The Human Division, Episode Thirteen: Earth Below, Sky Above is Now Live + An Announcement About the Future
Posted on April 9, 2013 Posted by John Scalzi 85 Comments
It’s all led up to this and here it is: The final Tuesday, with the final episode of The Human Division: “Earth Below, Sky Above.” Here’s what it’s about:
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.
Yup, that about sums it up. I’m not going to write too much more about it now because honestly I don’t want to spoil it for you. I will say I tried to give the story the climax I thought it deserved. Also, this episode, like the first one, is double-length, which make sense because it has a lot of ground to cover.
And now that this particular set of episodes has come to a close, it gives me great pleasure to make to following announcement:
The Human Division has been renewed for a second season.
Which is to say, yes, there will be another novel that continues to explore the current events in the Old Man’s War universe.
I’d been hoping for a while that I would be able to make this announcement; The Human Division and its episodes so far have been a success, and it’s been clear for some time that people would want to see more along this particular storyline. But we literally only agreed to another novel in the last couple of days (contract negotiations, folks — they’re crazy), so this is just about the earliest I could tell you about it.
So for those who hoped for/needed/were about to angrily demand more in order to find out what happens next, you’re going to get your wish. And, you know, I get my wish, too. I mean, you guys aren’t the only ones who want to find out where everything goes from here.
I can’t give you any more details at the moment because I haven’t written anything else in the universe yet (see earlier point about contract negotiations), and among other things we’re going to look at all the data from the serial run of the episodes and see what it all means for how we present the next novel. I will say that I have started thinking about particular story ideas and elements. And that I have plans. Oh my, yes.
As always, there will be a discussion at Tor.com on this final episode, and that should include more thoughts on me about the idea of a “second season” and how this particular set of episodes is coming to a close. I’ll post a link as soon as it’s up (update: it’s up). Also, of course, feel free to leave reviews on Amazon/Goodreads/your own blogs/wherever; those will still be useful, even here at the end.
In the near future (as in later today) I will probably post a entry here soliciting your thoughts on the overall serial run of The Human Division, so if you have thoughts on that, hold on to those for now — you can use this comment thread to talk about this particular episode and/or news of the second season renewal. (Update: The serial run comment thread is now up).
For now, just know this: This episodic experiment has been a lot of fun for me, and I hope it was as much fun for you too. For those of you who came on this ride with me: Thank you.
Earth Below, Sky Above: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|iBookstore|Google Play|Kobo|Audible (audiobook) (all links US)
One thing I would say is thank you greatly for not using Kindle’s periodical feature to release these, as it drives me crazy not being able to put them in a Collection. As it is I’ve been able to drop them into a ‘Human Division’ Collection quite happily.
However, it would have been great to have a ‘subscribe to season’ option that paid for the whole thing up front.
A thought more about structure than content – and one I am well aware would take some clever collaboration between the organisations concerned and won’t be under your control. It was fun reading chapter by chapter and feeling the rhythm of the story in a very different way from the conventional publication of a novel. But now I have every chapter in a different file on my kindle, and that’s not helpful any more. What I want now is to keep it as a single file, like any other book. So I suppose what I am asking for is some magical thingummy that allows Amazon/Tor/anybody else who needs to be involved to recognise that I have paid for all the pieces and to let me convert them into the whole.
But that won’t stop me signing up for the second season.
Dave Goodman, Marek and others:
Guys, remember in the entry where I said I would be putting up a thread soon for comments about the entire episodic release thing? Yeah. Save those kind of thoughts for that, please. They will be more useful in a single place where I can point the Tor folks at.
Please keep this thread for comments about the episode or about the “second season” renewal.
Wish I’d known it was a season, not a mini-series.
Too bad it was such a sedate episode. /lying
I’m with Ell, seriously, have you ever heard of the expression “going out with a bang” ? Could have inspired you to shake things up a bit. / also lying
Season two !!… Perfect, especially with all that’s left hanging.
Congratulations on the renewal! Well-deserved indeed.
