The Human Division #9: The Observers, 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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March 13, 2013

The Human Division #9: The Observers, John Scalzi

The Human Division #9: The Observers, John Scalzi

The ninth episode of The Human Division is called “The Observers”. We’re back to the Clarke and Abumwe has yet another negotiation to get through.

One thing I don’t have a good sense of in this book is the passage of time–how much time is elapsinng between episodes of the A plot? It’s hard to tell!

This time, however, there will be observers from Earth at the negotiation and Abumwe delegates Harry Wilson to liaise with them. He connects with the American delegate and is helping her finish off a bottle of Laphroaig  when one of the other delegates turns up dead.

Of course. And once the specter of sabotage–and murder–is broached, there’s nothing for it except to autopsy the poor dead guy and determine that yes, he was murdered. The murder method is ingenious and the trigger somewhat surprising and the final scene of this episode was extremely disturbing for me.

I still feel like this is a bunch of characters wandering around looking for a plot. I feel like we’re having the same things repeated at us week after week now. Yes, there is someone out there who has a vested interest in the CDF and the Earthlings being at loggerheads, yes, isn’t it nice that someone from the CDF is smart enough or gets their hands on just right right technical doohickey to figure this out before things go really pear-shaped, blah blah blah. Something needs to happen to resolve these, like, three dangling plot threads. Seriously.

I feel kind of bad that I’m not enjoying these later episodes as much as I enjoyed the earlier ones but it just seems to me that there are serious structural flaws in this book that are exacerbated by the demands of the self-contained episodic format. I suspect that if each episode didn’t need to stand on its own then things would flow a lot more smoothly. I have been assured by someone (ELISA) who has read the whole thing (JEALOUS) that it does come together in the end but I am dubious.

Ivanova and Londo

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"It's chaos, be kind."
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