Heaven’s River by Dennis E. Taylor science fiction audiobook reviewsHeaven’s River by Dennis E. Taylor science fiction audiobook reviewsHeaven’s River by Dennis E. Taylor

Heaven’s River (2021) is the fourth book in Dennis E. Taylor’s amusing and intelligent BOBIVERSE series. You’ll first want to read the previous three books, We Are Legion (We Are Bob), For We Are Many, and All These Worlds, or you’ll be lost. This review will contain mild spoilers for the previous books.

By this point in the Bobiverse timeline, the Earth has gone into an ice age after a nuclear winter killed 99% of the humans who lived there. There are thousands of Bobs spread out over a 100-light-year radius. Many have important projects going on in various places in the universe, such as helping to terraform planets for humans to live on.

Other Bobs, however, have become bored and restless. Even though they’re supposed to be clones of each other, generations of “replicative drift” have caused them to become less Bob-like. Many of the younger Bobs think the older Bobs are meddling too much in the affairs of other sentient beings and the older Bobs can’t understand why the younger Bobs, who have become isolationists, don’t care about anyone other than themselves. Distrust and suspicion have begun to affect their interactions and it’s clear that they are no longer all “of one mind” and will have to figure out how to build a society they can all live with. For the first time, it might need to involve some formal rules and institutions.

Meanwhile, one of the older Bobs, named Bender, has been missing for over 100 years, so original Bob decides to go looking for him. Bender had been on a mission and Bob begins to suspect he got sidetracked after discovering a mysterious object which turns out to be an O’Neill cylinder built by aliens that look like beavers. The Bobs decide to investigate the structure and take Bridget, the mortal biologist that Howard loves, with them. Here they discover a troubled society on the brink of war. They need to find Bender and free him before war breaks out and Bender gets lost forever.

Bobiverse (3 Book Series) Kindle Edition by Dennis Taylor, Dennis E. TaylorHeaven’s River is an entertaining installment in the Bobiverse. Most of the action takes place on the O’Neill cylinder as Bob’s team searches for Bender. I enjoyed this adventure, but probably mostly because I like stories that take place on such (and similar) structures. Readers who aren’t interested in the engineering/physics of terraforming an O’Neill cylinder are likely to eventually become bored with the repetitive nature of this storyline: sneak, hide, chase, swim, sneak, hide, chase, swim.

Into his story, Taylor skillfully integrates issues that our human societies are currently dealing with such as prejudice, the fear of being displaced, and concerns about artificial intelligence. Most interesting to me were the speculations about how some rules of quantum mechanics might imply life after death and the existence of the soul. For the nerds there are, as usual, plenty of geeky sci-fi references.

Ray Porter narrates the audiobook edition which was published by Audible Studios. Porter is one of the very best and his performance is, as always, first-rate.

Published in 2021. Civil war looms in the Bobiverse in this brand-new, epic-length adventure by best seller Dennis E. Taylor. More than a hundred years ago, Bender set out for the stars and was never heard from again. There has been no trace of him despite numerous searches by his clone-mates. Now Bob is determined to organize an expedition to learn Bender’s fate—whatever the cost. But nothing is ever simple in the Bobiverse. Bob’s descendants are out to the 24th generation now, and replicative drift has produced individuals who can barely be considered Bobs anymore. Some of them oppose Bob’s plan; others have plans of their own. The out-of-control moots are the least of the Bobiverse’s problems. Undaunted, Bob and his allies follow Bender’s trail. But what they discover out in deep space is so unexpected and so complex that it could either save the universe—or pose an existential threat the likes of which the Bobiverse has never faced.  


  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.