In the ninth chapter of The Android’s Dream, Fixer helps Robin and Creek escape Acuna, but two unexpected twists complicate matters even further. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Android’s Dream.
Oh my god, WHAT HAS THIS BOOK BECOME? Am I going to ask this question after every chapter. PROBABLY.
Look, I even said early on that it was clear that the other shoe was going to drop for Fixer. Scalzi wouldn’t set up that line not to deliver the other half of it. And I knew that it was going to be dangerous and risky for Creek to come to Fixer for help because Schroeder had already informed Acuna where they were headed. AND IT STILL DOESN’T MATTER. BECAUSE I’M NOT PREPARED FOR THIS SHIT REGARDLESS.
For the most part, chapter nine focuses on the logistical and emotional struggles that Creek and Robin go through as they attempt to get off planet. You know, it’s not like I had any reason to believe this, but I just assumed that this entire book would take place on Earth because… yeah, again, I have no idea why I thought this. There are interstellar colonies in this book. Why the fuck wouldn’t we visit them within the narrative? I admit that I am extremely excited to see what that portion of the story brings, but there are a few other things that I want to discuss before that.
I enjoy Fixer as a character, and I kind of wrote him off as doomed once I knew that Acuna was heading for Dogstown. On top of that, I was worried about how many forces were converging on Creek! There’s an entire section where Archie details the drillers (and hacking forum trolling) that he’s using to break into Creek’s computers. Later, we learn that the police have obtained a warrant to search Creek’s place. What’s frightening about this is that there are too many variables. I should also say that this is what makes this chapter so thrilling and shocking as well; because there are so many factors and parties who are involved, shit comes out of right field all the time.
However, like the previous chapter, there’s one thing that truly sticks out above the rest: Brian’s characterization. As I said in the commission video below, I have never come across an AI character like Brian Javna in any science fiction novel I’ve read. There were moments where it was easy for me to disconnect from the context of what Brian was and think of him like a character that existed in the flesh. His narrative style is so unique to this book, and it’s a real treat to read. Well, and the content of the narration is fantastic, too. Brian reverses the very hacking he’s the victim of against the hackers themselves.
It got me thinking about how chaos is at the center of this novel. No matter how many times people try to impose order on this situation, things spiral out of hand. Acuna thinks he’s taken care of Fixer, but then the Church of the Evolved Lamb shows up. Creek thinks he’s safely out of the reach of anyone who knows him, but then… wait, I’ll freak out about that in a moment. And look at Robin’s life in the last 24 hours! She’s as good of an example of the chaos of this situation as anyone is! Granted, she does take a lot of this in stride, though I appreciate that she’s shown to struggle with everything that Creek throws her way. Like I said in my review of chapter seven, she’s not a helpless damsel; instead, she openly challenges and questions Creek throughout their interactions. How can he trust Fixer? Does he do shit like this all the time in his job? What is she supposed to do about the pets in her store? I loved it most, however, when she told Creek that at this point, she certainly had a right to know what the fuck was in her DNA that got her so much attention:
“I think this is an excellent time to get into it,” she said. “People are trying to kill me because of my DNA. I think I deserve the right to know why. I think you need to tell me right now, Harry.”
Good for you, Robin. I’m sorry that the answer you get is so upsetting. Look, obviously I am not part sheep, but as someone who was adopted and told a very specific story about why that happened, only to discover later that it wasn’t the truth, I deeply understand the sensation of feeling like you’ve been betrayed for most of your life. It’s something that is an unfortunate reality for some folks who have been adopted, and it’s a sensation that is really hard to describe. It can feel physically debilitating, like it is for Robin here.
For the moment, though, she’s along for the ride, like it or not. At least she’s got a sense of humor about the whole thing! Fixer, however, seemed as good as dead in the scene that followed this. That was especially clear after this outburst:
“The only thing that kept me alive was the fact that the Malloy family would have killed them for killing me. You don’t work for the Malloy family. You’re not going to leave me alive. And you killed my dog. So fuck you. I’m not telling you anything else. Shoot me and get it over with it.”
I’M SLOW CLAPPING THAT SHIT OUT. Aren’t we so used to scenes where characters detail their reasons why so-and-so won’t kill them? Yeah, Scalzi inverts the trope and makes Fixer a badass.
And then Fixer is swallowed whole by Takk. UGH, I WAS SO UPSET. I liked Fixer a lot! But now I have to read about him slowly being digested by Takk? This isn’t fair. WHY ARE YOU SO EVIL, JOHN SCALZI?
Takk cracked open and Fixer found himself dumped on the floor of his basement. Fixer gasped air, vomited, and became dimly aware of the presence of several new people in his basement, shouting and fighting with the three that had already been there.
But. BUT. HE WAS BEING EATEN ALIVE. BY ALL RIGHTS AND EXPECTATIONS, HE SHOULD BE DEAD. Who the fuck are these people???
The man held out his hand. “Bishop Francis Hamn, of the Church of the Evolved Lamb. And you, my friend, are in the midst of a very interesting theological development.”
OH MY GOD BEST PLOT TWIST YET. I am so excited!!! Hahaha, nothing can ruin this!
“I was at the Pajmhi, Robin. I was there. This is a cruise for vets of that battle.”
!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS IS BOTH EXTREMELY EXCITING AND MORTIFYING. He can’t fake his identity on this ship! Of all the fucking ships to land on, OF COURSE IT WAS THIS ONE. My god. So now we get to find out what happened in the Battle of Pajmhi??? Yes??? PLEASE???
Note that the word “mad” appears in the text and the second video.
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