18 March 2018

BOOK REVIEW: For We Are Many [Bobiverse #2] by Dennis E. Taylor

My rating: 4 out of 5

This is the second book of a series that deserves to be recognized because it's quality hard sci-fi which is well written and superbly plotted. The author’s personality and wit shine through in his style and those of you who saw my review of the first book of the series We Are Legion (We Are Bob) will know that I made comparisons with the writing of John Scalzi, one of the biggest names in contemporary sci-fi literature. I dare say that Dennis E. Taylor could also be destined for grand things just like Scalzi. This Bobiverse series so far has been a refreshing and fun injection of style into what has often seemed to me as a rather dry and dull sub-genre of science fiction.

You need to have read the previous book because the story continues on directly, told from the same multiple first person perspectives of the ex-human AI vessel Bob and his various offspring or clones, of which there have become quite some number. These guys are roaming around the galaxy, spreading out and discovering new places and species. They have become overseers and protectors of the human race which is needing to depart Earth and new planets are required for colonization. The Bobs are actively finding and setting up new places for this purpose. On Earth, not everybody is happy about the colonization efforts or the fact that the whole enterprise is overseen by artificial intelligences, and some factions are actively trying to shut the whole thing down. But, even though they are computer brains, the Bobs maintain their humanity and that which comes with it (including an excellent sense of humor) which means that their decisions aren’t based on pure logic alone. Along the way there are some interesting and sometimes startling interactions with both local flora and fauna on the new planets and the Bobs and humans settlers need to get inventive to find ways to coexist with the natives, mindful of humanity’s past errors on native Earth. “Original Bob” or Bob-1 continues his interactions with a primitive sentient species which he discovered in the Delta Eridani star system. He’s trying to uplift them without ruining their own natural development and this is the most prominent sub-plot of the book. As well, another more advanced and malevolent space-faring species (who are dubbed the “Others”) have been encountered and the Bobs must defend themselves and others in the path of these marauders who seek to devour and plunder anything and everything, organic or otherwise. It is soon after a fierce confrontation between the Bobs and the Others that the book comes to a abrupt halt, but setting the scene for the next book All These Worlds.

The Bobiverse series

As with the previous book, I found the narrative style great, but it is a tiny bit confusing. Even though it’s a first person narrative by a number of different “persons”, each one is a version of the same “person” but in a different location and set of circumstances. This made me sometimes lose track slightly of which Bob was telling the story but it never really detracted from the yarn in any significant way. What was cool was when the Bob AIs came together in virtual reality to have meetings (called a “Bobmoot”) to discuss matters or just to have a chinwag. A couple of the Bobs also start experimenting with android bodies to more closely interact with the physical realm which is another fun aspect of the story. The storyline itself is nothing particularly stunning, much the same as the first book (and I'm expecting book three to be the same as well), but it is the way in which the story is told that really makes this series interesting and worth reading. They're easy to get lost in and always leave me reluctant to put them down, which is exactly what I want in a science fiction book.

3/5 for concept
5/5 for delivery
4/5 for entertainment
= 4 out of 5

Buy the ebook HERE (Amazon)
Buy the paper book HERE (Book Depository)

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