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John Scalzi writes books, which, considering where you're reading this, makes perfect sense. He's best known for writing science fiction, including the New York Times bestseller "Redshirts," which won the Hugo Award for Best Novel. He also writes non-fiction, on subjects ranging from personal finance to astronomy to film, was the Creative Consultant for the Stargate: Universe television series. He enjoys pie, as should all right thinking people. You can get to his blog by typing the word "Whatever" into Google. No, seriously, try it.
I would start off by saying this is a wonderful book, but not one for the uninitiated. John Scalzi's book Old Man's War, its sequel, The Ghost Brigades, and the forthcoming The Last Colony form the trilogy that brings to life the universe that The Sagan Diary is set in. The 'novelette', as it is termed, are the private thoughts of Jane Sagan, one of the principle characters in this series. Topics of her musings run the gambit from love to war and back again, two often divergent ideas which dominate her life in the Colonial Defense Forces.
I've read both the positive and negative reviews from this book and can honestly say that I understand both opinions. This is a niche book in what is (undeservedly) considered a niche genre and one that is very, very different from the aforementioned novels.
If, like me, you have been swept up into the lives of John Perry and Jane Sagan, I truly believe that this book will further cement your love for the characters. Reading Jane's thoughts caused me to reflect on my own life and love, and for a science fiction story to do that it has to be remarkable.
I think John Scalzi did a marvelous job of capturing the essence of who Jane Sagan is, which paves the way for her further adventures with John Perry in Scalzi's next novel, The Last Colony. In spite of all the very enjoyable action and adventure in this series, it is the romantic subplot that helps elevate the books for me and this is a welcome addition to that aspect of the story.
Subterranean Press has put together a very beautiful book with wonderful pencil illustrations by Bob Eggleton.
I highly recommend that you read Old Man's War and the Ghost Brigades, then pick this one up and let it whet your appetite for The Last Colony.
I just heard that the publisher is making the full-text online for free, which is great news since this is such a love-it-or-hate-it book for a lot of readers.
Personally, I'm thankful that I got it from the library before spending my money, altough normally I'm perfectly comfortable "taking a chance" on books by authors whose other work I like. But this... well, to me it felt like pure stream-of-consciousness, literary diarrhea (sorry, I know that's unkind) with little to no editing on either the author or publisher's part. Of course, I don't know that was the case, but that's how the book felt to me. I really have trouble believing this particular manuscript, or this type of writing in general, would have had much chance of being published if it weren't capitalizing on the success of the first two "Old Man's War" books.
The free online version will let people make informed decisions for themselves without risking their money. I applaud the publisher and the author for taking that step!
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My copy of John Scalzi's The Sagan Diary arrived Friday afternoon. Along with a Dunhill cigar and a glass or three of port, it made a great after-dinner treat.
The Sagan Diary differs radically from Scalzi's other published works. Unlike the Old Man's War trilogy, in whose universe The Diary is located, this is not a military sci-fi action tale. Unlike The Android's Dream, The Diary isn't premised on fart jokes. Instead, it is an introspective rumination on life, love, and words. Indeed, the first half might fairly be called a great writer's (prose) song about his love for words. The second half is a moving prose Valentine, in which Scalzi's Sagan ruminates on the experience of loving another.
I've been a fan of Scalzi's since he burst on to the scene with Old Man's War. Yet, The Diary shows an emotional depth at which his prior work has only hinted. It proves that this is a writer in whom one ought to invest for the long haul, as it suggests that he has only scratched the surface of his potential.
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This is a short story (novelette) that came about as a sort of dare. For a fundraising auction, John (Scalzi) offered a bound draft version of `The Last Colony' for $5,000 -- plus a short story written by him for the winning bidder. Bill Shafer of the Subterranean Press took him up on his offer - and this is the result.
If you haven't read John Scalzi's `Old Man's War,' this new story might be a bit confusing to follow. But for those who have -- this `diary' offers insight into the thoughts and feelings of Jane Sagan, a Special Forces warrior - and love interest of John Perry (around whom the `Old Man's War' is written).
In the earlier work, John Perry is living a second life - inside a new, warrior's body. His wife (of his first life) chose not to be reissued. But her DNA was still re-cast - with a new life `born' fully grown into it - who became Jane Sagan.
This story reveals that John Perry and Jane Sagan, against all odds, somehow survive their ten year tours-of-duty and retire - to live out their `second' lives together in peace (as warriors no longer).
This diary is Jane's account (written to John) of her hopes and regrets - as she transitions from her `first' life (and body) - to her `second.'
Scalzi uses Jane's perspective to show us that a manufactured human, a warrior -- is still very much a product of her physical self and her experiences - and is yet a human being, nonetheless.
As originals, I guess it's always easy for us to assume that our form of human -- will forever remain the gold standard, but John Scalzi subtly unveils for us - that that might not always be the case!
The `Sagan Diary' is but a very small, thought-provoking piece - of a much larger pie - and one which I enjoyed immensely! I'm sure you will, too!