I was very unsure about this book after reading only the description. The only reason I ended up buying it was because of the multiple reviews I read ..Show More »saying that it was amazing... I'm SO glad I gave it a chance. This book was outstanding and everything I want in a science fiction story. It was funny, not too complex, had a little science, periodic space battles, and was just an all-around well-written book.
The book starts out with a successful young tech engineer signing a contract to have his body preserved after his death and then dying in an accident shortly after. He awakens hundreds of years later as a disembodied computer program that was created using his brain as a template. He and the others who preserved their brains are being used to create artificially intelligent beings and have zero rights or free will. He also learns that the United States has been long replaced with a theocratic police state, and that a new space race has begun with earth nations rushing to claim new star systems with intelligent space drones.
Bob becomes one of the first drones to be sent off to the stars with the ability to self-replicate. Having long since circumvented the safeguards put in place to keep him obedient, he becomes something more than just a computer intelligence... The book is full of Bob debating himself about the ethics of copying his personality and essentially creating whole new beings with their own free will, all with his memories and experiences. He also learns that despite being copies of himself, all of his clones are subtlely different and have their own needs and desires.
A conflict on earth nearly destroys humanity in a nuclear war shortly after he departs earth, leaving Bob as not only the last hope to explore nearby space and expand human influence but as the last hope for the survival of the biological human race.
Throughout the story, Bob (and his copies) invent new technologies, design space vessels, discover new habitable worlds, encounter other primitive intelligent life, return to attempt to save humanity, and encounter mysterious systems and circumstances. He must also fight back against the only other self-replicating human probe controlled by the intelligence of an insane military leader, leading to several space battles and the hunting of his escaped clones before they can self-replicate out of control.
The performance by the narrator was top-notch and he did a very good job with the various voices of multiple Bob copies, as well as the other characters.
I would recommend this book to every science fiction fan. Five stars!!