Monday, September 3, 2018

For We Are Many

Dennis E. Taylor
Completed 8/31/2018, Reviewed 9/1/2018
3 stars

This is the second book in the Bobiverse series.  It follows the Bobs forty years after he’s been made a sentient computer on a space probe searching for habitable planets for the human race.  What made the first book for me was the beginning, when he is transitioning into being a disembodied intelligence.  This book is still a lot of fun, with all the Bobs scattered across the near part of the galaxy doing various things.  It just doesn’t have quite the power of the first book.

This book picks up right after the first.  The original Bob is playing sky god to a sentient species on a distant planet, the Deltans, watching them evolve intellectually now that he’s taught them how to make spearheads and knots.  However, now that they’re safe from the gorilloids, they have a new enemy to battle, giant flying predators.  Another couple of Bobs are at the planets Vulcan and Romulus, helping humans develop their new homes.  On Vulcan, the humans have a major predator, semi-intelligent raptors, not unlike those from Jurassic Park.  One of the Bobs there, Howard, is falling in love with a woman, while, of course, he’s disembodied.  Riker, with a few Bobs, is on Earth, helping the humans there escape from the nuclear winter that’s slowly destroying the planet.  And a group of Bobs have discovered an intelligent hive mind species that is destroying planets for food and resources. 

There’s a lot going on, but it’s easy to follow allow the plot lines.  The book is written well, as a fast paced adventure.  It’s easy reading with lots of dialogue.  The chapters are short, jumping back and forth between the Bobs.  It’s almost written in a movie-like style with lots of cuts to keep the action going.  The plots are all common tropes, but the presentation and basic premise is what keeps it interesting.

One of my favorite parts was the Bob-Moots, gatherings of Bobs to discuss what’s happening in different parts of the galaxy.  One of the Bobs has solved simultaneous interstellar communication, so it’s easy to have this sort of conference.  They all use virtual reality, so the Bobs are all gathered in a room looking alike with the exception of hair styles and facial hair. 

Another part I liked was with Howard and his longing for romance with a human woman.  It coincides with the development of an avatar in which he can transfer his consciousness and experience, so he can appear physically to people.  It’s still a little mannequin-like but does the job.  Back with the original Bob, he’s using the avatar to appear and interact amongst the Deltans.

I give the book three stars out of five.  It’s pretty good, fun, and exciting.  It just doesn’t have the same intensity the first book had.  I’d also recommend reading the books a little more closely together than I did.  I waited a couple of months and lost track of some of the personalities.  It took some time to get back into the swing of the book. 

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