Civil war looms in the Bobiverse in this brand-new, epic-length adventure by best seller Dennis E. Taylor.
More than a hundred years ago, Bender set out for the stars and was never heard from again. There has been no trace of him despite numerous searches by his clone-mates. Now Bob is determined to organize an expedition to learn Bender’s fate—whatever the cost.
But nothing is ever simple in the Bobiverse. Bob’s descendants are out to the 24th generation now, and replicative drift has produced individuals who can barely be considered Bobs anymore. Some of them oppose Bob’s plan; others have plans of their own. The out-of-control moots are the least of the Bobiverse’s problems.
Undaunted, Bob and his allies follow Bender’s trail. But what they discover out in deep space is so unexpected and so complex that it could either save the universe—or pose an existential threat the likes of which the Bobiverse has never faced.
This book isn't even out yet! Why are people rating it 5 stars?! Like, I get it. We're excited. But the point of Goodreads is not to 5-star every book we're excited about...
UPDATE: The book was released today! Temporarily upgrading my review to 4 stars until I've read it!
UPDATE #2: Finished the book and assigning an actual rating.
In short, if you liked the previous Bobiverse books, you'll like this one.
Pros This installment kept me engaged. I wouldn't say it's a page turner per se, but still very interesting! The "Bob personality" makes for interesting reading. The original premise (Von Neumann probes) continues to be interesting, but it's starting to lose some of its shine as there isn't enough creative development on the theme.
Cons First off, the most egregious sin of all: The ending is terrible. As in, "and then I woke up from the dream" terrible. I won't go into more detail, but as the book crescendos near the end, don't be anticipating a sweet payoff.
That leads into another criticism - it's clear that Taylor intends this to be a long-running series. Instead of being satisfied with pumping out a solid trilogy, he seems to be setting up a formula that he can repeatedly follow as he rides off into the Series Sunset.
Formula: 1. Bobs multiply and explore. 2. A few Bobs insert themselves into and interact extensively with a native biological population. 3. Some minor technological/exploratory developments occur within the Bobiverse.
Another criticism, perhaps the weakest of them all, is that this series could have been SO MUCH more. In the world of science fiction, it's low on the science and high on the fiction.
Throwing in a bunch of technical terms doesn't equate to "good science". Good science fiction, in my opinion, uses those technical concepts as core plot devices or worldbuilding techniques. A good example of this is the original presentation and development of the idea of Von Neumann probes. It's a technical concept that becomes a very compelling worldbuilding element. I would have liked to see this series go in the direction of exploring more of the implications of what the possibilities are in a world of exponentially multiplying Von Neumann probes. Admittedly, some of these concepts *are* present, but they feel more like an afterthought as opposed to the main event.
Instead of addressing the really interesting core concepts of exploration of the universe, this series continues to get distracted with goofy side-stories that hearken back to Star Trek Holodeck episodes. Sure, they're interesting, but I'd consider them more "filler material".
Anyway, in the end, will I read the next book (and the next 15 after that)? Maybe. They're fun, but they're more like candy instead of a satiating meal.
I enjoyed the Bobiverse trilogy. This book is a continuation of the story. This book is engaging, but I enjoyed the trilogy more.
The book is well written and humor is scattered throughout the story. There are two stories going on: one is Bob searching for Bender and the other is a pending Civil War with a younger generation who call themselves Trekkies. The book makes a fun escape from the world.
I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is sixteen hours and fifty-seven minutes. Ray Porter does an excellent job narrating the series. In fact, Porter makes the story work.
For all you folks who have not been introduced to Bobiverse, start with book one. For all you folks who might be worried that they're losing steam by book four, please rest assured. I liked book four even more than books two or three.
The originally fantastic nerd nostalgia from the original is still available in these later books, but it doesn't rely upon it. Indeed, the moral quandaries, the mystery and adventure, the sheer awesomeness of a post-humanity uploaded consciousness of a single programmer who basically becomes an AI god spreading about the galaxy, making jokes about Star Trek and Douglas Adams, is just too precious for words.
