This post is a part of a series of mini-reviews of books that I read while on blogging hiatus last fall. I received a review copy of The Rapture of the Nerds by Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross while at BEA in exchange for an honest review.
The Rapture of the Nerds is the story of a man who wants nothing more than to be human. Young Hew is a bit of a Luddite, and remains on Earth even as most other humans have uploaded themselves to the cloud. The people who have chosen to stay behind are all a little weird, and make great fodder for practical jokes. That’s why the plans for all new technology must be evaluated by a court to make sure that they’re legit. When Young Huw is called for Tech Jury Duty, his life is forever changed as he comes full circle with his biggest fears.
The book is divided into two main sections, both of which parallel and build off of each other. The first half is set on Earth, and the second half takes place in the cloud. The second half of the book is simultaneously creative and confusing in a way that only transhumanist literature can accomplish.
Singularity fiction is, by its very nature, a bit absurd, but The Rapture of the Nerds takes the cake. Doctorow and Stross clearly had a lot of fun writing this one. It’s what you’d get if Douglas Adams was on crack and spent too much time on 4chan, and I mean that as a compliment. There are a lot of references to both science fiction and pop culture. At one point, the “rustled my jimmies” gorilla pops up. The overall tone is satirical, and the plot is used to make fun of attitudes and mindsets present in our own society.