The Rapture of the Nerds: A tale of the singularity, posthumanity, and awkward social situations Hardcover – Sep 4 2012
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“There's a superhuman energy and intelligence to Makers that I haven't see since mid-period Bruce Sterling.” ―Lev Grossman, New York Times bestselling author of The Magicians
“If imagination is the key to success for a writer, Charles Stross has it in spades.” ―The Times (London)
About the Author
CORY DOCTOROW is a coeditor of Boing Boing and a columnist for multiple publications including the Guardian, Locus, and Publishers Weekly. He was named one of the Web's twenty-five influencers by Forbes magazine and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. His award-winning novel Little Brother was a New York Times bestseller. He lives in London with his wife and daughter.
CHARLES STROSS, author of several major novels of SF and fantasy including Singularity Sky, Accelerando, Halting State, and Rule 34, is widely hailed as one of the most original voices in modern SF. His short fiction has won multiple Hugo Awards and Locus awards. He lives in Edinburgh.See all Product Description
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The protagonist - a misanthropic Luddite Welshman living on a post-Singularity Earth where humans no longer die, but choose to be 'uploaded' to the Cloud, where they continue a virtual (and extremely tacky) existence - is extremely annoying for most of the text. Deeply passive, he is (often literally) dragged from one horrendous and painful experience to the next, continuously requiring rescue like an old-fashioned princess. (Note: Extremely graphic descriptions of various forms of torture and injury abound - somewhat gratuitous, in my opinion.) In each adventure, he is expected to 'save the world' in some way or another (the threats becoming increasingly dire), and thus finds himself (sometimes herself - gender is a construct, after all) in the odd position of having to defend a mankind he despises.
If you're looking for light, amusing sci-fi, turn elsewhere - this novel both requires and frustrates your full attention. It does have its rewards, but, unless you're fully conversant with all things gaming and internet-related, I'm not sure if the rewards are worth the slog.
At the start of the novel, Huw, the protagonist, wakes up with a bad hangover in a bathtub and the day gets worse from there. By the time the novel is over, Huw have changed sexes a couple of times and is uploaded to Cloud and desperately wants to be back in his pottery in Wales.
The story is fun and funny. There are some genuinely laugh-out-loud movements in the book. The story is exciting and surprising, but what ultimately sinks the novel for me is the ending. After all that has gone before - the ending feels a little anticlimactic - and I realize that might sound weird when saving the world is at stake. Stross and Doctorow are wonderful authors by themselves - and this book have wonderful elements. But they stay that way. Just elements.
I recommend this book if you like the authors and are somewhat familiar with the whole singularity idea.
As it progresses, the story of Huw, the luddite offspring of two genius parents, undergoes the most amazing transformation as it marginalizes fundamental religion, technogeeks, and politics, in no particular order. I would describe it as a post-singularity coming of age story. The puns are atrocious, the references obscure, and the plot line, multi-dimensional. In a world where transgenderfication can take place in a normal bathroom, the reader will find he can't tell the players without a DNA scan. I enjoyed this book as satire, as serious criticism, and as a bizarre adventure. If you are prepared to read this with your browser open to Google and a background in gaming and technology, this will be fun.
These two have teamed up in a new novel, The Rapture of the Nerds: A Tale of the Singularity, Posthumanity, and Awkward Social Situations. As the subtitle suggests, there's plenty of good humor and zany sci-fi fun here, including some friendly nods to the greatest comedy sci-fi writer, Douglas Adams. But the end result of this mish-mash of humor and hard sci-fi ultimately disappoints. Rapture is chock full of clever ideas, of both the scientific and the silly sort, and manages to weave a convoluted plot leading to the prevention of earth's destruction by an intergalactic, multi-species hive mind.
I really wanted to like this book. I am certain that Doctorow and Stross had a ball collaborating on it, and it will surely hold some appeal for fans of both. But I was happy to get to the end and be done with it.