Zoe's Tale

( 53 )

Overview

How do you tell your part in the biggest tale in history?

I ask because it's what I have to do. I'm Zoe Boutin Perry: A colonist stranded on a deadly pioneer world. Holy icon to a race of aliens. A player (and a pawn) in a interstellar chess match to save humanity, or to see it fall. Witness to history. Friend. Daughter. Human. Seventeen years old.

Everyone on Earth knows the tale I am part of. But you don't know my tale: How I did what I did —...

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Zoe's Tale

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Overview

How do you tell your part in the biggest tale in history?

I ask because it's what I have to do. I'm Zoe Boutin Perry: A colonist stranded on a deadly pioneer world. Holy icon to a race of aliens. A player (and a pawn) in a interstellar chess match to save humanity, or to see it fall. Witness to history. Friend. Daughter. Human. Seventeen years old.

Everyone on Earth knows the tale I am part of. But you don't know my tale: How I did what I did — how I did what I had to do — not just to stay alive but to keep you alive, too. All of you. I'm going to tell it to you now, the only way I know how: not straight but true, the whole thing, to try to make you feel what I felt: the joy and terror and uncertainty, panic and wonder, despair and hope. Everything that happened, bringing us to Earth, and Earth out of its captivity. All through my eyes.

It's a story you know. But you don't know it all.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The Last Colony will kick your butt across the galaxy and make you care.” — Rick Kleffel, The Agony Column, on The Last Colony

“Scalzi’s captivating blend of off-world adventure and political intrigue remains consistently engaging.” — Booklist on The Last Colony

"In Heinleinesque fashion, the book is loaded with scenes of comradeship, isolation, ruthlessness and the protocols, which govern the lives of active-duty soldiers. But this is where Scalzi, famous for his blog ‘The Whatever,’ surpasses Heinlein. Scalzi weaves in subtle discussions of humanity's growing fear of aging and our simultaneous attraction and repulsion to the Frankenstein-like creatures we are able to create." — San Antonio Express-News on The Ghost Brigades

Publishers Weekly

In the touching fourth novel set in the Old Man's War universe, Scalzi revisits the events of 2007's The Last Colony from the perspective of Zoë, adopted daughter of previous protagonists Jane Sagan and John Perry. Jane and John are drafted to help found the new human colony of Roanoke, struggling against a manipulative and deceitful homeworld government, native werewolf-like creatures and a league of aliens intent on preventing all space expansion and willing to eradicate the colony if needed. Meanwhile, teenage Zoë focuses more on her poetic boyfriend, Enzo; her sarcastic best friend, Gretchen; and her bodyguards, a pair of aliens from a race called the Obin who worship and protect Zoë because of a scientific breakthrough made by her late biological father. Readers of the previous books will find this mostly a rehash, but engaging character development and Scalzi's sharp ear for dialogue will draw in new readers, particularly young adults. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765356192
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 4/28/2009
  • Series: Old Man's War Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 128,157
  • Lexile: HL720L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

John Scalzi

John Scalzi won the 2006 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and his debut novel Old Man’s War was a finalist for science fiction’s Hugo Award. His other books include The Ghost Brigades, The Android’s Dream and The Last Colony. He has won the Hugo Award, the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for science-fiction, the Seiun, The Kurd Lasswitz and the Geffen awards. His weblog, Whatever, is one of the most widely-read web sites in modern SF. Born and raised in California, Scalzi studied at the University of Chicago. He lives in southern Ohio with his wife and daughter.

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Read an Excerpt

PROLOGUE

I lifted up my dad’s PDA and counted off the seconds with the two thousand other people in the room.

"Five! Four! Three! Two! One!"

And then there was no noise, because everyone’s attention—and I mean everyone’s—was glued to the monitors peppered around the Magellan’s common area. The screens, which had held starry skies in them, were blank and black, and everyone was holding their breath, waiting for what came next.

A world appeared, green and blue.

And we all went insane.

