Friday, June 28, 2013

Android's Dream by John Scalzi - review

Android's Dream
John Scalzi

****** 6 out of 6 stars

cover - I love this cover.  The first few times I glanced at this cover in the book stores, I didn't get why there were sheep all over, thought maybe it was about an android sleeping...well, you have to read the book.  But the cover totally fits.

This Scalzi guy - he really knows how to build a layered story.  The Android's Dream had so many twists and turns, I had fun reading it.  I kept thinking I knew what was going to happen and then DAYAMN!  Another twist.  Amazing.

It's never really specified what year this novel takes place in, but it's clear that it's futuristic.  Technology has advanced so far that there are ways to listen in on conversations using a paper with special ink - a way to download information from a wire using a vending machine; a way to wear a wire without it being visible even showing up on a scan.

I usually do not enjoy pages of explanation or history, infodumps, etc.  This book did have quite a bit of it, but it was handled almost as if a storyteller was performing a story.  It was actually interesting.  I only felt myself feeling that glazed over look just a couple of times, and it was fleeting.  I'm impressed.  It isn't often that I find myself actually enjoying reading an "infodump".  I'm not even sure that these sections should really be called infodumps, but it works for me.  I shall call them fun infodumps.

Quick summary - which of course you can read on Goodreads....
Earth has been 'visited' by the Nitu - among other races from other planets.  The earth or the United States are and have been in the midst of intense import/export negotiations with the Nitu.  The Nitu also happen to be an arrogant, extremely caste conscience race of people; a people with clans that are ever competing with each other.

The only problem - not everyone is happy with the negotiations, and one of the participants is actively working to sabotage the efforts... with unforeseen results. 

A very strange chain of events follows, involving sheep, gene splicing, a decorated hero/computer genious, a geek, an odd church, a rich old lady, space ships, war, and an interesting mix of interstellar aliens.

John Scalzi had been an amazing writer for quite a while, but I think this particular novel is past amazing and right into brilliant.  I read this book in a one day period of time.  Did not want to stop reading it.  The narration is interesting, the dialogue was great, especially the banter between the characters, and the fight scenes - whether it's between people or more subtle attacks were great.

I recommend this to anyone who enjoys scifi, and anyone who enjoys scheming characters.  You won't regret it.

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