|The Android's Dream
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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.
- A great read!
A few months back, I was walking through the Scifi/Fantasy section of my favorite bookstore, doing my standard routine:
- search for new books (or new to me), research and think about for ~6 months before maybe picking up', when an employee there came by and asked if we needed help. Kick in the 'avoid the car dealer/Carnie' alert, and despite me spouting, 'No', he was actually helpful and just mildly suggested 2 or 3 titles, This was one of his recommendations. Crank up my interest meter and spark my girlfriend's to life, and The Android's Dream promptly made it onto her Christmas list. Not to mention, I've had Old Man's War on my list of books to over-scrutinize for months. (another book by this author)
Luckily Santa (her mother) sent her the book and since I recently finished Cory Doctorow's 'Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town' (which is fantastic by the way) I quickly picked up Android's Dream before she could.
I am typically a standard fantasy reader but am trying to branch out, and this was a good in between book for me. More mainstream but enough creativity to spark my imagination. This is a good book for a lot of different types of readers. Its funny, has a bit of action and excitement, underlying political plots, and of course a religion started by a 'second rate scifi writer.' Its quite amusing and had me eager to read whenever I had a free moment. If you are between books, waiting for a series book, or just don't want to read anything on your shelf, pick it up, you'll like it. ...more info
- Surprised me
I read "Old Man's War" first, and was expecting something similar. Ready to quit after about 10 pages, but at 20 pages couldn't stop. I went to work sleepy a couple of days, reading this too late into the night. No, it's not "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy", it stands on it's own merits. Scalzi has his own sense of humor, and it sure had me laughing....more info
- Funny, original, but still Hollywoodesque
The strong points of this novel are its humor and a few original ideas about computers, artificial intelligence and 'cult' mentality. Scalzi does know how to make a satire of contemporary international politics and American society. Those things make it a good and fun read for the most part.
However, there are a few moments where the text degenerates into action-type Hollywoodesque scenes. It actually becomes boring in those bits. The hero is also quite an uninteresting and unbelievable character: he is too smart, too strong and too good to be true. Again, like in Hollywood.
One wonders if Scalzi was hoping to get his novel to the big screen at some point. He might....more info
- Throwback to pulp science fiction
Scalzi is a throwback to a simpler time in science fiction where the universe is populated with a 1000 alien species, most of them described in a few broad strokes, and the less said about how the hyperdrive works the better. That the book works, (much as the tv show "House" works, despite being entirely forumlaic... "what, only 40 mins past the hour, this can't be the real cure...") because they are fun, with a frenetic energy and a goofball, unpredictable sense of humor.
The writing is plain, and the the plot picaresque: a series of unlikely, escalating confrontations between the forces of the good guys and those of the bad guys, takes our hero from a dead-end job to an interstellar coronation ceremony, by way of a space cruise ship populated entirely by veterans of a battle he just happened to have fought at and won a Medal of Honor... get the picture?
Adding insult, the protagonist is not only a military savant with hands registered as deadly weapons, but he is also a brilliant computer programmer who has cracked the problem of artificial intelligence and is aided in his quest by an all knowing AI computer friend.
I read it with reasonable enjoyment, but even I have to caveat that review by saying I only read sci fi -- so that that with a grain of salt....more info
- Definitely not "Hitchhiker's guide"
This one was a disappointment. I have read "Old man's war" and liked it. On the strength of it, I bought this one and couldn't finish - jokes are too strained to my taste....more info
- Good story telling
Something I like about Scalzis work is how he structures his stories, and a willingness to keep to the implications of his plotting.
This story is not a comedy though it contains considerable humour. It's a fairly straight forward adventure novel set in a pretty standard 'Earth is a new and junior member of a Galaxy spanning federation of worlds' milieu.
I like the pace of Scalzi stories, if there's a lot of pages left you know there's a lot of story left and in this story (which isn't short) I was having fun knowing how many twists must still be to come given how many pages were left since the last one.
