Sunday, February 10, 2013

Review: A Voice in the Wilderness (Human Division #4) by John Scalzi

A Voice in the Wilderness (The Human Division, #4)A Voice in the Wilderness by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the fourth in John Scalzi's serializations of The Human Division, a story taking place within the same world as Old Man's War. There will be thirteen in total.

This installment takes us to Earth, to radio personality Al Birnbaum. As the story opens, his ratings are on a downward spiral, and he's planning a tryst with a "groupie," when he's approached by a man who calls himself Michael Washington. Washington offers increased ratings in exchange for Birnbaum's slanting his show into pro-CU rhetoric. He does, and the ratings come, but at what price?

This is a departure from the main plot, though I'm sure we'll find out how it ties in once all thirteen episodes are out. After all, Walk the Plank seemed so out of the blue, but We Only Need the Heads tied it back in to the main characters nicely. So, I trust John Scalzi knows what he's doing.

Scalzi is using his format to great effect, I think. With a novel, it's difficult to switch back and forth for entire chapters or long sections to seemingly unrelated plotlines. But, with the serial format, it invites the disparate elements, tied together in later episodes.

I listened to this on audio, as with the last three. William Dufris really seemed to enjoy narrating with the near-religious fervor of a radio personality. Other reviewers have compared him to Glenn Beck, but I thought of Rush Limbaugh. I guess there isn't that much difference. In any case, it was a pleasure to listen to.

I'm looking forward to the next part.

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