The Android's Dream by John Scalzi
Published by Tor/Forge on October 31, 2006
Genres: Comedy, Science Fiction
Buy It Here! •
A human diplomat kills his alien counterpart. Earth is on the verge of war with a vastly superior alien race. A lone man races against time and a host of enemies to find the one object that can save our planet and our people from alien enslavement...
That's right, a sheep. And if you think that's the most surprising thing about this book, wait until you read Chapter One. Welcome to The Android's Dream.
For Harry Creek, it's quickly becoming a nightmare. All he wants is to do his uncomplicated mid-level diplomatic job with Earth's State Department. But his past training and skills get him tapped to save the planet--and to protect pet store owner Robin Baker, whose own past holds the key to the whereabouts of that lost sheep. Doing both will take him from lava-strewn battlefields to alien halls of power. All in a day's work. Maybe it's time for a raise.
Throw in two-timing freelance mercenaries, political lobbyists with megalomaniac tendencies, aliens on a religious quest, and an artificial intelligence with unusual backstory, and you've got more than just your usual science fiction adventure story. You've got The Android's Dream.
I have known about John Scalzi for a long time and I follow his blog. I find him (via his blog) to be intelligent, funny, silly and verbose but I’d never read any of his books before. I like Scalzi a lot as a person – he’s a fool in the best kind of ways. Considering how much I like the person it’s weird that I’ve never read the books (well, not weird if you know me, lol).
When I started reading The Android’s Dream for Flights of Fantasy’s BotM, I was…taken aback by the very first two sentences:
Dick Moeller didn’t know if he could fart his way into a major diplomatic incident. But he was ready to find out.
Welp. That almost killed my read right there. I am NOT into bodily function humor and find it to be rather juvenile. I was also…a little grossed out. And I realized that this kind of stuff fit Scalzi’s personality quite well.
I persevered through to chapter 4 when Brian was introduced and was rewarded by the story becoming much more interesting. I loved the character Brian. Sadly I can’t say that I loved too much more than Brian.
I was often confused by who was who and who was back-stabbing who and when. The Android’s Dream is a Sci-Fi Political book and thus there is both action and BS political wrangling and backstabbing.
Even with all the “meh” I had going on, The Android’s Dream remained very, very readable. I’d look up and realize I’d read over half the book! This readability was constant and very appreciated.
The Android’s Dream has a sprinkling of everything but the thing I was most here for was the Church of the Evolved Lamb. This was never laugh out loud funny but it did make chortle in my head. The Church of the Evolved Lamb is real religion/cult founded by an alcoholic scam-artist Sci-Fi writer (does this sound familiar??) but in The Android’s Dream the Church has a group of prophesies written by the sci-fi author (in his attempt to scam an old rich lady) that the Church tries to make come true. They do this by having massive amounts of money, keeping their membership rather low and infiltrating all levels of authority. Inner chortling occurred.
There are four groups wrangling with each other in The Android’s Dream:
– The Anti- Alien group: they want the Earth to get into (at the least) a cold war the Nidu that will encourage Military spending
– The US & Earth government: they want to keep Earth from being conquered or destroyed
– The Church of the Evolved Lamb: They want to make the sci-fi author’s prophesy come true (in the shadows, of course) – to bring about the Evolved Lamb (someone who has the best qualities of both human and sheep)
– The Nidu: They are mostly infighting over the Nidu crown but they do want to force the Earth’s hand regarding the Android’s Dream sheep necessary for the coronation ceremony
These four groups (which the exception of the Church) squabble and fight throughout the book – giving us scenes like the MC (Creek) and the sheep being chased in a mall while wearing super bouncing shoes (don’t ask). My favorite scene was when one of the bad guys is bitch-slapped and then strangled to death by his “ally.” LOVED that. Loved.
All in all, The Android’s Dream is a decent read but didn’t catch my fancy. Scalzi does have another chance to wow me as the BotM for March is Old Man’s War.