On a side note – it never occurred to me that the word “division” in the title referred to the CDF / Earth split. I was thinking of it in the organizational sense of a division (unit of personnel) and was wondering when an exclusive group of human characters would make itself known…
I’ll have to put off my Tuesday fix for a day. My Audible copy would not download this morning….Grumble, grumble…
*puts out torch* I’m not usually prone to nerd-rage but I admit I was ready to charge the castle if you left us hanging like that! I was afraid you’d be bored with the OMW universe and take five or ten years to tell us what happens next. I’m relieved, to say the least. Episode 13 was awesome, though I thought you’d kill off a few more characters.
Fantastic news! I’m definitely going to be looking forward to catch up with these characters again: they’ve really grown on me in the last few weeks.
This gets me thinking: we’ve been around these characters for a bit longer than a typical book in terms of overall time (I can usually breeze through a book within a few days, given the chance), I wonder how differently the attachment to certain characters factors in compared to a typical book? For most books, it’s a one time deal: an enjoyable romp that may or may not stay with me for some time to come. I’ve been around these characters on and off for 3 months now and even if I wasn’t reading about them every day, I knew more of their stories were coming shortly, so they were still intermittently in my thoughts. And hearing that there’s a 2nd ‘season’ to come makes me incredibly happy: I really liked Abumwe, Wilson, Schmidt & Coloma (to name a few) and I’m please to hear that we’ll be seeing more of them in the future.
Glad to hear there will be a second season! Hope we make it to Season 5 for, you know, Syndication (woot, woot!).
Congrats Mr Scalzi!!! I haven’t read read the Human Division… actually I’m waiting for all the “eps” to be released as a book as I’m still old fashioned and prefer books. Looking forward to reading it all; I adored Harry in the Old Man’s War series and I hope to see more of him.
Okay, I’m still steaming. People would say “How can he wrap it all up?” and I’d be all “Hey, this is Scalzi, he’ll do it.” Seriously, some warning would have been REALLY NICE.
Are those of us who serialized gonna have access to the coda rumored to be in the full book? I mean, apart from our local library?
When you blow things up, you really do blow ’em to smithereens.
I cant wait till Audible resolves its issues. These have been a great addition to my week.
What Peter said!
I’m excited that there will be more stories in this universe. I’m also hoping it won’t be too long! That’s one heck of a cliffhanger!
I pre-ordered this series over audible and loved it.
Only this episode isn’t able to download to the app sadly enough. So I’m anxious for it to be fixed.
Looking forward for the next season.
I’ve followed the weekly releases and I’ve enjoyed it quite a bit, looking forward to every Tuesday release. However I look this morning and there is a new listing for the inevitable omnibus edition and I notice that it is going to have material that we didn’t get in the serialization. That’s not cool! I think that digital platforms have the potential to bring the pleasure of the serial format, greatly lost since the heyday of the 1950s, back to us, but if you make readers get an omnibus to get new material when they’ve faithfully paid the $.99 week after week you’re just going to kill it again. I will definitely have to think twice before I buy weekly offerings again.
Audible tech support confirmed an issue on their end with this chapter, so those of us who have spent the past 12 Tuesday mornings listening to Dufris will have to wait a bit. A bit at which I am now chomping.
Dave, et al:
Really, guys: Save the kvetching on the series run for the kvetching on the series run thread, please. I want all the kvetching in the same, correct place.
Any chance that the second season will be live action, perhaps for AMC?
Well, I was about to come here and post that there are far too many unanswered questions, but since there’s another season on its way, I can live with that.
Great work, Mr. Scalzi, great work indeed. ;)
For those interested, the serial run reader comments thread is up.
Well, well, well, that was quite an ending! Looking forward to Season 2.
John, why is there no “Like” button? Or rather, why is there no “This announcement makes me so happy I am melting down into a small pile of goo” button.
Another irresistible weekly interruption to my usual reading habits? [shakes fist] SCALZI!
Congrats for both the successful conclusion to the experiment and the “next season”. I have an hour-long train ride after work and will enjoy an afternoon with the OMW universe before enjoying an evening with Muse.
Don’t feel too bad. I made the exact same erroneous assumption.
Aha! Fantastic news!
