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The Android's Dream
John Scalzi
Tor, 400 pages

The Android's Dream
John Scalzi
John Scalzi was born in 1969. His first job out of college was as a film critic at the Fresno Bee newspaper in California. Since 1998, he has been a full-time freelance writer. As well, he is the Chief Entertainment Media Critic for Official US Playstation Magazine. He lives in the small rural town of Bradford, Ohio with his wife and daughter.

John Scalzi Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Metatropolis
SF Site Review: Agent to the Stars
SF Site Review: Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded
SF Site Review: The Android's Dream
SF Site Review: Old Man's War

Past Feature Reviews
A review by John Enzinas

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John Scalzi's The Android's Dream was not in any way what I was expecting. From the title I was expecting some Bladerunneresque cyberpunk noir and instead what I got was a tense political thriller written by a futurist with ADHD. 

Let's see if I can preçis this efficiently. The story starts off with a carefully orchestrated political incident. This leads to the breakdown of a relationship between Earth and its closest alien supporter. This is happening in parallel with the eradication of a genetically modified breed of sheep needed by these aliens as part of a governmental confirmation ceremony. The bureaucrat responsible for fixing this calls in his old friend, a Vet who survived one of the worst military actions in recent history. He is given the task of finding an appropriate sheep and using it to save the day. Add into to this mix a religion that knows it was a hoax but is trying to make itself real, dog aliens, aliens that eat people, a spy network of vending machines, artificial intelligences, courtroom drama, an almost perfectly planned political coup, an evolution of basketball using rocket shoes and brothers reunited after death. 

There are authors who would turn that into a half dozen novels and at least one screenplay about a plucky underdog but Scalzi's having none of that. He's going to fill his book with big ideas, then pack the gaps full of smaller ones and then push out all of the air with the excess creative juices that overflow from his clearly overworked brain. 

This is not a book for someone looking for the careful examination of a single change to the world we live in. No, no, no. This is a high velocity future that leaves you running at top speed just to keep up. 

If I had to make a complaint (and being a reviewer, I should make at least one) it's that things moved a bit too quickly at first with names that were too similar and I had to keep checking back to see who was who and what was what. However, once we got to the end of the third chapter, all of the players had established themselves and it was no longer necessary and I could just let myself be carried along for the ride. 

Copyright © 2009 John Enzinas

John Enzinas reads frequently and passionately. In his spare time he plays with swords.


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