Zoe’s Tale Podcast

Zoe’s Tale is the subject of the most recent installment of “Tea in Space,” a podcast from Ingram Library Services in which four female fans of science fiction (including my pal Alethea Kontis) talk books and enjoy a hot beverage.

I’m happy to say that by and large they seem to be happy with the book; oh, there were quibbles here and there, to be sure (including about the cover, which, despite the good reasons for it, I suspect I’ll continue to hear about until the end of time), but in the end they’re pretty happy with it. Which makes me happy. What also makes me happy was that each of them was a new reader, so ZT’s standalone-ability was tested by their reading. Did it stand up? You’ll have to tune in to find out.

13 Comments on “Zoe’s Tale Podcast”

  1. It’s a Jonathan Harris cover. What the heck is wrong with a Harris cover? You could have done better, you could have had a John Berkey cover (well, with the help of a time machine), but unless you’re going for Stephan Martiniere, you’re not going to do much better than that!

    So it isn’t a “young adult” cover, according to some. It’s az cool cover.

  2. Back to the YA cover discussion again, eh?
    It could be worse.

    But a smug looking teenager with her arms crossed in front of her, flanked by two spider-giraffes, with alien-looking forest silhouetted in the background (perhaps with a werewolf-like shadow) is probably what your focus group is looking for.

    Too obvious? Maybe.

  3. Depens which teenage girls you are trying ot speak to. Wouldn’t appeal to tenage girls who want to be princesses and spend all day planning their wedding and daydreaming about ponies.Bet it appeals fine to teenage girls who love space odyssey and james bond.

  4. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me

    Aha. Feed’s working again.

  5. Well, my teenage son LOVED the book. My preteen son is reading it now.

    I don’t think the cover had much to do with him reading it, anyway. MY DH and I enjoyed the book, and we talk about books a lot in out house, so the kids love it when they can read something we’ve read and join in the discussions.

  6. I had to double-take on this.. For a moment I thought you were talking about the ‘teaparties in science fiction’ bit being repackaged.

    That’s what I get for skimming..

  7. Well, it’s perfectly understandable to use the obligatory space battle cover to increase sales for the adult market. That doesn’t mean the increasingly irrelevant and misleading covers are good, mind you. They’re just somewhat pretty, higher-selling crap.

    I suspect you don’t mind this.

    I will note it was your blog and the tor.com giveaway that got me started on your books; I never would have given the books a second thought if I saw them in a bookstore.

  8. Oddly enough, I barely registered the cover art when I first picked up my copy (“hmmm. . .greenish”), but went right to the story inside. Oddly, I say, because ordinarily I tend to notice, and sometimes to dwell on, covers.

    Scalzi, what is this strange power you have over me?

  9. flanked by two spider-giraffes

    Hmm… I haven’t read Zoe’s Tale, but I just realized that when I read The Last Colony I vaguely imagined those two looking like Alice the Goon from Popeye.

    No, I don’t know why.

  10. Ah. Teenage girls. Then you probably should have had Zoe im-ing somebody?

    My nine-year-old (mentally going on fifteen years old) daughter that it was “pretty cool” when I showed it to her. But then again, she is simultaneously reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the Myths of King Arthur, The Jungle Book and The Swiss Family Robinson (I’ve created a monster!!!!).

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