Well. That’s a thing. A weirdly wonderful thing.
The book summary does a pretty good job of telling you exactly what you get without too many spoilers (past the first few chapters):
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 rest of the book follows Bob, then eventually Bobs, then eventually Bobs each with their own names and variations on a personality. And I’m right in the target demographic for this book, with a lot of the same interests and personality traits of the original Bob. In another life, I could see myself being Bob.
“How are you supposed to feel if you are forced to do what you would have done anyway?”
That being said, the story itself is a pretty straight exploration of various scifi concepts. Uploading a mind into a computer, Von Neumann probes, virtual reality, space exploration. It has it all. There’s not a huge overarching plot, but you almost don’t need it. It feels like a number of linked short stories as we follow each of the Bobs as they explore the universe.
The ending is weak (for much the same reason, it’s mostly intertwinced short stories). But there are already two sequels out, so let’s just go read those instead!
A really cool read (although not for everyone). Well, well worth the time.