Thursday, February 1, 2018

For We Are Many (Dennis E. Taylor)

For We Are Many
The Bobiverse series, Book 2
Dennis E. Taylor
Ethan Ellenburg Literary Agency
Fiction, Humor/Sci-Fi
**** (Good)


DESCRIPTION: Bob's life was uneventful, but his afterlives are more than making up for lost time. Once a twenty-first century computer geek and sci-fi nerd, he found himself reanimated a hundred years after death as an AI replica, tasked with manning a deep space probe. His job was to secure colony worlds and produce more probes while dodging hostile probes from other nations, saboteurs, and a potentially overwhelming alien entity.
Nothing like a little challenge to make life interesting...
After a rocky start, Bob and his various "descendants" - replicant copies, each developing distinct personalities - seem to slowly be getting a handle on things. Some still expand the "Bobiverse" through distant star systems, while others contend with cantankerous colonists from rival human nations, explore potential new homes for humanity... and assess the threat posed by the Others, an alien race that behaves like locusts, leaving untold devastation in their wake. So far, their paths have not crossed directly, but as big as the galaxy is, odds are the Others will be heading toward Sol sooner rather than later. Only the Bobs stand in their path - and nothing they have would make a dent in the hive.

REVIEW: Picking up roughly where the first book left of, this volume again follows multiple Bobs in multiple systems. They thought they had come to terms with their new status as essentially immortal beings, but find themselves struggling to cope when faced with direct evidence of the frailty of mortal bodies and mortal friends - or mortal love interests. The original Bob's impromptu job of "sky god" to the Deltans takes unexpected turns, and the discovery of sapients in the likely path of the Others' voracious conquests puts other Bobs in the unenviable role of deciding whether a species, an entire planetary ecosystem, lives or dies. Meanwhile, humans remain as incorrigible as ever, infighting even as Earth's habitability plummets, then continuing to fight on colony worlds... even as some of those worlds scheme to fight back.
The story sometimes gets a bit confusing, with the growing number of Bob-replicants under various names, but it remains interesting, with the throwback, sense-of-wonder feel evocative of older Star Trek episodes, back when space travel was more about science, invention, discovery, and hope, even amid despair, than Big Bads and broody fatalism. Some nice twists hint at a fairly intense Book 3... which I suppose I'll have to order now. Dang it.

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Kiln People (David Brin) - My Review
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The Android's Dream (John Scalzi) - My Review

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