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.
©2006 John Scalzi (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"With plenty of alien gore to satisfy fans of military SF and inventive jabs at pretend patriotism and self-serving civil service, Scalzi delivers an effervescent but intelligent romp." (Publishers Weekly)
Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).
This was my first taste of John Scalzi. I heard that he is one of the most popular Science Fiction writers in the realm of Sci-Fi fandom. A quick search revealed that he is a very popular blogger who made good becoming a successful published writer. Listening to this book it is clear that he understands the SF world inside and out. It is nice to get all the insider jokes and well loved SF tropes. His sense of humor is much appreciated. It is clear that tongue-in-cheek is standard operating procedure for Scalzi. I like that.
That said, there is an element of this book that almost caused me to bail. The numerous reviews mentioning the obnoxious repetition of “he said,” “she said” is truly annoying. The repeated use of these dialog identifiers as first seems to be just a beginner’s mistake. Such markers are easy to ignore visually when reading a book in print, but with a narrator charged with speaking every word on the printed page the listener is forced to endure every “he said” until it becomes a dreaded anticipation, like waiting for that pesky mosquito to lite on your leg again after shooing it away for the umpteenth time.
After listening to this book I decided to try another Scalzi book, AGENT TO THE STARS and am pleased to report that no such overuse of “he said,” “she said” is present in that book. This begs the question: Is Scalzi just playing with his audience? From listening to that second book it is clear that Scalzi knows how to write dialog with a minimum of character identifiers, so why all the “he said,” “she said” repetitions here?
Fortunately the wonderfully sarcastic Wil Wheaton is the narrator. When voicing these “he said,” “she said” sections Wheaton lilts his voice to emphasize each one in just the right way as if to say, “I get it. This is really annoying.” Half way into the book I began to look forward to hearing Wheaton speak my frustration. He makes these awkward dialog scenes into an ongoing joke. If the story had been less interesting I would have abandoned the book long before the end, but I realized that I liked Scalzi’s plot construction, and proliferation of SF ideas. If you are new to Scalzi, I don’t recommend listening to this book first. The dialog will likely put you off, and that would be a shame. Try AGENT TO THE STARS for a better example of what he is capable of. But do return to this one if you can handle brushing away those pesky mosquitoes.
System and software engineer from the UK now living and working in Silicon Valley.
This is an immediately engaging story and it gets more interesting as it goes along. Some of the tech is already dated, but that almost seems to have been a choice instead of an accident and it did not reduce my pleasure in the story. He avoids the major mistake of attempting to explain technologies, which is very easy for SF authors to fall in to. The characters are engaging and distinct, as usual. There's a lot of imagination shown in various aspects of the story. I don't want to spoil it so I will leave it at that.
My other half and her friends are writers, we listened to this as we drove around Scotland together. If there had been significant mistakes it would have been torn to pieces, but the writers kept quiet and enjoyed the story.
In some ways the story line is a common one, but this is a good example of the type.
Molecular biologist. Musician. Lover of science. Lover of music. Dreamer of magic. Thinker of thoughts. ||| "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" - Arthur C. Clarke ||| As a scientist, science fiction and fantasy inspire me to push the line of discovery forward, beyond conventional imagination, beyond conventional wisdom.
Definitely. This book hits the full spectrum. If you have even the slightest interest in scifi, religious studies, philosophy, action films, extraterrestrial relations, law, biotechnology, animal science, computer science, politics, or fun you will find something to love in this book.
I got used to Wheaton's reading style in Agent to the Stars, where I came to appreciate his ability to convey the emotional state and personality of a character, even alien characters, with great precision. The voices he gives to the individual extra terrestrials are absolutely spot on.
The way Scalzi is able to take ostensibly parallel plot lines and weave them into the intricate climaxes (yes, I would say this book has a few) present in this book gave me goosebumps on a few occasions. I would find myself with a huge smile realizing at specific moments, "My, how clever!"
Well, this might not be considered a ground breaking work of literature, but it was a heck of a lot of fun to listen to.
Wil Wheaton did a surprisingly good job in narrating this book and I found myself laughing out loud at several places, which was awkward being that I was in a public place listening on my mp3 player with earbuds. I can understand why people would look at me as if I was ready for a padded room, when a healthy dose of latte foam erupted from my nose in the middle of starbucks for no apparent reason. Damn you, John and Wil!!!!
My favorite genres are absurdist humor, Sci-fi & modern fantasy, but, as you can see, I'll read just about anything. Don't mind the typos.
I liked it! This is another one I've re-listened to. Very entertaining and worth the time.
I was lured into spending a credit on this book by the short snippet of a preview for it. The interaction reminded me a bit of the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy's ship computer Eddie. Unfortunately, the book never really lived up to that level. On the positive side, there are lots of clever ideas in the plot and a wry sense of humour. So much science fiction and fantasy has been written over the last 50 years that it is an achievement to come up with anything original. It is narrated well by Wil Wheaton, who always seems to do a good job. It just never really sparkled for me - I was happy to listen to it but it didn't completely grab me. One of those books to while away a long journey.
I love to read books; and now just recently I've discovered that audio books are very cool!! I'm also an author. You can find the SciFi book "The Curse of Europa" here on Audible or on Amazon.
This wasn't exactly up my alley, I'll admit. A crazy beginning with farting to communicate - come on now! Needing a certain kind of sheep for a ceremony?? A lot of it was a bit over the top, but I guess that's what a lot of people liked about it too. Once I willed myself to just go-with-it, it did keep my interest and was well told. Although to be 100% honest, I thought it was going to be about androids, given the name and the android on the cover. It is not - silly me!
Sometimes the author would mention something about a character (and then take 5 - 10 minutes filling in a silly back story that wasn't always necessary - imho.) To me that was just a bunch of unnecessary detail.
But overall, wow, it ended up being an elaborate and clever story as long as you aren't looking for realistic. The ending is mind blowing (in all the detailed events that fall into place) and Kudos to Scalzi for keeping it all straight. While it wasn't exactly "up my alley" I have to admit it was some good story telling and thus give it 4 stars.
Will Wheaten did a great job narrating - 5 stars!!
I'm actually a day old tart, filled with maple custard. Perhaps, this reads as a rational introduction to others, and you are deliberately misreading it, because, come on, maple custard.
I loved Blade Runner, and Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep, so I was pretty excited to hear this novel, and it didn't disappoint. It wasn't my favorite Scalzi, but it was pretty original. The story starts out vulgar, and I was regretting my purchase with all the flatulence, arterial congestion, and bursting things. Frankly, it may turn you green, until the meat of the story really starts.
Although I could see where certain parts of the story would go, the girl was a creative and viable surprise. Not his strongest story, he uses a few deus ex machinas, but Scalzi is a master of science fiction, and I haven't been disappointed with his work yet. His characters are fun and adaptable. The story keeps a good pace. The alien incarnation representing all of our negative characteristics from the obvious to the subtle, was well thought out. The aliens remain dynamic, yet have built their society around all of our major failings. The Nidu are like a crystal ball showing us what would happen if we let Wal-Mart fashion legal doctrine for the entire world.
In great parts unique, original and funny yet some plot lines were too over-the-top for my taste.
The biggest "letdown" for me was that the prose doesn't flow as smoothly as in "Agent To The Stars," my favourite from this author. Still, a highly recommendable work for sci-fi fans looking for something entertaining.
Narration is excellent!
Enjoyed the story, hated all the "He Saids and She Saids" Ruined the book !!
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