John Scalzi – The Android’s Dream
2. The Android’s Dream by John Scalzi (2006)
Read By: Wil Wheaton
Length: 10h 34min (396 pages)
Genre: Science Fiction, Humor
Started: 30 December 2015
Finished: 09 January 2015
Where did it come from? Audible.
Why do I have it? I like John Scalzi’s books, and I like Wil Wheaton reading John Scalzi’s books.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 19 September 2015.
A bad day: Finding
out aliens want to kill
you. Also, you’re part sheep.
Summary: After a disgruntled diplomatic employee manages to kill one of the visiting alien Nidu using, erm, ingenious methods, Earth’s only hope to avoid war (and likely annihilation) is to procure one of the rare electric blue sheep of the Android’s Dream breed that the Nidu use in their coronation ceremony. The job lands with Harry Creek, who is part war hero, part cop, and part hacker. With the help of an AI based on the brain scan of his childhood best friend, they get to work tracking down the sheep. But they’re not the only forces at work: someone is killing off all the Android’s Dream sheep, so the only one Harry can find is Ms. Robin Baker, a pet store owner with traces of sheep DNA in her genome. Now Harry has to keep Robin safe, since not only are there assassins out to stop her from ever reaching the Nidu, there’s also members of the Church of the Evolved Lamb who are working very hard to make sure their prophecies – which were originally made up by a mediocre sci-fi writer, and may or may not involve Robin – come true.
Review: This book, as I expected, was good, solid fun. Scalzi’s certainly capable of writing more serious stuff, but I think “zany romp” is what he does best, and this is about as zany as it gets. I didn’t go into it expecting too much – I didn’t know much about it, other than it was one of his earlier books, that it was stand-alone, that I hadn’t read it yet, and that it apparently had something to do with androids. (Which it totally doesn’t, by the way. Just sheep. And not that Scalzi’s books are usually super tech-heavy to begin with, but this one felt a little lighter on the sci-fi technobabble than usual.)
But I had a lot of fun with this book, probably more than I was expecting. It’s one of those books that makes me want to use words like “madcap” (and “zany”, apparently; see above). It’s a thousand things going on at once, all of them wacky. (There’s another of those words.)
While that did make it a little hard to keep track of everything – especially since Scalzi’s characterizations are not particularly deep, so some of the supporting characters felt a little interchangeable and thus a little confusing – everything does eventually tie together more neatly and more logically than I was expecting it to, which is quite a feat and which I always appreciate. Actually, in that way, it reminded me quite a bit of Connie Willis’s Bellwether… and although the sheep connection probably helped solidify that link in my mind, it’s not the only thing they have in common.
On the whole, I enjoyed listening to this book quite a bit. I find Wil Wheaton’s voice to be a great match for Scalzi’s dry sense of humor, and he was as good here as ever. This book didn’t have a lot of deep characters or subtle themes or lovely language, but it did have a fast moving plot, plenty of jokes, and an unexpected yet satisfying ending. Good times. 4 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: I’m having a hard time coming up with read-alikes other than Bellwether, so I’m going to use the same recommendation I made for that one: Fans of Scalzi’s sense of humor will for sure enjoy it, as will most readers of lighter sci-fi, as well as anyone who likes the style of comedy where all sorts of crazy things happen but somehow they all fit together into a bigger picture by the end.
First Line: Dirk Moeller didn’t know if he could fart his way into a major diplomatic incident. But he was ready to find out.
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