Book Review: The Rapture of the Nerds by Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross

TOR
349 pp.

The Rapture of the Nerds is one of those books where I am pretty sure it’s supposed to be funny, but none of the jokes hit my funny bone. This is a post-Singularity novel where a good portion of humanity have “uploaded” and left Earth. The rest of the world is pretty okay with this state of affairs except for the USA which has been engaged in the kind of isolationist policy where you actively try to murder anyone who gets within range of your AI-run defense systems.

Every so often, the post-humans in the cloud spam Earth with new technologies. Since these technologies are pretty much the equivalent of Anthony Fremont deciding he likes you, people are selected for “tech juries” where it is determined if the new tech is safe or even useful to non-uploaded humanity. Our Protagonist, Huw Jones is selected for one of these juries. Unfortunately, he has also been infected by a nanotech “diplomat,” which necessitates his being shoved into a burqa-like hazmat suit.

Our Protagonist get dragged from one Arthur Dentian situation to another without much time taken to pause or reflect on the escalating nonsense. Huw gets infected by nanotech, undergoes a unwilling sex change operation, becomes a fugitive in the USA and then gets uploaded into the cloud by his mother, also against his will. (I had a slight problem with a lot of this, particularly the way everyone changed Huw’s pronoun to “she,” even though Huw does not seem to identify as a woman. It very much felt like the writers were going “we will have random sex changes because this is the far future so we will have people randomly changing sexes and genders because science fiction!”)

This is a very busy novel that wants to throw six billion things at you before breakfast in hopes that something sticks. This is a book that mostly held my attention mostly because I was spending a great deal of time trying to figure out what was supposed to be going on. Also, the characters were just engaging enough that I wanted to find out what happened to them. That said, this book is going to be a one-time only read for me.


The Rapture of the Nerds on Amazon

The Rapture of the Nerds on Powell’s Books

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Filed under Charles Stross, Cory Doctorow, distant future, human 2.0, Review: Book, science fiction

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