Aaaand done. A very nice ending – a couple of things I saw coming moments before they happened, which is how I always like it, and I’ll definitely be around for the second season.
*does happy renewal dance*
I like the “pull” rather than “push” dynamic here. You sense this roiling, rumbling, dark muttering in the Force wanting MORE of this story and so,l as that comports with your desire to tell more everyone wins. I roll my eyes and click away when I see an author without an established rep flacking his or her novel as “The First Volume of the Bromeliad Trilogy” before he/she knows if thee will be any demand for more. And if yoiu can get it to us in the next year maybe you can remind Patrick Rothfuss that the roiling and rumbling dark masses are NOT patient.
Lovely, lovely, lovely!
I will miss my Tuesday shot of Scalzi. Great that we are getting a second season! Thanks mr Scalzi for this wonderful experience. I am really curious how this reads as one book, I might even try it quite soon.
Dang it, someone beat me to the 5 season syndication idea – ah well, still thrilled to hear it!
Looking forward to hard copy to lay hands upon, yea!!!
John: Is there going to be a Sub Press limited edition? I understand you may not have an answer to that so let me ask it this way: How does the process work for a contract to print a limited edition? Is that something that happens consecutively with the other contract or does the other contract make you have to wait till a certain point to start that process?
Came here to scream. Whew. I hope YOU know whats going on. Cause the central mystery is still unsolved.
doing a happy dance that more is coming
i don’t think i’ve had that “teetering on the edge” feeling at the end of a book
since Philip Jose Farmer’s World of Tiers
and that was many decades ago
Yeah, as with SP Kelly above, I unfortunately also had trouble downloading from Audible onto my phone this morning as well. Will have to put it off for another day. (Boo!)
On that note, congratulations on season 2, Scalzi!
Maybe I’m missing it, but how do we get the omnibus edition? (Have just spent five minutes trying to find it on my own, but I’m not having any luck) I’ve been holding off b/c I hate reading things in serial, I want to read all of it at once, but I don’t want to have to go buy (and keep track of) each episode individually,
Wait until May 14 for the compiled release.
Glad to hear that there’s going to be a second season, I was thinking very unkind thoughts when I finished episode 13 and saw that was the final ep. :)
I do have a problem with the artwork. Setting the last chapter in Earth Station with a cover shot of a burning station is a little “John Dies at the End” -ish.
I’m glad you’re continuing the series. So, are you taking the week off or do you need the rest of the month to recover before the next episode? :)
Have to agree with @Sue Sherman. I also was thinking very unkind thoughts.
I may be repeating what others have said because I haven’t read the final episode yet and I want to avoid spoilers. That said…
1. I’m of course delighted to hear the story will continue. I’ve loved these episodes.
2. You’ve said in a past post that you didn’t want the OMW universe to turn into your own personal ATM machine. Any worries about that?
3. You’ve just fulfilled my reader request. :)
Thanks so much for the entertainment!
I just read a couple comments on this post and then quit because I haven’t finished the last episode yet.
I had to stick my nose in to congratulate you on the deal to make another OMW book/season/series/whatever. I’m especially happy to read how excited you are to continue the series. I’d be happy to read whatever you write next, but seeing you go into the next one with a head of steam built up like this is exciting!
Next time there needs to be an “Auto-convert” option that ‘transforms’ the serial installments into a single novel at the end (ie “Thanks for reading along in serial, here’s the whole thing as one file for when you want to read it again”).
Most e-readers force you to manually, one-by-one arrange your collection on your e-reader (instead of letting you use a computer to auto-sort things by series), and even then group them in some automated fashion that has nothing to do with order rather than using series order or letting you set an order. You need the internet just to figure out what the next part in sequence is because of this. Having to tote around all these separate files forever after is a big headache. Sony Readers are the ONLY ONE that lets you use Calibre to auto-arrange things, and the reader arranges series in order automatically by default; for everything else (kindle, nook, kobo), you have to poke them into place one by one of the reader itself and the default order is alphabetical or by add date.
Once the serial is complete, I want to condense everything into one file so I never have to worry about the organization again. Having to go buy it again just so I can get it as one large file instead of a bunch of smaller ones is a big turnoff.
