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Zoe's Tale [Hardcover]

John Scalzi
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
RRP: £36.94
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Book Description

30 April 2011

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 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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Product details

  • Hardcover: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Subterranean Press; Ltd Sgd edition (30 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596063343
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596063341
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,170,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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 the Hugo Award. His other novels include The Ghost Brigades, The Last Colony, and The Android's Dream. He lives in southern Ohio with his wife and daughter.

Product Description


'A refreshing addition to the science-fiction genre in the new millennium.'
-- SciFiNow --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

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 the Hugo Award. His other novels include The Ghost Brigades, The Last Colony, and The Android’s Dream. He lives in southern Ohio with his wife and daughter.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Goddess with a Real Face 16 Feb 2009
This is the fourth book set in the Old Man's War universe, but it's not a continuation of the story arcs he established in the first three, but rather a retelling of the events of the third book, The Last Colony, but told this time from a very different perspective, that of sixteen year old Zoe Boutin-Perry, daughter of a traitor, the object of a major treaty between the Colonial Union and the Obin, and adopted by John and Jane Perry.

Now doing something like this is fraught with peril, as readers of the earlier books will certainly know how everything ends, and will therefore have little sense of suspense throughout this work. It is even more perilous for a middle-aged man to attempt to find the correct `voice' for a teenaged female, one that rings true and will appeal to younger readers, and still engage readers of much greater ages. I'm happy to say that Mr. Scalzi quite deftly succeeded very, very well with both the characterization and being able to still hold at least this reader glued to the pages, even without the suspense.

Zoe herself is a full-bodied person, one you'd definitely like to meet, someone you come to care about a great deal over the course of this work. She's not perfect, she makes mistakes, occasionally her sarcasm and biting comments might make you grimace, and there is an element of unthinking `me-ness' to her, an attitude that she's unique. But in this case, she really is unique - not many girls can say that they are the goddess-object of an entire alien race. But besides her, several of her close friends also come alive as real people, something that's a little rare in first-person perspective works. Gretchen, Magdy, and Enzo are very much real people, and even better, real teenagers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable 7 Oct 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was reviewed in the latest issue of SFX magazine, and it sounded so interesting that I immediately bought the book. I'm really glad I did - I absolutely loved it. It's the best new book I've read in quite a while.

It's actually the fourth book in a series, but since it's based around a new character, I didn't have the slightest problem understanding it (though I do now intend to track down the earlier novels, and possibly even more of the author's work). Apparently it retells the events of "The Last Colony" from another character's perspective, which is a bit of a weird idea I suppose but presumably there's a lot going on that the main characters in each of those novels don't know about. Zoe's an engaging main character; sarcastic, intelligent, flawed but likeable, and surprisingly convincing as a teenage girl despite being written by a 38-year-old man.

The first thing that drew me to the novel was Zoe's status as icon to an entire race, the Obin. Essentially, her biological father gave the species consciousness, and after his death they kind of revered her, and also studied her as a way of teaching themselves how to live. On the one hand, she has a hell of a lot of power over them; on the other hand, she lacks freedom as almost everything she says or does is recorded and transmitted to the entire species. What I liked about it is that the Obin are not pushovers or timid beings reaching out for instruction; in fact, they're rather feared by most species for being deadly warriors. Watching Zoe's interaction with her two Obin bodyguards, Hickory and Dickory (who she named as a child after the nursery rhyme, a fact she feels somewhat embarrassed about) is the highlight of the novel for me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cracker from Scalzi 10 Jun 2009
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
As a huge fan of Scalzi since Old Mans War, I really do have to get these books in the series as soon as they land. So when the latest offering landed I was interested to see how this latest hero of the future would fit into the Hienlinesque universe to which Scalzi writes.