Because it was our world. It was Roanoke, our new home. We would be the first people to land there, the first people to settle there, the first people to live our lives there. And we celebrated seeing it for that first time, we two thousand settlers of Roanoke, all crammed into that common area, hugging and kissing and singing "Auld Lang Syne," because, well, what else do you sing when you come to a new world? A new world, new beginnings, a new year, a new life. New everything. I hugged my best friend Gretchen and we hollered into the microphone I had been using to count down the seconds, and hopped up and down like idiots.

When we stopped hopping, a whisper in my ear. "So beautiful," Enzo said.

I turned to look at him, at this gorgeous, beautiful boy who I was seriously considering making my boyfriend. He was a perfect combination: heart-flutteringly pretty and apparently entirely ignorant of the fact, because he’d been spending the last week trying to charm me with his words, of all things. Words! Like he didn’t get the teenage boy manual on how to be completely inarticulate around girls.

I appreciated the effort. And I appreciated the fact that when he whispered his words, he was looking at me and not the planet. I glanced over at my parents about six meters away, kissing to celebrate the arrival. That seemed like a good idea. I reached my hand behind Enzo’s head to draw him to me and planted one right on his lips. Our first kiss. New world, new life, new boyfriend.

What can I say. I was caught up in the moment.

Enzo didn’t complain. " ‘O brave new world, that has such people in it,’ " he said, after I let him breathe again.

I smiled at him, my arms still around his neck. "You’ve been saving that up," I said.

"Maybe," he admitted. "I wanted you to have a quality first kiss moment."

See. Most sixteen-year-old boys would have used a kiss as an excuse to dive straight for the boobs. He used it as an excuse for Shakespeare. A girl could do worse.

"You’re adorable," I said, kissed him again, then gave him a playful push and launched myself into my parents, breaking up their canoodling and demanding their attention. The two of them were our colony’s leaders, and soon enough they would barely have time to breathe. It was best I get in some quality time while I could. We hugged and laughed and then Gretchen yanked me back toward her.

"Look what I have," she said, and thrust her PDA in my face. It showed a vidcap of me and Enzo kissing.

"You evil little thing," I said.

"It’s amazing," Gretchen said. "It actually looks like you’re trying to swallow his entire face."

"Stop it," I said.

"See? Look," Gretchen tapped a button, and the vidcap played in slow motion. "Right there. You’re mauling him. Like his lips were made of chocolate."

I was trying very hard not to laugh, because she was actually right about that. "Wench," I said. "Give me that." I snatched the PDA from her with one hand, erased the .le, and handed it back. "There. Thank you."

"Oh, no," Gretchen said, mildly, taking the PDA.

"Learned your lesson about violating the privacy of others?" I said.

"Oh, yes," Gretchen said.

"Good," I said. "Of course, you already forwarded it to everyone we know before you showed it to me, didn’t you?"

"Maybe," Gretchen said, and put her hand to her mouth, eyes wide.

"Evil," I said, admiringly.

"Thank you," Gretchen said, and curtsied.

"Just remember I know where you live," I said.

"For the rest of our lives," Gretchen said, and then we did embarrassingly girly squeals and had another hug. Living the rest of your life with the same two thousand people ran the risk of being dead-bang boring, but not with Gretchen around.

We unhugged and then I looked around to see who else I wanted to celebrate with. Enzo was hovering in the background, but he was smart enough to know that I’d get back to

him. I looked over and saw Savitri Guntupalli, my parents’ assistant, conferring with my dad very seriously about something. Savitri: She was smart and capable and could be wicked funny, but she was always working. I got between her and Dad and demanded a hug. Yes, I was all about the hugs. But, you know, look: You only get to see your new world for the first time once.

"Zoë," Dad said, "can I have my PDA back?"

I had taken Dad’s PDA because he’d set the exact time the Magellan would skip from the Phoenix system to Roanoke, and used it to count off the last few minutes before the jump. I had my own PDA, of course; it was in my pocket. No doubt the vidcap of me smooching Enzo was waiting for me in my in-box, just like it was in the in-boxes of all our friends. I made a note to myself to plot revenge against Gretchen. Sweet, merciless revenge. Involving witnesses. And farm animals. But for now I gave Dad back his PDA, gave him a peck on his cheek, and found my way back to Enzo.

