The Rapture of the Nerds

a Tale of the Singularity, Posthumanity, and Awkward Social Situations

Hardcover, 349 pages

English language

Published Sept. 17, 2012 by Tor.

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3 stars (31 reviews)

Welcome to the Fractured Future

It's the dusk of the twenty-first century, and the Earth has a population of a billion or so. For the most part, we're happy with our lot. Those who aren't have emigrated off-planet, joining one of the swarming densethinker clades of the inner solar system. These posthuman consciousnesses have mostly sworn off dealing with their still-human cousins, but their minds wander sometimes . . . and when that happens, they casually spam Earth's networks with 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 get bored with 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. Huw, a technophobic, misanthropic Welshman, has been …

9 editions

Review of 'Rapture of the Nerds' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Sometimes you can pack too much good into a very small space.
When you do this, an explosion is probable.

The explosion is not as good as if you had just packed fewer things into that space.

Good strange things that I like:
Gender swapping protagonist
A hacker's exploration of transhumanism
Resource constraints in the virtual world
The inevitable myspacification of virtual worlds
The ethics of forked virtual characters
What it would feel like to modify your own thought patterns
Post Rapture societies and who would stay behind

And oh so much more. This novel is so fizzy with amazing things that it bubbles away, leaving almost nothing behind. And that is not as good as it could be.

Still, worth reading.

Review of 'Rapture of the Nerds' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

How do you talk about life in a world that has fundamentally changed? That’s the challenge that faced Doctorow & Stross. Their solution is to provide us with a luddite protagonist, Huw, who is almost as much of an outsider as the reader. Much like Arthur Dent, Huw is propelled through a series of misadventures that provide Doctorow & Stross with the opportunity to riff on both the singularity and contemporary culture.

There’s a paradox at the heart of this book. While its tone is light and breezy, the density of the ideas presently can make for a challenging read. This book is absolutely not for everyone. Doctorow & Stross take potshots at every sacred cow within range (and they make sure that there are a lot of them), so if you’re a person who is easily offended, you won’t like this. Their prose is packed with allusion and references …