What appears is a character of great heart and warmth and whilst she won't be to everyones cup of tea, the tale wouldn't work if it wasn't for the sheer likability as well as full roundedness of her. She's a breath of fresh air in the Sci-Fi genre and hopefully a character that will have many other adventures so that we can get to see more of her. Add to that fully rounded supporting characterisation along the wonderful world building and the only thing that you do know is that no matter what happens you're in for a real roller-coaster ride as the characters within try to find a way to cope with the changing needs of them not only socially but emotionally as well as communally. Great offering to the reader and make Scalzi a must own for all Sci-Fi fans.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zoe is a real charecter; one to enjoy. 16 Aug 2010
One of Scalzi's best. Happily it is not all soldiers and wars. Zoe is a real charecter; one to enjoy. I will probably read it again. That is how I define 5 stars. This book which looks at Scalzi's previous novel from Zoe's perspective. Zoe is John and Jane's (the heros of Last Colony) adopted daughter.It really opens your eyes to how much isn't written down in lots of novels. Read The Last colony first then this.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fresh Take On The Story 25 Feb 2010
I will confess that I approached Zoe's Tale with some trepidation. How much entertainment value, I wondered, would there be in having the plot of Scalzi's novel The Last Colony retold? Surely knowing how the tale panned out would rob it of any drama. Plus was I, a thirty something man, really interested in an already familiar story told from the perspective of a teenage girl? For these reasons I put off tackling Zoe's Tale for several months.

As it turns out I needn't have worried. Scalzi's skills as a writer are more than enough to cope with telling the story successfully through the eyes of a teenager and to make it engaging for all ages and sexes. He even succeeds in making the plot feel fresh and entertaining despite it being a retread of The Last Colony. In fact Zoe's Tale complements its predecessor, providing additional depth to events.

By the end, despite my initial doubts, I was totally wrapped up in events on the page. At times I even found I had a lump in my throat, which is not a common occurrence for me when I'm reading.

John Scalzi is a fantastic writer who manages to bring real humanity to the science-fiction tales he writes. Zoe's Tale is a perfect demonstration of his skills. If you're not familiar with his work I would suggest picking up one of his earlier novels, such as Old Man's War or The Android's Dream before tackling this novel. I would definitely say to read The Last Colony first and possibly take a break after that before picking up Zoe's War, but you will not be disappointed when you do. Like me you may be very pleasantly surprised.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars fouth in the very good series
nearly perfect ,read the previous books in the series though, it will make a lot more sense ,coming to a cinema near you soon, so I`ve been told
Published 1 month ago by wiseguy
3.0 out of 5 stars shallow and unexciting
It was a pleasant enough read, if you had time to while away, but not very inspiring. Not what you would call a page turner. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Steve
3.0 out of 5 stars tidy
Too neat and tidy, lost ends and conflicts resolved so,ooo easily at every turn and the twist to the story happy ending NOT was transparent early on. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Wayne Parker
4.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch Sci Fi
Loved this series. Gives a really fresh angle on it. For some reason didn't affect me as emotionally as the others.
Published 8 months ago by morisgamonn
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the series
I have enjoyed the first three books of Old Men's War very much, so it was with much trepidation that I approached the 4th book thinking to myself
A) why did the author write... Read more
Published 12 months ago by S. Knop
1.0 out of 5 stars Probably worth a miss
I enjoyed the previous three books; however, this book gets to 88 percent before there is anything new that wasn't in the previous book. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Steve Conway
4.0 out of 5 stars A good addition to the Old Mans war series
Although a bit lightweight in places I do feel this book is a good read, and one that takes you deeper into CU space.
Published 15 months ago by Ian Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable, I shall read this again.
Having read the previous 3 "old mans war" novels I put off buying this for a few years, however after just reading the first 3 and craving more I bought Zoe's tale just to... Read more
Published 17 months ago by anthill1956
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice book
This is a pleasant book to read and one I would give 3.5 out of 5 to.

It is Sci-Fi - set on a colonist ship and colony frontier world, but from the viewpoint of an... Read more
Published 18 months ago by ChrisKnight
5.0 out of 5 stars A Riveting, Splendid Young Adult Novel from John Scalzi
Readers unfamiliar with John Scalzi's "Old Man's War" space opera science fiction novels will find much to recommend to both young and old audiences alike in "Zoe's Tale", which... Read more
Published on 10 Jun 2012 by John Kwok
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