Read Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds by Brandon Sanderson Online

Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds

Stephen Leeds is perfectly sane. Its his hallucinations who are mad.A genius of unrivaled aptitude, Stephen can learn any new skill, vocation, or art in a matter of hours. However, to contain all of this, his mind creates hallucinatory peopleStephen calls them aspectsto hold and manifest the information. Wherever he goes, he is joined by a team of imaginary experts to give advice, interpretation, and explanation. He uses them to solve problems for a price.Stephens brain is getting a little crowded and the aspects have a tendency of taking on lives of their own. When a company hires him to recover stolen propertya camera that can allegedly take pictures of the pastStephen finds himself in an adventure crossing oceans and fighting terrorists. What he discovers may upend the foundation of three major world religionsand, perhaps, give him a vital clue into the true nature of his aspects.This fall, Tor Books will publish Brandon Sandersons Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds. The collec...

Title : Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds
Author :
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ISBN : 9781250297792
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 352 pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds Reviews

  • Bibi


  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    I was SO excited to see a wrap-up to this trilogy of SF novellas by Brandon Sanderson! Review first posted on Fantasy Literature:

    Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds is set of three interlocking science fiction/mystery novellas, with the detective role played by schizophrenic genius Stephen Leeds and his legion of hallucinatory alter egos or “aspects,” as he prefers to refer to them. The first two previously published novellas, “Legion” and “Legion: Skin Deep,” are now published together for

    Psychology-as-superpower is a recurring theme in my works. I’ve always believed that the personality traits that make us each distinctive (the way we process information, the way we motivate ourselves, the way we shelter our psyche from the bad while learning to cherish the good) can be either our greatest strengths or our most dramatic limitations…

    The premise was simple: What if a man’s hallucinations proved beneficial to him in his life, rather than the typical distraction?
    It’s such a unique concept, and Brandon Sanderson has a lot of fun with it. Stephen Leeds has given form and shape to the voices in his head, giving them each a unique personality and field of expertise (based upon Stephen’s own readings). And once Stephen passes off his knowledge about, say, computers to a particular aspect, that knowledge is completely unavailable to him, “forgotten” by Stephen unless the aspect tells him about it in an imagined discussion. Stephen has been so successful solving crimes and other complex problems using his invisible army of experts that he’s been able to buy a mansion large enough to house himself and his cohort of some forty-plus aspects (who each require their own room) and distance himself from an overly-curious world. Now he accepts only those cases that he finds particularly interesting.

    The mystery in “Legion,” the first novella, involves an international search for a stolen camera that can take pictures of people and events at any time in the past. It’s a device that’s been used several times before in science fiction; most notably, T. L. Sherred’s 1947 novelette “E for Effort” (collected in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume 2B), Isaac Asimov’s 1956 short story “The Dead Past,” and Orson Scott Card’s 1996 novel Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus. Legion doesn’t really add anything new from a science fiction point of view. Sanderson’s story points out some of the problems with the theory of time travel (branching paths of reality; Earth not being in the same place in space as it was in the past you are traveling to, or taking pictures of), but it doesn’t ever try answer those questions.

    Sanderson’s primary focus, and the real attraction of these novellas, is the unique psychology of Stephen Leeds, and the hilarious and colorful cast of hallucinated aspects surrounding him: J.C., the paranoid, trigger-happy ex-Navy SEAL and weapons expert; Armando, the trick photography expert who is convinced he’s the rightful emperor of Mexico; Tobias the schizophrenic historian and philosopher; Kalyani the linguist; and so on. Stephen’s aspects all are brilliant in different fields, all have their own differing mental illnesses, and all are utterly real to him, even though at the same time he is logically aware that they’re imaginary. It’s odd because they’re so completely real to him, but at the same time he *knows* they’re not real. And his hallucinations (for the most part) also understand that they’re not real, but so much of Steven’s life and his tenuous hold on sanity depend on him, and them, acting like they are real. It’s fascinating, and sometimes it gets really meta, which I love (it’s great brain exercise). Monica, who hires Stephen to solve the case of the missing camera, points out to Stephen:
    You create these delusions so that you can foist things off on them. Your brilliance, which you find a burden. Your responsibility — they have to drag you along and make you help people. This lets you pretend, Mister Leeds. Pretend you are normal. But that’s the real delusion.
    But real or not, Stephen’s legion of invisible experts are a lot of fun to read about.

    I’m especially fond of J.C., the politically incorrect ex-Navy SEAL aspect whose smart-mouth comments are the source of most of the humor in the Legion stories. “Skin Deep,” the second novella, gives J.C. another chance to shine, as Stephen and his aspects (he’s up to 47 now, though only a handful play a significant role in these stories) search for a missing corpse whose cells contain an invaluable scientific breakthrough.
    “Not zombies,” I said, feeling cold. “Cancer. You created a virus that gives people cancer.”

    “It was an unintended result that is perfectly manageable,” Laramie said, “and only dangerous if used malignly. And why would anyone want to do that?”

    We all stared at him for a moment.

    “Let’s shoot him,” J.C. said.