I waited to play this time until there was a final book. However, if the next ‘season’ is episodic- I think I’ll read along.
“Bravura finale” is the only comment I have — and it’s meant as a compliment! (Also the name of my next rock band.) Looking forward to season 2!
Mr. Scalzi, I have never used the word “Squee” to describe anything I have done but I have seen you use it frequently and I’m pretty sure that’s the sound I made when I read this announcement and had to peel my cat off the ceiling because I scared the crap out of him. Glad to hear we will be seeing more of the Old Man’s universe.
My first thought after finishing: “Scalzi, you BASTARD!”
My first thought after reading about renewal: “Scalzi, you MAGNIFICENT BASTARD!”
Well, that wraps things up nicely. No need for a second season or anything.
That was an excellent story. Someone really should look into making a movie out of this universe or something.
I enjoyed this but: argh, sounds don’t reach a crescendo. I almost shouted at that when I read it. No no no. You might as well say the light reached a fade.
I haven’t read the conclusion yet, but I did want to pop down to the bottom and lobby for some new Scalzi in a different universe. I love OMW. It is great stuff, and as a guy that reads a lot, John is always my fall back guy when I need entertaining. I hope OMW becomes a long and productive story line.
But I want something new! ENTERTAIN ME!!!
(looking at cover art)
We’re gonna need some more FBI guys, I guess.
“On a side note – it never occurred to me that the word “division” in the title referred to the CDF / Earth split. I was thinking of it in the organizational sense of a division (unit of personnel) and was wondering when an exclusive group of human characters would make itself known…”
Chris Gladis, I did the same thing. When Danielle mentioned it in this chapter was where I had my first ooooooh shit moment of this chapter.
Yeah, I thought about a third of the way through this that “by the time I finish this book, THERE’D BETTER BE AN ANNOUNCEMENT HERE FOR THE NEXT BOOK OR ELSE WE’RE ALL GONNA RIOT.”
I’ve been looking forward to today as the final chapter would arrive, and at the same time dreading it, as I would know that would stop today ….
But now I have something to look forward to… Series 2….
On the one hand, good, because I was incredibly unsatisfied with the ending of The Human Division (what with there being essentially no resolution whatsoever); on the other hand — there was essentially no resolution whatsoever, what the fuck? Is the next book going to be like this, too? Because it was really annoying.
So glad I read that there would be a second season before reading the last episode, otherwise I would have plotzed. I could just *see* everything playing out in the theater of my mind. Thank you! I’m looking forward to Season 2!
I also hadn’t even thought of “Human Division” meaning “Humans are Divided” even though it’s bloody obvious, because of the conflicting meanings of “Division” in this case, and because there wasn’t any hammering of that point until the last chapter.
The last chapter. OK, a quick note about ALL the chapters: WHERE THE HELL ARE THE GHOSTS?
There’s no John Perry, there’s no Jane Sagan, there’s apparently no Szilard and no Obin and no trace of the Consu who apparently LIVE to mess with younger races. And we don’t even get much view of the inside of the Conclave except to learn that they are about as mystified as the rest of them. And during all this, my mind was screaming, “WHY is the most obvious factor for investigating this spook stuff being so glaringly omitted?”
I am not going to speculate here; my speculations are likely to be wrong in embarrassing ways. I am just going to point out the strange case of what the dog did in the night.
I also hadn’t even thought of “Human Division” meaning “Humans are Divided” even though it’s bloody obvious, because of the conflicting meanings of “Division” in this case, and because there wasn’t any hammering of that point until the last chapter.
As I said on the other thread, this was the story and resolution. I think it would have been made clearer in THE B-TEAM chapter if the separation between the Union and Earth was seen as more temporary in nature than as permanent as it seemed (more temporary estrangement than break).
Robin, crescendo can mean both “a gradual increase” and “the peak of a gradual increase” in English (look it up if you don’t believe me), and the “reach” form very clearly refers to the second use.