That said there aren't many particularly new or clever ideas in this book (the alien Takk is perhaps the most interesting thing). My enjoyment came from the story telling rather than any ideas in the story....more info
- Earthy, humorous and delightful
There's no question John Scalzi tells a wonderful tale and this is science fiction at its best. The universe Scalzi creates is consistent and perhaps even believable and the book starts with a wonderful cameo of human vengance in the form of flatulent slurs on another's ancestry. What is especially delightful is that this cameo not only sets up the story which follows, but also carries a moral lesson for those who seek revenge.
Even so, there is far more to Android's dream than simple science fiction. Strip away the future history. Strip away the supercharged science. Strip away all those things that require us to suspend disbelief. What is left is a rich, warm story of human beings at their worst and at their best. This is one I suspect I'll read many times.
Joel B. Reed, author of Ravenwolf, Lakota Spring, and the Jazz Phillips mystery series. ...more info
- The lamb will come to the house of strangers...
The Android's Dream is a deep tale of diplomatic intrigue where competing element from Earth and the Nidu Empire try to unravel decades of relations. At the center of it all is a sheep breed called Android's Dream. The plot is fast moving with excellent character development. While the story is primarily told from Harry Creek's perspective (a hero from and early war that's now a low-level diplomatic person [the breaker of bad news to alien diplomats], former detective, and general computer geek); secondary and tertiary characters have their moments to expand the story; each with their own little bit of personality and history (I loved Brian Javna and Andrea Hayter-Ross, and excellent twist). Timeline wise this story set prior to Old Man's War (noticeable due to the lack of nanotechnology).
Rating wise this was a solid 4.5 star book. Mr. Scalzi set a nice pace that while predictable, has interesting twists that always open another door. This makes for a believable story that almost seems to have come from the Washington DC we all love. Harry Creek is a perfect hero, offsetting with some excellent villains (Narf-win-Getag and Acuna). Since the storyline is closer to our time (I placed the story about 100 years in the future, give or take 50) the technology is very believable and doesn't overwhelm a story about people and the things they do to get ahead. However, since Amazon only permits me to use whole number, I'm going to round it down to 4 stars, not meaning to take anything away from this story, but it did stir me as strongly as Old Man's War did.
Btw, trivia for those that are interested, Mr. Scalzi's Android Dream name was selected from Phillip K. Dicks Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. While no characters are named Deckard, the plot twists almost as much as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.
- Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe - with a Military SciFi bend
THE ANDROID'S DREAM(2006) follows in the footsteps of books from the humorous THE HITCHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE UNIVERSE series - but with a serious Military SciFi bend. We have quite a few aliens - mostly of a militant persuasion. Set sometime in the 22nd Century, Earth is a weak new member of the Common Confederation (of planetary governments), who could easily be crushed militarily by other more powerful members - and this scenario (of being crushed) begins to come to pass, when an American Diplomat sneaks a "flatulance machine" into an interplanetary business negotiation meeting with the "Nidu" (a reptilian race with a supreme sense of smell... smells which are used much as humans use language)... The antics which transpire with the "flatulance machine" are quite laugh-out-loud funny... and lead to all sorts of wild scenes, as the hero of the book (Harry Creek) tries to "save the universe"....more info
I was so impressed with "Old Man's War" that I immediately bought "Ghost Brigade", "Last Colony", and "Android's Dream". The first three I'll put in the class of the Ender's Shadow series--highly recommended! But "Android's Dream" is fluff. Mildly entertaining, with a humorous treatment of diplomatic and military bureaucracy--but the shock value of the off-color expletives soon faded and became distracting. I have trouble accepting that all aliens speak like dock-workers; or that every chapter required obscenity. I don't believe you should avoid this book because of the sporadic language irritations, but the story is nowhere near as entertaining as the Old Man's War series, and so I recommend that you borrow the book from someone else, rather than buy your own copy....more info
- Genius! Hilarious!
This is one of the funniest books I have read in a long time.Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy is the only satire I can think of in this league.
There were so many great lines (including the first) that I almost started highlighting them.
Great fun - as good as his other books but in a completely different way! The title refers to the Phillip K Dick story that inspired Bladerunner....more info
- Pure fun and SciFi too
John Scalzi's "Old Man's War" and "Ghost Brigades" have serious stories to tell with a SciFi twist. "The Android's Dream", on the other hand, is very funny and almost pure SciFi in its way. It's a great story, especially for those like me whose interest in science fiction waned decades ago.
