The Android's Dream is a mix
of SF, future mystery / espionage, and some peeks behind common social
illusions. It's not quite written to have a "wacky" feel, but it
certainly isn't intended to be taken entirely seriously and has some strange
The story begins with the son
of a shop-owner. An alien diplomat's less-than-honest dealings with the owner
contributed to his death by heart attack. The son pursues his hopes of revenge
by entering Earth's diplomatic services. Eventually, he gets his opportunity
when he is going to be negotiating with the alien's son. The human gets a
device that he inserts up his rectum, allowing him to pass gas in a way that
insults the alien in the alien's scent language. The infuriated alien, who
doesn't know where the torrent of insults is coming from, works himself up to
an explosive temper - and dies of a stroke. The human then laughs himself into
a heart attack. The rest of the book is not as off-beat.
While the aliens can't prove
what happened, they make clear there will be consequences. They offer Earth a
way out - provide the alien's with a sheep of the rare breed "Android's
Dream". (The sheep breed has electric blue colored wool, so the name is a
reference to Philip K. Dick's book title "Do Androids Dream Of Electric
What follows is an effort by
the State Department to find such a sheep, while various forces work to other
purposes. The Defense Department thinks the State Department isn't telling
them the whole story and proceeds to spy on them to find out. A high level
Defense Department figure is affiliated with an organization trying to break
ties with the aliens and increase human presence in the galaxy. A computer
professional being used on the project happens to also be a member of the Church
of the Evolved Sheep, which after beginning as a scam now is working to
intentionally bring the (originally fraudulent) prophecies to fruition.
Meanwhile, the State Department is using a friend of the family / computer
genius (Harry) to search for the sheep. He uses an AI he has built based on a
quantum brain scan of an old friend who died in a war. The search turns up a
woman running a pet store whose "junk DNA" includes genes from the
Android's Dream sheep breed...whose origins lead back to other people in this
mystery. She seems to be the only remaining "sheep" - after other
forces have been systematically killing other Android's Dream sheep. Oh, yes,
and the alien's ambassador has an agenda as well.
It's a race against time.
The aliens want the sheep in a week. This breed of sheep has become a part of
the coronation ritual for new rulers of the alien race - and coronation day is
approaching. The clues are scant and the other sheep are dead... Harry and
the "sheep" woman are trying to elude the bad guys, but the bad guys
are closing in.
It's a good adventure /
chase, with a number of plot twists. And there's some humor. It's probably
not the book to choose when you're looking for something "profound",
"visionary" or a "milestone is SF literature". However, it
can be entertaining and exciting.