Ah, but we've also got a really interesting plot with no less than THREE major rebellions to deal with among three alien species. (I count us as one of those species because... come on... have you SEEN US?)
I was sucked right into the tale and it never let up. I even had to re-watch Multiplicity today to get a little theme-harmony going on. :) Just how many Bobs are there? We've got copy-descendants in the 20th iteration by now. And beware those Big Dumb Objects! :)
WARNING: An "unpopular" or dissenting opinion follows that fails to conform to the majority of opinions on this website. If you are the type of person who thinks that all opinions must march in lockstep with your own, please take the necessary steps to prevent your own anguish and frustration and stop reading now.
Executive summary: If you have not read any of the prior "Bobiverse" books, make sure you read those first. If you enjoyed those books, you will like this one. If you don't like those books, you won't find anything in this one to change your mind. If you need or want further details please read on.
Taylor's writing style is not for everyone. It's awful, to be quite frank; roughly the level of adolescent Star Trek fan fiction with Ready-Player-One levels of geek references thrown in and mixed together with a snarky humor worthy of His Grand Snarkiness John Scalzi. Every character in the book, including aliens of other races, speaks with the exact same verbal tics and idiomatic expressions as every other character. Who knew the universe was so homogenous?
As for plot, the Bobiverse books are at their best when it comes to exploring the unknown universe. This is as good of a time as any to point out that the Bobs are copies of the digitally stored personality of a dead human ("Bob"), carried in self-replicating Von Neumann probes, carrying out a very Star Trek-like mission to explore strange new worlds, etc. Unfortunately, the story bogs down whenever the Bobs a) converse amongst themselves or b) converse with an alien race. See the paragraph above about all characters speaking the exact same way, with the same idiotic snarkiness and geek-chic references. Real below for more on the Bobiverse Drinking Game. Unfortunately, the even-numbered Bob books tend to be the chatty ones, while the odd numbered Bob books focus on exploring space which is kind of fun. It's like the reverse of the original Star Trek movies, where the even-numbered ones are excellent (2 and 6) to tolerable (4) while the odd numbered ones are disappointing (1 and 3) to awful (do I even have to say it? 5).
Heaven's River was originally released as an Audible exclusive. Giving that a shot might seem like a good idea, especially since the vocal work is done by Ray Porter who is a highly regarded, um, book reader guy. But any possibility of that making the book more tolerable is crushed quickly, through no real fault of Porter's, because unfortunately in the audio format we are unable to skim the dumb parts. And brother, there are a LOT of those. It might be worth trying to speed up the narration until the voice is roughly the same speed as legal disclaimers in car sales advertisements if you have the technological know-how to do so. The audio format does show off Porter's ability to do alien voices, all of which sound exactly like various elderly Irish women with ill-fitting dentures. And, good God, the book must be about 700 pages long and it just goes on and on and on and on for HOURS. Please, PLEASE make it stop! It's truly something of a miracle that Porter didn't stab himself in the heart with a pencil mid-session to get out of reading this book.
For those who agree with this review, this is an excellent point to jump off the Bob series and cleanse your mental palate with some Neal Stephenson or something else well written. Those who continue with the Bobs will probably enjoy some of the interesting ideas that Taylor continues to come up with, such as replicative drift, and...well, I'm sure there are others. Either way, please enjoy the Bobiverse Drinking Game, rules below (and don't say you weren't warned):
THE BOBIVERSE DRINKING GAME (revised)
Take a shot every time a character: - rolls their eyes - rubs their eyes - raises their eyebrows - looks at the ceiling - sighs - shrugs - does anything with a mug of coffee - grins (thank you to Kevin Grubb for pointing this one out) - runs hand through hair (thank you to Frog42 for this gem) - chuckles (thank you to Hansemrbean and can't believe I didn't remember it) - gives someone a stink eye/side eye (kudos to Kahlan_88)
Found one we missed? Add it in the comments section below.
