All These Worlds

All These Worlds

Being a sentient spaceship really should be more fun. But after spreading out through space for almost a century, Bob and his clones just can't stay out of trouble. They've created enough colonies so humanity shouldn't go extinct. But political squabbles have a bad habit of dying hard, and the Brazilian probes are still trying to take out the competition. And the Bobs have...

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Title:All These Worlds
Author:Dennis E. Taylor
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Edition Language:English

All These Worlds Reviews

  • Trish

    So ... I guess this is it. Time to say goodbye. *sniffles* Though the author has promised he isn't done with the Bobiverse, the We-Are-Bob-cycle has come to an end with this third volume.

    Again, we have different replicants of the original Bob in different corners of the universe (but by now, they all have or can have bodies thanks to ever improving designs for android bodies). Again, they are either on a discovery trip, trying to save what's left of humanity, or watching aliens species on their

    So ... I guess this is it. Time to say goodbye. *sniffles* Though the author has promised he isn't done with the Bobiverse, the We-Are-Bob-cycle has come to an end with this third volume.

    Again, we have different replicants of the original Bob in different corners of the universe (but by now, they all have or can have bodies thanks to ever improving designs for android bodies). Again, they are either on a discovery trip, trying to save what's left of humanity, or watching aliens species on their respective planets. This is a nice continuation of the story arcs opened up in the previous two volumes with a few more or less unexpected twists (some thrilling, some sad, some funny).

    What I like is that this trilogy is an exploration of what would happen if time/distance wasn't an issue and you'd have a whole universe to play in/with. Nevertheless, as broad as the scope can be, there are also story elemens that focus on the smaller (read: not less important) settings/themes. Some might say there is little to no action, but I disagree because it depends on how you define "action". To me, it was very thrilling to go with the original Bob and watch an alien civilisation live their lives; or to explore another planet's marine wildlife (I'm so on board getting into all kinds of android bodies like that of a dolphin-equivalent in order to be able to study those oceans on Poseidon or whatever other environment on any planet); or to save humanity. Not to mention that we did get two pretty cool space battles!

    I was surprised that almost nobody was tempted by the offer to become a replicant. That was seriously weird considering how humans love the idea of living forever (I count myself amongst those people). Not to mention the freedom and sheer endless possibilities in the universe.

    Some characters infuriated me (

    spring to mind immediately, but also

    ). Lucky for everyone involved (and reading), all Bobs do feel at least a certain amount of responsibility so it's all hands on deck.

    The book was, as the previous two of this trilogy, full of geeky goodness and I loved it. Sure, some Bobs have become darker after certain events in the previous two volumes, but they will always be awesome as a person. And they all stay true to themselves which also explains the truly perfect ending (we come full circle and yet there is no actual limit/ending).

    And for anyone wondering: the narrator was brilliant (again) when voicing each replicant in a unique way (he also does a pretty good Aussie accent) so I recommend the audio.

  • Bradley

    Homo Sideria

    I love it. Actually, I love this entire series.

    So much happens, but it's mostly snippets and sub-plots for multiple personalities spread across vast distances across space. Of course, that's kinda necessary since it's one man in an AI matrix duplicating himself massively and communicating real-time over fantastic spaces, doing good as he mines and fabricates and fights battles with aliens, insane AIs from old Earth, talks with friends or adopted relatives or just goes the terraformin

    Homo Sideria

    I love it. Actually, I love this entire series.

    So much happens, but it's mostly snippets and sub-plots for multiple personalities spread across vast distances across space. Of course, that's kinda necessary since it's one man in an AI matrix duplicating himself massively and communicating real-time over fantastic spaces, doing good as he mines and fabricates and fights battles with aliens, insane AIs from old Earth, talks with friends or adopted relatives or just goes the terraforming route or just about anything else he wants to do.

    He's pretty much a machine god in our future, but he's also just Bob. Geek from our century. Doesn't really want anything for himself but is perfectly willing to do so much good for so many people, it's really rather sad how much people take advantage of him.

    In this third book, however, we come to a head with the alien ships that chew up and spit out whole worlds, and it's everything I'd hoped it would be. :) All the sub-plots include romance, exploration, guilt, and just plain getting pissed off, but what else can we expect? I feel for him. :)

    Great trilogy. Possibly some of the most refreshing stuff I've read in ages. :)

  • TS Chan

    It's really not your typical space opera nor near-future cyberpunk science fiction story. Well-written and combining various elements of science, space exploration and humanity, it was a compelling and oft-times humourous package.

    Given that this is the final chapter in the many adventures of Bob, I will refrain from mentioning anything about the plot to avoid

    It's really not your typical space opera nor near-future cyberpunk science fiction story. Well-written and combining various elements of science, space exploration and humanity, it was a compelling and oft-times humourous package.