Sean Carroll be damned! I’m going against the arrow of time by posting from your most recent post to here. Suffice to say I’m stoked there’s going to be a second novel, but I’ll wait until it’s all out in one piece (ebook or hardback). Looking forward to reading the last segment in the coming days. ITIL has my mind all fogged out, and partaking of this end to the first part of HD now would be so unfair…
Studer, no. That the word has been misused in that manner does not make it correct. And indeed, some dictionaries note as such, or simply omit the incorrect usage. The OED labels the existence of the usage referring to a peak of sound (the last definition it gives) as “colloquial, of US origin” with an earliest usage of 1925 in The Great Gatsby, which just goes to show that Fitzgerald got it wrong too.
(Granted, as someone with a piece of paper declaring me degreed in linguistics I should be wary of such prescriptivism. The same piece of paper also lists my music degree, though, and that one wins in this case.)
Xopher, if you see this — your thoughts?
I’m glad they’ll be a 2nd season because the story seems…unfinished. But the body count for Ep. 13 was nice and high! I’m all in with Season 2!
I was also disappointed by the spoilery cover. A great piece of art but it gave away more than I wanted to know going in.
I love John Scalzi’s novels. But I’m very ready for him to move on pass the OLD MAN’S WAR stories.
I very much enjoyed this episode. I have some concerns about the serial format (which I put in that thread), but also do have one complaint about this episode:
Dumb thug soldiers from South Africa? What were they doing a major diplomatic conference, and if you felt the need to have that scene, you really could have avoided the lazy (and ugly) stereotyping.
Aaron, did you miss that they were not the only soldiers there? Immediately before that scene Wilson had been meeting with US soldiers.
I got that there were other soldiers. The question is what were a bunch of random low ranking thugs doing there? I would expect a bunch of countries to be sending their elites – not idiots who are interested in starting bar room brawls and have no idea how vacuum works.
I know you don’T give much thought to minor characters names, but “Rae Sarles”? Really? ;-)
Aaron Homer: Indeed. Why were four apparent grunts in a place where they could create a possible diplomatic embarrassment with a CDF soldier? It seems like too simple and stereotypical a thing.
I hope we see the return of Perry & Sagan. Where is Perry now? Where does he stand? I know he wanted to liberate Earth from the CU, but how does he react to an attack on earth? Is he tied in with the Coalition’s leadership? Could he be an intermediary between the CU and the Coalition or is he too tainted to be trusted?
Remarkably disappointed that Wilson’s return to Earth was built up as a narrative point, and then hardly even mentioned when he finally does touch down, skipped over entirely, and finally shrugged off with a ‘same as last time’ comment. A chance for some character development, set up and then abandoned. :(
The thugs got more “screen time” than Wilson’s return to earth. I think that was a poor decision. It left me feeling pretty flat.
Love the whole episodic thing, but slightly disappointed that there was no resolution in the final episode. The first 13 episodes don’t stand alone, they are just the first 13 chapters of what I hope will be an excellent novel. And yes, you have got me HOOKED. So how long before the next set begins? I can wait a while, but too long and the disappointment about episode 13 triumphs over the desire to find out what happens next. I hope you have the entire story arc planned out, instead of just making it up as you go along. But hey, you are the successful writer, so I’ll defer to your better judgement. (And I do realize that you do have contract negotiations, etc. So, pretty much, whatever you write, I’ll buy. :-) This first 13 episode set is the cheap drug – you have me hooked. I want the next episode NEXT TUESDAY! But, whatever.
My own personal bugbear: Hart immediately beginning to freeze in vacuum. Space is cold, that is true, but in the near vacuum there’s so little material that it takes a long time for heat transfer to happen. Vacuum is an insulator – that’s how Thermoses work. So no, the door wouldn’t be cold, Krueger wouldn’t freeze, and neither would Hart. At least, not on these timescales. While they were still alive, they’d more likely start overheating because all of that nice, exothermic waste heat would have nowhere to go. Also bruising something awful.
I really enjoyed it and look forward to season two, but lines like “Schmidt felt himself start to freeze.” or about how very cold the door was after a short period of exposure to vacuum (with full thermal contact with the rest of the still-warm station) were silly enough to take me out of it a little.
