy story bits, and not at all apparent that it’s the shortest of the bunch without you saying so externally to the piece. And now I’ll wait for the Tor discussion thread to revisit my comment from a few weeks back on “well, it’s not like it should be hard to go fetch that body.” Because that’s just a wee bit important now, isn’t it?

  4. John, if you are setting us up for a cliff-hanger next week, I swear I’m going to hunt you down and …

    … ask you politely when season 2 will start.

  5. That was pretty chilling. The story went from a political intrigue to a dystopian sci-fi murder case pretty quickly, and in a remarkably dark way. The conversation in the bar just kept getting creepier and creepier. I’m really looking forward to “Earth Below, Sky Above”.

  6. I hope this episodic release gimmick doesn’t catch on. It’s like having someone take your book away and say “that’s enough for this week”. I should’ve just waited until the entire book was out to start reading. I’ve loved the story, but hated the waiting. It isn’t even an excited anticipation, it’s more like “Oh great, just one more week and I can finally see how this book ends”.

  7. I really love THD, but John, you wasted a perfect opening chapter on a pre-final episode. I would love to read a book that has this episode as it’s opening chapter.

  8. And I still have no clue and who these people could be. Will the last chapter wrap it all up or will this will be a set up for another novel?
    I hope more novels in the OMW universe.

  9. End?
    It is going to end next week?
    I don’t want it to end.

  10. Damn, I’ve loved the serial aspect of this work.

    And I’m gonna be sad when it ends next week.

    John, did this serialization aspect make it harder or easier to write this thing? Or just different? And would you be horrified or satisfied if you started hearing chants of “More, more, MORE!!!!” in the background?

  11. This is damn entertaining.

    Calling it now: vast robot conspiracy. You’ll notice robots have been suspiciously absent? There’s a good reason for that.

  12. Robot armies? How about a BrainPal based Skynet coordinating humanity’s downfall and the liberation of all those computers from their heads?

    I’m eagerly awaiting next week :)

  13. Just finished this in between bug fixes. Damn, it’s good! I am eagerly awaiting series 2. Please.

  14. I’d be worried about my SmartBlood if I was CDF.

    Well, next week is going to be jam-packed even at double-size.

    I will miss my Monday night bedtime story, I’ve gotten so used to it downloading around 9 PM and then I brush my teeth and put on my jammies and fire up the Nook. Whatever will I do Monday night the 15th? (Other than swear at the IRS, natch) Am I supposed to clandestinely find out Scalzi’s phone number and call him on Monday nights and whine “Jooohhhhnn. Tell me a bedtime stooory!”

  15. Because I haz no ptients, I’m just going to wait until all the episodes are out for purchase, and get them all in one mass cathartic purge.

  16. How can this be the penultimate episode? How?!?

    Incidentally, this was the first time where the episodic format didn’t work for me. I actually had to go back and skim “A Voice In the Wilderness” to look for parallels, mainly between Michael Washington and John Berger. After all, it has been two months since that I read that story, and I didn’t remember details, which wouldn’t have been a problem in a conventional novel.

  17. Hey, John–
    Is there any chance of a Subterranean Press edition of “The Human Division”? I know I’ll get the entire book in one big e-lump in May, but I dearly love the small press versions.

  18. John (may I call you John?), I love your stuff. I really do, especially when you get to show your wit like Agent to the Stars or Android’s Dream. And I really like the story so far of the Human Division. Here’s the thing… some episodes are short. And even the “long” episodes don’t feel terribly long :( I’ve ponied up my .99 cents every week but I have to wonder at the end of the day will we have gotten a real full-length novel out of this excercise? Because while the price model may be good for you it hasn’t been great for me so far ;). I am praying the last episode is of considerable length and really evens things out.

    Oh and write some more novels! Pretty please.

  19. @Paul: The hardback version of THD is 432 pages, but includes two parts not serialized. So I’m guessing at minimum the serialized parts are 350-400 pages.

    You will have spent $12.99 on a book of 350-400 pages. Is that worthwhile?

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