Some indeterminate time, thousands of years in the future, Planet Earth is a minor member of the Common Confederation of planets, its most significant trading partner being the Nidu who, although also a minor member, could crush Earth.
The leader of Nihu dies and the successor must be chosen. One wrinkle: all the sacred blue sheep, one of which is needed for the orderly coronation of a new leader are dead or dying. To reserve the interplanetary peace, a blue sheep must be found.
Relations betwen the Nihu and Earth are further strained when a minor trade diplomat assinates a Nihu diplomat in one of the most hilarious ways conceivable. Death as comedy - it works.
Enter Harry Creek, an unassuming one-time war hero who is perfectly happy in his little job of bringing bad news to alien diplomats. Harry is the one man who can be trusted to find the blue sheeep.
Now Scalzi unleases it all: an interplanetary power struggle with treason, double-dealing, a very large (and accurate) dose of computer hacking of the largest order, a religion that knows it is fake but seeks to find out if its prophecies might be true (try that one on for size - Scalzi makes it work) and an appealing young woman, Robin Baker, with some very special qualities.
Harry Creek turns out to be quite a hero and the bad guys - well, sentient beings - chasing him aren't at all talentless, which makes for an exciting earthly and interplanetary chase.
There's a lot here. Good science. Good fiction. Surprisingly well developed characters. And a complex plot that never misses a beat. Even if science fiction isn't your metier, Scalzi's science fiction has more than enough fiction to keep anyone interested in a good story happy.
- Hooked from the fart and on the edge of my sheep the whole time.
The Android's Dream had me hooked from the fart (the diplomatic incident that nearly starts a war) and it kept me on the edge of my sheep the whole time. Part satire, part homage (to PKD) and completely filled with Scalzi's signature witty dialog makes this a novel that does not disappoint....more info
- Sheepy fun
Scalzi has written a pretty funny book about interstellar diplomacy where genetically modified sheep acts as a centrepiece. Do not give it up after reading the somewhat vulgar opening scene, where a well timed fart causes a diplomatic crisis. This book is actually better than it pretends to be. But, as is not unfamiliar to Scalzi, it does go a bit overboard at times. However this only makes the book stroger, imho, because we are forced to realise the this is entertainment for its own sake. Not some deeply thought out philosofical considerations being novelised.
If you want a good space-operatic novel with lots of humour and cool things, this is it. If you want deep thoughts and heavy philosophy, go somewhere else....more info
- Spoofy Sci-Fi Satire
An interplanetary incident is about to explode when the Nidu (read alien, sort of reptilian) trade representative dies in a suicidal rage induced by carefully aimed odors. Yes, of course, the story takes place far in the future, faster-than-light travel is commonplace, the world is shared by a number of alien species, and--of course--unless the Nidu can be pacified, the destruction of the world as we know it seems likely. And soon. What the Nidu want is a sheep of a rare breed (The Android's Dream) to be used in a sacrifice as part of their coronation ceremony. Turns out the sheep have all been destroyed EXCEPT for humble pet shop owner Robin Baker who happens to have some sheep DNA. (Don't ask, don't ask). Harry Creek is the low level State Department official who is trying to deliver Robin for the ceremony without getting her killed, while interdepartmental mayhem makes everything exceedingly complex.
The novel includes page-turning adventures, a dramatic shoot-out in a mall, death-defying escapes, satifical riffs on previous Sci Fi themes, even a religion started by a former sci fi writer. Imagine that. While the story is mostly pretty silly, it does move right along, and everything turns out well in the end, as you would expect.
That said, I must add that the book is not well written, with numerous typos, unnecessary repetitions, unnecessary adjectives, way too many characters, too many vulgarisms, and an excess of violence and bodily fluids. If you like space opera (and satire) you will probably enjoy this one. And naughty bathroom humor, oh yes. Reviewed by Louis N. Gruber....more info
- A book I actually finished!