"So," Enzo said, and smiled. God, he was even charming when monosyllabic. The rational part of my brain was lecturing me about how infatuation makes everything seem better than it is; the irrational part (meaning, most of me) was telling the rational part to get well and truly stuffed.

"So," I said back, not nearly as charmingly, but Enzo didn’t seem to notice.

"I was talking to Magdy," Enzo said.

"Uh-oh," I said.

"Magdy’s not so bad," Enzo said.

"Sure, for certain values of ‘not so bad,’ meaning ‘bad,’ " I said.

"And he said that he was talking to some of the Magellan crew," Enzo said, forging along (charmingly). "They told him about an observation lounge on the crew level that’s usually empty. He says we could get a great view of the planet there."

I glanced over Enzo’s shoulder, where Magdy was talking animatedly to Gretchen (or at her, depending on one’s point of view). "I don’t think the planet is what he’s hoping to view," I said.

Enzo glanced back. "Maybe not," he said. "Although to be fair to Magdy, certain people aren’t exactly trying hard not to be viewed."

I crooked an eyebrow at that; it was true enough, although I knew Gretchen was more into the flirting than anything else.

"And what about you?" I said. "What are you hoping to see?"

Enzo smiled and held up his hands, disarmingly. "Zoë," he said. "I just got to kiss you. I think I want to work on that a little more before moving on to anything else."

"Ooh, nicely said," I said. "Do these lines work on all the girls?"

"You’re the first girl I’ve tried them on," Enzo said. "So you’ll have to let me know."

I actually blushed, and gave him a hug. "So far, so good," I said.

"Good," Enzo said. "Also, you know. I’ve seen your bodyguards. I don’t think I want them to use me for target practice."

"What?" I said, mock-shocked. "You’re not frightened of Hickory and Dickory, are you? They’re not even here." Actually, Enzo has a perfectly good reason to be utterly terrified of Hickory and Dickory, who were already vaguely suspicious of him and would happily cycle him out an airlock if he did anything stupid with me. But there was no reason to let him know that yet. Good rule of thumb: When your relationship is minutes old, don’t freak out the new squeeze.

And anyway, Hickory and Dickory were sitting out this celebration. They were aware they made most of the humans nervous.

"I was actually thinking of your parents," Enzo said. "Although they seem to be missing, too." Enzo motioned with his head to where John and Jane had been standing a few minutes before; now neither of them were there. I saw Savitri leaving the common area as well, as if she suddenly had someplace to be.

"I wonder where they went," I said, mostly to myself.

"They’re the colony leaders," Enzo said. "Maybe now they have to start working."

"Maybe," I said. It was unusual for either John or Jane to disappear without telling me where they were going; it was just a common courtesy. I fought back the urge to message them on my PDA.

"So, the observation lounge," Enzo said, getting himself back to the topic at hand. "You want to check it out?"

"It’s on the crew deck," I said. "You think we might get in trouble?"

"Maybe," Enzo said. "But what can they do? Make us walk the plank? At worst they’ll just tell us to get lost. And until then we’ll have a heck of a view."

"All right," I said. "But if Magdy turns into all tentacles, I’m leaving. There are some things I don’t need to see."

Enzo laughed. "Fair enough," he said, and I snuggled into him a little. This new boyfriend thing was turning out just fine.

We spent some more time celebrating with our friends and their families. Then, after things had settled down enough, we followed Magdy and Gretchen through the Magellan and toward the crew observation lounge. I thought sneaking into the crew area might be a problem; not only was it easy, but a crew member coming out of an entrance held it open for us.

"Security is not a huge issue here on the Magellan," Gretchen said, back to me and Enzo, then looked down at our clasped hands and smiled at me. She was evil, sure, but she was also happy for me.