    Given that this is the final chapter in the many adventures of Bob, I will refrain from mentioning anything about the plot to avoid even the tiniest potential spoiler. I will, however, relate why I wholeheartedly enjoyed this entire trilogy.

    Firstly, it satisfied the geek in me. The one who yearned to have the opportunity of space exploration and at the same time realised that the time and distances being contemplated are just simply too vast and incomprehensible for a mortal's lifetime. The technological advances that the Bobs eventually brought to fruition was realistic as well as it didn't feel way too expedient nor convenient. The Bobs also had to contend with resource bottleneck and management when it comes to producing enough vessels, stasis pods for the migrating human colonies, and ordnance for defence.

    After a full century since the original Bob woke up to discover that he became a computer programme, what I'd prefer to call nonbiological human intelligence as artificial intelligence just doesn't cut it, the engineer in him had made significant leaps in advancement for the human race to start colonising other planets. However, dealing with an even more advanced power-hungry alien race was another matter altogether.

    The writing style was accessible while maintaining some elements of hard science and astrophysics, such as time dilation of space travel and all the other abstract concepts that come with this field. It was the audiobook narration that truly made a difference to my enjoyment. Ray Porter injected personalities into the Bobs, with distinct yet subtle nuances between the many generations of clones from the original Replicant.

    The episodic feel of the story gradually begun to fade as the narrative moved towards an event which was suitably climactic. The switching of first-person POVs between the key Bob characters (that's the first time I ever wrote a phrase like that) was executed seamlessly in my opinion.

    What I love most about this story was how it dealt with the aspect of what it means to be human. Bob was not an AI learning to have emotions. He was essentially human; simply a nonbiological one with all the capabilities to feel love, happiness, grief, sorrow, regrets.. the whole shebang. Through the various Bobs' engagement and inevitable relationships with "ephemerals", there was quite a lot of emotionally-charged moments as the reality of outliving their loved ones hit hard, as in

    .

    With that, I have to say that I highly recommend this series to fans of science-fiction and space geeks, and especially for audiobook fans of this genre.

  • J.L.   Sutton

    Can the unabashed geekiness of the first two Bobiverse books continue and deliver on their protagonists' mission to find new habitable worlds for humanity in the final book of the trilogy? Yes! I enjoyed Dennis Taylor's All These Worlds and felt it reached a satisfying conclusion (although if there was a Bobiverse #4, I wouldn't complain). For me, it took a little while to get going, but it hit its stride when it returned to issues of what it means to be human and whether that could change the w

    Can the unabashed geekiness of the first two Bobiverse books continue and deliver on their protagonists' mission to find new habitable worlds for humanity in the final book of the trilogy? Yes! I enjoyed Dennis Taylor's All These Worlds and felt it reached a satisfying conclusion (although if there was a Bobiverse #4, I wouldn't complain). For me, it took a little while to get going, but it hit its stride when it returned to issues of what it means to be human and whether that could change the way we interact with each other in the future. From there, it sped on to the Bobs completing their mission and their withdrawal (into the sunsets).

  • Nathaniel

    In All These Worlds, Dennis E. Taylor abruptly tied up all the many enticing loose strings from the series so far, and it felt rushed, almost as though he had skipped to the last chapter and just written that instead of giving his readers all of the intervening content that they expected. Or, at any rate, that I expected.

    The thing is, he had

    going on based on the first two books. Major sci-fi themes that are usually centerpieces for entire trilogies each served as minor subplots in Taylor'

    In All These Worlds, Dennis E. Taylor abruptly tied up all the many enticing loose strings from the series so far, and it felt rushed, almost as though he had skipped to the last chapter and just written that instead of giving his readers all of the intervening content that they expected. Or, at any rate, that I expected.

    The thing is, he had

    going on based on the first two books. Major sci-fi themes that are usually centerpieces for entire trilogies each served as minor subplots in Taylor's work. Species-annihilating bad-guy alien race hell-bent on eliminating Earth? Check. Post-apocalyptic race for time to save the human race from ecological fallout of their own self-destructive wars--not to mention suicidal politics and terrorism? Check. Shaggy-God plotline where human shepherds primitive but intelligent alien race through potentially catastrophic evolutionary bottleneck with all the accompanying philosophical conundrums? Check. Fledgling young colony fights to throw off the totalitarian oppressors to fully realize the freedom of their new world? Check. And this is just

    of the plots that Taylor was juggling all at once. The series was a smorgasbord of sci-fi delights.

    And then, in a mere 8 hours, it was all over. This was

    enough time to give these plotlines their just deserts. Not even close.

