I think it was the title of this thing that caught my attention: We Are Legion [We Are Bob]. It just sounded a little goofy, and as it turns out, you can judge this book by its title.
The premise is pretty standard sci-fi: guy at the peak of his career with a great life ahead, decides to get himself cryogenically frozen when he dies, and is almost immediately killed off. He wakes up about a century later to find a very different world than the one he remembers. Bob Johansson wakes to find out his body has been destroyed and his consciousness has been transplanted into a computer because people who had themselves frozen have been declared property by the theocracy now in charge of his part of the world, and his new owners have him along with several other candidates in competition/training to be the controller of an exploration space vessel in a global race to find another planet to live on.
The somewhat less standard and mostly entertaining part is that Bob can clone himself as a sentient computer program, and each clone has a different name, slightly different personality, and can work with Bob1/original Bob to help with the mission, which eventually involves saving all of what’s left of humanity.
The story is loaded with a lot of fun pop-culture geek references, ranging from Star Trek to the Simpsons. As with much sci-fi there’s a background of potential political or social commentary, but it never gets that serious. Bob and all his variations are too much fun to watch, and their interactions and thoughts about each other make for pretty easy fun reading. When Bob meets a FAITH government agent for the first time, he doesn’t ponder much on the horrible nature of the governing entity; instead he focuses on what’s happened to the English language and grammar, and the need to use Google Translator. If Bob were real, he’d be one of those people who automatically turns to Google for every little thing. Although in Bob’s defense, current language in 2133 would be difficult for someone with early 21st century speech knowledge.
There are two things that keeps this from being a 5 star for me. My first complaint is that, as Bob notes, his perception of time is different and can be manipulated. In itself this makes sense, but the novel supposedly really kicks off the main action in the year 2133 and ends in 2188. The sense that time actually passes just isn’t there, and as a non-computer, this bugs me a little. On a related note, complaint 2 is that eventually there are too many Bob variants to keep track of easily. Granted a few get killed off throughout the novel, but following the individual voices of several main ‘variants’ as they are called gets a little confusing after a while, especially when the variants start creating variants, many with individual names.
Overall, it’s the start of a potentially entertaining trilogy.