The observation lounge was where it was advertised to be, but alas for Magdy’s nefarious plans, it was not empty as promised; four Magellan crew members sat at a table, intent in a conversation. I glanced over to Magdy, who looked like he had just swallowed a fork. I found this rather amusing myself. Poor, poor Magdy. Frustration became him.

"Look," Enzo said, and still holding my hand, guided me to a huge observation window. Roanoke filled the view, gorgeously green, fully illuminated with her sun behind us, more breathtaking in person than she was on the monitors. Seeing something with your own eyes makes a difference.

It was the most beautiful thing I think I’d ever seen. Roanoke. Our world.

"Wrong place," I heard, barely, from the conversation at the table to the left of me.

I glanced over at the table. The four Magellan crew there were so engaged in their conversation and so closed in to each other that it looked like most of their bodies were actually on the table rather than in their seats. One of the crew was sitting with his back to me, but I could see the other three, two men and a woman. The expression on their faces was grim.

I have a habit of listening in to other people’s conversations. It’s not a bad habit unless you get caught. The way not to get caught is to make sure it looks like your attention is somewhere else. I dropped my hand from Enzo’s and took a step toward the observation lounge window. This got me closer to the table while at the same time keeping Enzo from whispering sweet nothings in my ear. I kept myself visually intent on Roanoke.

"You don’t just miss," one of the crew members was saying. "And the captain sure as hell doesn’t. He could put the Magellan in orbit around a pebble if he wanted to."

The crew member with his back to me said something low, which I couldn’t hear.

"That’s crap," said the first crew member. "How many ships have actually gone missing in the last twenty years? In the last fifty? No one gets lost anymore."

"What are you thinking?"

I jumped, which made Enzo jump. "Sorry," he said, as I turned to give him an exasperated look. I put a finger to my lips to shush him, and then motioned with my eyes at the table now behind me. Enzo glanced behind me and saw the table. What? he mouthed. I shook my head a tiny bit to tell him he shouldn’t distract me anymore. He gave me a strange look. I took his hand again to let him know I wasn’t upset with him, but then focused my attention back to the table.

"—calm. We don’t know anything yet," said another voice, this one belonging (I think) to the woman. "Who else knows about this?"

Another mutter from the crew member facing away from me.

"Good. We need to keep it that way," she said. "I’ll clamp down on things in my department if I hear anything, but it only works if we all do it."

"It won’t stop the crew from talking," said someone else.

"No, but it’ll slow down the rumors, and that’s good enough until we know what’s really happened," the woman said.

Yet another mutter.

"Well, if it’s true, then we have bigger problems, don’t we?" said the woman, and all the strain she was experiencing was suddenly clear in her voice. I shuddered a little; Enzo felt it through my hand and looked at me, concerned. I gave him a serious hug. It meant losing the rest of the conversational thread, but at the moment, it’s what I wanted. Priorities change.

There was the sound of chairs pushing back. I turned and the crew members—it was pretty clear they were actually officers—were already heading toward the door. I broke away from Enzo to get the attention of the one closest to me, the one who had had his back to me earlier. I tapped him on the shoulder; he turned and seemed very surprised to see me.

"Who are you?" he said.

"Has something happened to the Magellan?" I asked. The best way to learn stuff is not to get distracted, for example, by questions relating to one’s identity.

The man actually scowled, which is something I’d read about but had never actually seen someone do, until now. "You were listening to our conversation."

"Is the ship lost?" I asked. "Do we know where we are? Is something wrong with the ship?"

He took a step back, like the questions were actually hitting him. I should have taken a step forward and pressed him.

I didn’t. He regained his footing and looked past me to Enzo and Gretchen and Magdy, who were all looking at us. Then he realized who we were, and straightened up. "You kids aren’t supposed to be here. Get out, or I’ll have ship’s security throw you out. Get back to your families." He turned to go.

I reached toward him again. "Sir, wait," I said. He ignored me and walked out of the lounge.

"What’s going on?" Magdy asked me, from across the room. "I don’t want to get in trouble because you’ve pissed off some random crew member."

I shot Magdy a look, and turned to look out the window again. Roanoke still hung there, blue and green. But suddenly not as beautiful. Suddenly unfamiliar. Suddenly threatening.

