Author: Dennis E. Taylor
Narrated by: Ray Porter
Time: 9 hrs 30 mins
Release Date: Sep 20, 2016
For those of you that don’t know, my daily commute to work is anywhere from 50 minutes to an hour and a half one way. That means I spend more than ten hours a week in my Chevy Sonic. Since I can only listen to the same Billboard Top 10 songs to an extent, I have taken accustomed to listening to Audible books. For those that do not know Audible, it is a subscription “book on tape” service run by Amazon. Each month you pay a set fee to receive one credit. These credits allow you to select any Audible book to add to your bookshelf to listen to on your phone, tablet, or laptop. The best part about it is, when you sign up for the free trial, Amazon gives you two free Audible credits.
We are Legion (We are Bob) was a suggestion from my brother. Growing up, he has always been obsessed with science fiction novels; and his original major at university was philosophy. We are Legion (We are Bob) is the perfect mix of both. When I saw this on my Audible account I knew I needed to give it a shot.
The novel starts in Chapter 1 (aka Bob Version 1.0). Our main antagonist, Robert Johansson is signing his “afterlife” over to a company called “CryoEterna.” CryoEterna promises to “revive” all of their clients once technology advances; giving them a second shot at life. Bob’s decision is frowned upon by one of his colleges. However, her dissatisfaction does not matter long as Bob is hit by a vehicle crossing the street the same day he signed with CryoEterna. The last thing he remembers hearing is the declaration of his death.
117 years later, Bob Version 2.0 wakes up to find himself integrated into a computer matrix. It appears that during his time “away”, the United States at a religious uprising and has since renamed itself “FAITH.” The FAITH ministers deemed CryoEterna as “satanic” and auctioned off the majority of CyroEterna’s clients to repent for their [CryoEterna’s] sins. Bob, one of the five lucky ones, was bought by FAITH’s Ministry of Truth as an effort to be the first country to launch a Von Neumann Probe – the “Space Race” of the 22nd century. After a difficult recruitment process, Bob was eventually selected to be the sole replicate to represent FAITH on its HEAVEN I Vessel.
After Bob’s launch into outer space, Taylor proceeds to take us on a philosophical journey of discovery. Who are humans really? Are we both Bob and not Bob? Are we all the source of one Bob? Are we living in a VR system? Is there someone watching us from Von Neumann Probes? Has “Ancient Aliens” been right all along?
Once you get past the initial existential crisis, We are Legion (We Are Bob) is an incredible read. Taylor clearly did his research. All of the sci-fi technology is rather realistic, with nothing too far out of the box. The method in which Bob “clones” himself is simply a 3-D printer and a backup reboot file. The 3-D printer uses materials/metals found in the asteroid systems. Time is still relative depending on which star system a Bob is in.
Overall, I would give the Audible reading of We are Legion (We are Bob) 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. This is the first 5/5 of 2018. However, I wish I read We are Legion (We are Bob) instead of listening to it on Audible. Once Bob starts cloning himself, I desperately got lost the first couple of chapters in. The novel is always written in the first person perspective; however, the “Bob” the perspective is coming from is not made clear. The only time which “Bob” is mentioned is at the very beginning of the chapter to mark the captain’s log. Thankfully, in the Audible, the Garfield “Bob” and Homer “Bob” had unique voices. Thus, in case I missed the name of the “Bob” the chapter is about I could use the voice change to determine if it was Garfield, Homer, Riker, or Bill. For everyone else, I had to determine based on the context of the story. Having a physical copy of the book would have made things a lot easier.