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Oct 22

Oh Yeah?

I’ve got another “fan”. And yes, the quotes are on purpose. That’s what you call “irony”.

Here’s his take on We Are Legion:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJ2gvVD2AOo

(I’m not embedding the video because I don’t have permission or copyright).

So, uh, Loki seems pissed. He also called me a meth-head, I think.

Okay, not really, but he is pissed. He’s also loud, abusive, profane, and right.

Wait, what?

No, not about the meth-head thing. Loki is pissed that Legion didn’t seem to wrap anything up, being more like a Batman episode: Stay tuned, next week, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel. And yeah, there’s a lot of that.

But one thing I have to be clear on: it wasn’t a marketing ploy. Pfft. Like I’m going to do marketing willingly. If I die and find myself in hell, I’ll be sentenced to eternity in Sales and Marketing. Because that’s how hell works.

Anyway, Loki isn’t the only one. A small but significant fraction of my reviews on Amazon and Audible complain, one way or another, about there not being a satisfying ending.

Um, yes. Mea Culpa. But here’s the thing. Legion is a big story. It’s not two books, it’s actually three. And every single plot-line continues right through the third book. Bob is still dealing with Deltans; Riker is still dealing with Earth; Bill is still in Epsilon Eridani making like a mad scientist; and the colonists on Vulcan (Omicron2 Eridani) play a significant part. I even add some more plot-lines.

Sorry, no spoilers.

But none—not one—of those plot lines could be resolved without chopping a major part of the book. Now, I could make one book be all about Bob and the Deltans, and one book be all about Riker and the Terrans, and so forth.

But here’s the problem. First, these sub-plots all happen in parallel. And the various Bobs interact. A lot. Especially once they all start getting the SCUT plans and communicating instantaneously across interstellar distances. How do I publish a whole book about Bob and the Deltans without revealing the big finish, or even spoilers about the other sub-plots? Only by being what’s called an “unreliable narrator.” I can’t speak for anyone else, but I hate unreliable narrators. You’re basically just lying to the reader to keep them in the dark.

So, yeah. I had to leave a lot of stuff hanging. I tried to break things at a logical point. For instance, Bob’s sub-plot ends with the Deltans arriving at the promised land; Riker’s sub-plot ends with the Colonists arriving at their promised land. And Milo’s sub-plot ends with the Bobs having more or less kicked Medeiros’ ass in 82 Eridani.

But none of this goes away. In fact it gets worse. By book 3, there are somewhere between 500 and 1000 Bobs in the galaxy. This is technically a spoiler, I supposed, but I doubt it’ll be a surprise to anyone: the Others that Mario finds evidence of, turn out to be a major pain in the butt, and the Bobs have to mobilize.

And I’ll reveal this as well: The resolutions at the end of book 2 won’t be any more satisfying than the end of book 1, if by “satisfying” you’re looking for “and they lived happily ever after.”

However, at the end of book 3, I think (at least I hope) that I deliver that comfortable just-had-a-good-meal glow.

So, okay, Legion has very much the feel of a serial, and I’m sorry for that, and I wish I could have done it more as independent books. In fact, the reason I wasn’t able to get it published by a traditional publishing company is specifically because of that. Big publishing companies won’t take a chance on a series (even a trilogy) from an unknown author. But the series wrote itself. I just supplied the fingers.

But look at the bright side: at least I didn’t end book 1 with Bob pushing a canoe out into the river while Guppy scrambles desperately to catch up with him.

 

 

27 comments

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  1. David

    Hey Dennis, I got your book on audible and listened to it, I was really surprised by how many reviews it had, so I took a chance on it. I did enjoy it quite a bit, and it did feel short, but that’s the author’s prerogative. 🙂

    Spoilers below for anyone else reading:

    Just a few comments/criticisms on it. The first thing I thought was, hey, I really like this story, but oh shit it’s a complete rip off of Kevin O’Donnell’s 1955 book “Mayflies”. There was enough difference that I didn’t totally feel that way by the end of the book, but they are still VERY similar, in fact, much of the Bob-verse is what “Mayflies” could have become if a sequel had been written.

    I don’t quite understand all of the comparisons to “The Martian” I’ve seen reviewers put up, I can only guess that these people don’t read much science fiction, as there’s not much reality-grounded science in the Bob-verse, which is what set “The Martian” apart from most other stories, along with the Robinson Crusoe aspect.

