I recently finished the second book in the Bobiverse series by Dennis E. Taylor. I liked this one even more than the first, which I thought was pretty great. This one kept the fun stuff, but added some more emotion and raised some more interesting questions. I definitely recommend this series. And from here on out there will be spoilers.
The book continues checking in on the different Bobs. The beauty is that Bill (I believe he was the third Bob) creates a form of lightspeed communication (which he dubs the BobNet), that way the different Bobs can keep in contact with each other and discuss problems that arise. Some of those problems are with humans, others with a new threat, and some are with themselves.
-Bob1 continues his life with the Deltans acting as a Space God (the Almighty Bbbooooooobbbb). Unfortunately the Deltans do not see his intervention as always positive and they eventually banish him from their presense. Bob1 watches them in secret, but he definitely feels like he has lost his family all over again.
-Howard is in charge of Vulcan, at least as far as helping the colonists settle there. It is interesting to see how a character like Colonel Butterworth is able get along with Howard, whereas he did not not like Riker. Goes to show that they accentuate different aspects of Original Bob’s personality. Vulcan presents many problems, such as possible intelligent dinosaur-esque animals that like to hunt the humans. But the biggest problem is Bridget. The scientist who Howard develops feelings for and who in turn seems to reciprocate. Unfortunately, as Howard quickly discovers, he is no longer human (and she falls for Howards friend). Eventually Howard leaves the system, but returns 18 years later when he learns that Bridget’s husband is dying.
-The Others. This is a species that enters a system and completely strips it bare. Almost all of the metal is extracted. The living creatures are taken (we later learn why–food). The entire system is basically destroyed and they have went after one of the worlds that a Bob is watching that has sentient creatures, who are in the early Industrial Age. The Bobs mount an attack, but it fails and they have to kidnap and relocate some of the aliens. Also, their intervention causes the Others an annoyance, they declare they will be going after the Sol system next. Uh oh.
-On Earth, there is a terrorist group known as VEHEMENT, who wants to wipe out humanity. They end up hacking Homer and use him to do horrible acts, when Riker finally figures out what happened, Homer is in bad shape. Homer eventually commits suicide because of the guilt. Riker tracks down VEHEMENT and the hacker (who was the guy who invented the Replicant process and was upset that FAITH stole it), he drops a buster on both sites while talking to the hacker…it was one of the best moments of the book.
Some of the questions I have now…
-Bill and a few other early generation Bobs have noticed some things about the later gen Bobs. One of the things they notice is how they do not put as much efford into their VR. I wonder if we are seeing a major divergence in their outlook and mindset? Do most of them come online realizing that they were cloned for the purpose of either a suicide mission, or because the Bob in that area wants to do something different? It will be interesting to see how this develops.
-The deficiency in Bob’s knowledge will have to catch up with him at some point. He is very smart and it seems like he can learn just about anything. However, he tackles most problems like an engineer. Will he have troubles inventing new things or just taking current ideas and finding improvements? Will he need to hope that human scientists continue to study (and perhaps go the Replicant route) in order to for him to progress?
-What is the idea for taking out the Others? I think at the end Bill has an idea and my guess is that it has to do with his astroid-movers. Is he going to find a way to move Earth? Or toss a planet at the Others?
-How will Butterworth change the Bob-dynamic once he is a Replicant? They offered him the option for when he dies and Butterworth accepts without hesitation. It was actually a pretty cool scene. What about when even more people start joining the fray? I realize they have the Australian Replicant with them, but they look at him (Martin?) as another project. Someone that needs saved. Butterworth will not be crazy and something tells me he will handle the VR life well.
-And finally, how long does Taylor plan to take this series? I mean, is it a trilogy, or does he plan to just write a ton of these books. I would love to explore the rest of the universe with Bob.
With the last book, I did my casting call for Bob. So here is my choice for Colonel Butterworth…Sir Ben Kingsley. He has a commanding voice, someone who really takes charge. He seems very no nonsense and can definitely portray someone getting very angry at times.