My Name is Legion

by Roger Zelazny
Reviewed date: 2007 Mar 12
Rating: 2
213 pages
Awards: Home is the Hangman won the 1976 Hugo for Best Novella
cover art
cover art

When a writer puts out a fix-up novel, the least he can do is to actually fix it up. Zelazny does not expend any effort to turn the three Legion novellas into a real novel, so we're left with three discrete stories.

The Eve of Rumoko: The first story introduces the nameless main character: he is a former employee of the Central Data Bank project, the global information network that tracks everything and everybody, from birth to death. Before the system went operational, our hero managed to delete every trace of his existence, and to build himself a backdoor into the computer. He lives off the grid, but his backdoor allows him to become anybody he wishes.

To pay the bills, he does contract jobs. In The Eve of Rumoko, he has been hired to guard the Rumoko project from sabotage. The goal of the project is to create new islands by using atomic bombs to pierce the earth's crust and release magma, which will create volcanic island paradises. The project has enemies intent on stopping the islands at any price.

Kjwalll'kje'k'koothailll'kje'k: Here's a free tip from me to Mr. Zelazny: it's unwise to choose titles that people can't pronounce.

In this confusing novella, our mysterious protagonist is hired to prove that dolphins did not murder a man. To this end, he gets a job working at the dolphin center where the murder occurred. He uncovers a web of conspiracy that involves diamond smuggling, dolphin prophets, and telepathy.

Home is the Hangman: When a deadly robot returns to Earth, our hero is hired to protect its makers. The robot exploration project worked by impressing a computer brain with the minds of four people, and the robot was sent out to explore the solar system. But something went wrong: the robot went crazy, stopped sending back data, and now it has arrived back on Earth--and one of its makers has been brutally murdered.

This is by far the best story in the book, but it suffers from the same structural flaws as the other novellas: Zelazny starts in the middle of the action, then skips back to fill in the details. A good writer can sometimes pull this off without confusing the reader, but Zelazny fails miserably.

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