The Android's Dream

I had an Amazon gift certificate (thanks Mom!) so I splurged and bought a batch of John Scalzi books - The Android's Dream, The Ghost Brigades, The Sagan Diary, and The Last Colony (apparently he's fond of definite articles). I've read the first three (plus rereading Old Man's War)but I think I'm going to hold off reviewing the OMW books until Ifinish the trilogy. (Super quick comment: I'm glad I didn't read TGB until TLC came out because the first book had a nice solid ending but the second book makes me reach for the third.)

I can talk about The Android's Dream since it is stand-alone. (Well, there's a sequel coming out next year, but the book stands alone at the moment.) It has a much different tone than Old Man's War, the universe is certainly much more light-hearted than the Colonial Union. Plus as anyone who reads the Whatever knows, the first chapter is an extended fart-joke. It's hard to take that anywhere too serious.

I'll stay away from spoilers but in general it involves, as Scalzi puts it, "a human diplomat who solved intergalactic crises through the use of action scenes and snappy dialogue." That's pretty much what you get and it's clear that we haven't seen the last of Harry Creek as we turn the final page of the book. The story stands alone but you can see clearly how it sets up a series of Harry Creek being a loose troubleshooter/ombudsman around the galaxy.

Scalzi is fast becoming one of my favorite "lite" authors - and I don't mean that in any sort of negative sense. I read The Android's Dream in pretty much one extended sitting and it was a refreshing sort of quick book. The pace is brisk and it doesn't get bogged down in exposition. The universe is quickly sketched in and from there it's just a fun-ride until the end. It's a popcorn book, and it doesn't make any pretensions of being anything else. But it's a good popcorn book.

The one thing I'd say that is a little odd is the whole Philip K. Dick connection. (The title is a reference to "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", and the cover has a sheep theme, and sheep are an actual plot point.) It's a little contrived, and it's a strange connection to make, because the story really has nothing in common with Dick's work that I see. But never judge a book by it's title. Or something. Anyway, this is a nit. Just don't dig around for the link to Dick's work and you'll be fine.

If you're looking for a simple, fun read with just enough science fiction to be silly then I'd recommend taking a look at The Android's Dream.

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