Legion. Book Review

legLEGION by Brandon Sanderson
Gollancz, h/b, 68pp, £8.99
Reviewed by Pauline Morgan

There are many different reasons why people buy books but when it comes to fiction, they are not so extensive. Completists of a particular author will want a book anyway but others will be looking at value for money. That is the problem with this particular volume.

Legion is a beautifully produced little hardcover but it, at 68 pages, it is scarcely more than a novella. Beside some of Sanderson’s other books, this is a stand-alone short story. It is a good story though. The first person protagonist is Stephen Leeds and since it is told from his perspective, there is no way to be sure if he has a multiple personality mental disorder, if he is merely an eccentric with a vivid imagination and enough clout and charisma to allow others to overlook his foibles, or if he can actually do what he claims is true.

It could be argued that Stephen’s mind has aspects of a computer. If the memory gets too full, it is best to siphon off a section of files to a holding storage facility so that the main memory can continue to function at it optimum. Stephen has a number of imaginary companions, each with a speciality. When he needs an expert, he is able to read all the relevant material and hive it off into a new aspect of himself complete with their own personalities – they are not copies of himself. He is wealthy because people pay him to solve their problems. In this story, he is approached by Monica, a woman who claims that there is a camera which takes pictures of the past. The mechanism is unknown. The problem is that the camera has been stolen. Monica wants Stephen to use his expertise to find the thief and retrieve the camera. To do this, Stephen selects the aspects that will be useful in this task. He treats them as real and expects those he works with to do the same even though they cannot see them.

The idea behind the story is an excellent one. It is well and amusingly told. The decision that individuals need to make is, is this value for money.