I kind of liked The Android’s Dream and Redshirts by John Scalzi. A couple weeks ago I needed some light-ish reading so I picked up Old Man’s War, and the jaws closed on my wallet.

It’s the first book of a multi-part space-opera series. The aliens are mostly satisfactorily evil, the solution to the impossibility-of-coherent-space-opera problem is clever, and the people in the stories are interesting.

There are irritants — for example, the only character so far to suggest, you know, talking to the aliens before shooting, is reviled as a blowhard and quickly disposed of. But still, good story, clever premise, and I confess to enjoying space opera.

But... there are five books in the series, and they’re priced pretty cheap on Kindle, and Amazon one-click ordering is right there, and... well, I defy you to finish one and not immediately buy the next. I’m on the third volume at the moment.

Fortunately, I’m a little late to the game in that I didn’t get sucked into buying The Human Division, the latest in the series, piecewise in thirteen fragments.

I’m not actually mad at either Scalzi or Amazon; I’m getting good entertainment value for money. But I am in awe at the effortlessness with which successive instalments of cash are being whisked out of my wallet. In the hands of someone evil, this could be dangerous.



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From: Bud Gibson (Jun 02 2013, at 12:11)

The interesting thing is that the source formatting for these books is based on web standards. Kindle8 is "derived from" html5 and css. Yet, monetization is achieved via a proprietary distribution system. The way to make money off the web is to put a fence around it. That's always been the way, but this one seems particularly effective.

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From: Zellyn Hunter (Jun 02 2013, at 17:04)

Ouch. This just happened to me with the Thursday Next books...

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From: Kevin Marks (Jun 03 2013, at 02:31)

The real trap of the Human Division was the 13 weekly installments that fill up your kindle browser.

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From: Lucian (Jun 03 2013, at 04:22)

And the it all fails horribly if you happen to not live in the US :( For example, "The Android's Dream" is not available for me to buy.

I really, really hate such arbitrary limits.

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From: Jim Robinson (Jun 03 2013, at 05:12)

But Tim, it should be clear to everyone that John Scalzi *is* evil. Just ask Wil Wheaton. :)

For myself, I delayed looking at the book until the complete set of 13 chapters were available for purchase as a single unit, though I now see reviews that indicate the final chapter may end on a cliff hanger...

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From: Andrew (Jun 03 2013, at 10:16)

If you liked Old Man's War I highly recommend Forever War by Joe Haldeman. For my money a much deeper and more satisfying look at what life would be like for a regular human soldier in an interstellar war. Or just wait until Ridley Scott gets done with his movie adaptation.

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