Sunday, March 17, 2013

Review: The Observers (Human Divison #9) by John Scalzi

The Observers (The Human Division, #9)The Observers by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the ninth of thirteen episodes in The Human Division, a serial novel by John Scalzi. So far, all of the stories have been written as stand-alones, with the hint of an overarching conflict tying them all together. Whether they'll be connected by anything more than a loose thread may have to wait until episode 13.

In this installment, Abumwe and Wilson are assigned to a low-priority mission of trading medical technology for ships. The added challenge comes in with an ambassadorial detail from Earth, there to see if the Colonial Union is worth trying to ally with, or if they should try for the Conclave, instead. The Burfinor try to take advantage of the tight spot the CU negotiators are in, and then an Earth resident turns up dead.

I had a theory, at that point, about what had caused the death. But the underlying medical condition I suspected would've led to a far less satisfying conclusion to this installment, narratively speaking. The group seems a lot closer to figuring out who's behind various sabotage maneuvers, and yet so far away.

Once again, I listened to this episode on audio, and William Dufris continues to show he's up to the challenge of pronouncing the bizarre names and words Scalzi comes up with for alien races. The world this series is set in certainly feels like it's populated with aliens, for all the bizarre descriptions and near-unpronounceable names within it.

I'm looking forward to episode 10.

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