Apr 07

Genealogy of the Bobs

I’ve been asked a few times about the Bob family tree. This one is in the appendices of book 2, so there are a few names in here that will be new to you. If I’ve missed anyone, let me know. It’s too late for the first edition of For We Are Many, but I can fix future editions.

ETA: I’ve added Marvin, who was missed on the first cut. Sadly, that means he’ll be missed in the book 2 release as well. Damn.

ETA ETA: Added Loki as well. I suck.


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  1. Kurt

    Thanks so much for posting this!

    I did a family tree (for those who are interested) that also includes the timeline of when each Bob was built while still maintaining the lineage structure.

  2. Craig

    I was reading a NASA article that was outlining a few think tank concepts some of the engineers were having feasibility discussions about. Nothing that has received official funding for but the goal of the think tank was to work out some of the low level planning to validate the merit of the ideas. One of the ideas was around AI and self replicating probes that use 3D printers…. hmmm sounds familiar. I bet there are some Bob fans at NASA 🙂

    1. Dennis E. Taylor

      I would love to see more on this if it goes public at all.

  3. Alex

    It seems like Bob is relatively slow with his pace of replication, whereas Medeiros probably has hundreds of copies of himself by the end of book 1. I just hope Bob can handle that much Brazilian mayhem…

    1. Eric Gaechter

      I don’t worry much about the Brazillions. Medeiros may be a briliant tactician with access to nukes, but he has no idea how to build anything besides what info he has on board. The Bobs on the other hand are constantly progressing in technology, with such amazing breakthoughs as faster-than-light communications.

      Basically, if this is Starcraft, then Medeiros is the Zerg, so while he may have the initial strength advantage, giving him the opportunity to wipe out the opposition, the Bobs will advance past that and come out as over-all more powerful.

      1. Zach Elfers

        What if the others absorb him? Or have already?

  4. Alex

    Wasn’t there a Marvin, or am I misremembering?

    1. Dennis E. Taylor

      Yep, you’re right. One of Bob’s clones, in the Luke/Bender cohort. I’ll have to update this.

  5. Greg

    Wait, what chapter is Mario’s clones mentioned?

    I don’t remember anything about Mario’s clones.

    1. Dennis E. Taylor

      The genealogy includes activity in book 2.

  6. EvilTexan

    Just finished re-read #5 and am really excited for Tuesday.

    For the genealogy – and just a question in general – What about Khan’s backup he sends to Bill to be re-built and sent with the next wave to tackle the potential remaining Medeiri in 82 Eridani? Is he technically the ‘same’ character as Khan I – even though he’s in a different HEAVEN probe and would potentially have different experiences? What about after, when there are potentially two Khan(s) running around?

    Also – Is there a reason for it not being in “BOB-#” format, with it being Riker – Bill – Milo – Mario? That was how I initially anticipated reading it, and had to pause to get my bearings of who was placed in the order where.

    I work software QA , so please excuse if that’s too hypercritical, but I figured as an engineer you might appreciate it. =P

    Best of luck Tuesday,

    1. Dennis E. Taylor

      When Khan’s backup is restored, the new clone takes the name ‘Loki’. There’s a joke in there about this particular clone liking bad guys.

      As for the numbering, I think someone comments early on that it’s hard to maintain the numbering system across light-years without FTL communications. You inevitably get naming collisions. TBH, I can’t remember if that comment survived edits, so it might not be in the published version.

      1. EvilTexan

        I don’t see Loki on the genealogy, but he may have been purposefully left off to avoid spoilers?

        That blurb was in the final versions (Marvin to Bob during Delta Clone production, Ch. 30), and I understood that the subsequent bob-clones weren’t sticking with the Bob-# system because that would be incredibly hard to keep straight with FTL delays (and for your own sanity I imagine).

        Always appreciate your timely responses. If you’re in need of a beta reader for any future projects, I would be extremely grateful for the opportunity.


        1. Dennis E. Taylor

          I guess I missed Loki as well. Another bug.

