Sunday, February 04, 2007


The usual comment I’ve heard about John Scalzi’s last two novels — Old Man’s War and its follow-up The Ghost Brigades — is that they marvelously carried the Heinlein tradition into the 21st century while breaking new ground of their own. Well, with his latest book, The Android’s Dream, Scalzi now seems to be channeling the comedic spirit of the late Robert Sheckley. And he’s doing it with a clever twist that I’m coming to recognize as pure Scalzi. Dream is a satiric, laugh-out-loud, white-knuckled sci-fi thriller. And I’ve already put it on my nominations ballot for a Hugo this summer.

Summarizing the plot points of The Android’s Dream — and you’re right, the title is an homage to Philip K. Dick — is too much work for me on a lazy Sunday. I’ll just say that the novel opens with a political assassination-by-farts and ends with a galactic realignment involving bureaucrats, lobbyists, mercenaries, AI entities, a sheep-human hybrid, and a religion right out of L. Ron Hubbard’s playbook. I grinned all the way through it.

No doubt about it, John Scalzi is a rising star in the science fiction genre. And here’s some good news: he’s grinding out novels at a remarkable pace; this is his third book in two years. And here's the best news of all: he's already working on a follow-up to The Android's Dream. Go, John, go!


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