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The Sagan Diary

(Old Man's War #2.5)

3.30  ·  Rating details ·  6,043 ratings  ·  433 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. Subterranean Press is proud to publish The Sagan Diary, a long novelette that for the first time looks at the worlds of the Hugo-nominated Old Man's War and its sequel The Ghost Brigades from ...more
Hardcover, 100 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by Subterranean Press
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Average rating 3.30  · 
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 ·  6,043 ratings  ·  433 reviews

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Sep 24, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: audio, dnf, 2013
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
Feb 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
"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."

Jane Sagan is interesting, decisive, ethical and yet willing to be a soldier with all that entails. She's a woman of action, and even when she stops to think on something, there is a tight efficiency to her whole manner and being. I just don't beli
Dec 27, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Eh. Poetic and introspective, but not really all that interesting.
February Four
Nov 24, 2009 rated it did not like it
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 Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon)
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
Mar 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, poetry
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
Kat  Hooper
May 15, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: audiobook
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
May 15, 2012 added it
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
Kevin Kelsey
Aug 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
Terrific. I really feel like this should've been included at the end of The Ghost Brigades. It closes off a lot of plot lines opened previously, and gives a great internal look at the character of Jane Sagan, and the differences between her and 'Realborn'.

“I am not Death. I am killing; I am the verb, I am the action, I am the performance. I am the movement that cuts the spine; I am the mass which pulps the brain. I am the headsnap ejecting consciousness into the air.
I am not Death but she follow
César Bustíos
Another short story from the wonderful Old Man's War series in the form of a diary from CSF Lt. Jane Sagan and her last days before the transfer of her consciousness to a standard human body.

I'm not usually fond of this kind of stories taken out of some person's consciousness, they're just too deep for me. I liked this one, though. You get the chance to know a little more about Sagan's feelings and CSF in general. You also realized about her complicated friendship with PoW Cainen.

I think I'm i
Ryan Dash
Jul 04, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sf, dnf
1 star. Unfinished. I read the first two chapters (39%) and skimmed much of the rest. This was philosophical, meandering prose that made little sense and when it did make sense, it had an entertainment value of zero.
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
Kaethe Douglas
Nov 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: format-ebooks, scifi
September 1, 2014

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
Jul 29, 2015 rated it did not like it
In this short novel Scalzi tries to poetical and fails miserably.I struggled with ever page and I only bothered to finish because it was only around 100 pages long.

I still love the series and I will continue it with same enthusiasm and pretend this book never happened.
Tudor Vlad
Jul 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This felt more like an experiment on John Scalzi’s part. This short story is a recording of Jane’s stream of consciousness done by her BrainPal. It’s a bit chaotic, but that’s how thoughts are. I thought it was quite good.
Peter Simko
Mar 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
James Mourgos
Apr 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-i-hated
John Scalzi writes novels that are either really good or really bad. This one was bad. I could not read anymore. It's no story, no plot. Just someone's ramblings of how they're the anti-mother and how death follows them. They philosophize about killing and what her life means. Yuk.

As well there's no way to know anything without reading the earlier books. Old Man's War is excellent. This is not.
Feb 28, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
what the hell was that? I didn't even finish it
Richard Buro
The short version first . . .

If you follow my reviews, you know how I feel about John Scalzi’s work – basically he is one of the best military sci-fi authors currently writing. The Sagan Diary is the result of an agreement between the author and a publisher made during a charity event in remembrance of John Michael Ford, a recognized writer in the Star Trek franchise. The publisher agreed to make a donation to the charity if Mr. Scalzi would write a short story set in his “Old Man’s War” univ
May 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was the definition of an "It's Ok" story. It provided some insight into one of the main characters of the Old Man's War series and was an interesting take on a war time journal. In this respect it succeeded. Otherwise it didn't really add much and wasn't very compelling.

Slight spoilers for the first two books:

This story consists of Jane Sagans brainpal diary (for those uninitiated in the Old Man's War universe an internal computer). The brainpall diary converts her thoughts into a journal
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf
As other reviewers have pointed out, this is a long (too long) poetic image-of-consciousness. The introduction, by the technician analyzing the BrainPal memory transcription, doesn't fit the content. And the diary itself, while showing the setting (a culture always in some interplanetary war or other) and the person (born as an adult to be a soldier), just doesn't do it for me.
Dec 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting, but not too entertaining. It’s the thought process of Jane as she transfers to her new body to start her life with John. So there is no action or even story, it reads like a diary. It adds to the overall perception of Jane but I’m not sure it adds anything to the overall series.
May 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebook
A book on the feelings of a woman that are moving her soul in another body. This chapter don’t add nothing to the Scalzi’s saga
H James
Oct 09, 2019 rated it did not like it
A writing exercise that escaped the drawer.
Jay Daze
Sep 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf, audio-book
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
Dec 13, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  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
Sep 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Gregg Wingo
Aug 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Sagan Diary is Scalzi's stab at psychological realism. It is unclear if he is attempting literature or pastiching New Wave SF of the 60s, a period known for its introduction of high literary techniques into the ghetto genre. Or he could be anticipating sci-fi/literature like Jennifer Egan's "Black Box" from "The New Yorker"'s Science Fiction Issue of 2012. If I had to guess I would search Harlan Ellison's "Dangerous Visions" and "Again Dangerous Visions" anthologies for Scalzi's inspiration. ...more
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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.)

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)

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