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Summary

There's a reason We Are Legion, We Are Bob was named Audible's Best Sci-Fi Book of 2016. Unique, hilarious, and utterly addictive, Dennis E. Taylor's debut novel kicked off an Audible-wide obsession among sci-fi diehards and new listeners alike.

Bob Johansson has just sold his software company and is looking forward to a life of leisure. There are places to go, books to read, and movies to watch. So it's a little unfair when he gets himself killed crossing the street.

Bob wakes up a century later to find that corpsicles have been declared to be without rights, and he is now the property of the state. He has been uploaded into computer hardware and is slated to be the controlling AI in an interstellar probe looking for habitable planets. The stakes are high: no less than the first claim to entire worlds. If he declines the honor, he'll be switched off, and they'll try again with someone else. If he accepts, he becomes a prime target. There are at least three other countries trying to get their own probes launched first, and they play dirty.

The safest place for Bob is in space, heading away from Earth at top speed. Or so he thinks. Because the universe is full of nasties, and trespassers make them mad – very mad.

Listener-favorite narrator Ray Porter (14, The Fold) brings the many Bobs into being in all their glory, delivering a performance that listeners have described as "outstanding," "nuanced" and a "dizzying tour de force."

©2016 Dennis E. Taylor (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

What members say

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An unexpected gem

I love this book but nearly didn't pick it up. I've tried a few titles lately that wouldn't necessarily be my cup of tea. Things like "off to be the wizard", "the passage" and "the final winter" - all probably good books but they didn't gel with me, and because of that, I nearly held off on We Are Legion to go for something else. I couldn't be more glad I didn't as I've only had it 37 days and I think I've listened to it start to end at least 9 times.

Part of what I love is that the book somehow manages to have a single driving character that is at the same time feels like several characters, all of which I'm jealous of. Getting out into the stars has been something I've dreamed of since I was first able to understand that there was an out there to get into. I'd probably take Bob's deal in a heartbeat given the choice. To top it off, it paces well, it does things that I didn't always expect and sets up for the next book 2 (out in March according to the author).

It also rekindled my love of that kind of science. The idea of von neumann probe probes was something I vaguely knew when I was younger but which kind of fell out of my head as I got older. The book brought them back to me and I ended up doing a lot of reading about the practicalities of them.

I rarely write reviews (in ~4 years with Audible, this will only be my 4th) but I can't recommend this enough - there's a reason that papers have been listing it as one of the best Audiobooks of 2016, and it won the audible best sci-fi of the year too.

86 of 88 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Out of this world

This is got to be one of the best well thought out and thought provoking books out there. He has good pace and teaching in gauged thoroughly. Can't wait for the next one

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

I rarely give five stars

What did you like most about We Are Legion (We Are Bob)?

I will only leave a minor critique and insure that beyond this I can not fault this audiobook in its genre, style, story, writing or the great wit of Dennis Taylor as he tells the story. With that said I rarely give five stars but for this introduction to the Bobiverse, even though the story slightly faltered by the lack of identity in characters for obvious reasons I think that this is simply an audiobook problem, if it were a text one would be more easily able to orient with each new place and each new "identical character".
In audio form and with so much introduction with new characters in the mid section of the story it proves difficult to differentiate at the rate the story requires but even more difficult to understand how the author was able to overcome this beyond this initial introduction and continue to make them all distinct and memorable from that point to the conclusion.,
Above all I want to give praise to the audiobook since it has the exceptional and most believable voice actor I have ever had the pleasure of listening to, Ray Porter is by far the best I have heard after maybe two dozen audiobooks over the last few years. He is beyond comparison and I hope I am not mistaken by the next entry of the Bobiverse in March 2017.
All in all, every thing is amazing with just slight confusion towards the middle but that is overcome after some reflection or restarting some chapters.

Very near a 10/10.

What did you like best about this story?

The comedic and fresh approach the to sub genre. Very believable even after leaving established Physical and universal laws. The Author can be quite insightful.

Have you listened to any of Ray Porter’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No, But this is excellence beyond any I have heard before.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No it did not but I did feel very altruistic in an emotional sense.

