Okay, so this was recommended to me when I asked for something happy and fun — along the lines of Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. I am so glad I picked this up, I really love this series so far — and I rarely move on to second in a series, this series really just got me good.
This follows the story of a guy named Bob. Like his name may lead you to believe, he’s your average person living in a time and Earth that’s similar to ours. Except, he has the expensive option of cryogenically freezing himself and he goes for it. But it doesn’t turn out as he had planned, because of course not.
Post-death they have not figured out how to heal his body and bring him back to normal… so he’s been put into this AI like program and has become disembodied and lives in VR but is able to interact with the outside world. A religion simply known as Faith has taken over, and his whole existence may be brought to an end if the clergy think he’s a threat to their world view. Things are precarious and tense when he’s first brought online. The world he wakes up in is awful, we as humans followed a self destructive path and there are numerous problems with Earth making it nearly uninhabitable. The world has consolidated itself to 5-6 major factions instead of 300 something countries…. but that’s just made things even worse.
So, Bob fucks off to outer space.
While in space he goes and does his thing… and his thing is self replication. He needs to find a place where humanity can re-colonize a new planet, and to cover ground quickly and effectively, he’s been given self-cloning techniques and so he makes copies of himself… and more copies… and more copies. By the end of the book it was clear that he might unintentionally be making another species. I really love toying with the idea of creating multiple versions of yourself and how time and differing life experiences will create different people given enough time — and this book definitely explores that topic.
I love that there’s a big overarching problem, but there’s small scale stuff going on as well to keep things interesting and paced well no matter what was going on. I also enjoyed the fact that through Bob we get to see so much. It’s one character, but it’s also not. It’s a very interesting way to explore character depths and motivations as each clone discovers their own purpose despite all being ‘the same’.
This was just a lot of fun… and since I’ve already read the second and third I can say confidently that this was just the set up to something more expansive and engaging later on — not the least of which are various species of aliens with different levels of hostility or friendship towards humans.
The writing really gets out of the way of the story, and the narration from Roy Porter is just tops. It’s criminally cheap on Amazon as well, if you get the kindle version you can get the audio for 1.99 for most of the series which is fantastic value for the quality you’re getting.
Overall, I recommend this to anyone who is looking for fun, fast paced palette cleansers with an upbeat and funny tone while still maintaining a serious enough plot to keep things grounded.
- Plot: 12.5/15
- Character: 13/15
- World Building: 12/15
- Writing: 13/15
- Pacing: 13/15
- Originality: 11/15
- Enjoyment: 8.5/10
Final Score: 83/100