    On that point, my criticism is that Bill seems to be able to make huge scientific advances with little effort. Bob was a software engineer, which means he probably knew dick squat about the mathematics, physics, chemistry, etc., necessary to make those advances, and even if he does have the benefit of things like perfect recall, a calculator attached to his brain, and the ability to slow time down internally, he can still do only one thing at a time (as pointed out in the book), and I don’t recall anywhere in the story where he (or any Bob) sits down and says “oh, I need to read up on/become an expert in all of these scientific fields that I have no experience in.” Bob being able to get up to speed on a century’s worth of progress in software engineering in a short time I can believe, but I had a hard time swallowing that he was able to make more progress on things like FTL communication and longer range sensors than a planet full of scientists in countries that were devoting a lot of time to fighting each other and probably looking for military advances just like that. I was really surprised that Bill never said “Hey, I need to make 50 more Bob’s to help tackle this problem”, the only reason the Bob’s seems to make more Bob’s is to pilot ships to go fight people.

    On that topic, all of the Bob’s seem very accepting of their rolls, no one really says, “Hey, screw you, you stay here and do whatever shit work you created the others to get done because none of us want to.” They’re all pretty passive about doing whatever the older Bob tells them to, which seems out of character for Bob.

    Last thing that stuck out to me was Bob (or one of his iterations) making comments like “there’s not enough resources in this system to make many more Bob’s” or whatever he’s talking about, paraphrasing of course. Our solar system’s asteroid belt probably has enough easily accessible metal to make millions, if not billions, of Bob ships, and I would assume the same of most other solar systems. Here’s a site that references several books written on the subject: http://www.scienceclarified.com/scitech/Comets-and-Asteroids/How-Humans-Will-Mine-Asteroids-and-Comets.html

  2. Markdsm

    hi David, lets get the obvious out of the way and put my ‘fanboy’ status on the table. I’ve listened to the audible almost 6 times now (work situation allows me a lot of listening time and i found the book and the narrator to be a perfection combination to listen to repeatedly). That being said, i would like to point out a few things that contradict with some of the logic in your review.

    huge scientific leaps – he was a software engineer yes but he minored in theoretical physics. no matter how you try to spin that, he does have a strong grasp of mathematics, physics, and possible chemistry.

    He did read up on a lot of things, they pointed that out earlier on in the book when he was still on earth that he dove into any library he could, even being upset with Dr Saunders (?) when he disconnected him during Bob’s study of currently electrical engineering standards (?).

    As Bob was waiting to launch on his journey “as soon as statcom signed off, i jacked up my frame rate to maximum, hoping to get in as much study-time as possible.”

    Everything Bob created..was not anything Bob invented. Bigger surge drives – already invented by humans, the FTL communication was a modification of the Suddar (radar thingy) that was stumbled upon by accident. The plasma lance gun, was already created by humans but the Bobs figured a way to transfer it into bullet form after like 10 years of development.

    As Bob was waiting to launch on his journey “as soon as statcom signed off, i jacked up my frame rate to maximum, hoping to get in as much study-time as possible.”

    As far as the Bobs being passive, i think you failed to grasp the morality of Bob. When Bob made his first cohort. They knew nothing of earth’s predicament. All they knew is that they needed to explore, find out what happened to earth, and tackle the Brazilian problem. Each new bob did what they want, some had no desire to go to earth, others seemed happy to tackle the Brazilian problem, others wanted to explore right away, and one seemed to want to get away from the other Bobs as soon as possible. The only time the Bobs became “passive” is when they were created to tackle a serious problem, like killing Brazilian probes and helping Earth. Which all the Bob’s agreed, was more important then personal ambitions. Besides, they were immortal, they could spend 50 years on current projects and do as they wish afterwards, no pressure.

    As far as the material issues within the different systems, it was addressed. For the most part, Bob was only concerned for resources they could mine outside of planets. They said it time and time again bringing up resources from a gravity well (planetary bodies) was slow and time consuming and mostly not feasible. They were limited to what resources they could find in zero gravity. Which we don’t know how much resources were required to create a Bob or a colonization ship. The book eluded to the colony ships as huge endeavors requiring tons of resources. I don’t think we have enough information to conclude Dennis was right or wrong in saying what system had enough resources to do what or why he didn’t create 50 more Bob’s for whatever reason. That might be part of Bob’s weakness later on in the series, instead of doing exactly what you say and making 50 more Bobs, he’s off trying to be humanity savior, god to an alien race, and whatever else Bob likes to do and gets his ass into a vise by more drone like probes.

    If i was to have any negative feedback on Dennis’ We Are Bob is the weak ending. Yes Dennis, even a fanboy thinks the ending was a little weak, and a few of the people that I convinced to buy/read We are Bob agree the ending was bad but they all agree was a good book overall and can’t wait for the next one.

    Btw Dennis, this youtuber Loki. Don’t give that troll the attention he craves. I bet you all the views his review of your book came from you responding to him and posting the link here. Dropping the F bomb, smoking a cigarette, talking about penises and drugs. (possibly an expert in those analogies ?) during a ‘serious’ review of your book and having you respond is perhaps the defining moment of his whole YouTube career. BAD DENNIS, BAD!