Any additional comments?

Just listen to it!

19 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Expanding Headspace

Well this is an interesting little gem! "Bobiverse" gives you a reasonable expectation of just how serious and in-depth the author is aiming at and there is definitely an almost young adult feel to some of the writing and narration. However, there is cleverness here too, once the author gets into the implications of a software generated mind controlling advanced technology the whole thing expands and becomes rather inventive. The Bobiverse term suddenly makes sense.

I can't say I was quite as sold on it as the majority seem to have been but it is a little different and it may well be interesting to see how much further Taylor can take this concept. I was already finding I needed to concentrate on the main character, err I mean characters, err well maybe it was both!

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Exciting new sci fi!

Full disclosure. I had the wonderful opportunity to read some of this in one of my author crit groups, but I was super excited to then learn of it as an audiobook! Especially read by Ray Porter, who I enjoyed for some of his other works. So I had to go and buy this. :)

Dennis's Bobiverse was a little strange at first. But, you're soon taken in by the wonderful humour of Bob and the weird circumstances he's got himself into and has to keep himself sane from.... I admit there's a lot going on, and there are some 'Bob's I like more than others. But that's to be expected. They are all so different.... and of course as a trecky fan I love Ryker. And Homer :)

This really was a joy to be a part of and an excellent listen. I think my only gripe was the story seemed to have really gotten going, and then it ended. Of course, it's that vast and large a world, as in the whole universe, that there is much more scope for Bob and his replicants, and the last few survivors from Earth.

An excellent story for any sci fi lovers, this is something very different, full of science, and things I don't understand, but loved learning about.

Thank you Dennis and Ray... and hurry up with Bob 2! I can't wait.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved it

Any additional comments?

Loved the story very funny. The only problem was that it ended please hurry up with the next one.

24 of 30 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A good book for Sci-Fi newbies.

An interesting concept of the future in the hands of artificial intelligence written in a simple and humorous way.

This is an easy science fiction listen and a perfect choice to those who begin their journey into science fiction reading escapism or those who simply want to relax with a good book.

Although the story is not hugely innovative, it will easily broaden your imagination.

The author deserves big thumbs up for the main characters, who are well-crafted, full of personality and humour.

Ray Porter's narration is good and brings the story to life. I hope to come across more books read by him.

Overall, the book is worth spending a credit and stealing few hours of your free time.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved this book

It was a pleasure to listen to this book. The scientific grounding made the story very interesting. The fact is that it was 'clean' made it enjoyable. I highly recommend this book.

23 of 29 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Surprising

I found this title just perusing through Amazon and the other reviewers persuaded me to give it a go. I was not disappointed.

Great story and great concept. An real Sci fi fan will love this. it's obvious the author knows his stuff about software, science and other Sci fi titles as the knowledge and facts are littered through but never used incorrectly.

Definitely worth a read!

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing book

Not sure why it was such a "page Turner", but I loved this book the general concept everything.. Really looking forward to the next in the series

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • PW
  • 12-04-17

Ignore the Publisher's Summary! This is Amazing!

While I enjoy science fiction, I'm not a die-hard reader of it. I kept seeing this book pop up in my recommendations, and I kept ignoring it each time I read the publisher's summary. It seemed like a generic plot and nothing notable. I suspect the author of the publisher's summary only read the first few chapters, as they didn't really seem to know what the book was about.

The story is interesting and fast-paced. In addition, Ray Porter is extremely talented and did an incredible job of delivering the story, as well as all the emotion and humor that went with it. I think this is one of his best performances.

I don't write reviews for books, but this one was good enough that I wanted to take the opportunity to potentially nudge someone else that might be on the fence about it.

491 of 511 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jean
  • 04-08-17

Beguiling

I have been attempting to expand on the science fiction authors I read. I discovered this debut novel by Dennis E. Taylor and decided to try it. I try to read debut novels to support new authors. The idea of the story I found intriguing. A brilliant software engineer was hit by a car and died unexpectedly. He had requested his brain be frozen at his death. When he is revived a hundred years later, he discovers that his mind has been co-opted by a group of religious fanatics called FAITH. Bob’s mind is now the computer AI of a space probe sent out to explore the galaxy for a new planet to inhabit. Bob then creates more of himself to spread out around the universe looking for an inhabitable planet. It turns out two other groups are hunting for an inhabitable planet also and will do whatever it takes to achieve their goal.

