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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: Old Man's War

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Peter D. Tillman

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 Washington, D.C. She's leading a dull-normal suburban life, but she's about to meet Harry, on a truly memorable first date....

Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? inspired the title, and yes, unusual sheep are involved -- but this novel reads like prime-period Robert A. 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 dialogue, sneering villains, the Fate of Earth in the balance.... even a clever analogue 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 John Scalzi novel -- I liked Old Man's War, but that was apprentice work, compared to The Android's Dream. Sure, there's a place or two where Scalzi noodges the plot-logic a little hard. Yeah, it's wish-fulfillment fantasy1, 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.

1 John Scalzi's dust-jacket photo looks just like a Ranger sergeant. Coincidence?

Copyright © 2007 Peter D. Tillman

Pete Tillman has been reading SF for better than 40 years now. He reviews SF -- and other books -- for Amazon, Infinity-Plus, SF Site, and others. He's a mineral exploration geologist based in Arizona. Google "Peter D. Tillman" +review for many more of Pete's reviews.

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