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The Rapture of the Nerds by Cory Doctorow

The Rapture of the Nerds

by Cory Doctorow, Charles Stross

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I like Doctorow's bits in Make magazine but haven't read any of his fiction. I had never heard of Stross until I read in Vintage Tommorows that he wrote a piece slamming steampunk for not being real science. What kind of idiot thanks that anyone takes steampunk for "real science"? Everyone knows that what drives steampunk is impossible, so the question is moot. I did read his blog post and realized he was talking about the fiction, not the genre, but I still shake my head that he felt threatened by something that is simply fun. (For the record, I'm less than impressed with steampunk fiction.)

Anyway...I checked out the collaboration. I don't like present tense but I got over it. I read one review that said it was full of technobabble...babble is right and I generally find it annoying (I could never finish Neuromancer for that reason and I hate not finishing books). This is not a good book. It's not funny, but I did chuckle once. Interesting experiment...but these aren't the droids I was looking for.

I didn't like it, but it doesn't deserve one star. ( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |
Set in a post-singularity world where much of humanity has uploaded to a solar-system wide computational cloud. Earth is split between societies of extremes, with religious fundamentalists reigning in much of what is left of a post-nuclear USA. Our protagonist is Huw, an avowed technophobe whose parents uploaded to the cloud some years ago. Baffling and sometimes dangerous technology is sometimes made available through the cloud net back to the earth-dwelling; Huw is offered the chance to serve on a jury which is to decide whether to allow one item of this to be used. But the system is both corrupt and ineffective and Huw is drawn into an increasingly perilous series of scrapes in which, amongst many other things, he must again encounter his parents.

This is unashamed techno-fiction which moves at a relentless pace and it was only partly effective for me. I've read quite a lot of Stross's solo work but none of Doctorow's and I certainly wasn't able to recognise how the writing had been split between them. In style, it felt something like Stross on steroids and wasn't the better for it. Enjoyable but certainly not amongst my favourite Stross works. ( )
  kevinashley | Jan 4, 2017 |
I really couldn't get on with this. It was just too strange, so I abandoned it. ( )
  paulmorriss | Dec 22, 2016 |
It's been a half-century or so since the advent of the Singularity, and most of humanity now exists as disembodied simulations in a solar system-spanning computational cloud. Huw Jones is one of those still stubbornly clinging to a low-tech meatspace existence, but that existence gets badly disrupted when he's selected for a jury empowered to decide whether the Earth should adopt or reject a weird piece of technology sent back by the uploaded masses, only to discover that he himself has been infected with, well, a weird piece of technology sent back by the uploaded masses.

It's a fun book, at least if you have a particularly geeky sense of fun, which I do. There's lots of wild imaginings, lots of silly jokes and sly references. I will say that by the time I got to the halfway point, I was starting to think, OK, this has been entertaining enough, but it feels like it's all flash and no substance, and another 150 pages of this is probably going to be entirely too much. But then, for the second half of the novel, things shifted a bit, not dramatically, but just enough to make me wonder if the two authors had split the writing just there at the midpoint, and I found myself actually engaged in the story, as well as entertained by all the creativity and ridiculousness. I did find the resolution a bit anticlimactic, or at least a bit too abstractly presented to be satisfying, but overall I enjoyed the novel for the crazy, nerdy romp it was. ( )
  bragan | Nov 23, 2016 |
It was OK...it did feel like it took a while to get going, and then when it got there it felt a little slight as a story. Fun enough while reading, and it wasn't obvious who wrote which bit to me, but I do prefer Stross's solo authored books to this. ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cory Doctorowprimary authorall editionscalculated
Stross, Charlesmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Wirth, MaryDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Cory: For Alice. I renew my vow not to fork any new instances without your permission.

Charlie: For Feorag. Just because!
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Huw awakens, dazed and confused.
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A tale set at the end of the twenty-first century finds the planet's divided hominid population subjected to the forces of a splintery metaconsciousness that inundates networks with plans for cataclysmic technologies, prompting an unwitting jury member to participate in a grueling decision.… (more)

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