  7. Melissa

    In chapter 60, when Khan’s group meets with Medeiros there are nine Bobs named: Khan, Hannibal, Tom, Fred, Kyle, Elmer, Barney, Ned, and Jackson. Fred and Jackson were destroyed at the same time. Only reason I noticed is because Jackson is my last name. Maybe change it for future edits?

    1. Dennis E. Taylor

      I think someone already reported that bug, and I fixed it. Someone’s name got changed partway through the chapter.

      1. MTC

        Where is Thor?

        1. Dennis E. Taylor

          You’re kidding. I missed another one? I’m fired.

          1. DrDub

            Where is Hank?

  8. ARturo

    8 hours to release! I can’t wait!

  9. ArtNJ

    Granted, the metal and life eating villain is a very serious situation, but still, Bob is Bob is Bob. So I am confident that the threat would immediately be code-named Galactus. Maybe I just haven’t gotten to that part yet, but if I immediately thought “Oh shit, they found Galactus” I’m sure it would have occurred to Bob as well…

    1. Dennis E. Taylor

      Name a planet-eating whatzit ‘Galactus’ and I’ll find Stan Lee knocking at my door.

  10. Anne Taylor

    Oh Homer! Began the audiobook within minutes of waking this morning. Lots of laughter, some tears and several “I wonder where he will go with that story line”.

    All in all, thank you Dennis. I am quite sure I will listen to this one a dozen times just as I have with book one. Good audiobooks are well worth listening to over and over during work commutes.

    Live long and prosper Bob.

  11. Will

    When’s the next book?
    Already need more.

    1. Dennis E. Taylor

      I just talked to my agent tonight. And got the final edits today. So my part is about done. We’re still looking at the summer. June is probably too optimistic at this point. I’m hoping for July, but it could be August. No one wants it to be even a day later than it has to.

      1. Ken

        Oh thank God. I may have had a heart attack if you would have said sometime next year and turned into a George RR Martin.

      2. Zach Elfers

        I just finished book 2. Brilliant!

        Then i see this?!
        Thank you.

      3. Tasha

        Yeah, this is pretty much the best news ever*. I need to know how they are going to defeat the Others – if Bill and I have the same idea. I didn’t know that I’d end up having a favorite Bob, but Bill is totally it. Hooray for the next book!

        *I may be being a bit hyperbolic. I don’t care.

  12. Sohrab

    Just finished the second book, and wow. Very interesting, my I did have a couple problems with it, such as it being a bit strange that a couple of pronunciations were changed in the aubiobooks from book one to book two, not really a big deal. And the other of course is was too short, but that last one, sort of a catch 22 as we would have to wait longer for it to be released, still. Also I wanted to ask is there any chance this series will go longer than three books, probably you have answered this before but I think its worth asking again.

    1. Dennis E. Taylor

      The series itself, the bobiverse universe, is open-ended. The current storylines wrap up in the third book. But I have several other ideas percolating already for subsequent books. Those will most likely be standalones.

      1. Lord Dave Hand

        More Bobs for the science fictions gods!

  13. Adarsh

    The book was pretty awesome and i can’t wait for the next one!

    I do wonder, do the Bob’s lose their creativity and human ability to make leaps of logic as they get further away from their source(Bob-1)? Because the later generation Bobs care less about humanity, don’t make complicated VR’s and Bob made much more progress and in less time than Bill in the android development business.

    I did love how Howard showed how very Human the Bob’s are.

  14. Peter

    Okay, done with book 2, time to listen to it then nag on how long it will be for book 3….

    nicely done! I was waiting for there to be new concepts to be introduced as quickly as they were in the first (not possible, its a sequel, i get it but i still wanted it) but the second half was great at that and made greedy for the next.

  15. NSP

    Is the new book available in epub format anywhere? I can’t find it in the kobo store 🙁

    1. Dennis E. Taylor

      No, it’s exclusively Amazon. KU is about half my Amazon royalties and that requires exclusivity.

