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Old December 29 2012, 12:36 AM   #1
Vice Admiral
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Location: NJ, USA
Rapture of the Nerds

A humorous look at the Singularity from the minds of Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross!!

The novel is available free on Doctorow's website, as a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND download.

The pitch:

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 dense-thinker clades that fog the inner solar system with a dust of molecular machinery so thick that it obscures the sun.

The splintery meta-consciousness 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 over-minds 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 techno-virus, the apathy of the proletariat, and a couple of truly awful moments on bathroom floors...
"Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities".
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Old December 29 2012, 12:46 AM   #2
J. Allen
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Re: Rapture of the Nerds

What the hell is going on in that quote? I went to the website, and all I saw was a heavy text version of this place: Parallax Colony

The higher... the fewer!

All joking aside, eh, it doesn't look very good. I read some of it, and the text is just way too pretentious. It's as if the author tried to be as full of shit as possible. I understand using a wide variety of nouns and verbs to add a unique flavor to a work, but if it's so bogged down by unnecessary idioms, what's the point? I just couldn't find very much humor in it. Mostly, I found boredom and tedium. No offense, RAMA. I mean, if you like it, that's cool. I just don't see it.

I mean, seriously:

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Old December 29 2012, 05:02 AM   #3
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Rapture of the Nerds

Well, that was pointless crap.
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Old December 29 2012, 05:57 AM   #4
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Location: NJ, USA
Re: Rapture of the Nerds

Stross who helped popularize the Singularity meme in SF has lately been somewhat critical of it, I think the story is a clever way of "having your cake and eating it too"...having a post-SIngularity society and not and reflecting upon it. I think we need a lot more of this type of exploration with Singularity's themes, humor is a good way to accomplish it, because the implications can be epic or grave.

Interestingly, the reviews for the story are very good in the critical realm (Publihser's Weekly, starred review Booklist, Library Journal, Barnes and Noble reviews, Quill and Quire linked below, et al), fans tend to have a lesser opinion, but in both cases the story(ies) are agreed to fit into the general pattern of exploration of the individual writer's and are a worthwhile addition to their milieu. This story is not their top work really, but I simply couldn't pass up the summary...the one I quoted.


Barnes and Noble reviews:

In this milestone novel, Stross and Doctorow have risen to the perpetual SF challenge of portraying a world utterly estranged from our present, yet still somehow our must-be- acknowledged illegitimate bad seed spawn. They've raised the bar for all who follow in their footsteps.
"Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities".
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