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The Rapture of the Nerds: A tale of the singularity, posthumanity, and awkward social situations [Hardcover]

Cory Doctorow , Charles Stross

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Book Description

Sept. 4 2012

Welcome to the fractured future, at the dusk of the twenty-first century.

Earth has a population of roughly a billion hominids. For the most part, they are happy with their lot, living in a preserve at the bottom of a gravity well. Those who are unhappy have emigrated, joining one or another of the swarming densethinker clades that fog the inner solar system with a dust of molecular machinery so thick that it obscures the sun. 

The splintery metaconsciousness of the solar-system has largely sworn off its pre-post-human cousins dirtside, but its minds sometimes wander…and when that happens, it casually spams Earth's networks with plans for cataclysmically disruptive technologies that emulsify whole industries, cultures, and spiritual systems. A sane species would ignore these get-evolved-quick schemes, but there's always someone who'll take a bite from the forbidden apple.

So until the overminds bore of stirring Earth's anthill, there's Tech Jury Service: random humans, selected arbitrarily, charged with assessing dozens of new inventions and ruling on whether to let them loose. Young Huw, a technophobic, misanthropic Welshman, has been selected for the latest jury, a task he does his best to perform despite an itchy technovirus, the apathy of the proletariat, and a couple of truly awful moments on bathroom floors.


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The Rapture of the Nerds: A tale of the singularity, posthumanity, and awkward social situations + Pirate Cinema + Homeland
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (Sept. 4 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765329107
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765329103
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 14.8 x 3.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #156,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  45 reviews
53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard work with moments of reading joy Sept. 10 2012
By N. Boer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was by no means a quick read - not only are the references arcane to the point of incomprehensibility, the plot is not so much constructed but thrown together, a sequence of nonsensical events that build up to non-climaxes and finally ends on a rather soppy note. That being said, the writing is excellent, and some of these sequences or plot segments are great fun - the moments of sheer absurdity proliferate, but continue to surprise and amuse.

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.
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny, futuristic and ultimately disappoitning Sept. 11 2012
By Arne Jonny Bakkevold - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross are two of the brightest lights in the SF firmament. Between them they have written such classics, and bestsellers, as Singularity Sky, Little Brother, Atrocity Archives and Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom. And during the last decade they have been writing loosely connected novellas about a post-singularity future. This novel is a sort of "fix-up" of these novellas into a novel, with some additional material added.
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.
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rapture of the Nerds: A romp and a stomp Sept. 7 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Wow! The book starts out as a zany romp, in the style of Bill, The Galactic Hero, on pot. I can imagine that if Docterow and Stross actually tried to write this in the same room, most of their time together was spent rolling on the floor giggling.
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.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The sum is not greater than its parts Dec 7 2012
By Paul A. Mastin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Perhaps some things are not meant to be combined. I have read and thoroughly enjoyed several of Cory Doctorow's novels. His free-wheeling, near-future stories present a believable tomorrow and strong social and cultural commentary. I have struggled through a couple of Charles Stross's novels. While his hard sci-fi future, including detailed conceptions of space travel and the colonization of space, have been solid and memorable, his stories tend to spin out of control.

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.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lost its way Oct. 21 2012
By Stingo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Started out a fun and interesting read (libya), then became somewhat silly and exaggerated (S.Carolina)(tupperware city...really?), then became too literal and limited to current computer metaphors (cloud) and then just became tiring and episodic. At the start it seemed that this was going to be a nerdish Good Omens (very funny book) or Hitchhiker's Guide. Unfortunately in my opinion, it lost its way.
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