  16. Clay

    Loved the series and everything about it, but out of curiosity, It seems rather interesting that out of all of the iterations of bob, only one seems to have the slightest interest in the fairer sex, and even then, the attraction seems more emotional than physical. I know very few self respecting nerds that wouldn’t at least attempt to exploit virtual reality for that purpose. Even without hormonal distraction, there is a definite phychalogical tendency toward appreciation for a pretty face. I know bob still psessed the capacity to appreciate the female doctor that helped train him. What I am asking is, Did you do this deliberately to remove the controversy of such activity, or is bob somehow still emotionally damaged from the relationship described in the first chapter of book one.

    1. Dennis E. Taylor

      Yes. 🙂

      TBH, as Bob said about the doctor, his appreciation is more theoretical. There’s no real reason for a replicant to continue to have a sex drive, and it would have changed the tone of the series, I think.

      Not that it can’t still happen…

  17. Ane

    Loving the series so far! Definitely my two favourite audiobooks, can’t wait for the next one 🙂

    Warning! Technical question as I’m working on a wikia-page for the series:
    I was wonderingwhat you meant by Bill’s line “We were, what, eight to ten generations deep in Bobs now?”. It’s a bit far from the four generations we know about so far according to the family tree. Has he just lost count, or are the Bobs counting generations in a different way? Or are there more Bobs that we don’t know about yet?

    1. Dennis E. Taylor

      The family tree only references Bobs that have a specific place in the story. It’s by no means the entire family tree. So yes, there are 8-10 generations of Bobs out there, but most of them will never come on-screen except as cannon-fodder.

      1. Andrew Goude

        The “cannon-fodder” doesn’t make sense as with FTL communications all the Bobs could stay out of the fight and let the lesser AI control the drones doing the fighting and “dieing”. This really hit me the second time I was listening to For We Are Many when going through the first death of Hal. As why did he just not launch two drones to talk with each other with radio communications, while he monitored them over SCUT. Then it would only be drones that would have been attacked not Hal.

        You even mention that Bobs don’t have to “go anywhere” anymore with FTL comms, and have already had HEAVEN ships remotely controlled and run by their own AI. This just seems to be a large logic flaw.

        1. Dennis E. Taylor

          It gets used more in the third book. However, remoting isn’t cost-free either. There’s extra equipment required at both ends; there’s a 25 LY distance limit; and although I don’t go into it in the book (because exposition is bad, don’tchano) there are bandwidth limits. SCUT doesn’t have frequencies as such–everyone shares the transmission space. Too much activity and it’s like a saturated network–constant packet collisions.

  18. Ken

    Just finished listening to the Audiobook. LOVE IT!! It still has much of the same magic of the first one. The humor, engaging story, the Others; all awesome. Now the long wait for the next book to continue the story. I will likely be listening to this one several times as well in the mean time.

    PS. The only thing that irked me just a little bit about the audiobook is the narrator pronounces certain things a bit different from the first audiobook. Like Eridani and Archimedes. But I am stickler about details like that sometimes. Other than that, fantastic book and looking forward to more!

    1. Dennis E. Taylor

      I haven’t listened to it yet, but his pronunciation of ‘Archimedes’ in the first one wasn’t the generally accepted one. I guess he just corrected that. Don’t know about ‘Eridani’ yet.

      1. Ken

        Its a minor thing. I just like consistency. Either way Ray Porter was the PERFECT choice to narrate these books and does an absolutely amazing job bringing each of the characters to life in their own unique way. I don’t think you could have found a better person for this series.

        1. Bob C.

          I totally agree!

  19. Arturo

    Just finished book two: that was AWESOME. Need more asap. The concepts are just so much fun, and so well thought out…
    I wondered, back in book 1, why Bob 1 didn’t consider guns with pressurized air. I understand they can be as deadly as gunpowder guns, but don’t require explosives, and would have been a lot easier to make and put on drones than busters… Same goes for other wildlife dangers found by other bobs, like the raptos at Vulcan. Have you given any thought to it?
    As far as the Others go (great job on them, btw, I was so glad I guessed they were building a Dyson Sphere or a Ringworld), the Bobs should definitely throw relativistic hiper-dense masses at their star. I guess that’s Bill’s plan? The resulting mess would more than screw with their chances of a raid on Sol et al, even if unsuccessful (see Cixin Liu’s “photoids”).
    Sorry if I am rambling a bit, it’s just that I got very exited about the book. It was a great read, and I am so very thankful for it.
    Hope to read you more soon.

