We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor

We Are Legion (We Are Bob). What an absolutely absurd title…how could you not love it? I received this book as a Christmas gift from my nephew’s fiancé this year – she had recently read it and though that I would like it as well. She was absolutely right.

The (sub)titular Bob begins the story as a tech mogul who had just cashed out of his startup for the dreamed-of fabulous riches. Among the first things he did with the money was to sign a contract with a cryo-preservation company to save his body upon death, bringing him back when whatever killed him had been cured. It’s not a bad plan, I guess. I could swear I heard that Walt Disney did it years ago. Maybe that was just urban legend, but I’m too lazy to take the 15 seconds to actually google it.

As one would expect, Bob does in fact die. When he wakes up, however, it’s not to a miracle of medicine bringing him back from the dead, but to the new reality that his body went to the old meat grinder and all that’s left of him is an AI imprint. It turns out that there is a new space race, with nation-states vying to be the first to send off their exploration probes to the stars. And guess who gets to pilot those drones? You guessed it, the AIs!

Advances in mining technology an 3D printing means that when Bob gets to his first stop, one of his first priorities is to build additional probes and copy himself into their newly built AI systems. Interestingly, while they may well become legion, they are not all Bob. Each replicated imprint is a little twist on basic Bob, with different parts of his underlying character being more or less prominent on each new copy.

In addition to the quite enjoyable plot following Bob from the current day US to the future, the book touches lightly on what it means to be human and be alive. It’s a nice extra layer on which to chew as you read, but not central to the story that this can’t be a bedtime read. There are two additional books in the Bobiverse series, and I’m looking forward to reading each.

Buy if: You’re a SF fan, especially if you like space exploration

Don’t buy if: You are looking for galactic space battles or aliens. Humans are the only advanced sentients

Age: Teen+