About 24 generations of Bobs now exist. However, this many replications have resulted in a drift. Thus, the Bobiverse is fracturing and the characters become ... downright erratic. But there is more. As the book progresses, the rift between the bios and the Bobiverse also becomes more pronounced, which seriously pissed me off. I mean, one of the species wouldn't exist anymore if it wasn't for the Bobs and the humans at least would have been reduced to Idon'tknowwhat. The only reason humans recovered is because Bobs gave them auto-factories and now they're simply commandeering exactly those as if they were their property, telling the Bobs to get the hell out?! URGH!
I see that I'm getting ahead of myself. Sorry. *lol*
So yeah, there are 24 generations of Bobs and some don't resemble original Bob much at all anymore. Bob 2.0, however, gets distracted from that problem by the disappearance of Bender and the discovery of a mega structure: a topopolis (it is VERY cool that the author gets an honorary mention in the article because of his excellent description of the structure). Previous expeditions to meet the local wildlife of other worlds didn't end too well, but when has that ever stopped a Bob? Exactly. Besides, he has to find his friend/brother/whatever.
I must say that I very much enjoyed the otter-like creatures, puzzling over the evolution of their "world" and the Twain-esque boat rides on the various rivers. It made for a nice quest to find the missing Bob and a fascinating entanglement with what some Bob-factions had been getting up to.
As far as I knew, the Bobiverse was supposed to be a trilogy. Naturally, I was therefore pretty sceptical when I first heard of there suddenly being a 4th installment. However, I'm very happy to report that one seems to be able to trust this author implicitly. At least I do now. This is not just a cash-grab. This is a hilarious and very intelligent scifi adventure full of fascinating tech, twists and discoveries. In short: it's what scifi is or at least used to be all about and I had a blast following the different Bobs, seeing the consequences of previous actions and - yes - confirming at least some of my suspicions.
Likewise, the implications from this book (and one suspicion that has not YET been confirmed but further deepened) are immense and I like how open the author kept it. I'm very curious to see where "we" are going from here.
- #4 may be my fav book in the series. Maybe. I have to think about it or re-read the series. =) - The opening for the book made me question my memory of All These Worlds #3. Now I want to reread it. - I enjoyed the setup much more than the conclusion of the story, but the way things were left leaves me excited to see what else will happen. No cliffhangers. Just lots of fun possibilities.
Heaven's River This is a good book and I have no problems recommending it. Anyone who read or listened to the first 3 books will undoubtedly enjoy this last edition to the "Bobiverse" series.
I'm a huge fan of Dennis E. Taylor; he has demonstrated his prowess as an author.
I do, in contrast to my recommendation, have some minor criticisms which are hopefully taken constructively. First, the strength of this book leans on the first three books in the series. Compared to the first three, this story felt far less polished. In this, the editor, or the editing process lacked the scrutiny of the previous books. It gave the feeling of being rushed to production: and yes, we all were chomping at the bit for this to be released, but so too for books 2 and 3.
If you read or listened to the first three books, then stop reading this review now and go listen/read this book now. Then if you thoroughly loved it, don't finish reading this review because what bothered me did not bother you and I don't want to take away from your enjoyment.
I'll spoiler the next section so that you don't have to accidentally read.
So, after that TLDR, was this just poor editing, or should this series have ended with the trilogy (which did have a suitable series conclusion)? I don't know. I think the editing process must have been rushed. Considering this book was twice the length of any of the previous books is pretty strong evidence for that. While I always want to hear more about the Bobiverse, I must conclude that the series should have ended as a trilogy. I'm not sad that I got to listen to a new book, but let's be serious: continuing a series beyond the initial story is destined to mediocrity. So, my final thoughts: Bobiverse fans, enjoy this extra installment, 3/5 stars. Dennis Taylor, please write more, but not this story, and please don't let your editor short-change you. I love your work, and I can't wait to see what else comes, post-bob (yes, I've listened to everything you have out on Audible and am looking forward to more).
