The Sagan Diary† by John Scalzi
The story is available free online at:
This novelette is part of the Old Man's War series, and fits in chronologically between The Ghost Brigades and The Lost Colony.
The introduction is a memo from a data analyst in charge of going through the contents of the brain-implants of soldiers who have died or retired.† The presentation is amusing, as well as giving us the context that the rest of the material is a transcript of Jane Saganís thoughts she stored in her brain implant.† After she retired from the Special Forces, these were retrieved as part of a project in the military.
Once we get past the introduction, the writing (Jane Saganís diary) is semi-poetic, at least in places.† There is something about the choreography of the words and the imagery that reminds me of ... perhaps how you might expect a Buddhist monk or an ancient Chinese philosopher to explain things.† (Well, I'm no expert on Buddhist monks or Chinese philosophers, so those of you more familiar with those matters may disagree - but this is the best way I can think of to convey the feel.)
The "Diary" is not daily accounts of "I did this" or "This happened".† Nor is it an autobiography in the usual sense.† ...although it does (in its semi-poetic way) tell of Jane Sagan's coming to consciousness after her body was laboratory grown (and contemplating how that must be different and similar to a born child) Ö and other elements of her life.† It is more an opening of her soul to her lover than a "story".† (Iím not clear on how her lover was supposed to receive these thoughts.)
She presents her thoughts on:
* How her soldier's brain-implant-to-brain-implant communication with other soldiers was so different than speech
* Her killing in battle and her view of the value of the beings she killed
* Putting a suffering friend out of his misery
* Her lack of a childhood
* Fear of losing her lover
* The transition from the tech-enhanced soldier identity she has always known to life in an un-enhanced body and civilian life
The Sagan Diary is SF in a limited way.† It's not a story in the usual sense and there are occasional references to aliens or brain-implants but only to explain the thoughts of a character that readers might know from a previous Scalzi book.† Which readers would appreciate that?† Readers of the rest of the Old Man's War series might be interested.† Perhaps, those who like romance / SF cross-genre books.† Or readers who aren't necessarily SF readers, but would like this kind of soul-baring narrative.
Each chapter has a different narrator (women authors).† Chapter 5 narrator does not convey the feeling the way the others do.