The book is well written. I found the idea of the human mind in the role of a controlling AI fascinating. The characters are interesting; the plot well developed. There is humor, good dialog and the story is highly entertaining.

The book is nine and half hours long. Ray Porter does an excellent job narrating the book. This is an example of how a great narrator makes the story better. Porter is an actor and award-winning audiobook narrator.

152 of 158 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • I Don’t Need No Stinkin Name
  • 15-09-17

If you're on the fence about whether to read this, get off and read it!

So, I've been seeing this book around for a long time. And for just as long I thought the title seemed stupid, and so I avoided looking at it. Even after I read the description, I thought it sounded derivative and uninteresting, so I still avoided reading it. And then for no apparent reason, Nathan Lowell recommended it. Now, if you have any sense, when the reigning master of must-read, different-than-anything-else Science Fiction tells you to read something, you sit up and pay attention.
As a happy coincidence, audible had it on sale for under $5 this week, although at this point I probably would have dropped a credit on it even if they hadn't.

This book was nothing like I expected. You really get to know the different variations of Bob, what their personalities are, how they relate to the others, etc. The technology is interesting, the story is interesting, and the whole book is a great deal of fun. I was really sorry when it was over. Rarely have my expectations been so overturned by a book. I will definitely read others in the series if they appear.

19 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alison in CA
  • 27-12-16

Excellent plot-loved the story line details

This is a great story for the typical sci-fi story lover; especially someone who is familiar with 80's and 90's sci-fi TV references. The narrator does a great job playing multiple characters, using several different voices-the one from the Star Wars Admiral is awesome. I listened to this book and then went and saw Rogue One the same night and chuckled because the narrator could have been the actor on the screen. (if you listen to the book you'll now what I mean.) If you like books like Player One, Monster Hunters, Ancillary Justice, anything by John Scalzi, and TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Dark Matter and The Expanse then I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy this book. And if you don't, Audible has that great return policy. I look forward to listening to the next book in the series!

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • bluestategirl
  • 29-12-16

Dizzying Tour de Force Performance of Great Book!


So many Bobs, so little time --

If you love sci fi, you already know about this awesome book. It's a pretty original concept -- governments clone human-personality-infused-AIs and send them into space as self-replicating probes to find new planets for humans to inhabit. Some of the probes go insane, some turn into weapons of mass destruction, and some . . .

. . . well, Bob is different. A bit of an independent loaner with no political axe to grind, Bob sets about creating a 'world' HE can live in first! Still, the prime directive is all about replicating, so bring on the Bobs!

Ray Porter does an amazing job voicing the various Bobs -- and all the other characters in this book -- while the pop culture sci fi references provide opportunities for a few homages to beloved characters. The book would not have been as fun to listen to without him!

I. CAN. NOT. WAIT. FOR. BOOK TWO!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


ALSO, ahem. Sorry. Also, here's a shout out to Jim the Impatient for the recommendation! Thanks big guy!

144 of 161 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Robert E.
  • 29-12-16

I can't wait for more Bob!

I was captivated the whole time and never lost interest. I loved the imagery of space and the development future technology. As the story unfolded I felt attached to the characters and now I want to know what's next in store for them. This was a super cool take of the future of people and technology. Best book I have had in a while.!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sheila
  • 14-10-17

Different and Funny

The story line was different, funny, and got into some interesting ethical questions. Bob's persona was similar to other characters I enjoy (e.g. Off to be the Wizard), but the dialog was less clever.

