We are Legion

Great read, highly recommend.

PF adjacent sci-fi, about reincarnation as a computer program sent to colonise the stars.


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.

Bob wakes up a century later to find that corpsicles have been declared to be without rights, and he is now the property of the state. He has been uploaded into computer hardware and is slated to be the controlling AI in an interstellar probe looking for habitable planets. The stakes are high: no less than the first claim to entire worlds. If he declines the honor, he’ll be switched off, and they’ll try again with someone else. If he accepts, he becomes a prime target. There are at least three other countries trying to get their own probes launched first, and they play dirty.

The safest place for Bob is in space, heading away from Earth at top speed. Or so he thinks. Because the universe is full of nasties, and trespassers make them mad - very mad.


As of writing this review, I’ve read the three primary Bobiverse books.

You know that feeling you get when you finish a good series of books? That bittersweet void in your chest that indicates an emotive connection to the works? Yeah. I got that real bad when I finished the third book. What a journey.

I was hooked from the start, especially because I strongly identified with the MC’s personality. Not that social, engineering and research background, would like nothing more than to be left alone to do my own thing and enjoy life at my own pace. I love space, hell, I love it so much I got a damned PhD in astrophysics, and I’d gladly put my hand up to become Bob in an instant.

As the blurb suggested, Bob’s mind is uploaded into a replicant core, where he exists both in his constructed VR space, and physically as a spaceship that’s sent out to reproduce and find colonisable worlds for humanity. There are a host of problems to solve out in deep space, and ten thousand more to solve due to the grim situation back on Earth. Alien life. Terraforming. The difficulties simply from the vastness of space and the relativistic effects travelling between stars produce. The issues of cloning and personality drift. Philosophical points on interventionalism and the role of a space-bound observer on primitive species. There’s a lot in these books.

Many plot arcs tie into the global high-priority ‘Others’ threat (no more detail due to spoilers), but there are plenty that don’t. I was waiting for them to tie in, but they instead serve the more introspective and philosophical pathways in the books. Despite the enormous timespan the series is set over, pacing remains good. Chapters and point-of-view swaps (between the different Bobs) are frequent and don’t linger enough to exhaust an arc before swapping between high and low tension threads.

That said, while I loved most of the arcs, some I did find frustrating. For a being capable of producing space stations and large spaceships, tension is added into many arcs by introduce resource and firepower scarcity. But… if you’ve been in a system for fifty years and can process hundreds of thousands of tons of metal (as evidenced by the autofactories left on their own for a couple of decades), the idea that Bob is struggling because he only has ten drones/busters left, or doesn’t have sufficient firepower because of an unbelievable reticence early on to use any form of explosives, feels a bit thin. The other sources of tension that aren’t the initial resource constraints, to be fair, feel highly authentic and don’t have easy solutions.

I’d encourage PF readers to give this one a shot. It’s not as power focused as you normal, but there are physical threats, and researching weapons, communication systems, and improving ship design does feature in the series. People liking kingdom building will enjoy a few arcs, but Bob does try and be hands-off rather than getting into the minutiae. I personally which I had picked up this book years ago.