The Rapture of the Nerds

Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross. Tor, $24.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2910-3
Doctorow (Little Brother) and Stross (Rule 34) take a comic tour of a post-Singularity solar system where posthumans dump digital junk on the “pre-posthumans” who cling to terrestrial life. Huw Jones, a Welsh potter abandoned by parents who ascended to the interplanetary smartcloud, receives a summons for jury service, where he will decide what of the posthumans’ donations is worth taking and what’s too dangerous to touch. He soon falls into a “flash conspiracy” involving a hanging judge in a Dalek-like wheelchair, a wannabe transhuman, and a sybaritic conspiracy theorist. Huw is chased to North America, where he becomes female with stereotype-laden results, dodges fundamentalists and intelligent anarchist ants, and is unexpectedly uploaded and made the solar system’s ambassador to the ominous galactic Authority. Moving at light speed with a light touch, the novel mixes up a frothy cocktail of technological speculation and a wide variety of geeky in-jokes (unobtanium, Vogon poetry, “all the way up to 11”). (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/16/2012
Release date: 09/04/2012
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