"Consciousness is a tragedy. It leads the whole race away from perfection, causes it to fritter its efforts on individual and wasteful effort. Our lives as Consu are spent learning to free our race from the tyranny of self, to move beyond ourselves and in doing so move our race forward. It is why we help you lesser races along, so you may also free yourselves in time."— from Zoe's Tale, by John Scalzi.
Zoe's Tale was a delightful, easy read, and it's not my intent to diminish it by calling it easy. Easy, like the living is easy. Reading with ease. A breath of fresh air after the darkness I've been lately immersed in reading.
A colleague recommended it (and loaned me her copy). I know Scalzi by reputation, and I can now say his reputation is well deserved. It's a good story with adventure and young love. I laughed and cried, and wondered how a middle-aged man can write a teenage girl so well; I barely recall being one, and times have changed, but I have a freshly teen-aged daughter who will have turned into Zoe within the year, I can tell.
Apparently this novel is part of a larger universe of stories, but it stands on its own. I would totally read more. (Did I just say "totally"?)