I realize at this point it may be more important to maintain consistency in the world than it is to accurate in that detail, and I am also not confusing this for a work of Hard SF, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Apologies in advance if I’m the hundredth person to gripe about heat in a vacuum to you.
People keep thinking things will get resolved in the next set of stories. They keep thinking of it as a book, not a season.
Debated whether to comment when all I have to say is “MORE!” and “HURRY!” since that’s already been said a hundred times.
I’m glad they had the particle beam drone. Too often the characters in these situations are entirely defenseless due to some cringingly stupid blowhard official, which is my least favorite cheap way to create tension ever.
Of course, this entirely fit the CU’s established way of thinking, plus allowing the characters to totally be smart and prepared, while still coming within inches of getting their asses shot off. A++
First, regarding heat and vacuums: we typically think of heat transfer in terms of diffusion, convection, or conduction (requiring a transmitting medium), but it also occurs due to radiation (no medium required). This is why we can receive heat from the sun. Rapid evaporative cooling of the skin would create frost, particularly in the mouth. So Krueger would look frozen (covered in frost, freezing solid would be on the timescale of hours) and Schmidt would feel his skin cooling/freezing.
Next, I know the CDF is strained, but I would have thought they’d have better protected their investment in Earth. Even Roanoke had one non-experimental defence satellite. If the conspirators had wanted to destroy humanity instead of just dividing it, they could have just as easily bombarded the planet.
Finally, the ending didn’t really feel like an ending, as I awoke today looking for Episode 14. Maybe some kind of postscript would draw things together more.
Damm, this remindsme of Fallout 3. Just when it’s getting good and I spend the whole week waiting for the Tuesday… it ends, just like that.
Well, good news is there is going to be more at some point, I hope it doesn’t take too long.
Sooner rather than later please! I didn’t realize we were reaching the end of a season… I was hoping it could just go on forever! Besides, you wouldn’t want to wait too long and have us all go off and get interested in something else instead, would you? /impossible
*Just* finished the book and I have to vent.
Didn’t like the serial format. Felt like a bunch of short stories strung together. Liked the characters, the writing was smooth. BUT…..
HATED the ending. Really HATED. Any warm and fuzzy feelings I had while reading the book evaporated when I came to the ending and realized it wasn’t really an ending. It just fucking STOPPED after epic bad-assery. Not reading the sequel until I read reviews that assure me that it has a real fucking ending. I don’t read your blog regularly so maybe you mentioned it somewhere. Doesn’t matter. I’m really pissed.
John, I would love to see a grown-up Zoe as an ambassador or something along those lines. She seems to have a knack for delicate dealings. And I haven’t forgotten how Gau said she could come work for him in the future if she ever wanted to. She was such a compelling character as a teen, I would love to see her functioning as an adult in politics or the military. Also, wonder what her thoughts were about Earth? Her dad’s home planet? Just wondering…….
Congrats on the second season! I don’t have a kindle and I read books the old fashion way, so I was waiting for the whole Human Division to come out in print… and it finally has except the book isn’t sold in Australia, so I had to order it online. I only started reading it but I love Harry Wilson; he was a favourite from the Old Man’s War series and I hope to continue reading more about Harry and his friends. Thank you :)
I thought The Human Division was great. And not only was the story great, the anticipation of waiting each week to see what was going to happen next was fun too. Took me back to the days of my youth when I would wait with great anticipation for that next issue of Amazing Stories. I’m really looking forward to the second season – however you decide to deliver it.
I am glad there will be another season. I am not used to a book leaving so many questions unanswered, It was like a season finale of Lost. I really couldn’t believe that after all the time invested we never found out who was behind everything. Hopefully those questions will be answered this next season and the story can progress from that point. Also it would be great to bring Zoe into the mix.
@emily4444: I can understand your anger. I do think it would have been better if it was clear from the beginning that it was essentially a TV series. I don’t personally need an END at the end of season 2. I do want to see progression, and threads closed over time. But I did not expect BSG or SG-Atlantis to END at the end of a given season (unless it was the known last season). I thought it was great, and the end would have made an awesome 2 hour season 1 finale.