  3. Lee

    I stumbled across your book on Audible and just finished listening to it this morning. I loved it! I didn’t mind the open-ended conclusion at all. It was clear to me partway through that this was a story that was far too big for a single book to contain, so I’m excited that there’s going to be more. Can’t wait to read it!

  4. Cody

    Just finished your book legion, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had no problem with the way the book ends and am anxious to read the next. I just hope you stay safe with the upcoming snowboarding season, or at least finish the third book before you hit the slopes ; ).

  5. Stevie

    Hi Dennis,

    Loved the book. I reviewed it on Goodreads
    https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1775182981

    Then shared that at /r/printSF
    https://www.reddit.com/r/printSF/comments/569gi9/can_i_interest_you_in_a_comedyhard_sf_hybrid/
    And at /r/audiobooks
    https://www.reddit.com/r/audiobooks/comments/56fibj/can_i_interest_you_in_a_comedyhard_science/

    Where the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Looking forward to Book 2

  6. Sherrie

    I saw that video just now. Basically, he sits there and says, “Nothing got resolved in act one of the three act play!! Leave at the intermission!” smh

    I absolutely love the book. And your narrator for the audiobook is **perfect**. Guppy slays every time. This stuff is hitting me with all the nostalgia and everything I love about sci-fi all at once, and I’m looking forward to the next two books.

    I do hope you get to work with the same voiceover artist for all three. Woo ha!

  7. Mikey

    Hello Dennis,

    I am listening to book 1 currently via audible. I’m enjoying it so far. I’m glad that I saw your post and look forward to book 2 and eventually book 3.

    Cheers,
    Mikey

  8. Neal

    Umm…well, I like the book so far…screw that Loki guy. There will be many Loki types in your future. As to the meth, you really should stop, but if it helps you formulate stuff, I’m gonna go on the side of necessity.

  9. Christian

    Dennis,
    just finished Legion. Wow!! I think the ending was fine, no worse then any other series of books. My only complaint is the same one I have with any good author, “You should be able to write them as fast as I can read them read.” ^_- Anyone complaining about your ending, well just smile nod and ask them “Where’s your book?” Its much easier for that type to tear down your work, rather then build their own. Best wishes.

  10. Andrew

    Denniss,

    You did right by me. I loved the book, and the breaking points were perfect. I got the feeling that my people were okay, and that, while life wouldn’t be easy, it would continue. The only plot line left hanging was the, duhn duhn duhn, evil planet scavenging others destroying entire solar systems and harvesting their metal and meat!!! That was just a single chapter teaser that is kind of a sidenote with no story or resolution yet.

  11. Linda Breneman

    Hey Dennis, I’m a fan and a real one. Terrific premise, and congrats on managing to differentiate all those Bobs. The ending was swell. Really looking forward to the next two and that outside threat I hope/fear is coming.

  12. Jeremy Tarone

    I am currently reading your book, I’m about halfway through. All I can really say at this point is, stop writing anything except the books please. Stop going to writing seminars, stop sleeping, stop running, stop snowboarding and just write the next two books. You can eat, but sticking to dog kibble will save you much time in preparation and washing dishes.

    Those authors who want a life, so selfish. Don’t you know your only purpose is to entertain us, the fans?

    Is that really too much to ask?

    1. John

      LOL!

  13. Jdk201

    Don’t respond to criticism from a guy that gets barely 100 views. You validate his lame review by even acknowledging it. I loved the book and i feel I got my money’s worth. Loki is just pissed he has to wait for the next book. I assure you he will read book 2. His alternative is to spend $15 on a crap movie.

  14. slyrat

    I felt that you ended the book properly. There was so much going on, and the Bobs were operating, at first, with a communication lag time that made communication impossible. Any update received was already years old. You had multiple Bobs, multiple star systems, multiple story lines. There was no real natural stopping point.
    As for the resources, You didn’t really specify just how Bob was scanning for system resources did you? Unless he had a Star Trek style scanner, that could scan huge areas at a time. I imagined that bob had what amounted to a super powered and sophisticated metal detector. Just because there are enough metals to make millions of Bobs, that doesn’t mean that Bob can detect it easily. Bobs have to go to the asteroids. How deep can they scan into the material of the asteroid? How do you scan for silica and other materials needed for Bobs? These all put a limit on Bobs ability to find resources. Bob is looking for easily worked sources of materials to get himself up and producing as fast as possible. If that is his focus, a resource poor system would merely be one with few easily found, easily worked resources,
    Loki was disappointed that Bob seemed to develop technology so fast, and yet was also disappointed that you didn’t have Bob magic up a detector that could spreadsheet a systems resources. Let him publish a sci-fi novel, and then he can critique other published authors.

