TAD Review on SF Signal
Here you go. It has one spoiler in it, but it’s easy to miss, so I suppose it’s only a semi-spoiler. And it’s also a positive review:
The Android’s Dream might be what you’d find in an Elmore Leonard novel if he were to write a science fiction story with Keith Laumer in Reteif mode – which is to say that it is equal parts crime story, diplomatic drama, political intrigue and science fiction adventure… This is one of those books that makes science fiction fun.
Groovy. I’m happy with the Leonard comparison, since the way I’ve been explaining to the book to non-SF readers is that it’s sort of what Elmore Leonard or Carl Hiaasen would write, if either wrote SF. So I’m glad that sensibility is coming through.
Also, I’m very pleased that what the reviewer came away with from TAD was that he had fun with it. “Fun” is pretty much the entire point of TAD; it really has no ambition other than just to amuse the hell out of the reader. Is amusing the hell out of the reader the way to critical respect, awards, and piles and piles of willing, nubile groupies? Why, yes. Yes it is. Especially the part about the groupies. Come to me, my wiggly ones!
Oh, all right: No, probably not.
On the other hand, let’s not suggest amusing the hell out of readers is not a laudible goal. One of the nice things about science fiction is that you can write with the primary goal of amusing the reader and get away with it, as opposed to most of, say, lit fic, which appears largely designed for the authors to serve notice to their former classmates at Bennington that, indeed, they can write their way out of a paper bag, so ha! Ha! They should have slept with the author after all!
Not that there’s anything wrong with lit fic. Or Bennington. I was accepted to Bennington, you know. Heck, a Bennington grad won the Booker Prize this year, for a novel that is praised for “illuminating the pain of exile, the ambiguities of post-colonialism and the blinding desire for a ‘better life,’ when one person’s wealth means another’s poverty.” Meanwhile, my book starts with a chapter primarily about farting an alien to death. Would I have written a book with farting, had I gone to Bennington? And would it have won the Booker Prize? These are the personal alternate personal histories of my life. Be that as it may, two roads diverged in the woods, and I, well, I took the one in which intestinal emanations were used for humorous effect. And that has made all the difference.
The point is, one of the nice things about genre is that writing simply for the joy of telling a fun story is not necessarily looked upon as entirely wasting one’s time or talent. It’s fun to have fun, but you’ve got to know how. Genre still knows how. I think that’s a good thing. Or at the very least, it’s a good thing for me.