Winner: Audible's Best of 2016 - Science Fiction
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.
©2016 Dennis E. Taylor (P)2016 Audible, Inc.
A fun SF novel with neat ideas that rattle along at a great pace. Looking forward to.the next installments. The narrator too was brilliant apart from that one Aussie accent!
First of all, props to Ray Porter, the narrator. He does an exquisite job with all the voices and subtleties between them (of which there are plenty) and did not disappoint me in my first audiobook.
I would like to recommend this book, and I will. Its complexity, depth, and explorations into the technical aspects of the narrative may turn some listeners away - however, if these things sound good to you, they will be, as they compliment the rest of the narrative and theme construction brilliantly. I won't say anything more for fear of spoiling, except that this book is a prime example of witty and intelligent writing in recent years.
I cannot think of anything I disliked about either the book or the narration which, is unusual for me as I am a hyper critical reader and listener.
Quite frankly the story is hugely entertaining and the narration, at least to my ear, beyond compare. For those of you fond of good science fiction coupled with wit and irony (lost on most populations) this is the audible book for you. Roll on the sequel - I cannot wait.
The different versions of BOB showing aspects of the original BOB a great concept and funny as in places
It moved through time very well as time wasn't an issues for the AI Bob so skipping years was in context and moved the story along well. If you know your bible there were plenty of similar events in this story but not in an offensive way even to die hard christians just liked every onw and then thinking Oh Yes thats Noah, Moses, etc.
no but enjoyed this one
There were a few especialy when BOB recognised he wasn;t actually human any more
The end was a bit abrupt but did give a logical ending but I wanted to know how the other BOB's were going. Answer is to wait for Book 2....will keep an eye out for it.
"Wow... Superb Science Fiction"
I was very unsure about this book after reading only the description. The only reason I ended up buying it was because of the multiple reviews I read saying that it was amazing... I'm SO glad I gave it a chance. This book was outstanding and everything I want in a science fiction story. It was funny, not too complex, had a little science, periodic space battles, and was just an all-around well-written book.
The book starts out with a successful young tech engineer signing a contract to have his body preserved after his death and then dying in an accident shortly after. He awakens hundreds of years later as a disembodied computer program that was created using his brain as a template. He and the others who preserved their brains are being used to create artificially intelligent beings and have zero rights or free will. He also learns that the United States has been long replaced with a theocratic police state, and that a new space race has begun with earth nations rushing to claim new star systems with intelligent space drones.
Bob becomes one of the first drones to be sent off to the stars with the ability to self-replicate. Having long since circumvented the safeguards put in place to keep him obedient, he becomes something more than just a computer intelligence...
The book is full of Bob debating himself about the ethics of copying his personality and essentially creating whole new beings with their own free will, all with his memories and experiences. He also learns that despite being copies of himself, all of his clones are subtlely different and have their own needs and desires.
A conflict on earth nearly destroys humanity in a nuclear war shortly after he departs earth, leaving Bob as not only the last hope to explore nearby space and expand human influence but as the last hope for the survival of the biological human race.
Throughout the story, Bob (and his copies) invent new technologies, design space vessels, discover new habitable worlds, encounter other primitive intelligent life, return to attempt to save humanity, and encounter mysterious systems and circumstances.
He must also fight back against the only other self-replicating human probe controlled by the intelligence of an insane military leader, leading to several space battles and the hunting of his escaped clones before they can self-replicate out of control.
The performance by the narrator was top-notch and he did a very good job with the various voices of multiple Bob copies, as well as the other characters.
I would recommend this book to every science fiction fan. Five stars!!
"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!
"So good I'm tempted to listen to it again now!"
The publisher's note is a serious disservice to this book. The author has a fantastic sense of humor and Ray Porter is at his absolute best. This book reminds me what a 5 star read is supposed to be.
"No wonder this won awards..."
As a science fiction lover, this book was immensely creative and an original theme. The narrator was outstanding and perfect for the lightly humorous storyline. Can't wait until the second book is available!
"A Really Fun, Interesting, Thought-Provoking Novel"
I really enjoyed the various scenarios that the author introduces related to deep space exploration; he touches on a lot of different possibilities in a clean, interesting way through the self-replicating probes and their experiences. It was a feast for the imagination.
Bob. Not sure what else anyone would put here. Other listeners/readers familiar with the story will understand, hah.
I'm not sure, but on the other hand, I really liked his voices and performance. It was near flawless.
