In a not so distant future, in a believable turn of religious power to government, there is one hero. That hero is Bob. For they are many.
I just finished We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor, narrated by Ray Porter. This was a recommendation from a close friend of Pages Pod/Caste. You know who you are. I don’t really remember how he described it to me, but I hopped on my app and one credit later, I had it on my device.
We Are Legion starts off with the main character Bob. Bob is a guy, who made a fortune selling his tech company along with some of his earliest of employees. Bob had used a small sum of that money to preserve himself. Bob invested in cryogenically freezing his head to, you know, live forever. Bob’s friends for sure made fun of him for “wasting” his money.
Bob and said friends are at a conference in Las Vegas, where Bob is actively trying to get away to listen to a symposium on Van Allen Spheres/Probes. Those are probes that fly through space looking for habitable planets. Afterwards, Bob is contemplating life while walking out of the casino. A loud screeching noise induced a time dilation for Bob. Bob watched frame by frame as a car lost control, and ran him down on the sidewalk. He lay on the sidewalk, watching his life fade, out.
As he comes to, feeling disoriented, he looks around, or at least he tries to. A person greets Bob and tries to give a parental speech. As Bob responds audibly, his voice is jacked. The “doctor” explains to Bob, as he comes to realize quickly is not a human anymore, as such.
Bob now fully understands he is an AI, or artificial intelligence for those who live in a hole. Bob’s whole existence lives inside a computer and he’s actually excited about it. The doctor feels relieved and taken back a bit by how easy Bob is taking the news. Doc start him on some rehabilitation practices and exercises. He starts small and moves up to little bots/mechs. First its one or two and then soon he’s moving up to a lot of them.
Bob asks some general “what’s the future like?” type of questions and realizes this future isn’t so awesome. The world is now divided into major powers fueled by weird religious zeal. For the sake of describing them, it’s basically the US, Brazil, Europe, Australia and China. Bob so luck has found, is under the religious rule of the US. Like all religions and powers, there are internal struggles “parties” that have differing agendas. The scientist also let’s Bob know that the resources are limited and he’s competing against other AIs.
After some guerilla attacks on the facility, the doctor basically sets Bob free and installs him in the Van Allen Sphere. He removes the protocols to over-ride Bob, so Bob is a full on free AI. After this Bob controls the rocket and suspects that because the launch date has been moved up from the original date, that attacks are likely. He is not wrong. Shortly after lift off, collision detection warnings are sounding and showing on his maps.
Space Bob Floats
On his way out of dodging missiles from the Brazilians, Bob starts his journey into outer space. After being set free of his religious ordered programming, he decides to take the scenic route and swing past Saturn. As a boy/human he was in awe of Saturn’s majestic rings and wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to see them.
After he gets some site seeing in, he plots a course for Druidia… I kid. He does plot his destination and heads out of the solar system in search of stars with habitable planets around them.
This is where I will stop the light synopsis of the entire book, but from here out, Bob talks to himself and makes other… Bobs. I would say they’re all the same, but they’re not.
They are Legion.
If you like science, tech, space, and pop culture references, this is a pretty awesome and quick read.
Thanks for reading!