We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor
I read it as a(n): audiobook
Narrator: Ray Porter
Her Grace’s rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Bob Johansson signs papers that ensure he will be cryogenically frozen and then brought back to life after his death, once the technology allows such things. The day after he signs the papers, he gets creamed by a bus. When he wakes up about 150 years in the future, he is his old self only his mind has been incorporated into a ship. His mission is to go into space and look for habitable planets for humans to colonize, making copies of himself along the way for various projects. Along the way, Bob and his various copies (all with different names chosen because otherwise that would be madness) find planets, discover sentient life, entire new ecospheres, and generally try to recreate the United Federation of Planets.
I thought this was an ok story. It was fun and in parts funny (though maybe that was more due to Porter’s narration than anything else), but overall I didn’t really see what all the hype was about. Sentient ships are nothing new, nor is colonizing planets, first contact, or just about anything else in this. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it and it was fun overall. Just not anything really to write home about.
By far the best part about it, for me, was the continuance of Star Trek into the future. Bob, as a 21st century nerd, was reared on Star Trek, Star Wars, BSG, SG1, and a million other sci-fi shows and books. I loved the multitude of homages to all the sci-fi nerddom culture.
Porter’s performance was, as always, superb. He has excellent comic timing and tone.
I don’t know if it was a function of listening to this rather than eyeball reading it, but I had a really hard time keeping the Bobs separate. I know they’re all copies of the original Bob but they weren’t sufficiently different for me to tell them apart. I couldn’t keep track of who was at Delta Eridani with the Deltans or who was headed back to Sol to see what shape the Earth and humans were in – was it Riker!Bob or Bob!Bob or Milo!Bob or a different Bob? They were supposed to have different missions and thoughts but I felt that they were not actually different enough to tell them apart. Maybe it would have been easier if I had eyeball read it.
Also, there were, like, two women in the entire book for just a couple pages each, and zero diversity. Apparently everyone in the future is white? It’s just a white gut cloning himself over and over, which I’m sure is a fantasy of many of them, especially boring rich dudes *coughelonmuskcough* but for the rest of us, it’s not something we really want to read about. Honestly, authors. At this point, you should know better. That changed my rating from a 3-star ehhh to a 2-star cringe.
As it is, while I liked this story all right, I didn’t like it enough to get the next two installations in the trilogy. I felt this one had sufficient closure at the end to forego the rest of them. If my public library had them, I would consider reading them and finishing out the series, but they don’t have ANY of Taylor’s books, so I’ll just consider this a one and done series.