    A couple of corollary observations. First, the book really was short. The first book in this series,

    , was 9.5 hours long. The second book,

    , was 9 hours long. Those are short books, but within typical length for military sf. (This isn't exactly military sf, but close to.) All These Worlds clocked in at 8 hours. Any shorter than that, and we start to feel like we're in novella territory instead of novel territory. (Times are based on audiobook run-time.)

    Second, there was a foreward from the author before the book started that--especially in retrospect--seemed really ominous. In it, Taylor thanked his wife for allowing him to go full-time as a writer. Why is this ominous? Because the Bobiverse felt like a first-novel project. It had all the hallmarks, including (initially) a very simple narrative structure, characters who were obviously at least partially autobiographical, and a heavy, heavy reliance on well-worn genre tropes. It fit nicely alongside works like

    or

    : all admirable first-efforts from (at the time) working stiffs who (later) went on to go full-time and try their hands at more ambitious works. This is kind of the natural way of things, but with the prevalence of self-publishing the cycle has sped up considerably.

    I think of someone like Jim Butcher and

    . The book had a lot of the same hallmarks of a first-effort, but it was trad-published (back in 2000) and--probably because of that--Jim Butcher kept writing in that setting. He's

    writing the Dresden Files, which are now up to over a dozen books. That's how things worked in trad-publishing of yesteryear. It was harder to get your first book out there, and the publisher had more say in making sure that--once you did get it out there--you kept pumping out work in that series until it was done.

    But when it's easier to get a book out there and when the publisher has less influence, the temptation for authors to walk away from their first projects and start something new is much higher. After all, many authors--when they are working on their first novel--intentionally pick something

    than their true passion to work on. They pick something that might be a little more disposable and/or that they think will be easier to execute and/or that they think will be more marketable. And--as soon as they get a chance--they abandon it for what they

    wanted to write. (Or, perhaps, just for the new, shiny idea.)

    This is bad.

    It's bad for two reasons. First, because if you become a fan of an author for Series X, then you're invested in that series, and you'd like the author to complete it. I'm

    saying that an audience has a right to dictate what an author writes. I am saying that an audience who comes in for Series X has a vested interest in seeing Series X through, and is much less likely to be enthusiastic about Series Y.

    It's also bad because, perversely, artists seem to get much, much

    when they lose constraints. One great example of this is George Lucas. The less money, time, and power he has, the better his movies are. The more money, time, and power he has, the worse they get.

    I think some of this is just the way creativity works. Creativity is always most vibrant when it is a response to constraints. Obviously you don't want to be

    constrained, or you can't have creativity at all. But it seems like the comfort zone for creators is often so unconstrained that creativity sort of languishes. And some of it is because those constraints that are actually

    for art. Take marketability, for example, which is shorthand for "what a lot of people want to read." This is not an irrelevant consideration. When an author is thinking about not only what they want ot write, but also what their audience wants to read, that's not a bad thing. Sure, it can go too far and become fan-service, which is its own kind of gross. But, once again, if left to their own devices entirely artists can far too quickly detach from their audience entirely and spiral off into their own echo chamber of weird irrelevance.

    This might seem like a lot of analysis to pull from an off-handed comment in a forward / acknowledgment to his wife, but I'm telling you the truth when I say: I was alarmed when I heard that because my immediate thought was, "Surely he can't think that he can just tie up this entire series with a bow and wander off to do something new, can he?"

    Well, yes, apparently, he could. Because that's just what he did.

    So--while I really liked the book--I also feel robbed. There should have been at least 2-3 more novels in this series, and quite potentially more. I get that Taylor apparently didn't want to write them, and that he gets to make that call. He's the God of his universe. That's how it works.

    But, as someone just visiting, I'm really disappointed that he dropped the final curtain in the middle of Act II.

    I will probably give Taylor's next project a shot. And--if it's really, really amazing--I will even come back and edit this review to apologize and say that he did the right thing.

    But I would also happily take a bet that his next series will be

    than this one. I mean, have you guys (who are fans of the Dresden Files) read Jim Butcher's Codex Alera? I read it out of pity because he kept plugging it again and again in the Dresden Files, always talking about how "horse and sword fantasy" (I think that's how he put it) was his first love. I read the entire series, and it just wasn't really any good. On the other hand,

    was

    . By that time, Butcher was an amazing, accomplished writer. So my suspicion is that fledgling authors who find they've written a hit should really,

    stick with that hit until it actually reaches an organic conclusion, and not bail out prematurely. Chances are they don't have the chops to pull off their more ambitious scheme as well as it deserves, that they will find the sudden decrease in external constraints corrosive more than enabling, and that just as afterthought they're going to alienate (at least a little bit) the core audience that has just started to get to know them.

    Just my $0.02, anyway.

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