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By PW on 04-12-17
Ignore the Publisher's Summary! This is Amazing!
While I enjoy science fiction, I'm not a die-hard reader of it. I kept seeing this book pop up in my recommendations, and I kept ignoring it each time I read the publisher's summary. It seemed like a generic plot and nothing notable. I suspect the author of the publisher's summary only read the first few chapters, as they didn't really seem to know what the book was about.
The story is interesting and fast-paced. In addition, Ray Porter is extremely talented and did an incredible job of delivering the story, as well as all the emotion and humor that went with it. I think this is one of his best performances.
I don't write reviews for books, but this one was good enough that I wanted to take the opportunity to potentially nudge someone else that might be on the fence about it.
469 of 487 people found this review helpful
By Jean on 08-04-17
I have been attempting to expand on the science fiction authors I read. I discovered this debut novel by Dennis E. Taylor and decided to try it. I try to read debut novels to support new authors. The idea of the story I found intriguing. A brilliant software engineer was hit by a car and died unexpectedly. He had requested his brain be frozen at his death. When he is revived a hundred years later, he discovers that his mind has been co-opted by a group of religious fanatics called FAITH. Bob’s mind is now the computer AI of a space probe sent out to explore the galaxy for a new planet to inhabit. Bob then creates more of himself to spread out around the universe looking for an inhabitable planet. It turns out two other groups are hunting for an inhabitable planet also and will do whatever it takes to achieve their goal.
The book is well written. I found the idea of the human mind in the role of a controlling AI fascinating. The characters are interesting; the plot well developed. There is humor, good dialog and the story is highly entertaining.
The book is nine and half hours long. Ray Porter does an excellent job narrating the book. This is an example of how a great narrator makes the story better. Porter is an actor and award-winning audiobook narrator.
137 of 143 people found this review helpful
By My new name is caught in the red tape on 09-15-17
If you're on the fence about whether to read this, get off and read it!
So, I've been seeing this book around for a long time. And for just as long I thought the title seemed stupid, and so I avoided looking at it. Even after I read the description, I thought it sounded derivative and uninteresting, so I still avoided reading it. And then for no apparent reason, Nathan Lowell recommended it. Now, if you have any sense, when the reigning master of must-read, different-than-anything-else Science Fiction tells you to read something, you sit up and pay attention.
As a happy coincidence, audible had it on sale for under $5 this week, although at this point I probably would have dropped a credit on it even if they hadn't.
This book was nothing like I expected. You really get to know the different variations of Bob, what their personalities are, how they relate to the others, etc. The technology is interesting, the story is interesting, and the whole book is a great deal of fun. I was really sorry when it was over. Rarely have my expectations been so overturned by a book. I will definitely read others in the series if they appear.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful
By Alison in CA on 12-27-16
Excellent plot-loved the story line details
This is a great story for the typical sci-fi story lover; especially someone who is familiar with 80's and 90's sci-fi TV references. The narrator does a great job playing multiple characters, using several different voices-the one from the Star Wars Admiral is awesome. I listened to this book and then went and saw Rogue One the same night and chuckled because the narrator could have been the actor on the screen. (if you listen to the book you'll now what I mean.) If you like books like Player One, Monster Hunters, Ancillary Justice, anything by John Scalzi, and TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Dark Matter and The Expanse then I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy this book. And if you don't, Audible has that great return policy. I look forward to listening to the next book in the series!
17 of 17 people found this review helpful
By Sheila on 10-14-17
Different and Funny
The story line was different, funny, and got into some interesting ethical questions. Bob's persona was similar to other characters I enjoy (e.g. Off to be the Wizard), but the dialog was less clever.
The obligatory religion bashing was tedious, especially since the author only attacked religions that won't kill you for mocking them. If you are going to be bold, be bold. But anyway, the idea of Bob making copies of himself and each making backups of itself is a possibility that will exist with virtual life, so it is interesting to consider. The idea that the copies might have significantly different personalities gave the story line some breadth, but the basis for that wasn't explained so I kept being distracted thinking that was unlikely. The AI arms race and the race to colonize our solar system is an important callout that governments will have to think through, though I am much less convinced that the race to planets outside our solar system would be the same sort of panicked rush.
The idea of machine intelligences not based on copies of humans being less capable - and really just servants - was lame. It would be interesting to think through how human-based AIs and human-level (or greater) AIs might interact, how their goals might differ, how their ethics might differ, etc.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
By bluestategirl on 12-29-16
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!
143 of 160 people found this review helpful