The Android's Dream 05/07/11
John Scalzi is best known for his hard science fiction like Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigades but I've so far only read his satyrical science fiction: Agent to the Stars and The Android's Dream. While The Android's Dream isn't a sequel to Agent to the Stars it feels like it could be a far future follow up to the present day satire.
The book opens with a human diplomat insulting and then killing an alien dignitary with his flatulence. Now the world's governments have to come together to stop an all out interplanetary war. The only way to do that is to find a rare breed of sheep used in the alien's coronation ceremony.
If the book had stayed focus on the task at hand, namely the coordinated effort of different nations trying to find the sheep while other factions are doing their best to keep the sheep from being delivered, the book would have been as tight and as funny as Agent to the Stars.
Unfortunately with the plot set in the far future when there are many different extra terrestrial groups interacting with the Earth, there's just too much temptation to include commentary on all these different groups, their cultures, quirks and history with the planet. The asides interrupt the flow of the plot and ultimately got in the way of my enjoyment of the book.