Enzo put his hand on my shoulder. "What is it, Zoë?" he said.

I kept staring out the window. "I think we’re lost," I said.

"Why?" Gretchen asked. She had come up beside me. "What were they talking about?"

"I couldn’t hear it all," I said. "But it sounded like they were saying we’re not where we’re supposed to be." I pointed to the planet. "That this isn’t Roanoke."

"That’s crazy," Magdy said.

"Of course it’s crazy," I said. "Doesn’t mean it might not be true." I pulled out my PDA from my pocket and tried to connect with Dad. No answer. I tried connecting to Mom.

No answer.

"Gretchen," I said. "Would you try calling your dad?" Gretchen’s dad was on the colonial council my parents headed up.

"He’s not answering," she said, after a minute.

"It doesn’t mean anything bad," Enzo said. "We did just skip to a new planet. Maybe they’re busy with that."

"Maybe they’re still celebrating," Magdy said.

Gretchen smacked him upside the head. "You really are childish, Magdy," she said. Magdy rubbed the side of his head and shut up. This evening was not going anything like he had planned. Gretchen turned to me. "What do you think we should do?"

"I don’t know," I said. "They were talking about keeping the crew from talking. It means some of them might know what’s going on. It won’t take long to get to the colonists."

"It’s already gotten to the colonists," Enzo said. "We’re colonists."

"We might want to tell someone," Gretchen said. "I think your parents and my dad need to know, at least."

I glanced down at her PDA. "I think they might know already," I said.

"We should make sure," she said. So we left the observation lounge and went looking for our parents.

We didn’t find them; they were in a council meeting. I did find Hickory and Dickory, or rather, they found me.

"I think I should go," Enzo said, after they’d stared at him, unblinking, for a minute. It wasn’t meant as intimidation; they don’t blink at all. I gave him a peck on the cheek. He and Magdy left.

"I’m going to listen around," Gretchen said. "See what people are saying."

"All right," I said. "Me too." I held up my PDA. "Let me know what you hear." She left.

I turned to Hickory and Dickory. "You two," I said. "You were in your room earlier."

"We came looking for you," Hickory said. It was the talker of the two. Dickory could talk, but it was always a surprise when it happened.

"Why?" I said. "I was perfectly safe before. I’ve been perfectly safe since we left Phoenix Station. The Magellan is entirely threat-free. The only thing you’ve been good for this entire trip is scaring the crap out of Enzo. Why are you looking for me now?"

"Things have changed," Hickory said.

"What do you mean?" I asked, but then my PDA vibrated. It was Gretchen.

"That was fast," I said.

"I just ran into Mika," she said. "You won’t believe what she said a crew member just told her brother."

The adult colonists may have been either clueless or tightlipped, but the Roanoke teenage rumor mill was in full swing. In the next hour, this is what we "learned":

That during the skip to Roanoke, the Magellan had wandered too close to a star and had been thrown out of the galaxy.

That there was a mutiny and the first officer had relieved Captain Zane of command because of incompetence.

That Captain Zane shot his own traitorous first officer right there on the bridge and said he’d shoot anyone who tried to help him.

That the computer systems had failed just before the skip, and we didn’t know where we were.

That aliens had attacked the ship and were floating out there, deciding whether to finish us off.

That Roanoke was poisonous to human life and if we landed there we’d die.

That there was a core breach in the engine room, whatever that meant, and that the Magellan was this close to blowing up.

That ecoterrorists had hacked into the Magellan’s computer systems and sent us off in another direction so that we couldn’t ruin another planet.

No, wait, it was wildcat colonists-turned-pirates who hacked in, and they were planning to steal our colony supplies because their own were running low.

No, wait, it was mutinous crew members who were going to steal our supplies and leave us stranded on the planet.

No, wait, it wasn’t thieving crew, wildcat pirates or ecoterrorists, it was just some idiot programmer who messed up the code, and now we don’t know where we are.

