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« An evolutionary study of attending the annual meetings of the Society for Neuroscience | Main | Dear Madam President »

I may have found Douglas Adams´ heir...

I had read, sorry, listened to, another one of his books during the two weeks of intensive sitting at the microscope during a visit to a colleague in Hong Kong, and much enjoyed it: Lock In, a very entertaining suspense set in a near future where a virus had left some people locked inside their brains, conscious but unable to move, so they hired the services of facilitators of sorts, people who would lend them their bodies. Criminal hijink ensues, of course, and somebody gets killed by a body that was inhabited by an unidentified user. The book was smart and quick-paced and entertaining to the point that I remembered the name of the author, which I usually don't: John Scalzi.

I ran into The Dispatcher, a novella by the same author, while browsing the kindle store for something light to read in bed - and quickly devoured it, a delicious mental exercise on the use of a device that, if applied before someone's imminent death, could instantly kill and roll them back to a previous state a few hours earlier, back home. On to the next title, then, one that came with plenty of good recommendations (although recommendations at amazon are less and less to be trusted, but that's a whole other story): The Android´s Dream.

(What is the android's dream, you ask? The title of Philip K. Dick's book of Blade Runner fame plays a key role in the plot. It involves aliens living on Earth. Yes, it doesn't seem to make sense. I'll say no more.)

It took me a while to warm up to it. I typically read fiction in bed, as an invitation to slumber, and while the first two pages were preposterously hilarious ("Dirk Moeller didn't know if he could fart his way into a diplomatic incident. But he was ready to find out", is the opening line of the book), they were so dense with information that my eyes would quickly glaze from the effort to keep up, and off into sleep I went. But then I tried again during the day, with more gamma waves in my brain, and I realized that I had before me quite a pearl. Could this author finally be the long-sought heir of Douglas Adams, the king of fast-paced narratives, crazy all-over-the-place ideas and dense yet immensely witty prose?

I haven't finished the book yet, for I'm attending a five-day meeting and still fall asleep after the second page. But it's for the better: the writing is so delicious that I want to savor every bit of it, so the slow progress is welcome. 

 Douglas Adams´ fans, rejoice: there is intelligent life in the Universe again!

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