Book #22: The Android's Dream

NOTE: I got tired half-way through this review, so pardon it's admitted mediocre quality. I'll get back later and revise. Short line: book was great.

One sure sign you're in the hands of someone who knows how to write gripping science fiction: the mundane becomes exciting. In John Scalzi's non OMW novel The Android's Dream one of my favorite passages details the attempt of dozens of hackers vainly trying to infiltrate the hero's computer system, and that system's hilarious thwarting of their plans. Of course it helps that the hero's computer is run by an "intelligence agent" comprised of the brain scan of his best friend now deceased, in essence the second (for reasons seen in the novel) sentient A.I.

And that's just a minor subplot.

During the course of Android's Dream Scalzi weaves a funny, action-packed tale that bears shades of Heinlein, Dick and Adams, all while carving out a distinct voice that has moved its way to the top of my "incredibly fun" list of authors. A diplomatic snafu that kills two people sets off a chain of events that threatens the tenuous alliance between Earth and the Nidu, a low-caste alien race that nevertheless is still powerful enough to crush Earth without breaking much of a sweat. To make amends, the Nidu need an Android's Dream, a genetically created electric blue sheep that is key to their coronation ceremony. The only problem is, someone is killing all the Android's Dreams, and with only a few days until the ceremony the government has their work cut out for them.

I don't want to get into the plot - the wonder of Scalzi is all in his intricate but fast-moving plots, filled with double crosses, wacky characters and a heart that propels the novel to its wonderful conclusion. If you're looking for really good SF, and don't mind writing that's well, good, John Scalzi in general and The Android's Dream in particular is a great place to start.