This novel came from nowhere. Well, actually it didn’t–I’m sure it was a massive amount of work on the author’s part, and it’s been read by thousands of people in the last few months. But somehow, I’d never heard of it before last week, in spite of my endless searching for new things to read. I found it, bought it, and read it, all in about thirty hours from start to finish. It’s that good.
The premise of We Are Legion was immediately fascinating to me: A man finally becomes independently wealthy, and uses some of that wealth to buy a contract to freeze his head when he dies, so he can be revived when technology catches up to his cause of death. He dies in a fluke accident, and wakes up as an artificial intelligence copy of himself. Bob is then placed into a Von Neumann probe (look it up) that is tasked with exploring the universe, gathering raw materials, and making further copies of himself in order to continue spreading humanity’s influence as far out as it can go.
Many of the questions I’ve asked myself about interstellar exploration and the nature of humanity are addressed in this book. How would you do if you expected to be alone for the rest of your (infinitely-long) life? What would it be like for you to interact with numerous copies of yourself? How far would curiosity take you? We Are Legion has many main characters, most of which are various copies of the original Bob, and all with definite personalities of their own. There may even be other AIs elsewhere in the galaxy, whether for good or not. And what is going on back on Earth? Can the various Bobs get along with each other long enough to accomplish big things? What big things could a person(?) do, given an infinite number of years to do them in?
I really enjoyed Taylor’s ability to write a book that was simultaneously very accessible and also very technically-adept. The science here is realistic, if not quite where humanity’s at yet (but hey, it’s 100+ years in the future). As I said earlier, I flew through this one. There was quite a bit of humor, in addition to the dramatic elements, and a very accurate view of human psychology. All in all, if you have any interest in science fiction, this book is definitely something you should be reading (unless you aren’t like me, and already finished it months ago). We Are Legion was a masterpiece, and I eagerly await what comes next for this story. The novel is the first of a planned trilogy (which I’m very excited about). The second book is slated to be released this March, so get to reading this one.
I unequivocally recommend We Are Legion–it was a tremendous book. Buy your own copy here!