For We Are Many by Dennis E Taylor

Vertigo

Mad Mountain Man
Supporter
Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
7,623
Location
Scottish Highlands
I'm sure there must be other reviews of this one on the Chrons but I failed to find them...



For We Are Many is the second book in Taylor’s ‘Bobiverse’ series and follows the various Bobs as they expand further into the stellar neighbourhood, assist the human colonies or study the emerging Deltan aliens. But not everything out there is friendly; there’s the Madeiros clones and now some others…

Taylor’s writing and the book’s editing are once again both refreshingly professional for a new author just getting going; For We Are Many is just as enjoyable to read as We are Legion, both in content and execution. The humour is still there, though many of the humorous references are a little more obscure this time around. A little love interest is introduced and handled sympathetically without going overboard and the moral issues involved in ‘interfering’ with developing alien intelligences are handled in plausibly practical and honest fashions.

I do have a nagging problem with some of the book’s structure that could possibly develop into something a little more serious in the third book. Particularly in the second half of this book many of the chapters were exceptionally short; sometimes barely more than a page or two and at times I started to feel almost dizzy as we dive in for a couple of paragraphs with one Bob doing one thing then it’s off to another Bob engaged in something else, often completely unrelated (I’ll come back to that point later), and again only for a page or two before it’s off again to another. Whilst it’s always clear from the chapter titles which Bob we are listening to, so it’s not really a head hopping issue, the frequency that Taylor switches the point of view is sometimes rather disorientating especially when there are so many threads to skip around. And maybe that’s the problem, maybe Taylor is in danger of trying to juggle too many different threads at once. This wasn’t a show stopper for me and I generally had little trouble keeping track, it’s just that it almost felt like one of those movies that split the screen into quarters with different stuff happening in each, sometimes it was just a little too much for comfort.

There is another issue associated with this structure; I get the feeling that I’m reading several separate, though linked, stories simultaneously. Now I may be wrong in this, and I hope I am, but several of the multiple threads in this book actually seem to have little or nothing to do with each other apart from the presence of the Bobs. I am left wondering whether the various threads will all come together into a unified conclusion. I have no problem reading a book with multiple threads but if those threads never interact or influence each other then the story can start to feel fragmented. Again this was not a show stopper; I have enjoyed following all the different stories but I will be disappointed if some of them remain totally self-contained with little or no impact on the main storyline. This may be an unfair criticism and I shall wait to see what the third volume brings. It didn’t spoil my read but did leave me a little worried.

Altogether another great read and one that Taylor finished off much more cleanly as compared with the previous book. A number of conclusions were reached whilst plenty remains for the next volume to address; this time it felt like the right point to end the book. A fun, engaging story well told.

4/5 stars
 

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 23, 2002
Messages
23,004
Location
Highlands
Top