I'm not an avid book reader, nor had I really been successful in reading a novel from front to back. I would say this would be my 4th completed book that was read word to word and the first scifi genre. My good friend recommended this book and I'm glad she did. It was like watching a good ol' futuristic 80's movie, fantastic and left me wanting more. ...more info
- Entertaining; 3.5 stars
This joky book is an easy entertaining read. The title is a bit of a tease. Its a reference to one of Philip Dick's novels but this mildly book seems to be based more on Keith Laumer's Retief novels. Another example of Scalzi's creative recycling of old SF themes. ...more info
- Great Read--Scalzi does the Great Spy Novel
With obvious allusions to other sci-fi, this book is Fletch in the 21st century.
Fun, good plot. Entertaining read. ...more info
- A great read! Looking forward to more of Scalzi's work
"The Android's Dream" by John Scalzi
The distant future; Man isn't alone in the universe as we have now become aware of a great number of alien races spread throughout the cosmos. Coming with this knowledge is the knowledge that the human race is near the bottom where military power is concerned. Where before there was national and international political intrigue, now there is interstellar intrigue. An ambassador of the alien race the Nidu winds up dead and the Nidu suspect murder. The death is near sparking a war however the Nidu seem willing to let things slide if Earth can come up a special item they require for a ceremony, an item that has suddenly become very rare. Needing to get things done from outside of the government, Harry Creek is tagged with the charge of finding the item and delivering it to the Nidu...
This was a refreshing read and I will be eagerly pursuing more of Scalzi's work. "The Android's Dream" which is something of a misnomer is a great read. Scalzi combines just the right amount of plot, humor and action which are all carried nicely by his prose.
The Good: Great writing overall. Scalzi delivers great characters, a well thought out plot and the right blend of action, and humor.
The Bad: Nothing memorable
Overall: Great read. If you haven't read anything by John Scalzi this is a great place to start.
- His best work yet
I was first introduced to Scalzi when I read Old Mans War and I was hooked. I then bought every book he has written.
This is by far his best, its such an original idea in so many ways and the way Scalzi writes is just great. The first chapter was hysterical
- Scalzi does it again
If you have read any of John Scalzi's books, you will not be disappointed with this one. The story kept me up turning pages late into the night....more info
- Below average for Scalzi
A decent read, but far below what I have come to expect from Scalzi. Some of the action is simply too preposterous, especially the mall sequence......more info
- "Imagine you're a tapworm, and then suddenly you're Goethe. It's like that."
Scalzi is nothing if not original. He's best known for the "Old Man's War" military series, but this off-the-wall yarn is quite different, being a combination of spy fiction, interplanetary conspiracies, deliberately created theology (by a third-rate science fiction author-slash-con man, no less), a satirical treatment of federal bureaucracy, some intriguing future computer applications (involving a resurrected infantryman turned semi-superhero) planet-busting space fleets, and through it all a cynical, dour humor and some great dialogue. And every now and then, the laughter freezes in your throat when the plot shows its teeth. A good weekend's read....more info
- Just a whole lot of old-fashioned SF fun
Harry Creek had the misfortune of being an infantryman in Earth's biggest military defeat of the 21st century. His best friend's brother died in his arms during the retreat. Now Harry's kind of drifting, but he's about to get a short, sharp shock....
Robin Baker runs a small pet shop on the outskirts of DC. She's leading a dull-normal suburban life, but she's about to meet Harry, on a truly memorable first date....
Heinlein, with Irony.
Phil Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" inspired the title, and yes, unusual sheep are involved -- but this novel reads like prime-period Heinlein, cyber-charged for the 21st century. From the opening lines -- "Dirk Moeller didn't know if he could fart his way into a major diplomatic incident. But he was ready to find out." -- the pace and story-telling never slacken. We have a Competent Man protagonist, a spunky female lead, snappy dialog, sneering villains, the Fate of Earth in the balance.... even a clever analog to the Church of Foster (here the Church of the Evolved Lamb). All set in a well-lived-in near-future where the aliens have come to call. *Lots* of aliens. Moore's Law marches on, with cool new cybertoys, with much the same problems of today's cool cybertoys.... And lots more really Neat Stuff, which I'm not going to tell you about here, but which you're gonna love. Trust me.
