At the close of the widely admired Old Man’s War trilogy, Scalzi hinted he would take a long break from his saga of seniors rejuvenated for interstellar battle. But reader demand has extracted one more installment. Zoe Boutin Perry is the adopted daughter of John Perry and Jane Sagan, heroes of the first and third installments (Old Man’s War, 2004; The Last Colony, 2007). Complicating her life as an otherwise ordinary, wisecracking 15-year-old is her status as a venerated idol of the Obin, an alien race who owe their self-awareness to an invention of Zoe’s late biological father. Accompanied everywhere by her overprotective Obin bodyguards, Hickory and Dickory, Zoe quickly realizes how critical the Obin are to her family’s survival when the Colonial Defense Force overseeing the Perrys’ colonization of a new world underhandedly pits them against a murderous alliance of alien races. Scalzi takes a calculated risk in adopting Zoe’s adolescent viewpoint, but it pays off in a captivating story
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Scalzi was born in California and spent his childhood there, primarily in the Los Angeles suburbs of Covina, Glendora and Claremont. Scalzi went to high school with noted blogger Josh Marshall; both were members of the class of 1987. After his stint at The Webb Schools of California, Scalzi attended The University of Chicago, where he was a classmate of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Auburn. Scalzi's thesis advisor, for a brief time, was Saul Bellow. Scalzi abandoned his course of study with Bellow when he became Student Ombudsman for the University. During his 1989–1990 school year Scalzi was also the editor-in-chief of The Chicago Maroon. After graduating in 1991, Scalzi took a job as the film critic for the Fresno Bee newspaper, eventually also becoming a humor columnist. In 1996 he was hired as the in-house writer and editor at America Online and moved to Sterling, Virginia, with his wife, Kristine Ann Blauser, whom he had married in 1995. He was laid off in 1998, and since then he has been a full-time freelance writer and author. In 2001 Scalzi, his wife, and their daughter, Athena Marie, who was born in 1998, moved to Bradford, Ohio, to be closer to family. On 15 March 2007, Scalzi announced himself as a write-in candidate for president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, citing disagreement with the only ballot-listed candidate's vision for the future of the organization. He was not elected.