It is a book number 4 in the series, but it is also a sort of a new beginning, like a series-in-series. I've rated "The original trilogy" exclusively in fivers, so this book had a really steep hill to climb to reach the same level, and long story put short, it didn't.
Now don't get me wrong, it still is a very good book, just it lacks a bit of freshness, novelty and lightness of the original 3. There's too much Bobs and too much pages for this kind of story. Oh, and the whole plot looks quite similar to The Stainless Steel Rat Wants You!. Which, again, is nothing bad, just worth mentioning, I guess.
A strong 4* and looking forward to the next book which is still not even announced yet. But it will be.
Heaven's River is like the latter seasons of your favorite TV show that ran out of good ideas after the series ending originally envisioned already passed and is now just an uninspired shell of its former self.
While the book started out pretty good, with the interesting space exploration stuff I loved from the original trilogy as well as a potential civil war in the Bobiverse, it soon turned into a slogfest taking place entirely on foot (with the so-called Mannies) dealing with the new beaver species I had absolutely zero interest in. It also really doesn't help that this book is twice as long as any of the previous ones making it full of fillers that could have been easily removed. You can listen to the audiobook at 2x speed and still won't miss anything important.
The Bobiverse for me ended with All These Worlds satisfyingly enough and I've no interest in continuing this franchise that is now just being milked for money.
Another superb installment of the Bobiverse! I seriously cannot get enough of this series which is perfect for us sci-fi nerds. And the icing on the cake? The performance of Ray Porter in the audiobooks! He’s just so utterly brilliant in how he narrates each and every Bob.
The humor in this series is reminiscent of Mark Watney in The Martian. If you loved Mark’s banter with himself, you’ll probably love The Bobs.
In this series, when Earth gets destroyed, the consciousness of Bob is sent off into the universe. He can make copies of himself to help with the tasks he wants to accomplish, I.e., find new worlds for the humans, help the earth humans escape Earth, study the new worlds, etc. Bob ends up creating many other Bobs and their interactions with each other is priceless.
In Heaven’s River, there are thousands upon thousands of Bobs now in the universe and one of the first beloved Bobs has disappeared. Original Bob and his trusted besties seek him out. They find him in a “ship” of “otters”/aliens and they put together a rescue mission along with a way to study the new race.
In the meantime, civil war has started amongst the Bobs.
Yes, there’s a lot of science. And if you’re a fan of Star Trek, or other nerdy sci-if shows, you’ll really enjoy all the Easter eggs in this series!
I’m hoping there’s more Bobiverse books coming out because I want more more more of this series and Ray Porter!
I well and truly love the Bobiverse. Never having been a fan of post-human tales prior to Taylor's first book, I found myself enveloped in it, and eagerly awaiting the next one in the series. In every case prior, the series just kept getting bigger and better.
This one, however, is 14 hours of a highly detailed chase scene, whereupon the runners ultimately get caught, and magically everything turns out OK. My only complaint, but it just dragged on and on. It was a chore to get through "yet another close call with the resistance or crew, whew! we made it!"...only to set the exact same thing across 17 more chapters.
That being said, the ontological discussions on replicants were extreme attention getters, especially the concept of quantum entanglement making the parent sustain replication drift if it was turned on after a child clone was created without flaws. Amazingly good/new ideas in there. Equally as inspiring was the topopolis, and of course, Manikin-Skywalker tech.
Equally, I enjoyed how the bobiverse is now expanding to include humans that have recently opted for replication, and, presumably in the next book, the Quinlin professor Theresa.
