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NEWS | John Scalzi Returning to the Old Man's War Universe

Art by John Harris
Just a few weeks back I included a tidbit about a new book coming from John Scalzi I found using my Google-fu. Not one for wanting to use my Google-fu for evil I updated the post soon after he commented that the info wasn't exactly right. But as it turns out some of that info was close to correct and Scalzi was kind enough to talk to me on the phone about his next project for Tor, which has just been officially announced.

Scalzi's most popular works to date have undoubtedly been his Military Sci-Fi series that began with Old Man's War. For the last few years when people have asked him if he'll return to that universe he has always replied something along the lines of "if the right idea comes up." Which is really as it should be.

Well, that idea has come up in the form of The Human Division, but this isn't an ordinary novel or simply a short story collection placed in the Old Man's War Universe. It is a series of short stories focused on the memorable Harry Wilson and a certain Mr. Schmidt acting like a season of a television show where each short story will stand on its own as an episode would, but together form a continuous whole of a larger arc ala a season of television. Scalzi's recent work for Stargate: Universe seems to be an influence of sorts given the episodic nature along with the short story "After the Coup" he wrote previously about these characters.

There is also a big twist in how these stories will be released in an effort to experiment with the way a story can be released. Each story will be released a week apart by Tor to the major eBook channels starting in December and ending in February.  The complete run of 13 stories will be published in print and a complete eBook as The Human Division in May 2013 for those who want it all in one shot. The final book may also have some extras not found in the single story releases.

For those wondering the movie of Old Man's War is still in development, but seems to have forward momentum as of this moment.. So all around today is a great day for fans of the series.


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7 comments:

Evelyn said...

I love those book so much! Can't wait for it. Never heard about another book that took this style.

Anonymous said...

Given the movie it would be cool if they did this as a TV show as well.

Mad Hatter Review said...

That would be a neat, but from what John said the events would take place after Old Man's War so I can't see them doing a TV show at the same time. Also, studios would probably want the focus to be the movie.

Todd Moses said...

I've enjoyed this series, however I'm being cautiously optimistic about the pricing structure of this publishing plan. Will the episodic releases be proportionally priced to the full release? Is it cheaper to just wait until May for the whole thing?

Mad Hatter Review said...

A valid point. I don't think they've decide on price yet, but around a dollar a story sounds about right and given Tor has been pricing their e-books around $12 or so that just about works out.

This is a big step for Tor along with DRM-free movement. It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds. If it works I could see more books like this coming up.
So far Orbit has been the guinea pig of sorts for selling shorter work online and Tor's approach is pretty different branching things out further while Orbit's work has been to fill-in little gaps between the novels.

Scott said...

The best part of a scheme like this working would be that an author would be held to what each chapter or portion represents....and thus they would not be able to have any "filler". So, for example the WHEEL OF TIME would have not got bogged down in pointless filler if the author had been held up to each and every chapter he released. And I like that idea immensely.

A good modern example of this working is the advent of digital music industry. iTunes and like services have brought about the resurfacing of the "single", and because we are no longer beholden to buy a whole album and suck it up if some of the songs are crappy to have the ones we like... and can now just buy the songs we like and ignore the ones we don't. This has produced an artist - fan relationship in which the musicians are being held to the quality of each and every song they release. If it's not good, we won't buy it. And we no longer have to the way we did in the past. And that's fantastic, and this quality level check has now produced some of the most stunning albums to date because of the sheer work involved in making the BEST the bands can offer. See: Latest Fiona Apple album, or the latest Linkin Park.

Kevin B said...

One person's 'pointless filler' is another's 'engrossing world building', just saying.

That being said, this looks interesting. There were a couple of minor things that kept me from loving Old Man's War as much as I thought I would, so the sequels are still on my to read list. Maybe I'll get around to them during fall in time for this.

Provided I'll even be able to get these episode ebooks on mainland Europe.