A human diplomat kills his alien counterpart. Earth is on the verge of war with a vastly superior alien race. A lone man races against time and a host of enemies to find the one object that can save our planet and our people from alien enslavement...A sheep.That's right, a sheep. And if you think that's the most surprising thing about this book, wait until you read Chapter One. Welcome to The Android's Dream.For Harry Creek, it's quickly becoming a nightmare. All he wants is to do his uncomplicated mid-level diplomatic job with Earth's State Department. But his past training and skills get him tapped to save the planet--and to protect pet store owner Robin Baker, whose own past holds the key to the whereabouts of that lost sheep. Doing both will take him from lava-strewn battlefields to alien halls of power. All in a day's work. Maybe it's time for a raise.Throw in two-timing freelance mercenaries, political lobbyists with megalomaniac tendencies, aliens on a religious quest, and an artificial intelligence with unusual backstory, and you've got more than just your usual science fiction adventure story. You've got The Android's Dream. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
Scalzi's swashbuckling satire of interstellar diplomacy (after 2005's Old Man's War) stars Harry Creek, a low-level State Department deliverer of bad news to alien ambassadors to Earth who's also a war hero and a computer genius. When Earth faces destruction over a diplomatic faux pas with the Nidu alien race, Harry must find and deliver the Android's Dream, an electric-blue breed of sheep, to the Nidu for their coronation ceremony. Dodging Defense Department assassins and Nidu space marines, Harry and Robin Baker, a pet shop owner with sheep DNA in her genes, flee Earth and find their own way to attend the Nidu crowning. Also on the quest for the sheep are disciples of the Church of the Evolved Lamb--founded by an early 21st-century SF writer of "modest talents." 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. (Nov.)
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October 30, 2006
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Excerpt from The Android's Dream by John Scalzi
Chapter One Dirk Moeller didn’t know if he could fart his way into a major diplomatic incident. But he was ready to find out. nbsp; Moeller nodded absentmindedly at his assistant, who placed the schedule of today’s negotiations in front of him, and shifted again in his chair. The tissue surrounding the apparatus itched, but there’s no getting around the fact that a ten-centimeter tube of metal and electronics positioned inside your colon, a mere inch or two inside your rectum, is going to cause some discomfort. nbsp; This much was made clear to Moeller when he was presented with the apparatus by Fixer. “The principle is simple,” Fixer said, handing the slightly curved thing to Moeller. “You pass gas like you normally do, but instead of leaving your body, the gas enters into that forward compartment. The compartment closes off, passes the gas into second department, where additional chemical components are added, depending on the message you’re trying to send. Then it’s shunted into the third compartment, where the whole mess waits for your signal. Pop the cork, off it goes. You interact with it through a wireless interface. Everything’s there. All you have to do is install it.” nbsp; “Does it hurt?” Moeller asked. “The installation, I mean.” nbsp; Fixer rolled his eyes. “You’re shoving a miniature chemistry lab up your ass, Mr. Moeller,” Fixer said. “Of course it’s going to hurt.” And it did. nbsp; Despite that fact, it was an impressive piece of technology. Fixer had created it by adapting it from blueprints he found in the National Archives, dating to when the Nidu and humans made first contact, decades back. The original inventor was a chemical engineer with ideas of bringing the two races together in a concert that featured humans, with the original versions of the apparatus placed near their tracheas, belching out scented messages of friendship. nbsp; The plan fell apart because no reputable human chorus wanted to be associated with the concert; something about the combination of sustained vocal outgassing and the throat surgery required to install the apparatuses made it rather less than appealing. Shortly thereafter the chemical engineer found himself occupied with a federal investigation into the nonprofit he had created to organize the concert, and then with a term in minimum security prison for fraud and tax evasion. The apparatus got lost in the shuffle and slid into obscurity, awaiting someone with a clear purpose for its use. nbsp; “You okay, sir?” said Moeller’s aide, Alan. “You look a little preoccupied. Are you feeling better?” Alan knew his boss had been out yesterday with a stomach flu; he’d taken his briefings for the today’s slate of negotiations by conference call. nbsp; “I’m fine, Alan,” Moeller said. “A little stomach pain, that’s all. Maybe something I had for breakfast.” nbsp; “I can see if anyone has got some Tums,” Alan said. nbsp; “That’s the last thing I need right now,” Moeller said. nbsp; “Maybe some water, then,” Alan said. nbsp; “No water,” Moeller said. “I wouldn’t mind a small glass of milk, though. I think that might settle my stomach.” nbsp; “I’ll see if they have anything at the commissary,” Alan said. “We’ve still got a few minutes before everything begins.” Moeller nodded to Alan, who set off. Nice kid, Moeller thought. Not especially bright, and new to the trade