"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.
- Art Major Biology: Skin Deep revolves around an invented tech that uses a virus to store information in DNA, turning the human body into a giant flash drive. Too bad they may have created a cancer-triggering virus in the process.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: The reason Stephen keeps getting called on for odd jobs. He can wander through a room and in minutes have detailed information and background on it's occupant, or handle a conversation like he's reading a mind. From his perspective, his hallucinations are poking around with him and feeding him what they notice and their own analysis.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: J.C. and Ivy, apparently, to Stephen's consternation when he catches them making out in a corner.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: As the page quote states, some of Stephen's hallucinations are crazy in their own way:
- Tobias has his own hallucination named Stan, who lives in a satellite and predicts the weather for him.
- Armando styles himself the emperor of Mexico, even after being told Mexico doesn't ''have'' an emperor.
- J.C. refuses to believe he's a hallucination and invents wildly outlandish theories for why he can't interact with anything real (parallel universe, and at one point, Time Ranger, complete with future slang)
- Andrea believes that she's a hallucination, to the point that she starts writing words in the air with her finger, just to give Stephen a headache.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: While Stephen has many different hallucinations, he sticks with a core crew of 3 'aspects' for most jobs: Ivy (sanguine), J.C. (choleric), Tobias (phlegmatic), and then there's Stephen himself (melancholic).
- Gag Boobs: Apparently, J.C. would like Stephen to imagine Ivy with bigger breasts.
- Guile Hero: Since his boisterous backup J.C. is completely in his mind, Stephen is forced to become this. He doesn't always divulge everything he knows, and he's savvy enough to know his employers never tell him everything. Even when not in direct contact with his hallucinations, he shows signs of picking up the more common analysis skills, and he can have get a plan going or have a Eureka Moment without their help.
- 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.
- Insistent Terminology: They're aspects, and not split personalities (although hallucination is just as frequently used.
- 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.
- Magic A Is Magic A: While it is not actual magic, and the hallucinations are all (supposedly) in Stephen's head, Sanderson applies his usual standards and there are rules Stephen has to follow.
- Stephen can make himself an expert in just about any field, with a ridiculously short study time, so long as he can create a new hallucination or 'aspect', which in his mind actually carries the knowledge and expertise he just gained.
- The aspect will have their own personality and background, sometimes even offscreen family, and they will also have their own personalized psychological problem. They also seem to have their own lives, he finds they head off on trips, or catches them just out of a shower, etc.
- Once he has an aspect, he has to treat them as much like a real person as possible. They get living quarters in his mansion, seats to drive around with him, meals and drinks. Stephen's mind can fill in some gaps, but the more he has to the less stable all the minds are. Stephen acknowledges they aren't real, and will even tell them so, but otherwise they are as real to him as anyone else is.
- The aspects have access to all of the information Stephen has, and it's implied Stephen has photographic memory, so he usually arranges to keep half an eye on as much as possible and let aspects call things to his attention. He can occasionally imagine them interacting with the real world if it makes sense, but any action taken he has to do himself (J.C. picks up a reel of duct tape to show him, but puts it right back down where it was).
- Stephen does have limits, but he's also constantly pushing them. As of the first story he has 45 separate hallucinations, and he has created three more by the end of the second story, and he thinks he's riding his upper limits of what he can do. It also taxes his energy the more of them he has hanging around; his three aspect core crew he seems to keep around constantly, but five or six hallucinations at once becomes draining, and more requires a concentration aid.
- If Stephen is separated from an aspect, he can't use the knowledge it has (although as of Skin Deep, he's started imagining them having cell phones so they can contact each other for quick consults). It's outright stated that one hallucination actually died, with permanent memory loss as a result.
- 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.
- Mentor Ship: A woman named Sandra taught Stephen to use his mind this way, although it's ambiguous whether or not he was hallucinating before that. It's strongly implied their relationship was more than teaching. Unfortunately, she hopped on a train, without a word, ten years ago. Stephen is desperate for any leads to find her, and even he doesn't seem sure if he needs her for love or just to stabilize his mind.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg:
- Multiple times, usually with J.C.Stephen: I'm not a genius. My hallucinations are.
Stephen: Some of my hallucinations are.
- And remember that everyone else only hears half the conversation.Stephen: They're useful.
Stephen: Some of them can be useful.
- Multiple times, usually with J.C.
- 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.'"
- Oh Crap!: Whenever a hallucination does something Stephen doesn't expect to be possible, and makes him question how stable he really is:
- J.C. was able to grab Stephen's hands and use his gun to take out three armed guards that were holding them hostage.
- His translator hallucination, Kalyani, has an offscreen husband Rahul she mentions. Then the husband actually shows up and is visible, the first time Stephen picks up a new hallucination without studying for one.
- 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.
- Only Sane Man: From his own perspective, dealing with multiple aspects that are usually more colorful than he is, Stephen can come across as this. From everyone else's perspective, not so much. Among his aspects, Ivy may qualify, as her skills are in psychology and reading people, and her own quirk (trypophobia) rarely comes up.
- Properly Paranoid: Played with. Never outright stated, but J.C.'s mental issue seems to be paranoia, and he's constantly referencing conspiracies that everyone else doesn't have clearance to know about. As a (imaginary) former Navy Seal though, it comes off like he would actually know these things, and given Stephen's usually investigating topics of interest to powerful people, he's often right when he sees trouble coming.
- 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.
- The Reveal:
- The reason the Mega Corp. could never get the camera to work properly without the inventor. The flash the inventor used was the key component to make it work. Stephen grabbed a sample, and one of his aspects is working on recreating the tech to help find Sandra.
- What actually happened with the bio-information tech in Skin Deep. The info was never on Panos' body, and there never was a cancer virus. Panos stole his own virus research from I3 and spliced it into a common harmless skin bacteria, and then made sure to shake a lot of hands, making lots of copies so it couldn't be destroyed. It's encrypted, but Stephen has the key. Panos' little brother had a dream of using the research as a vector for auto-delivering immunizations and eliminating disease wholesale.
- 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.
- Third Wheel: Skin Deep opens with Stephen trying out a date. Ivy and Tobias are along and hamming up every detail, but he manages to avoid interacting with them (and thus freaking out his date) for a bit. Then he slips up. Then he fumblingly explains what it's like to be nuts. Then J.C. shows up checking the perimiter. Turns out the date was a plant for a reporter anyway.
- Time Travel: Only indirectly. The first story is about a camera that can take pictures of the past, it just needs to be in the same location. The Mega Corp. that helped build it wants to use it to gain sensitive intel. The inventor who stole it back wants solid proof of his religion, pictures of the resurrection of Jesus.
- Tomato in the Mirror: Most of the hallucinations are aware that they aren't actually there, and Stephen often directly addresses it with them, but they tend to ignore or gloss over it whenever convenient. Breaking the illusion too much means breaking Stephen. The two exceptions are J.C., who refuses that explanation, and Audrey, who embraces being imaginary so much that Stephen concludes that not being real must be her own personal psychosis.
- White Void Room: Stephen has one room in his mansion set up to look like this. The emptiness lets his mind focus on just the aspects and hallucinations, so he can call together a conference of all of them and get them all cracking on a single problem. They even use the walls as a whiteboard.