In the fourteenth chapter of The Android’s Dream, Creek and Robin deal with their imminent capture. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Android’s Dream.
OH MY GOD, THIS WAS INCREDIBLE.
- I noticed that this chapter alternates between getting us to believe that escape is foolish and that it’s entirely possible. Initially, Scalzi introduces us to the concept of drop-in zones, which helps us to understand that there’s no escape for the Neverland. As soon as they pop out of n-space, it’s over.
- EXCEPT IT’S NOT. Because then Acuna realizes that it is possible for Creek to get down to Pajmhi if the Marines aren’t that careful. However, there are so many more variables at stake here, the number one problem being that the Nidu warship could just blow them all out of existence once they’ve nabbed Robin.
- I think it also needs to be pointed out that I spent multiple chapters worried that someone was eventually going to realize that Creek was lying about his identity, and it turns out LEHANE HAS KNOWN FOR A WHILE. Oh god, perpetually unprepared, y’all. I wasn’t even prepared for something I knew would happen anyway.
- Like the seventh chapter, chapter fourteen is all about tension and the different ways that Scalzi finds to escalate it. A lot of that involves logistics; once Robin and Creek know that the Nidu are coming to get them, how do they escape? Where do they go? Where do they encounter Marines? How does Creek get them past them?
- I will say that there’s really only one part of this that I didn’t like all that much. Robin doesn’t do much of anything but yell at Creek and follow him, and I didn’t find that too engaging. I don’t need her to be a swashbuckling goddess, but I just wanted a bit more from her characterization here. At the same time, I understood that she was just done with all this bullshit, you know? That’s the sense I got by the end of the chapter. She’s sick of running and sick of the negative attention she’s attracted.
- Anyway, let’s go back to logistics! Scalzi clearly plotted out where the various Nidu marines would be, as well as how they’d react to every single thing that Creek did. (Well, then there’s the communicator business, but I’ll get to that in a second.) It helps that I never felt lost as he narrated all of these sequences. Because he can convey all of this information about physical space to me without it feeling convoluted, I actually had no trouble at all understanding this! Generally speaking, I have trouble imagining physical space, but this was great! I have the same compliments for Tamora Pierce, for the record. Her fight scenes are awesome!
- But this is not about Tamora Pierce because I already spend enough time obsessing over her. The other aspect of this chapter that I appreciated is that yet again, Scalzi doesn’t portray Creek as the perfect soldier. He has physical limitations, and no matter how talented he is, outside factors affect how he’s able to navigate such a frightening situation. As easily as he takes out some of the Nidu, he’s still shot and injured. His aim isn’t perfect, and often he’s limited by what’s available to him. He doesn’t time his grenade attack properly because he didn’t count on one of the Nidu carrying a second grenade, and this gets him violently thrown against the wall.
- I was secretly convinced that Ned Leff would die. I mean, he’s just walking about! He didn’t even seem that concerned with the fact that there were Nidu marines specifically looking for Robin. Alas, I was totally wrong. If this was a horror movie, though, he’d totally be dead.
- So, I’ve been constantly surprised by Scalzi’s willingness to take the narrative and shift it to another point of view in a way that cliffhangers the reader. Just as Captain Lehane nearly gets Creek and Robin killed by contacting Creek on his comm, we switch over to his perspective, unsure how the others are going to get up ten levels to the Promenade Deck. I’ve mentioned earlier that this is all designed to ramp up the tension, and it seriously works. Through a loose flashback, we find out how Lehane discovered Creek’s true identity, and for a while, we have a new thing to be worried about: Is Lehane going to truly help Creek, or is he worried about a con artist on his ship? Lehane has no clue of the scope of Robin’s presence on his ship, so he can only interpret the situation based on the information that he has. Which points to Creek consistently lying about who he is and why he’s on the ship. Still, I loved that Lehane does do things to get them off his ship, but reasons that they should just enjoy their vacation regardless. Why not??? They’re not harming anyone!
- Lehane is a clever captain, though, because he’s able to recognize what would be futile in this situation. He knows that the Nidu jammed communication on purpose so that no one would ever know they were in Chagfun. Honestly, he’s in such a unique position here because he knows that complying with the Nidu means his demise. In that sense, he gives the benefit of the doubt to Creek because it’s less risky to do so. Hell, risk assessment makes up part of the reason why he tells Creek to take the lifepods! Lehane has a better chance of getting noticed so that the Nidu can’t pretend the Neverland was never there.
- On top of all of this, I found all the scenes between Lehane and Picks to be the most entertaining. I admit to being a little worried about what Lehane was doing once it was revealed that he purposely blocked the lifepod’s countdown. WHAT IS THE POINT OF THAT? Oh god, what if he wasn’t a good guy?
- Except that the characters in this fictional universe occupy a moral system that’s often based on reason and logic, which is something I’ve seen a lot of in the other two Scalzi books that I’ve read. That’s not to ignore characters like Acuna and Schroeder, who are far more selfish and brutal than others. But the heroes and supporting characters operate without seeming like… hmmm. Typical heroes? This isn’t about a fantasy quest. Creek isn’t walking around, spilling soliloquies about what a wonderful thing he’s doing. So it’s easy to see a very rugged sort of pragmatism in Captain Lehane. He has his own interests in mind, he wants to save his ship, but he also sees how he can help Creek and Robin escape in the process.
- Which gives way to Lehane SUCKING ALL OF THE NIDU MARINES INTO SPACE. Oh my god, the hilarious banter between Picks and Lehane is the BEST. But it’s not just funny: IT’S SMART. Why let Creek escape when you can also guarantee there are no more Nidu soldiers on your ship? Everyone wins.
- Well, except for the twelve Nidu who die because space. They don’t win.
- And then my question is answered: How the hell was the British Columbia going to factor into this, and would it upset whatever Andrea told Brian to do? Well! I don’t have to worry about that. Yet.
- TWO CHAPTERS LEFT? This isn’t fair. NOT FAIR. How is this all going to be resolved in just two chapters???
Please note that the text and the videos below contain the words “mad” and “nuts.”
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