This is a pretty near perfect light planetary romance, ending splendidly with all the Bad Biters badly-bit, and the Good Guys (and Girl) well-rewarded. Really a wonderfully entertaining book -- definitely a keeper. This is my second Scalzi novel -- I liked _Old Man's War_, but that was apprentice work, compared to _Android's Dream_. Sure, there's a place or two where Scalzi noodges the plot-logic a little hard. Yeah, it's wish-fulfillment fantasy , laid on a little thick. So what? This is a remarkably well-crafted entertainment, squarely in the center of my SF home-comfort zone . If you don't have just a whole lot of old-fashioned SF fun reading this one -- well, our tastes differ greatly. Highly, and enthusiastically, recommended.
Peter D. Tillman
Review first published at SF Site
Note 1) Scalzi's dust-jacket photo looks *just like* a Ranger sergeant. Coincidence?...more info
- opens with a fart joke and closes on sheep...brilliant!
John Scalzi knows that the best way to get a reader interested in his work is to hook said reader from the opening sentence. Scalzi opens The Android's Dream with a fart joke. A really good and creative fart joke. Then he spins that fart joke into a brilliant opening chapter which sets the stage for everything that follows. Essentially, John Scalzi sells the entire novel on the premise of a fart joke and then he makes it work. Amazing. It is a work of art.
The Android's Dream is about two groups of men. One group is trying to prevent the intergalactic diplomatic incident that was begun by that opening fart joke. The other is trying to spread the floodgates open wider and really mess things up. The solution to the problems of both parties was to locate a particular sheep. Yes, a sheep. The solution to prevent an intergalactic war is to find a sheep. Obviously hijinks ensue and trouble abounds and things do not go smoothly, but from a fart joke to a sheep (and O what a sheep!), John Scalzi has put together a very funny, sharp, witty, clever, and creative novel. The Andoid's Dream is an outstanding piece of science fiction and serves as a good reminder of what the genre can do.
Really, this book deserves three or four pages of praise rather than three short paragraphs, but it is what it is. Fans of Scalzi, Science Fiction, or Good Writing: You must read this book. Period.
-Joe Sherry...more info
- I don't mind being a sheep in this case
It starts with a fart joke and just gets better from there. This book is a fun romp and I enjoyed the intricacies of the plot. It's clever and funny while maintaining the sense of urgency that drives the characters. All in all, a good read....more info
- Not Free SF Reader
Evolved Lamb story.
Artificial intelligences and sheep DNA, and some human-alien intergalactic diplomacy along the lines of Keith Laumer's Retief. You can see from the early line "Dirk Moeller didn't know if he could fart his way into a major diplomatic incident. But he was ready to find out." that perhaps this book may just not be completely serious, along these lines. Especially if the plot relies on finding the right lamb on the hoof, so to speak.
Time to play stay alive, outsmart the aliens, and try not to let their star destroyers blow up any planets, that sort of thing.
Aliens, bureaucracy, murder, intrigue, disguises, interplanetary action, and the Scalzi trademark of crackling action and dialogue -- there's something for everyone in this book. The Android's Dream has several plot twists which should keep the reader guessing all the way to the end. Nicely done. ...more info
- Fun and Inventive SF
Where Old Man's War may have been a nod to Heinlein, this is more of a nod to Douglas Adams. The Publisher's Weekly synopsis gives you a fair overview of the story, but there are some nice twists that the review doesn't spoil (and I won't either). This was the second Scalzi book I've read - I'm ordering more and looking very forward to his future works....more info
- Humorous and Entertaining Light SciFi - Recommended!
"The Android's Dream" is very light SciFi that is both humorous and entertaining. The style diverges somewhat from Scalzi's other books (i.e. "Old Man's War"), which is OK since this story really does not fit into his other "universe".
No spoilers from me! The story follows Harry Creek (a war hero and, currently, a low level State Department employee with a talent for braking bad news to alien diplomats) as he tries to save Robin Baker (a woman key to preventing interplanetary war) from alien and human threats.
From the first few pages it is clear that is not a very serious book, but it is often laugh out loud funny and has a good bit of action thrown in as well. This is a fast moving story that was entertaining and easy to read.
Highly Recommended!...more info