Author: Dennis Taylor
Narrator: Ray Porter
Producer: Audible Studios
Runtime: 9h 31m
Genre: Science Fiction/Drama
Robert Johannson had it all. His software company had just been sold and he was ready to live in the payout. A recent innovation in cryostasis offered people the chance, upon death or serious illness, to be cryogenically frozen until they could be saved. Robert (Bob) happily indulged in the belief that he could live forever. When he was hit by a drunk driver at a convention his investment paid off, both in a way he always dreamed but in a way he could never conceive. He awoke 100 years later as an AI matrix, an artificial intelligence with the memory of Robert Johannson. Woken up by a aeronautics lab run by FAITH (Free American Independent Theocratic Hegemony) his job was to control a Von noyman probe into the depths of space to find colonizeable worlds as earth was slowly dying away. Assisted by GUPPY, a software program embedded in Bob’s matrix he learns to control dozens of drones operating the most intricate of tasks. FAITH’s competitors UEA (United European Association) and the Brazillian Empire race to beat each other to capture the first colonizeable world all the while FAITH supports argue against artificial intelligence and condemn off-world colonization resulting in raids that has Bob shot into space early. Brazil strikes against Bob’s launch. Nuclear weapons detonate in his rearview mirror. What few compatriots Bob had in this new world was gone. Bob is alone in the vastness of space.
Equipped with 3D printers, robotic drones and GUPPY Bob makes for the stars. Arriving in his target system of Epsilon Eridini 20 LY from Earth, Bob begins a new existence as a program out in space. He codes a VR program to give him the facsimile of a body, an office and for companionship makes GUPPY into Admiral Ackbar in VR. He establishes 3D autofactories with drones mining resources. Soon Bob makes the decision that more is needed if he was to fulfill his mission and find worlds for humanity so he duplicates himself. The Bobs establish pecking order: New Bobs must immediately pick a new name upon start-up. Bob-1 replicated Bill, Ryker, Mario and Homer. Bob-1 and Mario leave to explore other worlds. Bill remains in Epsilon Eridini to serve as a central Bob network. Ryker and Homer return to the Sol System to check on what happened to Earth since their departure decades earlier. What lies beyond the stars? What happened to Sol? Who is “Bob”?
We Are Legion brings a new meaning to the word ‘sensory deprivation’ by how it is written; providing an emotional account of a single man..er…AI? Man? in the vastness of space. A major theme of the book it seems is identity and particularly identity in relation to artificial intelligence. Is “Bob” Robert Johannson? Is he someone new? What about his replications further into the book? Are they as much Bob as he is or are they off-spring? What are they, in relation to the universe? While I like these themes and particularly am fond of the ‘Bobs’ (which you better be, he/they are really your only character for most of the book) I feel the book fell a little flat. Sure, save the human race from itself by shooting off into space and colonizing worlds but doesn’t the author realize how utterly BORING that sounds? The tense moments of the book are clustered in the beginning with action and suspense. From there you’ll be begging “the Brazilian”, “Bob’s” current antagonist, to dive in bombs blasting just to make things interesting.
We Are Legion, viewed as the first of a trilogy (which it is) is a good beginning. It introduces Bob and the universe that he operates in and how things work with him and his replicant off-shoots. That way no time is needed in the second and third books. On it’s own two legs however it is a bit stale and slow-moving which is a killer for novels beginning any type of saga. “Bob” and his replicants are awesome, and Ray Porter does an amazing job with each and every Bob he voices but I needed a little more.
STORY (of 5): 2.5
For slow pacing, technical dialogue but great characters. Vague plot establishment and development.
NARRATOR (of 5): 5
For diverse characterization of “Bobs” and Porter’s usual style of awesome.