#RRSciFiMonth Book Review: For We Are Many by Dennis E. Taylor
I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Book 2 of Bobiverse
Publisher: Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency (April 14, 2017)
Length: 320 pages
I’ve been on a humorous sci-fi kick lately, and this series is proving to be the most amazing diversion. The first book hooked me with the non-stop action and laughs, and book two certainly didn’t disappoint me in these areas either.
Following the events of We Are Legion (We Are Bob), our titular sentient AI character and his many clones have been spreading out from Earth for about forty years now, and not surprisingly, he’s made a few adjustments to his mission objectives. While he’s still primarily searching for new habitable planets for colonization and competing against hostile space probes from other nations, many of the Bobs have also found other projects to invest their time in. The Bob called Riker trying to be the mediator between Earth’s bickering politicians as they work together to coordinate a mass evacuation from the ruined planet, and worse, among the survivors there are radical groups who would go to any lengths to sabotage those efforts. Meanwhile, things aren’t going so smoothly at the destination planets either, with cultural clashes and the dangerous local wildlife making it difficult for the new settlers to thrive.
In another part of the galaxy, the original Bob has become attached to the alien race he discovered called the Deltans, involving himself in their lives and becoming something like their skygod. However, in trying to help elevate them, he may have unwittingly done more harm than good, delivering them into the jaws of a far more menacing predator than the ones they had originally escaped from. Deeper into space, the Bob called Mario has stumbled upon an unsettling find—an entire planet where all life appears to have been harvested by a ruthless spacefaring species that considers everything as food. There’s no telling where this all-devouring threat will strike next, and he must get word out to the other Bobs to warn them, or humanity’s second chance at survival may be over before it even begins.
Despite the doom and gloom of many of the story’s threads though, For We Are Many is in fact a light, fun, and profoundly enjoyable read. It’s also full of sci-fi geekery but at the same time accessible enough so that even readers who don’t normally read the genre will be able to appreciate its charms. Any technical explanations are easy to grasp, not to mention many are also presented in a clever and humorous way, pulling in references from pop culture favorites like Star Trek or Star Wars.
The biggest surprise for me though, are the characters—or rather, I should say, the many iterations of Bob. We already had a number of clones to follow in the first book, and this sequel expands the cast some more, introducing additional perspectives to the equation. And yet, this hasn’t gotten old yet, and I doubt it ever will. In my review of the previous novel, I wrote about how each of the individual Bobs had their own unique and vibrant personalities, and this is a trend that continues with no matter how many times they clone themselves. I especially loved the Howard chapters and being able to see a more contemplative, emotional side of Bob. This just shows that while all of them may be aspects of the same person and resemble the original to some extent, the copies are still different enough that even now I could probably name about a dozen of them off the top of my head and tell you their defining traits. They might not be conventional characters, but they do tend to stick with you for a while.
So if you enjoyed We Are Legion (We Are Bob), there’s no reason why you shouldn’t continue with For We Are Many. With more clones being sent out to explore deep space, the “Bobiverse” might be growing ever bigger, but fear not, because you’ll still be getting the same kind of action, adventure, and humor that made the first book so much fun to read. I’m really having a blast discovering all these new worlds, new aliens, and new scenarios, and I can’t wait for the series climax and conclusion in the next book to see how the stakes will be raised yet again.
More on The BiblioSanctum:
Review of We Are Legion (We Are Bob) (Book 1)