The Human Division Listen-A-Long: Episode 11: A Problem of Proportion by John Scalzi

29 03 2013

A Problem of Proportion by John Scalzi (The Human Division, Ep. 11)

Read by William Dufris

Audible Frontiers

Length: 1 Hr 2 Min

Genre: Science Fiction

Grade: B+

PREVIOUSLY ON THE HUMAN DIVISION:

Episode 10: This Must Be the Place

The Audiobookaneers Episode 10

If you read my review last week, you will know that I was right… No, no, not about Schmidt being eaten by a swarm of Robo-Beatles (although there’s still time.) I was right that Scalzi was trying to lull is into some sense of complacency then hit us up with the underlining mythology of the series, getting us ready for the final two episodes. This week’s episode starts us off right in the midst of a space battle. I mean, right in the midst. I mean, I was wondering if I screwed up and accidentally started my audiobook halfway through. Luckily, I didn’t and we see that both the Clarke and a ship from the Conclave are being attacked. They are there for a secret meeting to figure out why the other seemed to be making their ships disappear and are ambushed. All this leads to some more clues about just what’s going on… well, sort of.

You see, Scalzi has my brain all twisted into gushy loops. On the obvious level, the purpose of the episode seemed that the secret enemy’s plan fails, allowing both the CDF and the Conclave to realize that they may have a common enemy and work together. Or is it…? [ominous pause] Because this seemed like a sort of dumb plan by a highly motivated enemy, overly complicated and doomed to fail. The enemy seemed awfully prepared for what would happen when the plan failed. Perhaps, someone wants the Conclave and the CDF to seem like they are working together. I can’t help but think that this whole situation is a shadow battle for the loyalty of Earth, and perhaps someone doesn’t want Earth to hook up with the CDF or The Conclave. Or perhaps, they are simply preparing the way for the Robo-Beatle Overlords to take over Earth while The Conclave and CDF are distracted with dogs with crowns, backchannels, Wildcat Colonies, Harvest Day dinners and the mind numbing unreality of the potential for the Chicago Cubs to win the world series in one of the sub dimensions inhabited by skip drive enabled species.

I enjoyed this episode. I like my science fiction a little bit weird with things like sentient brains in boxes. Plus, there were some real heart felt good guy moments for Harry Wilson. It was all sentimental tripe by an author trying to get me to feel something in my cold robotic heart for a poor brain in a box, and, I swear, it didn’t work. I was a brick. But still…. It had humor, adventure, space battles, conspiracy and diplomatic give and take, basically, it was one of the more complete episodes, pushing the story in a direction but not giving any easy answers.

I thought this was one of Dufris better episodes. He transitioned well between the obvious humor and the obvious emotional segments with ease. The early action segment was a little rough, with the quick fire dialogue not feeling natural, but I think this was more a problem with writing than narration. He offered a nice range of characters from the early disembodied style of Rayth Ablant, to the cocky tongue in cheek with a touch of Eastern European voice of Navill Werd. It was all a lot of fun to listen to, and again Dufris shines as a storyteller.

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5 04 2013

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