No, wait, nothing’s wrong, this is just the standard operating procedure. There’s not a thing wrong, now stop bothering the crew and let us work, damn it.

I want to be clear about something: We knew most of this was crap and nonsense. But what was underneath all the crap and nonsense was just as important: Confusion and unease had spread through the crew of the Magellan, and from them, to us. It moved fast. It told any number of lies—not to lie but to try to make sense of something. Something that happened. Something that shouldn’t have happened.

Through all of this, nothing from Mom or Dad, or Gretchen’s dad, or any of the colony council, all the members of which had suddenly found themselves called into a meeting.

The common room, previously deserted after the new world celebrations, began to fill up again. This time people weren’t celebrating. They looked confused, and concerned and tense, and some of them were beginning to look angry.

"This isn’t going to turn out well," Gretchen said to me when we reunited.

"How are you doing?" I said.

She shrugged. "Something’s happening, that’s for sure. Everyone’s on edge. It’s putting me on edge."

"Don’t go crazy on me," I said. "Then there won’t be anyone to hold me back when I lose it."

"Oh, well, for your sake then," Gretchen said, and rolled her eyes dramatically. "Well. At least now I’m not having to fight off Magdy."

"I like how you can see the bright side of any situation," I said.

"Thanks," she said. "How are you?"

"Honestly?" I asked. She nodded. "Scared as hell."

"Thank God," she said. "It’s not only me." She held up her thumb and finger and marked the tiny space between them.

"For the last half hour I’ve been this close to peeing myself."

I took a step back. Gretchen laughed.

The ship’s intercom kicked on. "This is Captain Zane," a man’s voice said. "This is a general message for passengers and crew. All crew will assemble in their respective department conference rooms in ten minutes, 2330 ship time. All passengers will assemble in the passenger common area in ten minutes, 2330 ship time. Passengers, this is a mandatory assembly. You will be addressed by your colony leaders." The intercom went dead.

"Come on," I said to Gretchen, and pointed to the platform where, earlier in the evening, she and I counted down the seconds until we were at our new world. "We should get a good place."

"It’s going to get crowded in here," she said.

I pointed to Hickory and Dickory. "They’ll be with us. You know how everyone gives them all the space they want." Gretchen looked up at the two of them, and I realized that she wasn’t terribly fond of them either.

Minutes later the council came streaming in from one of the common area side doors and made their way to the platform. Gretchen and I stood in the front, Hickory and Dickory behind us, and at least five feet on every side. Alien bodyguards create their own buffer zone.

A whisper in my ear. "Hey," Enzo said.

I looked over to him and smiled. "I wondered if you were going to be here," I said.

"It’s an all-colonist meeting," he said.

"Not here, in general," I said. "Here."

"Oh," Enzo said. "I took a chance that your bodyguards wouldn’t stab me."

"I’m glad you did," I said. I took his hand.

On the platform, John Perry, the colony leader, my dad, came forward and picked up the microphone that still lay there from earlier in the evening. His eyes met mine as he reached down to pick it up.

Here’s the thing to know about my dad. He’s smart, he’s good at what he does, and almost all the time, his eyes look like he’s about to start laughing. He finds most things funny. He makes most things funny.

When he looked at me as he picked up the microphone, his eyes were dark, and heavy, and as serious as I had ever seen them. When I saw them I was reminded, no matter how young he looked, how old he really was. For as much as he could make light of things, he was a man who had seen trouble more than once in his life.

And he was seeing it again. Now, with us. For all of us.

Everyone else would know it as soon as he opened his mouth to tell them, but right then was when I knew—when I saw the truth of our situation.

We were lost.

Excerpted from Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi

Copyright@ 2008 by John Scalzi

Published in 2008 by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 54 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 29, 2011

    Disappointing

    I picked this ebook up thinking it would tell a new story set sometime after The Last Colony. Unfortunately, this is a complete retelling of The Last Colony, only from Zoe's viewpoint. And it was boring.

