ZT Review on SFFWorld

We’re getting close to the release of Zoe’s Tale (just one week out now), so I suspect we’ll be beginning to see more reviews of the book coming in. The latest is on SFFWorld, and it’s a good one:

… an effortless and entertaining tale. Scalzi’s knack for genuine characters, stress-induced situations, straightforward prose, and terrific storytelling skills are on great display here. Zoe’s Tale is another winner from John Scalzi, whether you’ve been following the Old Man’s War Universe, are being introduced to them for the first time here, and regardless of your age.


The review notes that readers here on the Whatever might note similarities to my own family, i.e., that the Boutin-Perry family unit holds Mary Sue-ish qualities for the folks used to me talking about my own little clan. I suppose it’s true, although I don’t know how far it should be taken. I’m not a 90-year old space veteran, my wife’s not Ex-Special Forces, and my daughter’s not a sarcastic teen (yet). But I suppose that to the extent that I base characters on those around me, I wouldn’t be the first: just check out Haldeman or Heinlein for that.

Just in case you missed it over there in the Whateverettes, Steve Bainbridge has a nice ZT review as well. Bainbridge along with Glenn Reynolds and Eugene Volokh was one of the first promoters of my fiction, so I’m always pleased when/if the latest book passes his sniff test.

8 Comments on “ZT Review on SFFWorld”

  1. Oh I believe that Krissy is ex-special forces from somewhere. Just not there. It’s good that she keeps you in line!

    And congratulations on the Hugo win!

  2. Hi John,

    First, congratulations on the much-deserved Hugo!

    Thanks for linking to my review, I’ll be updating my blog with a mention of the review as well.

    I’ll be honest, I was wavering whether or not I should compare you to John and his family in the book in my review or into how much detail I should go. In the end, I felt I should since it was my honest reaction to the story and characters.

    On a tangential note/question, how tough is to draw that line between you as the writer and how much of your persona and life you inject into your protagonist(s)? Especially with the level of (deserved) popularity you experience on the Whatever?

    On the other hand, Stephen King often says write what you know and that has worked out pretty well for him.


  3. Thanks for your kind words about my review. I updated it to link the SFFWorld review. That review prompted the following thought, which I pass on FWIW: An OMW story set 20-odd years later than TLC and ZT that explores the relationship between an adult Zoe and the Obin (and the Conclave and the CU) could be very interesting. A human friend of General Gau’s with inante political chops and an entire race of highly capable warriors at her beck and call would be a redoubtable political force. Imagine a cross between Joan d’Arc, Alexander the Great, and maybe Margaret Thatcher (please, God, not Hillary or Obama).

  4. Plus, of course, John and Jane’s biological kid could be the muscle to Zoe’s brains (as Sundance is to Butch or Little John is to Robin Hood or Al Neri to Michael Corleone).

  5. Heh. In fact there is a roadmap for future Zoe adventures, but at the moment I’ll keep quiet about that.

  6. “the Boutin-Perry family unit holds Mary Sue-ish qualities for the folks used to me talking about my own little clan.”

    Self-insert is not automatically Mary Sue-ing, so don’t you worry about that. If Zoe is anything like Athena (I haven’t read that far into the series yet) then I’ll like her regardless.

  7. In the romance readers love you too, category…

    Although the actual review is not available online, the August 2008 Romantic Times Book Review calls ZT an August Top Pick and gives it 4.5 stars!

    The review states, in part:
    “Zoe’s voice is original and believable, and her take on the events is both entertaining and enlightening.” p. 57.

    As I recall, they gave high marks to Android’s Dream and Last Colony as well.