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Stephen Leeds, AKA ''Legion',' is a man whose unique mental condition allows him to generate a multitude of personae: hallucinatory entities with a wide variety of personal characteristics and a vast array of highly specialized skills. As the new story begins, Leeds and his "aspects" are hired by I3 (Innovative Information Incorporated) to recover a corpse stolen from the local morgue. But there's a catch. The corpse is that of a pioneer in the field of experimental biotechnology, a man whose work concerned the use of the human body as a massive storage device. He may have embedded something in the cells of his now dead body. And that something might be dangerous... What follows is a visionary thriller about the potential uses of technology, the mysteries of the human personality, and the ancient human need to believe that death is not the end. Legion: Skin Deep is speculative fiction at its most highly developed. It reaffirms Sanderson's place as one of contemporary fiction's most intelligent - and unpredictable - voices.
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By Dubi on 12-23-14
Skin Deep = Not Deep at All
Legion had a couple of great ideas that were, for me, not fleshed out enough, too quickly resolved, too many missed opportunities. Skin Deep, the second installment in the series, is more than twice as long, but it is still no more than a novella that reads as an afterthought rather than a concept that has been fully thought out.
There is still the excellent central idea of an investigator with multiple personalities -- fully realized characters with areas of specialization that help solve the mystery. That remains an engaging premise. But it still goes anywhere (fast) because the short form is too restrictive. The secondary idea of human cells being used as high capacity flash drives is not as good a springboard for speculation and plot development as the history camera in Legion.
So despite the brevity of the novella, I quickly lost interest, perking up only when the inner personalities took center stage. I stuck it out to the end because of them, but I was patently underwhelmed by the meager plot. No problem, on the other hand, with Oliver Wyman's narration, which as good as it was in Legion, and helps us appreciate the characters.
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