The Human Division #4: A Voice in the Wilderness, John Scalzi

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice. And I give absolutely no fucks.
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February 6, 2013

The Human Division #4: A Voice in the Wilderness, John Scalzi

The Human Division #4: A Voice in the Wilderness, John Scalzi

Yay, it’s the fourth installment of The Human Division! This week’s episode is called “A Voice in the Wilderness” and it seems to establish a pattern for the installments–one episode with Harry Wilson and Ambassador Abumwe and then one which illuminates the story from a different angle.

As usual, spoilers ahoy.

This week’s angle is from the perspective of a blowhard talk show host on the radio of the future. (The FUUUUUTUUUUURE.) Albert Birnbaum’s ratings are dropping and his show is in immanent danger of cancellation when he is approached by a stranger and given an offer which he really should look at more carefully.

However, since he’s the designated red shirt of this episode, he happily takes the Trojan horse back to the studio and starts spinning tales about a grand conspiracy theory involving the CDU and a one world government.

Birnbaum is a bit of a jackass and, I admit, that my mental image of him was a certain right-wing commentator who has been stinking up the airwaves for over 20 years now.  He’s so focused on getting ratings that he’s willing to make up whatever story his mysterious benefactors want him to–and it costs him dearly in the end.

This episode didn’t work quite as well for me as the others–I felt like I could see where it was going well before it got there. It also didn’t really give me any sort of idea about what most people on Earth felt about the CDU and Birnbaum, well, he’s a caricature. I didn’t care when things ended badly for him.

I’m getting a bit tired of the shadowy maneuvers of what I can only assume is the bad guys at this point (what with all the killing of people and stuff)–I am frankly surprised that their emissary wasn’t named Mr. Morden (that would have been a great shout out to the best SF television show of all time Ivanova is the best and I am still sad about Marcus adfskjafsudiofe). Ahem. Anyhow. This particular trope has been done and done extremely well–I’m hoping that future installments will force these dudes out of the shadows (SEE WHAT I DID THERE) and into the open because this skulking shit is getting old.

And now, just because:Ivanova is always right.

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Highly recommended.

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