I checked out Dennise Taylor’s website after I finished the last few chapters of We Are Legion (We Are Bob) and not only does he write fun science fiction, but this new-ish author is also a geek and a runner. I had a feeling there was some author-reader synergy going on.
This book is toeing the line of comedic science fiction. It’s not meant to be comedy, I think, but being that it is an often lighthearted romp through deep space while dragging the dregs of twenty-first century pop culture behind it in its wake, it registers with a knowing sense of the absurd tucked between an intriguingly deep premise.
What if we could transfer the essence of a human brain, it’s thoughts and memories, into a computer and make that computer sentient? And what if instead of live volunteers, all those dead folks who signed up to be cryogenically preserved in perpetuity were used instead? And what if you used that sentient computer to explore interstellar space… and it was smarter than you… and overrode all its locks… and used the equipment you’d provided to start making duplicates of itself… and then it actually turned out to be a pretty average computer nerd who actually wanted to do good things and explore the galaxy and just use his newfound digital immortality to play a real life game of Star Trek, exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new life and new civilizations… to boldly go… well, you know the rest, right?
That’s what happens to Bob. An internet millionaire from the present day who dies a horrific death and “wakes up” in a quasi-apocalyptic future as a sentient AI and the property of a theocratic dictatorship destined to become the flagship of a new interstellar space race. From his perspective… and then the multiple perspectives of his duplicates… the universe is about to give him a lot of different jobs to do.
I really enjoyed this one. I suppose that it helps that (I think) I got at least 90% of the geeky references. It also helps that I could imagine the micromanagement complexities handled by Bob-and-co as they resource-grinded their approach to problem solving, the same as if I was heads-down in a video game, like say, Factorio.
It also helps that I read this kind of book and dream that I could write this style of fiction, stories in the style of Ready Player One that humanize geekiness and make it less about supernatural powers and more about thoughtful resourcefulness. I love this stuff and feel like I should be contributing to that every time I sit down to write my own failed attempts at stories.
But jeez… I hope there is a sequel.
As for book six in my queue, I’m sticking in the science fiction-ish genre, but stepping a little to the left in the form of something more meta-sci-fi: A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob Proehl is another Kindle daily deal find, and seems to be more of a parenting slash coming of age novel about a nine-year old kid who’s mom is a washed up science fiction actor.
The deets: “Valerie Torrey took her son, Alex, and fled Los Angeles six years ago—leaving both her role on a cult sci-fi TV show and her costar husband after a tragedy blew their small family apart. Now Val must reunite nine-year-old Alex with his estranged father, so they set out on a road trip from New York, Val making appearances at comic book conventions along the way.”
Get ready for some feels.