  15. Dave

    Hey Dennis… still reading, but I had to take a break and see who you are. (Also, I wanted to make sure I could move into the next book when I’m done with the first.)

    So having found out that I have to wait a bit, I guess I’m now in the same pot with everyone else – slowly percolating away and looking forward to your next publishing date. By the way, I’m listening on audible. The narrator has a perfect “smart ass” attitude. Good choice. Granted he’s got great material, but he’s just so very much fun. I wish I could thank you both in person.

    I am now a follower – which is very unusual for me – and I will be looking forward to what’s next. I hope you are receiving as much joy as you’re sharing. Thanks man.

  16. Jacinta

    I LOVED ‘We are Legion’. This is the best sci-fi book I’ve read in ages. I agree that there wasn’t some BIG ending but I truly enjoyed where the book finished and it didn’t feel like a let down to me. Your ideas were bursting with entertainment and emotion and I was enthralled. Now, suffering a likely incurable addiction to your world, I will be following your work closely and spreading the word.
    Peace.

  17. MPorter88

    I liked We Are Legion very much.
    Bought it from Audible (audio…obviously).
    Recommended it to my brothers…which means more than you can know.
    Will buy the rest of the series….but may wait till a few more are out (god willing…and good luck to you)
    Thanks very much.
    Nuff Said.
    Mike P.

  18. Victor

    Awesome book and the ending was fine for me… I just am aching to hear the next book in the series! Would love to see a posting of the anticipated date for book 2 to audible. Please!

    1. Dennis E. Taylor

      The target is March/2017. June for book 3.

      1. akavan

        Oh thank goodness. I just finished book 1 and had to immediately find hit website to find out when book 2 was due :).

  19. Hector

    Just finished the audiobook and loved it! I couldn’t believe it was written by a first time author, and am really looking forward to reading more in this series and other works as well. My one criticism is that I don’t understand why the personnel busters used against the guerilloids have to be one-time use devices. I get why that has to be the case for the ship busters, but wouldn’t it be possible to attach a blade, sharp point or buzz saw to the personnel busters so they could just slice or stab a guerilloid to death without destroying itself?

  20. Amber

    Dennis, love the book. The Audible is excellent, the reader perfect~~~ I will be waiting for March!!!!

  21. Jeremy

    Hey Dennis! Some random thoughts for you and to others:

    * Loved, loved, loved the book, but was very sad when I realized that the other two aren’t done yet.. But don’t rush them! Take you’re time, I’ll wait!
    * When you do audible versions of the next books, please keep the same narrator.. I thought he did a great job on this book, and I’ve enjoyed his work on other books as well..
    * I was perfectly happy with the way the book ended. No need for some artificial climax of the book or anything. As you said, there are multiple plots going on, and they will continue..
    * As with others, I was wondering about the lack of resources too.. It was mentioned that bringing up resources from the planets wouldn’t be worth it because of the energy and effort to do it. But there would still be an almost limitless amount of resources in the asteroid belts and what not. My assumption is that the Bobs have to go for large veins of resources, don’t have the time or resources to grind up whole asteroids for just trace amounts. So I could see some systems not having big easy deposits of certain resources, or that like in Sol that those large veins/deposits could be used up. I think there was even a small mention/hint somewhere in the book that digging deeper for resources takes to much time and effort..
    * Finally, the only thing that really bothered me about the book, (As Hector Mentioned in his comment) I don’t see why Bob could do some many damned things, but could arm a buster with something as simple as a club or knife or spear. Our of all the other incredible things Bob was able to come up with or modify, there was no way he could attach a pointy stick to a buster?

    Thanks again for writing such a great book! Forget about any naysayers. Just remember that your book has brought entertainment, joy, happiness and all that s!*t to lots of people.. Thanks!

  22. Charles

    Well, criticism aside, the overwhelming feedback has been positive, and it’s now well confirmed (as predicted) that you have written a best-seller. So, my god, congratulations! And, you know, a great many of the comments I have read have celebrated the uniqueness and novelty of Legion. It’s no small feat to come up with something that hasn’t been done to death. It’s really quite remarkable, and so a few negative comments or YouTube videos really mean nothing. They won’t stop me or the thousands of other fans waiting for the next book to drop.

  23. Kevin

    I really enjoyed book one so do whatever you think is best for the next book(s). I’m looking forward to them.

    This would be a great story to publish in serial format if there was a good way to do that.

  24. Nick

    Loving the books so far! I hope you don’t stop at three! Five might be a comfortable number …. 🙂

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