Literature: Legion

"My name is Stephen Leeds, and I am perfectly sane. My hallucinations, however, are all quite mad."

A novella by Brandon Sanderson.

Stephen Leeds is a schizophrenic, but not an ordinary schizophrenic. The people he sees are not only developed enough to be their own person, they are experts in a wide variety of fields — Ivy the psychiatrist, Audrey the handwriting expert, J.C. the Navy Seal, etc. Professors want to study him. Governments want to hire him. Stephen just wants to be left alone.

Until a woman named Monica shows up, representing a company that claims to have invented a camera that can take pictures of the past — a camera that's been stolen. Too intrigued to pass it up, Stephen accepts the case.

A sequel novella, entitled "Legion: Skin Deep" has been released.

Optioned for a TV series by Lionsgate.

Legion provides examples of:

  • Achievements in Ignorance: J.C. is able to keep up with a car doing 40 miles per hour on foot... until one of Stephen's other hallucinations wonders how he's doing that in Stephen's hearing, at which point J.C. suddenly has to stop to catch his breath.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: "We're on a plane hunting a camera that can take pictures of the past," I said. "How is it harder to believe that I just learned Hebrew [in a matter of hours]?"
  • Artistic License Gun Safety: J.C. gets called on his unsafe gun handling techniques; he claims he has "total control" over every muscle in his body. Justified because — he's a hallucination.
  • Artistic License Medicine: It's repeatedly mentioned that Stephen's condition is completely unique and makes absolutely no sense when compared to other forms of hallucinations or multiple personality disorders. One of the ways he makes money is by charging the many many psychologists who want to study him. He initially did it to get them to stop, but it ended up making him rich.
  • Gag Boobs: Apparently, J.C. would like Stephen to imagine Ivy with bigger breasts.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Discussed. Stephen says likes things the way they are, though he wishes people would leave him alone. Monica suggests he finds being quite possibly the smartest man alive a burden, and invented the hallucinations as a way of coping.
  • Insane Equals Violent: Stephen points out this isn't the case, but when he briefly loses his cool with Monica, he can tell she — like most people he meets — assumes it to be the case.
  • In-Series Nickname: One of Stephen's many psychologists came up with the name "Legion". He doesn't care for it much.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: People tend to assume Stephen is a reclusive, amoral jerk. He admits to being a recluse and a jerk.
  • Living Lie Detector: Ivy is very good at reading people, though she can't always tell if someone is telling the truth or not.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
    • The story deliberately leaves it ambiguous whether the projections are "real" or Steven is just using them as a trick to avoid admitting that he's doing all the thinking.
    • The ending leaves the question of the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth ambiguous in a very intriguing fashion.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg:
    • Multiple times, usually with J.C.
      Stephen: I'm not a genius. My hallucinations are.
      J.C.: Thanks.
      Stephen: Some of my hallucinations are.
    • And remember that everyone else only hears half the conversation.
      Stephen: They're useful.
      J.C.: Thanks.
      Stephen: Some of them can be useful.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • A disturbing one: Apparently, before he was in control of his aspects, some of Stephen's projections became, in his words, nightmares. We don't get any clarification, but we honestly don't need it.
    • From Skin Deep:
      • "Not all of my missions involve terrorists or the fate of the world. Some are far more simple and mundane. Like locating a teleporting cat.
      • "Not again, I thought, 'I hate zombies.'"
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Stephen claims he isn't this, since it's his hallucinations that are geniuses. But since all his hallucinations are in his head ...
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: What does J.C. stand for? Word of God is J.C. was based on Jayne Cobb/John Casey.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Andrea believes that she's a hallucination not because she actually is one, but because she's crazy.
  • Sequel Hook: The book was deliberately written in the style of a TV pilot, and leaves several questions unanswered. A sequel is in the works, and Lionsgate has optioned it for a TV series.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted, though some aren't particularly helpful. Stephen has both Ivy and a non-hallucinatory psychiatrist, though we never see the latter.
  • Third-Person Person: Armando, the photography expert, styles himself the "Emperor of Mexico" and occasionally talks like this.