Michael La Ronn
March 26, 2015
I didn’t know what I was getting into when I picked up Android Paradox by Michael La Ronn. It was a brand new book, published just days before I bought it. I had never read any of his books before, and it was pure chance that I stumbled upon it. Browsing through selections of recently published sci-fi books, this book stood out. Rogue androids, special agents, and modern cover art drew me in. I instantly purchased it and started reading.
Best known for his stories about teddy bears and killer broccoli, Michael La Ronn continues his trend of writing about crazy events in Android Paradox. A sci-fi action novella, it is the first of his Android X series about a mysterious android winter. Set in the year 2300, after humanity has won a war with emotionless robots, Earth has now embraced a new kind of android. A social android, one with emotion, logic, and a near-human AI. It is a paradise, almost a utopia, but darkness hides below the surface. References to a mysterious badlands conjure images of a world separated by the haves and have-nots, promising a hidden underworld to the glittering cities that are explored in this first novella.
La Ronn claims to be inspired by graphic novels and video games, and both the descriptive language as well as the pace of the plot reflect it. In fact, La Ronn describes some virtual augmentation technology in the story to be very similar to those in video games. Cityscapes and landmarks are described vividly, giving the reader enough information to easily visualize the places visited without slowing the story. The plot naturally develops from one action to the next, from one fight to the next argument to the next illicit activity. Once you start reading, it is hard to stop.
The one downside to this novella is the amount of exposition. Intended to be the first in a series of books, La Ronn dedicates a lot of the book to describing the world as portrayed in Android X. From the beginning of the story to the end, the various back stories and world history are described in detail that is not necessary for the continuation of this story. It might be absolutely necessary as the series continues, but it makes it hard to recommend this novella as a stand-alone book. That being said, I’m excited for the continuation of the series and hope to read more in the future.