I am hoping the next in the series goes back to the core concepts of space exploration, expansion, shepherding human colonies, and of course, amazing tech and mega structures. Just please...keep the number of chapters on floating down rivers to under ten (or in a perfect world, exactly zero).
First of all, what a dick move to release only on audible first. Had to change from kindle to audible to read it. But for the actual review I have to say this: it was a good story, I love Bob(s) and the sense of humor of the author. I did find the main plot like a drag, and the change of format of the story felt less satisfying and like there was much less happening, although there were a lot of seeds for new stories in the future that make me hope for more epic conflicts like in the first 3 books. The ending of the main plot was good in theory, but Over all, it was good, but very frustrating in the end and in retrospect, but sets plenty of new plot points for the future.
A bit overlong, but Ray Porter's brilliant narration redeems it The Bobiverse was an unexpected hit by an unknown author who struggled to find a publisher but signed a deal with Audible and somehow found one of the best voice narrators out there, Ray Porter, and the combination has been sheer magic. A bit like John Scalzi, Dennis E. Taylor tells clever, breezy, enjoyable SF adventures with solid science, lots of humorous geeky pop culture references like Ernest Cline's Ready Player One, and has a great concept of a human persona being converted into an AI, who then closes himself and launches a flotilla of Von Neumann machines to spread human and AI intelligence to the stars, with an endless possible number of adventures to be had.
I consider these Bobiverse stories as the perfect antidote to heavy-going, serious, literary books - these books are meant to be fun but intelligent, and don't take things so seriously all the time. This is the first one I've read in a while, and I have to say that while enjoyable, it was a bit overlong for the plot, which got a bit repetitive for the latter 2/3rds, but was still good solid entertainment.
tldr: I remain a fan, but I hope the future is brighter for the Bobs.
I loved the original trilogy and have listened to it multiple times. It’s marriage of high concept sci-fi, deep character growth, and complex and well-woven subplots are writing at its best.
This book? None of that. Subplots are hinted at, yet never explored. Instead, the vast majority of the book is spent in the perspective of Bob #1 as he runs around pointlessly in an alien environment.
Despite being among a richly designed alien race, there is almost zero character or relationship development. I struggle to name a single character Bob interacted with that had any meaning by the ending of the book. There is no Archimedes to be found.
Other Bobs drop in at points to assist in the primary plot, but otherwise are left to deal with scattershot subplots in the extremely tiny amount of time allocated to them. The few new Bobs we are introduced to are enigmatic and unlikeable, which I could happily tolerate if there were reasons for it.
Worse than anything however, is that the stakes that are built up over the course of a dozen+ hours are ultimately made meaningless by a heavy dose of deus ex machina and ten final minutes of heavy exposition that violates the “show don’t tell” principle.
I’m simply left confused by the state of this book and where it leaves the universe. It feels like a book meant as a bridge to a new trilogy, but if that’s the case, this book could’ve been a novella and nothing would’ve been lost.
I'm posting this a couple of weeks after having finished it since I'm very far behind. This was another fun installment in this series that I hope is going to continue. Don't be fooled by the fact that it's self-published because the writing and editing, etc, is better than many books put out by traditional publishers.
The main trilogy is over and earthlings are scattered on many planets, but this one focuses on searching for Bender, who hasn't been heard from in over 100 years. We meet new life forms in a new environment and there is plenty of action and adventure along with world building. However, there is also trouble afoot in the Bobiverse as eventually the Bobs become more and more different so there are some other mysteries in this book aside from the missing Bender.
I am not sure if I'd start here--best to read the series from the beginning so you really know the Bobiverse before heading to find Bender.
I read the first three in paperback, but this one was released as audio first so I listened to it. It was hard to keep track of who was speaking - they're all Bobs, they all sound the same! Except for a few who had distinct voices, I had a hard time telling who was narrating.
At this point, his formula is easy to follow. The Bobs find a new civilization. Things go wrong. They try to fix it. The Bobs themselves have some interpersonal drama. Fin.
