Sunday, December 17, 2006

Book Review: The Android's Dream & Absolute Sandman V.1

I am sort of afraid to review these books because there's a non-zero chance the authors will read what I say. But: whatever.

If you liked The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, you'll like The Android's Dream. It's self-consciously wacky, but has a grounding undercurrent of surprising political savvy that keeps things from getting too madcap and zany. There was only one plot device that seemed odd (that a sheep from Earth, an ally world, would be used in the coronation ceremony of a deeply xenophobic, racist culture instead of a homegrown artifact or at least something from a Nidu colony). Of course, one can always chalk that up to the machinations of the Church of the Evolved Lamb. Your plot moves much more nicely when several of the characters are working behind the scenes to make it happen. Recommended.

Sandman I liked less well. As someone who feels about dreaming the way other people feel about watching TV, I was set to enjoy this. Unfortunately, making the lead character a functional immortal with few comprehensible motivations other than an intrinsic attachment to the status quo does not make for engaging reading. I kept going for the secondary narratives, but I found all of the Endless fairly dull. How multi-faceted a character, after all, can a personification be? Meh. I think I should really add Gaiman to Bujold and Le Guin on the list of authors that are usually not to my taste.
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