My Name Is Legion by Roger Zelazny

Cover - My Name is Legion

My Name Is Legion (1976) is an anthology of three stories by Roger Zelazny.

A central narrative featuring an unnamed protagonist ties the stories together. A worldwide database containing every last detail on every human being on earth has been created. Involved with its creation is an unnamed young programmer who decides to drop out of the system and erase his existence for good. The downside to it is that now that he ‘no longer exists’ he cannot make a living, at least not in a legal way. To survive he must now depend on his skills and act as a freelance trouble shooter.

The first story is The Eve of RUMOKO. In it our unnamed hero must find out who is trying to sabotage a project which plans to create new habitable lands for an ever-growing population by using nuclear explosives. I found it to be dull despite the fact that it had some ‘action movie’ like elements.

In ’Kjwalll’kje’k’koothaïlll’kje’k the protagonist tries to find out if a group of dolphins is responsible for the death of a man. Intriguing as the premise sounded to me this was actually the dullest among the stories. The whole smuggling angle and the musings on religion made it all a confusing jumble.

Home Is the Hangman is the last story of the collection. After being missing for several years a space-exploration robot has returned to earth and one by one its creators start to die. Is the robot responsible for these deaths?  A hunt for the robot starts but everything may not be what it seems. This Hugo Award winner is by far the best story of the book.

The idea of a worldwide database feels very contemporary. Imagining it in 1976 shows Zelazny’s ingenuity. But other than that part most of the book has a dated feel to it.

I went into this book expecting a collection of science fiction stories. Barring the last story, Home Is the Hangman, the other two stories do not feel like science fiction stories.

The book can at times be rather dull. The philosophical inner musings of the ‘man with no name’ bored me to no end. Towards the end I skimmed through most of it.

It had some really good parts, for example the final moments between the Hangman and the narrator in Home Is the Hangman, but it had some oddly written dull patches which really slowed the narrative down.

Overall, I have mixed feelings about My Name Is Legion. A read that is good and mediocre at the same time.

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