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The Sagan Diary
John Scalzi
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The Sagan Diary (Old Man's War #2.5)

3.24 of 5 stars 3.24  ·  rating details  ·  2,670 ratings  ·  233 reviews
Fans of John Scalzi's "Old Man" universe, prepare yourselves: there's a long new story in that universe, told from the point of view of one of the series' most intriguing characters. And for the first time, fans can become part of the universe themselves. Subterranean Press is proud to announce The Sagan Diary, a long novelette that for the first time looks at the worlds o ...more
Hardcover, Signed edition, 100 pages
Published February 1st 2007 by Subterranean (first published January 1st 2007)
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Chapter 1: Poop

Poop is the smelliest breath of life. We are all full of poop. I poop, you poop, everyone poops. Poop surrounds us and is inside of us. Poop allows us to live and to survive. Poop allows us to love and to hate. Without poop, we have nothing. We would probably explode.

If poop allows us to survive and to live then do we not owe our whole being to the smelliness that is poop? Do we not have hope for a better life because we can poop? Poop is what allows our society to function. Poop
Debbie Hoad
"Words fail me. There is a disconnect between my mind and my words; between what I think and what I say. Not a disconnect in intent, but in execution. Between the flower of thought and the fruit of the mouth. Between the initiation and the completion."

And so it goes. On and on and on until you want to give her a slap and say, 'snap out of it!' Endless, angsty, self-important navel-gazing - a whole novella delivered like bad poetry. There's no story, just musings on life. I'm pretty sure that if
Whispers from the Pirate's Ghost Whisper
The personal thoughts of Jane Sagan, a warrior of the future.

This is set in the same universe as Old Man's War. It is not a spoiler, though it is end of the Jane Sagan story thread. It's told in first person by Jane Sagan as her diary entries and collected thoughts on life, death, fear, love and sex.

For those who liked the heavy action in John Scalzi's book, this may not be as interesting to you since it's purely philosophical in nature. It's short and I found it wonderfully reflective. I think
February Four
I did not finish this book.

I normally like Scalzi--I devoured the entire Old Man's War series (still waiting to get a copy of Zoe's Tale, but I don't expect to be disappointed) and I liked two of his other books, too. However, I did not get past the first few pages of the Sagan Diary. Heaven help me if I know why--it felt like fanfiction, and not quite the good kind. That's the closest I can get to explaining why I didn't enjoy it. I didn't expect the format, and there was no hook to tell me why
The book begins with a preface from Lieutenant Gretchen Schafer, an analyst involved in reviewing and transcribing BrainPal memories from Special Forces soldiers like Sagan. Written as a letter of protest, Schafer complains that “what we have to work with are data-poor bits in which Lt. Sagan thinks about what appears to be a romantic partner of some sort…” She describes the files as “of some anthropological interest … but for our purposes these files are near useless.”

I read this as a nicely-do
Imagine a heroic warrior about to die. She knows death is coming for her and so do her contemporaries.

A bard sings the song of her life commemorating her activities, exaggerating her prowess in battle, her kill-count, her prodigious ability to drink and fornicate when she celebrates her victories.

Her deeds of bravery are trotted out for all to exclaim over. Her family history is recited so all will know who she came from and who she is leaving behind. Her ancestors and successors will be marke
Peter Simko
After I was done with The Ghost Brigades I wanted to read The Last Colony right away, but then I just realized that there's one more book between the two of those. As I didn't have too many options, I decided to ask John Scalzi on twitter if it was necessary to read The Sagan Diary before I start TLC. His answer was: "No, but it gives extra insight into Jane if you do." As I'm not really a fan of ebooks, and I didn't want to wait 1-2 weeks to get my hands on a physical copy I decided to get it a ...more
Kat  Hooper
The Sagan Diary was a prize and an experiment. As John Scalzi explains in the introduction, this novelette was written for Bill Schafer, editor of Subterranean Press, who won it in a charity auction. Schafer wanted a story set in Scalzi’s popular OLD MAN’S WAR universe. Scalzi wanted to challenge himself, so he decided to attempt a woman’s internal monologue. Fans will immediately realize from the title of the book that the woman is Captain Jane Sagan, a cyborg who features prominently in OLD MA ...more
I didn't even know about this book until John Scalzi happened to mention it on his blog, and once I saw it on Subterranean's Website, I knew I must have it. It's an expensive book for as small as it is, but it's a must-have for any fan of the Old Man's War series, and given the fact it focuses solely on Jane Sagan, it's not a book I could pass up.[return][return]It's a short book, and it's not so much a complete story as it is a character study. This book MUST be read after The Ghost Brigades, b ...more
Marc Weidenbaum
This book serves several purposes. It provides insight into the minds of the ubercharged military combatants who fill the pages of Scalzi's excellent novel Old Man's War, a lengthy riff on The Forever War and Starship Troopers. It answers the question as to whether for all the militance of that book and its various other parallel texts, so much of which is about action, Scalzi has a take on interior life (the answer is yes — this book is all interior). It confirms for any naysayers that the reso ...more
Dec 13, 2014 David rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: supersoldiers who write diaries
A short story in the Old Man's War universe, originally a freebie on Audible. Jane Sagan, the genetically engineered supersoldier who we first met in Old Man's War, is the narrator of The Sagan Diary, and she refers to events in that book, so it won't make a lot of sense unless you've read OMW.