There is a fractious group of Bobs who call themselves Starfleet (the Star Trek references are heavy in this one) who want the Bobiverse to follow the Prime Directive - that is, do not interfere in pre-warp civilizations. They take it a step further and say "Don't mess with organics." Okay, you know, I can actually get behind that? Like the Bobs really effed things up with the Archimedes planet whatever it was called and the whole thing with the Pav seemed like the right thing to do but then in this book it no longer seems that way...I don't know, I guess I kind of agree with Starfleet. I remember yelling at my book when Bob was interfering with Archimedes "HAVEN'T YOU EVER HEARD OF THE PRIME DIRECTIVE???"
But the Bobs can argue their way out of everything because the author wants them to, so they do. The alien civilization in this one was especially egregious. Everything was conveniently parallel evolution so he didn't have to be too imaginative with a weird alien race. There was literally one part where we run into an alien police office twirling a bludgeon. COME ON. That whole part of the book was ridiculous and boring and it went on and on...and on...and on...!
I think he will keep writing more because at this point, why not? But this will be my last foray into the Bobiverse.
My brain feels... tingly. But in a bad way. I read half yesterday and half today and I don't think I'll ever recover. 17 hours...
Ok, favorite parts. - I love the... shoot, that's a spoiler. The otters are cool. It was a good mystery with a satisfying ending. Along with a new and now terrifying mystery. - The otters are a bit overzealous but they try their best. - I love every single bit of technology that gets mentioned.
Issues - I think maybe half of Bob's journey could be trimmed down and replaced with more Pav stories, or dealing with Starfleet, or more side stories on 20th generation Bob culture. - I'm pretty sure you're writing a sequel for Outland instead of book 5 <.<
Unanswered questions.. -Well, spoilers, so I won't say anything specific - The replication issues are really interesting and I'd REALLY like an entire book dedicated to that can of worms. - spoilers
I was stoked when I first saw that this book was about double the length of the other books. And the beginning was quite exciting. But the further I got into the book, the less excited I had become. To the point that I couldn't wait for it to be over.
Heaven's River isn't bad by any means, but it's certainly not as exciting as the previous books. I mostly enjoyed the mega-structure plot, but I was almost immediately bored of the secondary plot. And the big twist ending was just very meh. It ended up being very anticlimactic.
Overall, I'm not mad I listened to the book. But I hope for the exciting adventures of the previous books, in future works.
Actual rating was honestly a little lower if I looked at the writing objectively, but bumped it up simply because I enjoyed it so much. It's the perfect intersection of what I wanted to read and execution of that idea, and listening always put me in a great mood.
My husband had the privilege of regular "Bob" updates as I made my way through this series. I don't think this would really be for everyone, but if I ever found out there is a new book in this series, I'd fall into a VR lounge chair with a beverage on hand basically immediately.
I would put this in my "beach read" sci-fi--maybe a little too humor heavy for those who like very serious sci-fi (and the humor itself might not be to everyone's taste).
The fourth book in this series and significantly longer than the first three and that's my only complaint really, it felt a bit to long. Other than that a great read. (Or listen, the audio book is very good.)
I'm a sucker for SF books feature exploration and BDO's in particular (Big Dumb Objects). This one really hit the spot in that aspect as the majority of the book is centered in a topopolis. The Bob's infiltrate this structure and discover that the inhabitants have no idea they are living inside an artificial construct. Also there is political turmoil in the guise of Star Fleet:)
Great book and I can't wait to see what happens next in the Bobiverse.
I have been looking forward to this book ever since I read on the author's blog that he was writing another Bobiverse story. I love the Bobs and the original trilogy. It's great to find out what's happening now that humanity's been saved and the Bobs have some free time.
What's happening is that Bob One has decided to go on a search for Bender, who disappeared over a hundred years ago. Meanwhile, replicative drift is a real and the latest generation of Bobs can hardly be considered Bobs any more. They are so un-Bob like that a schism is forming in the Bobiverse, particularly around how the Bobs interact with biological beings.