    There are significant plot points to The Last Colony, and having presented that story once, Scalzi obviously can't relate it in such detail again. So instead Scalzi gives a synopsis of each critical plot point when the book gets there, essentially skimming over all the action and drama. This makes the book very weak. In fact, there is only two completely new scenes: the first to address some criticism he received about introducing and then dropping the "werewolves"; and the second the story of what happens when Zoe enters Conclave territory to deliver John's message to General Gau. By themselves, not worth buying this book for.

    To be fair, the voice Scalzi creates for Zoe is believable, and the dialogue mostly entertaining. Scalzi does have a way with sarcastic dialogue. But this is the only redeeming feature of the book.

    Overall, the constant narration of the same story weakens Zoe's character quite a bit. She would have been stronger in an original story. Or, if Scalzi could have woven Zoe's Tale into The Last Colony, it would have made that book even better than it is now. But simply retelling the one book from a different character's viewpoint just didn't work.

    I won't say not to buy this book. But if you do so, be aware of what you are paying for.

    15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    New Book, same story

    This was such a disappointment. Don't get me wrong. I love the Old Man's War series, and John Scalzi is a pretty good story teller with a rich SF universe. I bought this simply because Scalzi had written it, figuring that even a "bad" book by him would be good. Nope.

    I grabbed Zoe's Tale without bothering to read any reviews. Stupid, I know. I have paid the price. This is Last Colony told from Zoe's point of view. Sadly it adds little to even understanding the Last Colony.

    Also I have teenage daughters. I know entirely too much about teenage girl behavior. I don't need to grab a book expecting Sci-Fi swashbuckling and get the FaceBook version of my daughters' last sleep over.

    That being said, I am still heading back to the bookstore to find another Scalzi book because I need my fix.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    It's The Last Colony...... I mean, It is! "The Last Colony"

    I wish I read some reviews before I bought this book! John Scalzi must be under a contract to write X amount of books because this "Zoe's Tale" proves that he is suffering from writers block. I feel dupped & quite honestly I don't think I will continue with this series because I don't trust him now. <BR/>The same story but from another characters perspective, I mean come on! That's pathetic!

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 10, 2011

    Never seen so many bogus reviews

    Funny how lengthy and well written the good reviews are here. The bad reviews tell the story here. No point revisiting the same story. This must have been a horendously boring book to be forced to write. Loved the series though. Couldn't put those first three down and read all three in about a week.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 28, 2012

    Should have been 2 short stories

    Agree with DrewGuy's review. While the book reflects Scalzi's writing skill, it does not have enough new plot-material to be satisfying for those of us who've read the other books in the "Old Man's War" series.

    Avoid disappointment (and make time for the rest of your reading stack) by just reading Chapters 16-17 and 22-25.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 6, 2011

    Nicely done compliment to TLC

    I was worried he was just phoning in a re-telling of The Last Colony but was happily surprised.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2013

    Loved It

    I made an old man all misty. I hope he writes another in this series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2012

    The triligy

    Scalzis books are great

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2011

    Couldn't get enough

    I am so happy that the author chose to revisit the series, you will be too as a new wrinkle or two (or more) and shifted perspectives open up new and wonderful insights into the colonial frontier!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing Story Transcends "Sci-Fi"

    John Scalzi is an amazing writer. I can't remember reading an author who so consistently fuses humor, adventure and great storytelling with wonderfully warm and deep characters. "Zoe's Tale" is a sequel to a sequel set in a world Scalzi launched with "Old Man's War". It retells Scalzi's "The Last Colony" from the perspective of Zoe, the teenage daughter of the couple who lead a new human colony based on an unsettled planet in the far reaches of space.

    This book stands alone and stands out. "The Last Colony" was terrific. "Zoe's Tale" is even better.

    Scalzi's dialogue throughout his books seems to be the drivers of his stories. The banter between Zoe and her friends is quick, witty, warm and natural. Likewise, her inner monologue reads smoothly and very genuine. Scalzi references the difficulty in writing a book like this, specifically capturing the appropriate tone of a teenage girl. Well, he seems to have nailed it pretty well.

