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Friday, December 14, 2007

Review: The Android's Dream

I seem to be on a John Scalzi kick this year, not just because his books are entertaining, but also because they seem to be exceedingly easy to get at the local library.

This book takes place on a future Earth that has had plenty of contact with alien species, but one that is not in constant war with them. The intention appears to be that of a humorous romp through a science fiction universe. Harry Creek, a genius-level programmer and investigator, has been happily under-utilized as a "Xenosapient Facilitator" for the Earth's government. But when a diplomatic incident threatens interstellar war, his old friend calls him in to help find a creature of the utmost importance, a sheep known as The Android's Dream.

Unfortunately, Creek's opponents are already well ahead of him, and soon, he discovers that there is only one specimen of that sheep DNA left in a living creature, who turns out to be a pet shop owner who had never been told of her non-human origins. To say more about what happens afterwards would give away the plot, though perhaps in the case of this book that's not all that important. Rest assured that aliens, criminals, replicant AIs and a church determined to make its kooky founder's fake religion's prophecies come true all play a major part, and the romp is in earnest, if not a little bit too kinetic.

Scalzi's sense of humor is prevalent, though nothing like the form he achieved in Old Man's War. All in all, while it's an entertaining evening's read, it is not as good as his best work.

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