Series Review: Bobiverse by Dennis E. Taylor

Posted June 25, 2022 by lomeraniel in Audiobooks, Hard Science-Fiction, Review, Science-Fiction / 0 Comments

Series Review: Bobiverse by Dennis E. TaylorBobiverse by Dennis E. Taylor
Narrator: Ray Porter
Published by Audible Original Genres: Science-Fiction, Hard Science-Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon/Audible
Overal Rating: four-half-stars

Meet Bob, one of the most likable heroes in contemporary science fiction. A good man may be hard to find, but in the future, he is easy to replicate.

After selling his software company, looking forward to a life of leisure, and signing up to have his head cryogenically preserved in case of death, Bob Johansson promptly gets himself killed crossing the street. Upon waking up 117 years later, he discovers that the afterlife is mind-blowing: his consciousness has been uploaded into a sentient space probe with self-replicating powers. In a flash, Bob starts cloning himself at an alarming rate. The addictively geeky fun that made We Are Legion (We Are Bob) Audible’s Best Sci-Fi Book of 2016 continues in For We Are Many and All These Worlds. As the trilogy and hilarity progresses, the Bobs must deal with rival Brazilian space probes, a fledgling space-faring species that sees all other life forms as food, the mysteries of artificial intelligence and deep space, and political squabbles on Earth. And, oh yeah, being worshipped as a sky god and keeping the peace with his girlfriends.

Ray Porter is the one-man band and maestro behind the Bobiverse. The Audie Award-winning narrator, whose background in drama includes a 20-year stint with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, delivers an epic performance while giving voice to generations of Bobs and various life forms, from sentient machines to heroic humans and alien species. A listener favorite, Porter has performed more 300 audiobooks across many genres and was named an Audible Narrator of the Year in 2015.

For years, Dennis E. Taylor was a computer programmer by day, a writer by night, and an avid reader of science fiction. With the phenomenal success of The Bobiverse trilogy and his standalone Audible Originals, The Singularity Trap and Outland, Taylor is now a retired computer programmer and full-time author—with time to spare for snowboarding (in season), mountain-biking, running, and exploring science fiction listens.

This is a review of the first (for now) books of the Bobiverse series, by Dennis E. Taylor:

  1. We Are Legion (We Are Bob)
  2. For We Are Many
  3. All These Worlds
  4. Heaven’s River

I already reviewed the first audiobook last year, but I listened to it again and binged the rest of the books.

After selling his company, a very rich Bob Johansson purchases an afterlife kit from a cryogenic company. Good that he did, as he accidentally dies shortly after. About a century later, the technology has advanced sufficiently to bring Bob back to life, but as a corpsicle, he has lost his rights under the new religious government. Bob gets the job of his life, becoming a Von Neuman probe, and exploring space.

The first book in the series is really good, with plenty of nerd references, hard sci-fi mentions, and a very basic sense of humor. I loved it when I listened to it the first time, and now again. The second book is also excellent, and even though the end felt rushed, I loved exploring other worlds and discovering other sentient beings in the galaxy. In the prolog of the third book, Taylor thanks his wife for allowing him to write as a full-time job, and this scared me a bit. A new job may change the life of a person, especially if the new job has nothing to do with what that person has done for their entire life. The new version of this person may not write as the old one did. The third book was still good, but not as much as the two previous ones. I was still sold on the Bobiverse, and I wanted to keep reading though. The fourth book’s premises were amazing, and it had the right level of complexity to keep me intrigued, but it wasn’t a perfect book either. For once, it felt too long, and some parts really dragged. The intrigue that was built around one of the arcs fell a bit flat in the end. The story around Heaven’s River was compelling but dragged on for a bit too long just to have an anticlimactic resolution.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved the Bobiverse, and I will definitely read future books about the Bobs, but it’s also true that these books are far from perfect, and maybe that’s why so many people love them. Dennis E. Taylor began writing when he wasn’t a professional writer, providing a fresh perspective on AIs, cryogenics, and first contact. He also wrote a very relatable character for many people. He most probably wrote about himself, and it definitely felt like his presence was a bit overpowering in some parts of his books. I missed some more interesting female characters, but the Bobs were enough for me to keep reading because I was able to see myself in many of their qualities and actions.

Ray Porter did a fantastic job narrating these four books. I would have liked some more character differentiation, but to be fair, many of the Bobs were quite similar. Porter’s narration was compelling, and quite soon I forgot I was listening to a narrator reading a book. I was only able to imagine the Bobs talking about their personal story. I believe this must be every narrator’s aspiration.

I loved this series enough to be obsessed with it while I was reading it, and also to want to recommend it to everyone, but I know these books are not for everyone. If you consider yourself a humanist nerd and are interested in science, this series is for you.

Story (Plot)
Overall: four-half-stars