The Android’s Dream by John Scalzi

The Android’s Dream by John Scalzi
Tor Books, 2006, ISBN 978-0-765-30941-9

I’m not usually a fan of books full of political intrigue, but I’ll gladly make an exception for this highly imaginative and fast moving book set in the near future, where the Earth (politically known as the United Nations of Earth) is a junior member of the Common Confederation, a galactic-wide United Nations type of governing body.  While the UNE jockeys for a more lucrative and prestigious position within the CC, they become major trading partners with the Nidu, a far more advanced humanoid species with a highly developed sense of odorous propriety.

No, wait… that sounds too stuffy, and this is NOT a stuffy book.  Although it is full of government employees, government departments, government intrigue and lots of initials, it is not a stuffy book.  In fact, it’s downright funny (as in tongue in cheek funny, somewhat irreverent funny and occasionally guffaw-ish funny).  So let me try again.

Imagine yourself on Earth in a hundred or so years in the future.  Far enough away that some things are very different, but some things are very much the same, and some things have different trappings but are not very much different from what we now know.

Hold on, that’s not going anywhere, either, and this book definitely covers a lot of ground.

Ok, imagine this:  John McClane mixed in with Thomas Anderson (the pre-Matrix Neo), set in the future where our hero is an unassuming low level government employee by choice, rather than following the typical career arc where he could have excelled with ease.  Where the bad guys are not just from an alien race (or actually, races), but also from competing government agencies, manic private enterprises, the ranks of B-movie thugs and even from theoretical ecclesiastical heretics.  (Yeah, there are a lot of bad guys in this book, enough for everybody.)  Where the good guys are not always biological.  And where humans sometimes are not wholly human.

Throw in a damsel in distress who doesn’t know it (a pet shop owner, no less), a mad scramble to find a rare breed of sheep (why is it that sheep so often factor into post modern works, and why is it that sheep seem to fit in post modern works?) , a long dead heiress, a church that seems a mish mash of theology and Monty Python skits, suburban malls, resonating military battles and their continuing fallout, geeks, aliens, freelance mercenaries, and farting as a political juggernaut, and you’ve got a glimpse of what you’re in for with The Android’s Dream.

Yeah, I know, I’m giving you a lot of lists and not a lot of exposition.  That’s because if I started giving you some exposition, I’d end up not only giving out way too many spoilers, but I’d pretty much be relating the entire friggin’ book for you, and John Scalzi’s writing style, seamless world-building, fluid pacing and sometimes wicked, sometimes tender sense of humor is not to be missed.  So I’m just going to cut to the chase and let Scalzi make a believer out of you himself.

~ by arcticwren on July 24, 2010.

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