    While the story contains adventure, action, aliens and some cool space "stuff", what really makes this "Zoe" successful is Zoe herself. This wonderful science fiction novel wins because Zoe is such an engaging character and Scalzi is so incredibly deft at developing her character and her relationships. I'm a 39-year old man, and I'm willing to admit that I teared up at a key plot point towards the end of the book (I won't give away the details).

    I'm asking my 13-year-old daughter to read this book. She isn't particularly interested in science fiction, but this book transcends that categorization. It's that good.

    I couldn't recommend this book more highly.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 23, 2008

    Classic, hard science fiction for young readers

    John Scalzi's third novel in the universe of Old Man's War is aimed at young readers.<BR/><BR/>Scalzi re-acquaints readers with Zoe, the bright, sassy adopted daughter of John Perry and Jane Sagan he introduced as a small child in Ghost Brigades. The Perrys have left the Colonial Defense Forces and settled on one of the colony worlds, Huckleberry, to raise their adopted daughter, who has become an object of reverence and near worship by one of the alien races earthlings have met in their forays into interstellar space.<BR/><BR/>To all appearances, Zoe is nothing other than an ordinary teenage girl who adores her parents, likes pop music and has all the ordinary perquisites a teenage girl should have, socially and otherwise. The CDF comes calling with an offer for the Perrys that will change their lives and Zoe's.<BR/><BR/>In this story John Scalzi takes the characters he already developed in Old Man's War and Ghost Brigades and continues their development, and adds Zoe to the mix. The relationships of Zoe with her friends and parents and Zoe's internal dialogue fill her out as an astonishingly rich and real character. The forces that shaped her childhood and the lessons she received from her CDF veteran parents will all be needed for the challenges that face Zoe when her parents accept a new, non-military assignment from the CDF, one which will put them at the intersection of interstellar intrigues between the Colonial Union and the races with which the CDF have battled since Earthlings began traveling to other star systems using the Skip Drive. And Zoe will find that she has all the ordinary pressures of teen age life plus several more, as she finds herself in the middle of a galactic conflict.<BR/><BR/>There is no shortage of action and political intrigue in this story, but Scalzi's gift for realistic characters really shines in this story. Scalzi has crafted this story for young readers. Zoe is high-school aged in this story, but it is suitable for youths aged approximately 12 and older. <BR/><BR/>A plus of this book is that it provides a way of introducing science fiction to girls - Zoe's character and her social life will win them over, and Scalzi's gift for writing character-based action will be a compelling entry into the science fiction genre. Boys, too, will enjoy Zoe's tale despite Scalzi's artful inclusion of some innocent kissing appropriate for this age of readership.<BR/><BR/>This product of Scalzi's pen is a gift to young readers and to the genre which will at once be satisfying to the reader and leave her wanting more. Kudos for a masterfully crafted tale.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2014

    Bios:

    Morningbreeze: res2 <br>
    Sharkfang: res3 <br>
    Lionpaw: res4 <br>
    Abby: res 5 <br>
    Extus Eagle: res 6 <p>
    Abby can be found in camp half blood at athenian constitution. Her favourite colour is blue and she can so far hold her breath for upto 20 min under water.

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  • Posted May 30, 2014

    As indicated from the title of the book this story is told from

    As indicated from the title of the book this story is told from the viewpoint of John and Jane’s teenage daughter Zoey.  Although she’s just a teenager, you would never know it from the way she acts and talks during the book.  Yes there are some teenage angst and immaturity but it’s few and far between.  Although an interesting take, this book doesn't add much to the “Old Man’s War” story as its follows the same events as the reader saw “The Lost Colony” just from a different perspective.  There are a few new things we learn but they’re character specific.  That being said if you enjoy the series you’ll enjoy this one as well!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2013

    Scalzi Books

    I have read Old Man's War and I was hooked. I've read everything Scalzi has done. The Old man's war and Ghost Brigade was up there with the all time greatest ...such as Ray Bradbury. I was somewhat disappointed with the rambling and confusion of Zoe's Tale. It was good, but a long way from his best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 54 Customer Reviews

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