In the sixth chapter of The Android’s Dream, we learn Robin’s backstory, and this is going to turn into chaos soon, isn’t it? If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to read The Android’s Dream.
- It seems that as much as the world in The Android’s Dream differs from our own, there are still some things that remain. Mainly, corruption. A lot of it. Which isn’t necessarily surprising, given that this book opened with a secret plot to use farts to disrupt trade negotiations with an alien race. But the beginning of this chapter presents us with a brutal, violent, and revolting example of how people in power will do whatever they can to get what they want through the use of their power.
- Robin’s story is horrifying in one regard, obviously, but it’s also sweet because of who her parents are. I am an adopted child, and while there are a whole host of complications that come with that (such as the concept of being a transracial adoptee), I always appreciate the idea of being a foster parent or an adoptive parent. I am biased! I have a soft spot for people in foster care or who have been adopted! WE UNDERSTAND ONE ANOTHER.
- I admit to feeling a bit weird about the use of the stereotype for people living in rural Virginia? Because I think we should always exercise caution when choosing not to subvert stereotypes, and too often I think people believe it’s totally fine to pick on the rural poor because they’re an easy target. And then I think about how on my mother’s side of the family, she has people in both Virginia and Washington (the state) who marry within their family and that is a real thing that happens. Guess what? They’re all super racist, too. Oh my god, I don’t know how parts of my mother’s family deal with the fact that she married a dark-skinned Japanese/Hawaiian man and adopted two Mexican babies. I DON’T KNOW HOW THEY DEAL WITH IT. These are people who added me on Facebook once they found me there, and then I had to swiftly delete them because within hours of accepting them as friends, they were dropping racial slurs in their statuses. This is my life.
- Anyway, let’s talk about genetically-modified terrors. As soon as I saw the word “menagerie” used to describe what Arnold Montgomery owned, I was kind of thankful that I didn’t have to read this ruthlessly uncomfortable chapter out loud. Obviously, it’s revolting to think that someone created animal hybrids for the purpose of building a complicated and heinous blackmailing system, and then it’s awful to think of the people participating in this because I have no tolerance for any kinks or fetishes that don’t account for consent, and then I think about how this is barely unrealistic in our modern world because I fully expect that someone would try to pull off something like this. Which disturbs me. A lot.
- Hey! I get another chance to talk about the absurdity of the vast majority of pro-life politics. Because Zach Porter’s relatives/widow refuse to allow an abortion to take place because life is sacred, but then they want nothing to do with the child once Robin was born. Oh, so now that child isn’t sacred enough? Yeah, good job with that.
- “That’s some fucked-up shit, Harry,” Brian said. I am personally inclined to agree with this sentiment.
- But then Robin asks Harris out on a date! Holy shit, this just gets more and more complicated, and I love it.
- Once the point-of-view switched back to Archie, who discovered Robin’s secret origin, I realized what this reminded me of: a Joel and Ethan Coen film. It’s like a futuristic version of Burn After Reading, isn’t it? (That film came out after this book, though, so I’m not saying that Scalzi was influenced by it.) (Oh my god, I love that film, though! It’s genuinely my favorite role Brad Pitt role.) I love that we’ve got three groups – Brian and Harris, Phipps and Pope, and Archie and the Church – who all have their own personal stake in Robin. That means that PLOT TWISTS SHALL ABOUND because each party is convinced the other one doesn’t know the real truth. (Technically, though, Archie knows the most, right? And contrary to what Brian says, I don’t think Harris is a step ahead of anyone.)
- You know, doesn’t it seem rather unfortunate and inconvenient that the vending machine upload is so painful? Won’t someone notice that? But then I think about how that’s a pretty small price to pay for having NANOBOT SPIES IN YOUR EYES.
- Wait, are white chocolate M&M’s a real thing? Also, why doesn’t this machine dispense churros? CLEARLY THEY ARE THE SUPERIOR SUGAR-FILLED TREAT. (I’m not just pandering to Scalzi’s churro obsession, y’all. I’m Mexican. IT IS A PART OF ME.)
- Further proof that Acuna is actually a gross person even if you separate him from his job: He thinks Robin is ruined because she’s part sheep. SUCKS TO BE YOU, Acuna, because by your logic, most people are “ruined” due to genetic differences. Don’t worry, we don’t want you anyway.
- Heffer’s conversation with Ben brings up a good point: What the fuck do you do next? I hadn’t even considered this! The Nidu wanted an Android’s Dream sheep. Well, the only DNA of that breed left is in a human. So… is that good enough? Do they just need her blood/DNA? Will they instead sacrifice her? What the fuck do you do next?
- You go on a date with Robin! And then you appreciate the beautiful coincidence that is Harris being the one who has to break the bad news to Robin that she is part sheep.
- (I have a sneaking suspicion that she won’t actually see it as bad news. For all intents and purposes, she is a human and has lived her life as one. Her backstory is disturbing, and I think anyone would react strongly upon learning about it for the first time, but Robin’s personality up to this point suggests that she’s willing to take what life throws at her in stride.)
- YEAH, SO WHEN AM I GOING TO GET TO PLAY WALLBALL?
- For real, I’m not being facetious. It sounds so fun!
- We’re also going to get a chase sequence involving those shoes, right? You can’t introduce them and then not utilize them. And given that this chapter ends with an FBI agent telling Robin that Harris is going to kill her (!!!!! WHAT !!!!!), I am predicting we will get the best chase scene. Right? Right.
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