  20. Charles

    I just finished Book two. Awesome! Can’t wait for Book Three – hope there are many more. One comment I have is that, if you follow planetary science, it seems likely as if there are many, many moons and planets in the universe with oceans larger then what Earth has. Pluto, for instance, Europa, Encephalus. All of them make better colonization targets (well, Europa and Encephalus, certainly, not Pluto) then a planet like say, Mars. The problem with a planet like Ragnarok (or Mars) is that the thin atmosphere doesn’t slow down things entering it as much as Earth’s does, but still is thick enough to make it very, very hard to land things on. Almost all successful probes on Mars bounced down, rather then using rockets to slow them, for instance. And then you still have an expensive gravity well to get out of. But with an ice-moon, you would have much cheaper landing/launching, and you’d have plenty of places to get water/air and do hydroponics. Your Bob’s are missing out on a LOT of potential sites for life, and for colonization targets.

    My other comment is that, it seems as if the Bob’s progressively iterate over time. It would seem to me that, as these changes stack up, your liable to get Bobs increasingly alien to the original Bob. You already see a cultural shift amongst the Bob’s in general towards thinking of organics as ephemerals. But now we have androids. How much longer will it be before the Bobs have something increasingly representing the full range of humanity and personalities? I mean, you have some pretty extreme variations as it is, but they all still, deep down, have a self-identity as the original person, as shown by the Bobinet. That seems something that has to start changing soon.

    Each generation (or Batch) of Bobs has one wildly divergent one. How long until multiple wildly divergent batches stockpile and one doesn’t see himself as Bob at all – and runs off to act as an android with some alien species, or whatever? I mean, I’ve never been clear on whether Riker is making himself LOOK like Picard’s 2nd in command or not, and whether or not he is probably says large things about the range of divergent self-identities they have. I mean, I …think… Homer was doing that, right, which was the point of why everyone found him annoying? At the very least, I’d assume that, if Bobinet works like a VR MMO, at some point one of them is going to run around looking different.

  21. Mathias

    Just finished book 2. Outstanding! Can hardly wait until the next book. Too bad I can’t just frame-jack until then. Any chance of posting a sample chapter for book 3?

  22. Judas759

    Dennis I love this series, but book 2 ahold of been work words. You have this huge family tree across 40 to 100 light year’s. You have the opportunity to write the great American science fiction series, you can make Me.Scalzi jealous with this. On that note please get book 3 done.

    Mark aka Judas, hey maybe uses Judas’s name as I clone lol

  23. Anne Taylor

    CLAY ” It seems rather interesting that out of all of the iterations of bob, only one seems to have the slightest interest in the fairer sex, and even then, the attraction seems more emotional than physical.

    My brain went there also. However I also wondered if any given generation of Bobs, farther and farther away from Bob1, would self identify as female. If any of them would eventually modify their appearance. Or Guppy’s appearance.

    1. Dennis E. Taylor

      Well, nothing is impossible, of course. And as a more general statement, as the generations get farther from Bob-1, they’ll stop being Bob at all, really, and becomes someone different.

  24. Rey

    Great work! Thank you. Just finished book 2 on audible and awaiting book 3. I can see the Bobverse could definitely acquire a BSG flavor with the Bob’s playing the Cylon skin jobs later.

  25. Bob C.

    Just wondering, has anyone ever done picture or two of what Bob and maybe Bill look like (I figured there will be slight difference between the two Bobs)? Maybe even the Deltans, Gorilliods, or “The Others”? Thanks

    1. Dennis E. Taylor

      I think there are a couple of sketches on my FB page by fans.

      I’m going to have to get serious about that stuff, though.

  26. Rob

    Ya missed Bruce! Calvin and Goku first cohort, chapter 57 🙂

  27. Craig

    A cross reference to systems would be nice. A Universe Sandbox 2 model was be amazing!

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