Legion by Brandon Sanderson – short work review

Legion by Brandon Sanderson.
Cover of Legion by Brandon Sanderson.
Legion is a science fiction novella by Brandon Sanderson. Sanderson is known mainly for his fantasy works, but he occasionally dabbles in science fiction as he does here (though it also has some fantasy elements, as well).

Stephen Leeds has a unique talent: he can create multiple personalities (or “aspects”) with which he can interact and which are each experts in various fields, and various hints are dropped throughout the story which indicate that these “hallucinations” may actually be real to some degree. This ability has made him famous and rich, and he is constantly dodging invitations by media, scientists, and psychologists who want to study and investigate him and his abilities.

In this story, Leeds’ ability gets him conned into accepting an invitation to investigate the disappearance of a mysterious camera which is alleged to be able to take pictures of the past, as well as its missing creator who is believed to have run off with it. The company which funded the research is unhappy with the situation, and multiple factions within the company are vying to find the camera first.

While the plot unfolds in twisty and interesting ways, Sanderson shows off his easy way with conversation and description. Leeds is a very interesting character and each of his cadre of personalities are distinct individuals. We are introduced to a would-be Mexican emperor with deep knowledge of photography, a gun nut former Navy SEAL, a psychologist, and Tobias, a schizophrenic who has hallucinations of his own. Legion leaves you guessing until the end of the book like any good mystery.

My one major complaint with this story is that it feels too short. It could have easily filled another 50-100 pages with a more complete story, and I wouldn’t object to seeing a regular novel or even a series of short stories featuring Leeds and his legion in order to complete the story. That said, Legion was still very enjoyable, and I recommend it as a good short read. In addition to the hardcover release, it is available on iBooks, Kindle, and Nook.

Release Date: August 31, 2012 (USA)
ISBNs: Hardcover 1596064854 (978-1596064850)
Publisher: Subterranean Press

MySF Rating: Four point zero stars
Family Friendliness: 95%

Content:

Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (minor alcohol)
Language: 1 (minor use of expletives)
Nudity: 0
Sexuality: 1 (minor innuendo)
Violence: 2 (bombings, minor gory descriptions, assault, gunfights)

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