Zoe’s Tale Reviews in Locus & Starlog
Posted on November 3, 2008 Posted by John Scalzi 25 Comments
A really nice pair of reviews this month for ZT. First, from Locus, the science fiction trade magazine, written by Paul Witcover:
… a rousing success, one of the best young-adult science fiction novels of the last decade, utterly contemporary in tone yet hearkening back fondly in spirit to the ground-breaking YA science fiction tales of Heinlein. In fact, it may just be the best introduction to science fiction for young readers since Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. But don’t get me wrong: this isn’t just a book for kids. Anyone who loves a suspenseful, sensitively told coming-of-age story with sparkling characterization and snappy dialogue will enjoy Zoe’s Tale.
And now, Michael Wolff, writing in the most recent Starlog:
Place Zoe’s Tale along-side Robert Heinlein’s Podkayne of Mars and Alexei Panshin’s Rite of Passage. Scalzi presents a young central character cut from the classic mold who’s caught up in not only an SF adventure, but a coming-of-age tale that will make readers of Zoe’s age nod with excited familiarity and older ones smile in remembrance.
You’ll not be surprised that both of those reviews make me very happy, but possibly not as happy as my publicist, who I imagine is at this very running about her office going “Spleee!”
Which is, of course, how she should be. Publicists should always be happy.
Congratulations. I bought and read the book and enjoyed reading it, and hope to see you publish another when time allows. I however feel that the book is mis-classified as young-adult Sci-Fi, I feel it has much broader appeal.
Well, it’s not actually classified as YA, actually: It’s in the adult SF section of most bookstores, unless a bookseller actively puts it in YA.
Next to Panshin? Now there, to me, is about the highest praise possible. Rites of Passage is one of my favorite books ever.
Good show, sir!
Have your heard anything from readers about whether Zoe’s Tale works as an introduction to the OMW universe, and not “book four?” (Regardless, I’m probably going to get it for my sixth-grade daughter for Christmas.)
The Locus review specifically approached it as a stand alone and says it works great in that way.
Among other people who have read the book, I’ve noticed that the people who read it without reading the other books think it works great as a standalone, whereas the people who have read the other books seem to think it’s better to have read the other books first. I find this split amusing.
But yes: It was written under the assumption that the readers had not read the other books in the series.
I’m almost finished ZT, and considering I’m at work, I still want to sit and finish the last couple of chapters I have left to read.
Silly and totally random question that I’m sure has been asked before: Why doesn’t Zoe’s Tale have an umlaut over the e?
Congratulations! My wife is about to read it now, as a possibility of using it in her high school english classroom, and then I am donating it to my local library to share the love.
Have any YA experts reviewed ZT as a YA book? I’ve seen a lot of SF people loving it, but adult lit experts are not always well-informed about YA.
Yes, we’ve gotten good reviews from YA-focused folks as well.
Congrats on the great reviews.
still not read this one, but we said lots of nice things about your books on Unbound, I loved Androids Dream, and I think Chris raved about Zoe’s Tale.
Just finished the book myself and enjoyed it very much. Keep up the good work.
Congrats on the glowing reviews! I’m looking forward to checking this one out soon. Since I haven’t read it, I thought I’d try and hear it from the horse’s mouth… is the core conflict here different from the one in The Last Colony? I know it occurs as a parallel story from Zoe’s POV, but I was wondering if you consider the main plot to be *about* something else.
I tried holding out and being my usual tight-fisted self but my local library still haven’t got their copies in. So I caved in and bought my own copy. Now that I have read it (and a very good read it was too) I am donating it to my grandson’s school library with an admonition to read and learn!
Yes. It’s about Zoe.
Good reviews makes John happy! Yay!
Good reviews hopefully makes for more sales! Yay!
More sales DEFINITELY makes John happy! Yay!
More sales means more books from John, making ME happy! Double Yay!
Compared to Rite of Passage *and* Podkayne? I bet she is, but I’ve usually seen that noise spelled “Squeee!” ;-)
“Spleee!” is a reference to the TV show Catscratch, which I watch a lot of because I have a nine-year-old in the house.
Somehow, I can see Dot running around the office going “Spleee!”
Don’t tell her I said that.
Speaking of spleee…
Any update on that monkey dance?
Details are coming soon, Jon S. I will remain mysterious about it until then.
I really enjoyed the book. I was listened to the audio version at the same time I read Lost Colony. It was a lot of fun to jump between points of view. In my mind, both books are one, except that one of them talked to me, man, “the book is talking to me man!” :)
Anyone else read both at the same time? it was awesome!
# JustAnotherJohn@7: My wife is a librarian. I always bug her to get Scalzi’s stuff, as well as other sci-fi I like. Good reviews help my case though. It is nice to see good science fiction in the classroom.
Hector: I read them back-to-back, The Last Colony and then Zoe’s Tale. They complement each other well, and I love Zoe’s voice as a narrator – she’s very snarky and insightful.
Fletcher–I liked the banter between Zoe and Perry.
I just finished reading Zoe’s Tale, parts of it for the second time. I seldom had a dry eye during the third part of the book. Made me laugh from time to time as well. My copy was from the library and I am still undecided whether or not I want to support the author by buying the book new. (Politics)
great news John, now get to work on the nexct OMW universe book – I want to know what happens NEXT!