Top critical review
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If I had it to do over, I'd wait for a novel
on January 23, 2014
I hadn't read any of Sanderson's other books so I didn't have any particular expectations when I saw this kindle release a few months ago. Although the description on Amazon is very intriguing, I resisted spending $3 on a 96 page kindle book (short story) but finally splurged and got it yesterday.
I found the basic premise of a genius whose multiple personality disorder manifests as helpful hallucinations very interesting and enjoyable. (Of course I like the TV show Perception, too. Hmmm.) Sanderson is clearly a very talented writer and the kindle formatting was excellent . That's the good.
But I did have problems with "Legion". The first is that the plot is essentially a poorly executed version of Isaac Asimov's sci fi classic "The Dead Past" down to the discussion of the problems and moral issues arising from the device. It is hard to enjoy a story when you are thinking "What the...?" through the whole thing.
Another major problem is the length. It isn't about the ridiculous price. There are science fiction short stories and novellas for which I would happily have paid more just for the pleasure they gave. But those are great pieces of standalone fiction that say all that needs to be said in a few short pages. (The Dead Past, again) And, most important, they don't bring up a bunch of extraneous issues that are never resolved.
In "Legion" the story is rushed and there is no development of the protagonist. What could be interesting parts of the back story are left unexplained. And what is evidently the most important thing to the main character is left completely hanging.
This reminds me of the stories popular authors throw together for those "special" anthologies their publishers put out. Those stories usually couldn't stand on their own but you don't mind since you are familiar with the characters and their world. The story is just a brief interlude in a larger story.
Unfortunately, "Legion" doesn't have a body of work to support it. The story will just leave you frustrated, especially since there is no indication Sanderson will be continuing the saga of Legion.