“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.”
Author: Dennis E. Taylor
Category: Science Fiction
Publication Date: September 20th, 2016
After selling a company that he helped to build from the ground up Bob Johansson has a bunch of money on his hands and no idea how to spend it all. So what does he do? He hires a company that, in the event of his death, will take his head and freeze it until such time that medicine and technology will be able to bring him back to life in a new body.
So when Bob wakes up with the only thing he can remember being headlights coming toward him fast Bob assumes that the company has done it’s job. Except….
With political upheaval overtaking the nation shortly after Bob’s death, things didn’t turn out right. Bob wakes up 117 years after his death only instead of waking up in a new body, he has woken up as what pretty much amounts to a sentient computer program. A space race the likes of which the world hasn’t seen since the 1960s has overtaken Earth and Bob is the pretty much it for what is left of the USA. They pack him and all his computer parts in a rocket and off he goes into space looking for any worlds that could be habitable by humans.
Early on in Bob’s venture, he has to replicate himself. He was equipped with a fancy 3D printer that can make more Bobs as long as Bob can find a world with the right raw materials. About this time, the author makes a bold claim.
Bob was a huge sci fi nerd in life. He makes the comment that in a lot of other sci fi books and movies, a lot of the physics and science stuff is just hand-waved through without any real explanation as to why.
Careful there, Mr. Taylor. We take this claim as an invitation to examine each and every part of the science presented to us in your story and decide if you yourself are guilty of hand-wavey physics.
And, in fact, you are. It was a close one, it almost slipped by us. The copying of Bob was well-explained and completely made sense. The fact that the first life that a Bob finds outside of Earth is remarkably human-like is also well explained (even if it was a tad un-creative as far as inventing alien races goes). Heck, your invention of lightsabers, even though there was only a few sentences dedicated to it, was well-explained (also, freaking awesome).
What was left without any attention was the invention of subspace communication. This was kind of inserted into the story when the story got to a point that it was desperately needed and there wasn’t any sort of explanation of how it came to be at all.
We are kind of willing to forgive it though considering some sort of communication is needed in interstellar travel and every other science fiction show out there has similar tech. Also, the book abounded in humor and the story was amazing.
Keeping track of all of Bobs copies though did get a little bit difficult. Though they all gave themselves new names as they were created in an effort to help keep things straight, all of them using first person POV made it a little messy.
I had not even heard of this book until about 2 weeks ago but not far into the story I knew that it was going to be a great read and it ended up overtaking the podcast slot for the book that we had intended to review for this week. I think it has been a little while since we have read something that was just this much fun to read.
This was a surprise one for me. When we first picked it up, I thought that it would be a little bit dumb. While some parts were funny there was also a very serious air about bobs goal. I fully enjoyed this book and I recommend it fully.