The obligatory religion bashing was tedious, especially since the author only attacked religions that won't kill you for mocking them. If you are going to be bold, be bold. But anyway, the idea of Bob making copies of himself and each making backups of itself is a possibility that will exist with virtual life, so it is interesting to consider. The idea that the copies might have significantly different personalities gave the story line some breadth, but the basis for that wasn't explained so I kept being distracted thinking that was unlikely. The AI arms race and the race to colonize our solar system is an important callout that governments will have to think through, though I am much less convinced that the race to planets outside our solar system would be the same sort of panicked rush.

The idea of machine intelligences not based on copies of humans being less capable - and really just servants - was lame. It would be interesting to think through how human-based AIs and human-level (or greater) AIs might interact, how their goals might differ, how their ethics might differ, etc.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rory
  • 08-11-16

Only an Hour into the Book !!

I know there are a ton of people who have listened to this book already and have provided excellent reviews ... hell, that's why I bought the book.

I'm only an hour into this book, but it's already done something that no other audiobook that I've bought has done before. I was taking the train into work when I laughed out loud with a thunderous "HA!". I think I knew that I did it, but after glancing around the train car, virtually everyone was smiling at me.

Dennis Taylor can write ... and Ray Porter is giving me a great performance.

Thank you to everyone's review I read that convinced me I had to listen to this book.

And for everyone reading this ... buy it. You won't regret it.

161 of 185 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 29-09-16

THE UNIVERSE AS MY PLAYGROUND

I'M GLAD TO SEE A BOB FACTORY IN OPERATION
This is what Science Fiction is meant to be. The fans for this book will be Legion. This is full of lots of space travel, exploring of planets, terraforming, discovery of aliens, science talk, colonization, and of course THE BOBS AND THE BOBIAN FEDERATION. I was reminded of THE MARTIAN, although not as funny, Frederik Pohl and James P. Hogan. There are some space fights, but those who love space and all the possibilities, will enjoy this most.

SO THIS IS LIKE ANDROMEDA STRAIN?
As usual, Ray Porter makes this even better.

ALL HAIL BOB!

252 of 291 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Lia
  • 22-07-18

I Wanted More

I really wanted to enjoy this book more than I did. Don't get me wrong, I DID enjoy it. But it still feel a little short.

The book is about a guy, the titular Bob, who hires a cryogenic freezing company to freeze him upon death, then promptly dies. When he wakes up he's in a government program trying to build Von Neumann probe. This is an interstellar probe that will prepare a star system for colonization for humans by flying there and self replicating to take care of the multitude of tasks. To increase the chance of success out in the field the government decides to implant Bob's consciousness inside of a more limited AI.

The premise is relatively interesting, however quickly it gets bogged down with what I found were unnecessary details. For instance the US(and North America) get turned into a theocracy after two tumultuous elections and then a coup de tat. I'm not sure if the author was going for some kind of social commentary, or maybe some variety beyond the other world powers(in which most of the world consolidates into a few major states). However the complications of the totalitarian theocracy could have happened in a natural progression of our current political state. Competing projects, ethical concerns over using a real human consciousness, budget problems, foreign interference all could have accounted for the trials of the project in the beginning.

The science overall is pretty soft. They've developed a powerful space drive, and manipulated it into sensors also. A lot of tasks are carried out by semi-autonomous drones. Most of the characters are actually copies of the original Bob, though each one is a little difference.

In that regard the book seems to sidestep any of the heavy serious questions it could have asked about identity. Bob basically falls back onto "I think therefore I am" then sees little differences between himself and the copies he makes as proof he is still human, and still an individual.

A lot of the conflict has much of its tension removed by the fact that they can back up and replicate themselves, and the fact that like Fry on Futurama, he is thrown into the future where everyone he knows and loves is dead. He has very little to be attached to aside from his wonder at travelling and exploring the stars. It makes it very difficult to feel very worried when any of the Bobs go into action.

Since there are many Bobs you jump around from one to the other. Each one going about exploring new systems, or heading back to check on Earth. While I don't have a problem with this technique, it does leave the overall advancement of the plot a little slower.

My only other two minor complaints are that sometimes it seems like you're reading someone's overview of a 4X strategy game than really a story. Also, because Bob is far from home, and has no one basically, he uses a lot of pop culture references.

Ray Porter was outstanding with the delivery of the story.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful