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The Android's Dream by John Scalzi

The Android's Dream (edition 2007)

by John Scalzi

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Title:The Android's Dream
Authors:John Scalzi
Info:Tor Science Fiction (2007), Paperback, 396 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Android's Dream by John Scalzi


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Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
The peace between earth and its allies hangs in the balance over the fate of a thought extinct sheep hybrid. Throw in a cult and reptilian aliens to make "The Androids Dream" I enjoyed reading it ( )
  mazeybooks | Mar 5, 2016 |
I absolutely loved this book. It was smart, fast-paced, hilarious, full of weird aliens and politicians and generally snarky and wonderful.

Harry Creek is a low-level state department employee who gets the illustrious job of trying to find a genetically-altered (and proprietary) species of sheep called Android's Dream - all in order to avoid an alien-human diplomatic nightmare that would most certainly lead to war. When all the sheep are targeted for death (by those wishing to disrupt the alliance between the alien race (the Nidu) and humans), Creek finds one that they missed - in the form of pet-shop owner Robin Baker. Now he has to keep her alive and figure out how to stay under the radar of just about every sentient species out there.

This was the first Scalzi book I've read, and I can't wait to read more! ( )
  chessakat | Feb 5, 2016 |
I should have reviewed this right after I finished listening to it, but I just wanted to move on to something else. My memories of certain details may be a bit fuzzy, but I'll do the best I can.

The story: A human diplomat figures out how to use his own farts to get revenge against the Nidu diplomat who played a part in his father's death. The incident results in both diplomats' deaths and might lead to war, unless Earth's government is able to locate a breed of sheep known as “Android's Dream” and present it to the Nidu for use in their upcoming coronation ceremony. Unfortunately, someone's been killing off every Android's Dream sheep in existence. Harry Creek, a war hero and brilliant hacker, will have to push his skills to the limit in order to locate the last remaining suitable specimen and save Earth.

I got this during an Audible sale because Wil Wheaton's narration in the excerpt seemed pretty good, and because I enjoyed Scalzi's Lock In. Lock In felt fast-paced despite its massive infodumps, and even though its characters didn't really grab me, it made up for that by being a lot of fun. I was expecting more of the same from The Android's Dream, and I was looking forward to the AI mentioned in the description.

A good chunk of the beginning was basically an elaborate fart joke. It was totally juvenile, and I felt a little embarrassed about laughing, but I did laugh. I settled down for what I figured would be a humorous but forgettable story. What I got instead was a forgettable slog up to a part that pissed me off to the point that, if this had been the first thing by Scalzi I'd ever read/listened to, I might never have picked up one of his works again. Instead of quitting, like I kind of wanted to do, I kept slogging until I finally made it to the end, by which time my anger had cooled.

Lock In had a problem with infodumps, but for some reason I didn't mind them in that book. In this one, I did. It felt like the sections on Nidu politics, the Church of the Evolved Lamb, and more went on and on, and I often had trouble staying interested. It helped that Wheaton's voice was nice to listen to, but I eventually realized that one of the drawbacks to Wheaton's narration was that he seemed to only have maybe four or five distinct character voices in his repertoire, and there were way more than four or five characters with speaking parts. Scalzi's writing didn't help much: Creek and Robin, a pet shop owner Creek found himself having to protect, tended to have the exact same snarky tone.

What transformed this book from mediocre to something worse was what Scalzi did with Robin, who, if I remember correctly, was the only confirmed female character with dialogue (there was one character whose gender was never identified). I'm going to have to enter spoiler territory to properly write about this.

Okay, so Creek got word that the last remaining Android's Dream specimen could be found at Robin's pet shop. He thought that the sheep was one of the animals for sale at the store, but he misunderstood. In reality, Robin was the sheep, or at least as close to being one as anyone was going to be able to get. You see, she was adopted. Her biological mother was a lab creation, a sheep-human hybrid so deformed she couldn't even walk. She and the other animal-human hybrids were created so that wealthy and influential people could rape them. The person who created the hybrids tweaked the sheep-human hybrid so that she could get pregnant and planned to use the pregnancy as blackmail material. However, things went wrong and Robin was born, a healthy human-looking girl who happened to have 18% sheep DNA (all in places that had no effect on her physical appearance and little-to-no effect on anything else).

I'm honestly not sure whether this was all supposed to be considered darkly humorous or completely horrifying. I, personally, considered it horrifying. I was fine with the giant fart joke, locust-like alien babies, and the weird cult filled with a bunch of people trying to see if fake prophecies could become real. Bestiality-as-backstory went too far for me.

Robin got crapped on in this book. There are those who would probably disagree with me. After all, she was technically the most important character, and by the end of the story she was briefly the richest and most powerful person on two planets. However, not only did she have a horrifying backstory, she was also a completely worthless character. Creek and Brian, the AI Creek created using a copy of his long-dead friend Brian's personality and memories (or something), did the bulk of the work, and Robin was just there. She wasn't even able to help herself when she decided that she didn't actually want all the things that had just fallen into her lap. Once again, it was Creek to the rescue.

I managed to listen to the whole book, and now I've finally reviewed it. Hurrah. A note to myself, in case I ever get the urge to give it another try, maybe see if it's better in print than in audio: don't do it. Remember the bestiality. Remember the loyal pet dog that was killed and then shot in the head in front of its owner. The AI was not worth it and mostly just felt like a guy who could do amazing stuff with computers and didn't happen to have a body. You're better off reading something else.

Rating Note:

I had a tough time deciding how to rate this. It felt like a 3-star and 1-star book had been stitched together, with the bulk of it leaning more towards 3 stars. However, as I wrote this review, all the distaste I felt for Robin's backstory and the way she was handled in general came welling back up.

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.) ( )
1 vote Familiar_Diversions | Dec 24, 2015 |

I loved this book! Young and cheek humor of the legal system at its finest! Action, adventure and Aliens all wrapped up in a quick moving storyline. This is the second book I have read (listened to)by this author and both have been really enjoyable. I am going to read (listen to) another after taking a break from science fiction for a bit. ( )
  Mindslayer | Nov 18, 2015 |
The Android’s Dream is written in true Scalzian style. Beginning with an… unusual murder during human trade negotiations with the Nidu, events begin to spiral downward for Earth as different government departments try to stop/escalate problems with the alien race. In order to preserve relations, the Nidu require a sacrificial sheep for the coronation ceremony in a week, part of the genetically engineered Android’s Dream species. Unfortunately, someone is systematically killing all of the candidates. As Harry Creek, a (by choice) underemployed war hero and computer genius works to track down the sheep, he becomes involved in scandals and scams that have been in progress for decades. Also arriving on the scene is the Church of the Enlightened Lamb, the only religion to openly admit its founding was a scam. They represent one of the largest corporations on Earth and have been working behind the scenes in science, politics, and economics in an attempt to bring their prophecies to fulfillment through the appearance of the Enlightened Lamb. In an attempt to complete his task Harry brings his childhood friend Brian back to life as a true Artificial Intelligence, and Brian discovers a secret that could affect galactic politics. ( )
  Ailinel | May 1, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
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.
added by sdobie | editSF Site, John Enzinas (Dec 1, 2009)

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Scalzi, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eshkar, ShelleyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kempen, BernhardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Uchida, MasayukiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wheaton, WilNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to Kevin Stampfl, one of my best friends for years, and a good man to know before and after the collapse of civilization.
Also to Cory Doctorow, Justine Larbalestier, Nick Sagan, Charlie Stross, and Scott Westerfeld, my first live audience as a science fiction writer. Thanks for your attendance then, and your friendship now.
First words
Dirk Moeller didn't know if he could fart his way into a major diplomatic incident. But he was ready to find out.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765348284, Mass Market Paperback)

A human diplomat creates an interstellar incident when he kills an alien diplomat in a most…unusual…way. To avoid war, Earth’s government must find an equally unusual object: A type of sheep ("The Android's Dream"), used in the alien race's coronation ceremony.
To find the sheep, the government turns to Harry Creek, ex-cop, war hero and hacker extraordinaire, who with the help of Brian Javna, a childhood friend turned artificial intelligence, scours the earth looking for the rare creature. And they find it, in the unknowing form of Robin Baker, pet store owner, whose genes contain traces of the sheep DNA.
But there are others with plans for the sheep as well: Mercenaries employed by the military. Adherents of a secret religion based on the writings of a 21st century science fiction author. And alien races, eager to start a revolution on their home world and a war on Earth.
To keep our planet from being enslaved, Harry will have to pull off the greatest diplomatic coup in history, a grand gambit that will take him from the halls of power to the lava-strewn battlefields of alien worlds. There's only one chance to get it right, to save the life of Robin Baker -- and to protect the future of humanity.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:44 -0400)

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A human diplomat kills his alien counterpart. Earth is on the verge of war...A lone man races against time and a host of enemies to find the one object that can save our planet...a sheep"--Cover flap.

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