Basically, this was a literary experiment by John Scalzi, trying to write from a female POV - albeit not a normal woman. Jane is chronologically only nine years old, but she was born "adult" and is now sor
Scalzi has three strengths: Fun, breezy plots. Witty Dialogue. Lovable characters. This story is missing the first two. There's very little plot. Very little actual dialogue. It's a series of introspective musings from the mind of Jane Sagan, one of the main characters of the Old Man's War universe, on the eve of her death and rebirth.

This book is aimed at the fan of Old Man's War who is really itching to get more into the mind and perspective of Jane Sagan. Personally, I think the trilogy (Old
This is a short piece, I'm guessing novella length. (I read it as part of a collection of Scalzi's Subterranean Press works, and wasn't paying that much attention to length.) The backstory is that it was written in memorial to someone, which makes it feel churlish to complain, but I'm going to anyway.

Don't bother reading this unless you're so desperately in love with the OMW universe that you're completely pining away. Even then, it's not really worth the effort. We learn nothing particularly ne
Jay Daze
Who knew that Special Forces soldiers took creative writing classes? I give Scalzi props for trying something completely different for this short monolgue from Janet Sagan, one of the created soliders from his 'Old Man's War' universe, but the experiment failed for me. I never believed the voice that he created for Sagan. She sounds waaaay to much like an artsy college student in a writing workshop and nothing like a near telepathic child-solider (she has the body of an adult but is chronologica ...more
A curious book. Short, barely more than a short story--apparently a stream of conscious involving a character known from other Old Man's War books by Scalzi. Though this book has almost nothing to do with those other stories, I'm not sure someone who hasn't read.

I'm not sure what to make of it. Scalzi explains the circumstances of its writing in the Afterword, but that is little help making sense of the story itself.

I suppose some will find it to be riveting introspection. I miss Scalzi's chara
Hana C
The Sagan Diary is a short story set in the Old Man's War universe. It is first person from the perspective of the character Jane Sagan, and contains some illustrations. There is not really a story, but some of the events of the first novel are seen through the filter of Jan's thoughts. However, in the end I was somewhat disappointed, as I felt there was really nothing new to be discovered. The stream of consciousness writing, which jumps from subject to subject was also no very entertaining. Ev ...more
This was available as a free audio download from John Scalzi's website. It's not a professional audio book, but read by some of John Scalzi's friends. Still, the quality is very good. Having read the first 4 books in the Old Mans War series I felt compelled to read follow up with this.

This is written as a series of journal entries and reminiscences by Jane Sagan. It's more her thoughts on her existence and life than anything to do with the other books. As such, it's more of a philosophical outta
Sam Bissell
This novella is for serious (s-e-r-i-o-u-s) Old Man's War fans because of its sheer nature of getting inside the mind of one of the CDF's greatest soldiers. If you aren't familiar with the Old Man's War series, this treatise will probably be found to be over-the-top in CDF (Colonial Defense Forces) jargon and explanations.
If you ARE that serious fan, I highly recommend this novella. It is a VERY thorough description narrated by Jane Sagan, or more appropriately....told through a transcription gi
Rating: 2.5

Plot: When Jane Sagan retired from the Special Forces, she had to relinquish her BrainPal. A department within the Colonial Defense Force transcribed some portions of her recorded "thoughts."