There were plenty of moments of laughter. No crying, but sentimental moments tend to be glossed over by the author.
The very beginning of the book was a turn-off for me, as the political happenings just weren't believable, and ended up (so far) being largely irrelevant compared to the detail spent on laying them out. Maybe that will change in future books. But I encourage any reader/listener to continue experiencing the story, as most of it was very interesting. The section with the "deltans" also dragged on a bit, but the scenario was still an interesting one to imagine nonetheless. And it is totally made up for with the abrupt log entry of Mario (Bob 6 I think). Definitely looking forward to the next book.
"Can't wait for book 2"
Ok, so Ray Porter is always amazing and the story is my flavor of geek.
Everyone once and a while something unique comes along and a self replicating human turned A.I. has hit the mark. The conversations amongst themselves makes up a bulk of the story which is a nonstop reference to the sci-fi culture of the 80s. and 90s.
The saving of mankind becomes secondary to the world of Bob... Good Times.
Fun is what I would call it. I really did enjoy this story. Several times I really laughed out loud and continuously found myself with a smile on my face as the story progressed. A unique story line with many sci-fi referential humor and tones. In my minds eye the sight of Admeral Akbar "rolling his eyes" still makes me chuckle .Look, let me put it to you this way "Bob" is a sci-fi fan who found he had an afterlife, and its an afterlife taylord made for him. Judging by the cation "Book one" I am anticipating another to further the exploration of the "Bobiverse." I eagerly await the release.
Well that would be Bob of course. With the modified user interface called GUPPY (don't recall what the actuall ackronyms letters) of Admiral Ackbar my second.
The various Bobs. You would think it hard to differenciate between multiple versions of what is essentially the same characture. But he did a good job of treating each with subtle differnces. Good job!
"Wow, much more original and better than I thought it would be!"
Really entertaining and well reasoned update on some classic science fiction staples like see seed ships and artificial intelligence that goes beyond its original intentions. The story is much more than that: A little humor, a little space exploration, a little space battles, technology G – whizzes and narrow escapes. I couldn't put it down.
I rarely give all five stars. I reserve it to no more than one review a year. It's also great to find good narrator's that are up to the story, Ray Porter did an outstanding job and I'll look for other books narrated by him.
There is a little bit of the Star Trek "I just thought of this groundbreaking technological leap forward and it works!" to it - but you do have to move the story along…
The humor of the Bob's is great and much appreciated. Humor is a welcome addition to the science-fiction genre in the last couple years. It reminds me a little of "SuperEgo" by Frank Fleming.
Book 2 as soon as possible please.
"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!
ALSO, ahem. Sorry. Also, here's a shout out to Jim the Impatient for the recommendation! Thanks big guy!
"Andy Weir and Ernest Cline had a lovechild..."
...and this is his book.
I certainly do not mean any disrespect to Dennis Taylor; this is the highest of compliments from me. I title this review purposefully. I was wanting something in the vein of "Ready Player One" for so long and it just killed me that nothing quite fit the bill. This has the technicality of "The Martian" with the sass and wit of RPO.
The book is phenomenal. I actually found myself getting upset when I had to stop reading and created more excuses to take small trips in the car until I was done. The idea of a human being becoming a computer program (essentially) is executed in a unique way that is entertaining and engaging.
I had only remotely heard of the concept of the Von Neumann probe before reading this book and enjoyed the learning of real concept technology.
The narrator was spot-on and I really hope they keep him on for the future books to be released.
Just listen to the book, you won't regret it.
"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.
"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.
"Marvellous book & performance"
Gripped from start to finish & I cannot wait for book 2. Great sci-fi, great humour & a bobtastic storyline
Loved the story very funny. The only problem was that it ended please hurry up with the next one.
"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
"I rarely give five stars"
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.
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.
No, But this is excellence beyond any I have heard before.
No it did not but I did feel very altruistic in an emotional sense.
Just listen to it!
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
Loved it, great plot and really well performed, can't wait for the second instalment! Buy it!
"absolutely loved it"
absolutely loved it big time, took it to work because i could not put it down.
"Everything Started So Well..."
Yes - almost anything is better than Radio 4 (except,perhaps, Radio 2)
Robert Downey Jr
It wasn't a waste of time but I won't be listening to it again
This story started so well but I got fed up of the main character(s) well before the end. At one point I really though it was going to be excellent but then it turned out not to be.
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