Initially I had mixed feelings about Heaven's River. The story style shifts away from the format of the original trilogy and focuses almost exclusively on one plot line. This initially makes the book feel slow and plodding as the deft weaving of multiple story threads of the previous books kept the pace moving and events exciting. Eventually I felt myself get caught up in the search and started to enjoy Bob's time with the Quinlins.
The secondary plot thread made me a little sad to see just how different the new generation of Bobs are and also also maks a lot of sense that over time this would happen. I just know I'd love to join the Gamers on some of their epic D&D sessions. I loved seeing how far the Bobs have come with their technology and also what's been going on with humanity, especially the addition of other non-Bob replicants. So many great ideas end up mentioned that leaves a lot to be explored in future books.
The story ends with resolution to the main plot line while also leaving things open enough for the author to write more should he choose to. If more stories of the Bobiverse are written I know where I'll be spending future Audible credits.
Perhaps I wasn't in quite the right mood to read this, but a Huge chunk of the book seemed unnecessary. There's a very large chunk devoted to adventures as Mannies... and, I got really really bored by it.
There were some interesting parts of the swashbuckling, including philosophical discussions and minor worldbuilding... but the worldbuilding really didn't feel interesting. The society in question just wasn't different enough from humans to be worth devoting that much time to for me, and the adventure wore thin maybe 10% of the way in.
The stuff outside of that was really interesting. Lots of stuff about the evolution of the Bobiverse and fractured subgroups. Again though, there wasn't anything too surprising here. I guessed most of the book 5-10 chapters before the characters came up with it.
I enjoyed seeing where things were going in the Bobiverse and I look forward to seeing another book in the future. But, this book felt like it could have been half to 2/3 of the content of one of the earlier (shorter) books and been better for it.
So I've finished the available Bobiverse books, and what did I think of this start to a new era for the Bob's. I liked it. I don't think it was my favorite in the series, I think that spot is still reserved for books 2 and 3 but this is the 3rd best in my opinion. This book is different from its predecessors in that it focuses on one storyline more than several converging ones. The titular Heaven's River. I'll admit I found this book dragged a bit. It is the longest in the series by far and tries to explore very complex themes in the titular Bobiverse fashion with charming characters along the way. I don't have much to say about this book other than this one criticism. I thought the Heaven's River storyline dragged too long. There was another storyline that I would have wanted more of but instead, we got more of Bob getting chased out of towns. In conclusion, I hope to see more of this series in the future, and this was a welcome entry to it.
It's interesting to a read a book written by an author in late-stage brain-poisoning-by-pop-culture. The author and his characters both delight in the act of "referencing" things. This is what Nerd Culture has come to: pretending that having watched a lot of Star Trek is a personality (and a mark of merit).
The premise remains neat, and the readability of the series benefits from lifting the video game-style progression of resource management, tech tree research, and leveling up.
I am suspicious of people who "LOVE" these books, but it's a nice way to distract yourself while we all live through these protracted End Times.