    “Thank heavens,” Tobias replied. “You haven’t suggested we shoot someone in over an hour, J.C. I was beginning to think something was wrong.”

    “No, listen,” J.C. said. “We can shoot Pinhead McWedgy over there, and it will teach everyone in this room an important life lesson. One about not being a stupid mad scientist.”
    The mystery of “Skin Deep” concerns a dead man who was a pioneer in biotechnology, and developed a method for storing massive amounts of information in the cells of the human body. He’s believed to have stored some ground-breaking scientific information in his own body before he died. His corpse has now gone missing, and competing parties are in a potentially deadly race to find it. Stephen, despite his intentions otherwise, gets roped into investigating the case.

    The mystery in “Skin Deep” is much more satisfying than the one in “Legion.” Still, I thought “Skin Deep” would have benefited from more depth and detail; I’m not sure the novella length was the best choice. The real pleasure in this novella is, once again, reading about Steve and his hallucinatory alter egos. Sanderson handles it all with a deft, humorous hand.

    I was also hoping for more answers in “Skin Deep” about the mysterious Sandra, a psychologist who disappeared from Steve’s life a decade ago and whom he desperately wanted to find again. In the first two novellas Sandra kept being dangled in front of us like a particularly annoying worm, but nothing ever really happened with that particular plotline. Sanderson finally tackles the Sandra problem head-on in his final Legion novella, “Lies of the Beholder.”

    As “Lies of the Beholder” begins, Stephen Leeds is giving a private interview to Jenny Zhang, a reporter who begins displaying far more insight into Stephen’s mental state and thought processes than he’s comfortable with. This uncomfortable interview is interrupted by a text from the long-missing Sandra that says, simply, HELP. Stephen is desperate to find Sandra, but her trail is elusive … and some of Stephen’s aspects are becoming alarmingly unreliable.

    “Legion” and “Skin Deep” are both fun, fairly light reads with some intriguing psychological aspects. “Lies of the Beholder” is significantly different in tone. Without getting into spoiler territory, I admire Sanderson’s decision to take the final Legion story in a different, darker direction, but the final story felt like it needed more fine-tuning.

    The concept and basic plot of “Lies of the Beholder” is a strong one and had several truly surprising ― even shocking ― moments. However, there are some significant plot holes here, and I didn’t think the various elements tied together in a way that was sufficiently logical within the framework of this universe. As a result, I was left feeling vaguely dissatisfied with the resolution of Stephen’s story. That dissatisfaction was underscored by a final wrap-up that suggested a far too simple answer to the problem of Stephen’s schizophrenia.

    I’m still enthusiastic about Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds as a whole. Stephen and his aspects are both original and appealing, and their interactions never cease to captivate and amuse me.

    The new hardback edition of these collected stories has an appealing, clever cover image of a fractured Stephen, and the evolving images at the beginning of each chapter are even more fascinating, not to mention thematically appropriate. It begins as a Rorschach test type of inkblot image, then I thought it was turning into a brain scan. But gradually it becomes clear that the artist has created something far more significant ― particularly as the image starts to devolve later in the book. Kudos to both artists!

    Initial post: The hardback ARC of this book just appeared on my doorstep today!!

    *happy dances around the house*

    *throws confetti in air*

    *forgives our puppy for chewing up my new shirt and my computer mouse this morning* ...more

  • Nafeeza

    Well, I was not prepared for that ending...

    4.5 Stars

  • Robin (Bridge Four)

    3.5 It’s so Hard to Say Goodbye Stars

    This is the final novella to complete out the story of a brilliant man who is just a little bit crazy, or at least his hallucinations are.

    We first met Steven Leeds on the worst blind date ever. It is a little disconcerting to find out the man you are on a date with sees and talks to people who aren’t really there. Over the course of a few books we’ve gotten to know many of the hallucinations that he has created to compartmentalize all of the stuff in his head

  • Iryna semi-hiatus (Book and Sword)

    “That was a tall order for Ivy. Sarcasm was kind of her native tongue, though she was fluent in “stern disappointment” and “light condescension” as well. She was also a good friend. Well, imaginary friend.”

    In the past I've been saying in error that I do not like to read sci-fi books. I only recently found out that I was terribly wrong, and I also found out why I was wrong. When I think of sci-fi - books set in space come to mind immediately (for some reason) and I am not a big fan of those. Appa

  • Nadine

    What’s great about Legion is that there is more than one interpretation to be taken: a metaphor for writers and their process, a personal look at Sanderson’s process/mind, a look at mental illness, or just a really interesting and fun story.

    Legion is a compilation of three novellas. When this compilation novel was first announced last year, I decided to hold off on read the novellas so I could just binge them all at once and I’m glad I did. Sanderson is doing his Sanderson thing here in creating

  • Taylor Ramirez

  • Dave

    Blurring the lines between reality and imagination and between sanity and its opposite, Sanderson offers us three interlinked novellas, two of which were previously published. Stephen Leeds is a genius, but he is crawling along a tightrope perched precariously over a steep drop. In order to solve cases such as missing corpses, he calls upon his aspects or hallucinations, forty varied and extraordinary beings who no one can see but him. Although he sets chairs out for them. Offers them drinks. He ...more