Thoughts: Scalzi apparently wrote this short story as part of a fundraiser. It was somewhat interesting, I suppose, to get a different point of view about some of the events already recounted in "The Ghost Brigades" (and quite possibly "Old Man's War," although it's been so long since I've read th
Fred Kontur
This novella (the Amazon description said it was the equivalent of 100 pages, but it felt more like 50 pages to me) can definitely be accused of navel-gazing, but after a bit of eye-rolling on my part I actually enjoyed it. Like "Questions for a Soldier", the previous short story in the Old Man's War series, this isn't a story at all. It doesn't have any plot of which to speak and if you are not familiar with the events in the first two novels, it won't make much sense at all. In this case, it's ...more
First things first: The Sagan Diary is not a novel. I wouldn't even call it a story, really. It's more a philosophical dissertation from Jane Sagan's perspective, which winds up feeling self-indulgent and overwrought right from the start. It reminded me of Noctuary by Thomas Ligotti, where I found myself reading several pages and not getting any real sense of what the author was trying to convey. There's no story or development here; it's just a bunch of stream-of-consciousness ramblings about l ...more
This short story that falls as 2.5 in Scalzi's Old Man's War series is quite different from the rest of the series in that it is an introspective musing on life and her years as a Special Forces soldier by Jane Sagan just before she retires from the Special Forces (and a bridge before the next novel in the series).

Those used to the "action" elements of the Old Man's War are sure to be jarred by the internal, philosophical musings of Sagan here. No shoot 'em up action. Which isn't to say that it
The first time I read the Old Man's War series was four or five years ago. I read it slightly out of order: a roommate's boyfriend lent me Zoe's Tale (the 4th book) and then I went back and read the first three. I did not know at the time that there was a novella Scalzi had written as a follow-up to the second book, The Ghost Brigades, so when I started my OMW reread a few days ago I tracked it down and just finished it tonight.

Holy smokes, The Sagan Diary gorgeous. It's haunting and lyrical and
It was short, obviously since it is a short story. But with that, Scalzi was able to create a much deeper understanding of one of his Old Man's War series' main characters. In Old Man's War and even in The Ghost Brigades, in which she is a much more important character, you do not get to understand as much about Jane as you would like. You know she's Special Forces and a trained killer and that she has at least a little bit of a heart, but she is still pretty distant from the reader. In this sho ...more
Surprisingly moving, this novella reads like a long and intimate love letter. The language and thoughts expressed are often deep and profound (for a sff book!) and I enjoyed it even when I found some of it going over my head. A good glimpse into the mind of Jane Sagan. I recommend for all OMW fans.
Joel Pearson
What I think was supposed to be some kind of heartfelt letter from Jane Sagan to John Perry, actually came across as a snide bitch bragging/whining about her life, buzzing about the hand she was dealt and explaining how much of a slave to sex with John she was.

All in all, very disappointing.
Raymond Just
Well...that was interesting. The Sagan Diary is a short story (novella), which Scalzi wrote for the winner of a charitable auction. It's a brave departure from his usual, straightforward way of conveying plot and dialogue, and whilst it showcases his skill as a poetic writer, it's a huge disappointment for anyone wanting more Old Man's War. The entire piece is an inner monologue from the mind of beloved character Jane Sagan, a special forces badass who is, in complete contradiction to her entire ...more
I hadn't read this one before; it really gives a different view of Jane Sagan. And also, it adds to the series in a way that interstitial stories don't always. Too emotional a read, though, for me to love it completely.

Personal copy
Utilizando el mismo patrón que en "Questions for a Soldier", John Scalzi se apoya en estas historias cortas para profundizar en el universo de La vieja guardia. En esta ocasión conocemos más la psicología de las Brigadas Fantasmas, leyendo trozos del diario de Jane Sagan, protagonista de las anteriores novelas de la saga, para conocer sus miedos, inquietudes y alegrías.
Para leerlo en una tarde y saber un poco más de este universo creado por Scalzi, no está mal.

I get it, Scalzi. I get what you were trying to do with this book. And to a certain point, I appreciate it.

But delving into Jane Sagan's mind is the equivalent of forcing yourself through the most boring part of the movie in order to get to the good parts. For a woman of so little words, she sure likes to go off on tangents. This book was so different from the rest of the books in the series. Your fans read your stuff for the charming wit and action, not bumbling internal monologues!
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John Scalzi, having declared his absolute boredom with biographies, disappeared in a puff of glitter and lilac scent.

(If you want to contact John, using the mail function here is a really bad way to do it. Go to his site and use the contact information you find there.)
More about John Scalzi...

Other Books in the Series

Old Man's War (6 books)
  • Old Man's War (Old Man's War, #1)
  • The Ghost Brigades (Old Man's War, #2)
  • The Last Colony (Old Man's War #3)
  • Zoe's Tale (Old Man's War, #4)
  • The Human Division (Old Man's War, #5)
  • The End of All Things (Old Man's War, #6)
Old Man's War (Old Man's War, #1) Redshirts The Ghost Brigades (Old Man's War, #2) The Last Colony (Old Man's War #3) Fuzzy Nation

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