With “The Last Colony” and “Zoe’s Tale,” Scalzi told the same story twice. The major events are all the same, and many plot points and scenes appear in both novels, nearly identically.
So what makes this as cool as it is? The feeling that each narrative complements the other. Each novel alone is a great read, but together they are a fantastic story.
The same story, told twice, stays interesting. Things that were minor in one novel, minor events in the life of one narrator, acquire apocalyptic importance. Events taking place offstage are literally seen through binoculars, or related in summary later.
And amazing things happen. What looked like a cop-out in one novel turns out to be of vital import in the other. What seems strange or underdone comes out as vibrant and fascinating.
But I will say this one thing: Scalzi, I have never met a teenager as quick and witty as Zoe and her friends. And I was a teenager not long ago. Forgivably unrealistic, that.