Friday, October 10, 2008

Zoe's Tale -- John Scalzi

Zoe is a secondary character in John Scalzi's novel The Last Colony. Because that novel had a couple of things that could use a little clarification and because Scalzi must have thought that Zoe would make an entertaining narrator, he decided to tell the story of The Last Colony again, but from her point of view.

It's the same story, but it's not. It follows the timeline and the events are the same, but what we get is an entirely new take on things. Zoe is a teenager, so her perspective is different from the adults who dominated the earlier novel. The things that matter to her are not always the same things that mattered to the adults, or not always to the same degree. I enjoyed it thoroughly even though it hasn't been that long since I read The Last Colony. My review of that one is here, and you can check it out for the plot, the bare bones of which form the basis for Zoe's Tale. Read 'em both. You'll find them fast, funny, thoughtful, and occasionally touching. Hard to ask for more than that.


bish8 said...

Orson Scott Card did a similar thing when he wrote Ender's Shadow - the sequel to his highly respected Ender's Game - same story, different point of view, whole new experience.

If you haven't read Ender's Shadow do so now, immediately!

Anonymous said...

Before ArmadilloCon I read "Old Man's War" and "The Ghost Brigades" and enjoyed them very much to my great surprise. I normally don't enjoy contemporary SF, preferring the older stuff instead (the future ain't as exciting as it used to be!).
And I plan to read "The Last Colony" and "Zoe's Tale" before too long.

Scalzi is a good storyteller, and these space operas have a traditional, comfortable feel about them, plus he's good at framing the story in a manner to keep us turning the page. But I can't help feeling that there is something too contemporary about the ideas or the language he uses. I'm not sure these novels will have the staying power of science fiction classics of the past.
--Thomas Miller

P.S. I just finished "Too Late to Die" and liked it a lot. I'll be looking for "Shotgun Saturday Night" next. I'm sort of OCD about reading series novels in chronological order.

Bill Crider said...

Thanks, Thomas. Glad you liked the book. I'm not sure about Scalzi's staying power, but I guess we'll find out if we're all around long enough. I like his writing style, clear, easy to read and follow.