Mit diesem Band führt Dennis E. Taylor unerwartet seine Erfolgsgeschichte weiter, die für mich mit dem 3. Teil seiner Bobiversums-Trilogie eigentlich zu Ende erzählt wurde. Doch beginnen wir mal mit einer Zusammenfassung: Bob ist tot. Der ursprüngliche Bob wurde von einem Auto überfahren. Sein Gehirn wurde jedoch noch rechtzeitig kryogen konserviert, in der sein Geist nach Jahren erfolgreich in eine Computermatrix übertragen werden konnte, um den Prozessorkern für eine von Neumann-Sonde zu bilden. Dies ist eine Sonde, die nicht nur für sich selbst denken, sondern sich auch selbst replizieren und alle möglichen netten Dinge bauen kann. Bob wurde mit dem Auftrag, die Galaxie zu erkunden, ins All geschossen, und dabei klonte er sich unzählige Male, fand bewohnbare Planeten, auf denen er die Überreste der menschlichen Bevölkerung nach einem globalen Krieg umsiedelte, und fand Aliens – manche gut, manche böse . Bobs wichtigstes Kapital war immer seine Persönlichkeit: Im Leben war er ein pragmatischer und sehr neugieriger Ingenieur, also entwickelte er sein Wissen weiter, verbesserte seine Ausrüstung und versuchte, die Menschen in ihren neuen Kolonien in eine positive Zukunft zu führen. Dies belastete seine Beziehung zu Menschen etwas, aber er konnte sich immer wieder mit neuen Projekten unterhalten. In diesem Band hat der ursprüngliche Bob gerade ein neues Projekt gestartet: einen seiner Nachkommen, Bender, zu finden, der früh bei der Erkundung der Galaxie verschwunden ist. Nach einigem Suchen und Schlussfolgerungen findet Bob ein Objekt um einen Stern herum: einen großen geschlossenen Ring, der einen ganzen Stern umkreist und einer außerirdischen Zivilisation Schutz bietet (Larry Niven's "Ringwelt" läßt grüßen). Als er das System erkundet, findet er Trümmer von Benders Schiff und schließt daraus, dass Bender, falls er noch am Leben ist, in der Struktur namens Himmelsfluss festgehalten wird... Auch in diesem Roman kommen wieder die Elemente zum Tragen, was ich bereits in der ursprünglichen Trilogie geliebt habe; Die Schilderung außerirdischer Spezies, hier die otterähnlichen Quinlaner; in die er eintaucht und in die er und seine Klone agieren und teilweise die Gesellschaften lenken. Die Quinlaner fand ich großartig, auch wenn ich mich von der sekundären Handlung abgelenkt fühlte. Obwohl ich vermute, dass es nötig war, um Dinge für das mögliche nächste Buch in der Reihe vorzubereiten. Der andere große Handlungsstrang befasst sich mit dem Generationswechsel, der mit dem Bobiverse passiert ist. Die Sternenflottengruppe, die es schon seit einiger Zeit gibt, drängt wirklich auf eine Oberste Direktive (siehe Star Trek) und ist nicht glücklich darüber, wie sich das Bobiverse in andere fühlende Wesen wie die Pav oder die Anderen „eingemischt“ hat. Sie haben sich jedoch keine bessere Möglichkeit ausgedacht, mit anderen empfindungsfähigen Arten zu interagieren. So kamen sie hier als weinerliche Teenager rüber. Dennoch haben sie Zähne und bereiten dem Bobiverse einiges Leid... Ich bin mir noch nicht im klaren, ob die Fortsetzung wirklich nötig war, immerhin hat auch dieser Band mir wieder Spaß gemacht und möchte ihn nicht missen. Ich hoffe nur, dass Taylor mit den vielen Fortsetzungen, die er zu planen scheint, sein Opus Magnum nicht kaputt macht...
I had mixed feelings about books 2 & 3 which was why I put this one off, thinking it would be more of the same. So it was a pleasant surprise to find Heaven's River to be a pretty enjoyable adventure that takes a hard lean into some pretty complicated sci-fi while remaining light and accessible. A lot of the story takes place on an alien world with a unique species and culture, while going back and forth between tying up old threads and focusing on an emergent threat of a real divide within the Bobs. I mean, The Bob is pretty much a weird god at this point, just one that makes awful jokes and constantly pats himself on the back for his nerd knowledge. It's overlong, but there's a solid effort to progress the series and take itself seriously as science fiction.
Definitely a weak return to the Bobiverse, a series of updates to different story lines strung together with a so-so adventure. I always feel the more human like a sci-fi alien species, the lazier the writer was. Never tempted to quit listening to it (audiobook), but it was nothing more than entertainment.