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The Rapture of the Nerds

3.38  ·  Rating details ·  3,585 ratings  ·  509 reviews
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 densethinker clades that fog the inner solar system with a dust of
Hardcover, 351 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Tor Books (first published September 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.38  · 
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Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
There's a slight paradox with this execution of this book which might thrill or annoy the lot of it's readers: It reads like a Heinlein juvenile upgraded to all the geeky post-singularity hacking terms we can take a swing at.


Specifically, I think of Have Space Suit—Will Travel if we'd substituted a kid with an engineering project with a real-meat man in a completely digital society, get him embroiled in Objectivist Religionists (BIG LOL there), several courtroom dramas filled with some real
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
I thought "Little Brother" was great, so I was prepared to adore RoTN. Sadly, I don't have that much love for it.

Most of the book reads like a bargain-basement "Illuminatus Trilogy" (Shea and Wilson). Doctorow and Stross throw a tremendous number of ideas at the wall, not bothering to see whether they stick, or whether in fact they are even internally consistent (cyborg disassembler ants are so bad that they take apart doorways in seconds, but a quasi-medieval society can survive on top of them
Jun 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
I think the easiest way to explain this book is to ask other people to read it.
In a sense it is singularity porn, the style is flashy and witty and very funny. But it also makes you think, and hard. What actually happens in a world where we upload our consciousness to the cloud? Where you can live a trillion years in subjective time but only 10 minutes have passed in earth time?
What happens to the world, to our geography? Does uploaded consciousness let you "feel" or are the feelings just approx
Peter Tillman
It's pretty uneven. OK, VERY uneven. But the good parts are really, really good. And you can try it FREE:

I might do a partial reread myself. I may come back and point you to some good reviews here (& elsewhere). Or not. Hey, tempis fugit!

Have fun. I did. Just skim what you don't like, is my advice. 3.5 stars, rounded down for inconsistency. Here are the authors, on the 9-year[!!] gestation of the book:

And (as promis
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
I was seriously poised to say something like "Great story. I hated it." for roughly the first half of this book. It's very gonzo and action-movie-ish. The thematically interesting, thoughtful parts aren't deployed until about halfway through. The first couple parts are like a really, really long prologue. I was seriously thinking of abandoning the book.

But the second half of the book saved it for me. It's a much more thoughtful examination of the increasingly prevalent SF theme that our physical
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure I'd recommend this book to most people. It would take a great deal of patience, delight in details relating to posthumanism and the singularity, and maybe some experience in virtual living. I enjoyed it because I'm just a big nerd, I guess.

Here's an example of the density of writing:
"Huw last saw her parents at their disembodiment; they'd already had avatars running around in the cloud for years, dipping into meatspace every now and again for a resynch with their slowcode bioinstanc
Oct 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
Much of this book is the fun, wild ride it's meant to be. But Stross's voice is too strong here (frankly, Doctorow's is barely discernable), and as someone who's now read several of Stross's own novels, I have to say the unceasing cleverness of that voice has become almost totally grating. That said, it genuinely is clever, and quite often funny, and with my teeth a bit on edge, I still enjoyed the work overall. The prose is nothing to write home about, but is at least generally in service to th ...more
Alex Sarll
Charles Stross is, in a few months, going to be Britain's best science fiction writer. Cory Doctorow is a very smart guy and a good columnist whose fiction has generally left me cold, seeming a little too ready to show its workings. And the first of the three component stories here, 'Jury Service', suggests that the two of them writing together will make for the wrong sort of matey self-indulgence - it's all tech buzzwords and madcap techno-picaresque, like somebody's running a bad simulation of ...more
Mar 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Microchipped meatbags and sophisticated simuLuddites
Recommended to Alan by: Theme, and this one posthuman time-traveling gorilla...
You don’t think progress goes in a straight line, do you? Do you recognize that it is an ascending, accelerating, maybe even exponential curve? lt takes hell's own time to get started, but when it goes it goes like a bomb. And you, you Scotch-drinking steak-eater in your Relaxacizer chair, you’ve just barely lighted the primacord of the fuse.
—"Day Million," from 1966, by Frederik Pohl

Hapless Huw Jones is a pathetic protagonist, a Welshman (his nationality actually becomes important later, even i
Sara Calvosa
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
Never start a book with Chapter 1: Jury Service. It made me instinctively want to find a way to get out of reading it. As it turned out, the rest of the Crapture of the Nerds was a huge shitshow, a massive ripoff of Hitchhiker's G2theG, and a tedious read full of lame nerd junk. If you're into bottom of the barrel, low-quality geekisms, then you might like this book. Otherwise it's total rubbish. Like a chump, I bought the hardcover so to get my money's worth I'm going to hollow it out and keep ...more
1 Star

I started reading The Rapture of the Nerds last year, but it was not engaging so I put it aside for several months. I finally forced myself to finish it. While it had an interesting concept, the writing was bombastic, the plot was chaotic, and character development was pretty much nonexistent.

"The system from the outside resembles a spherical fogbank radiating in the infrared spectrum; a matryoshka brain nested Dyson spheres built from the dismantled bones of moons and planets. The splint
Sep 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf
This book totally blew me away. (Not unexpected, given that it's Cory Doctorow. Charles Stross's voice is also helpful, and he gives it a nice British feel.) The protagonist, Huw (who?), is mostly minding his own business, trying to act like life isn't so different after the singularity, which has caused most people (including his parents) to upload into a digital worlds in the space around earth, having used up the moon and inner planets to construct physical storage. The uploaded entities--upg ...more
Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Eric by: Nikki Romano
My opinion of this is basically complete indifference. I didn't dislike it, I just didn't care enough about any aspect of it to turn the page any further.

There is just no hook for me. The main character has no personality, no friends, no love interest, and no reason to root for him. So why should I, especially in a post-humanity/singularity world where literally anything can happen at any point, with no warning or ground rules clearly laid out? This book is untethered, and maybe that is the poi
Horribly ridiculous. And not as funny as it would have been if Scalzi had been involved (at his best - not like Fuzzy Nation). And the first third was much much worse than the rest of the book. Perhaps this is taking the singularity too far, sort of like Western Philosophy seemed to start off relevant and interesting and ended with nothingness (and boring as all get out). But there were tons and tons of cool ideas including the idea of uploading consciousness as being the Rapture of the Nerds. I ...more
Eric Herboso
Nov 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Post-singularity scifi is always weird, but Doctorow & Stross do an excellent job of describing the weirdness rationally in a way that feels more scifi than fantasy. It's definitely a fun read, though I doubt I'd ever choose to pick up the book a second time.

While the largest defect of the novel was (for me at least) an inability to really empathize with the main character, the most visible defect was certainly the sheer number of obscure references packed into the book. Those not moderately ver
Sep 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
A book with some really thought provoking concepts for sure. I had to stop reading a few times and think about the role of emotion and how we deal and process it a few times when I was reading this book. There are some mind melting meta-cognition moments in it, but those are the fun part.

The not fun part? I kept getting the feeling like I had skipped a page or something. Most books I don't have to go back and reread, but this one was like that at times. I would go back and re-read things and as
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 09, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
This felt like a few different books shoveled together. I enjoyed this for the first few hours of the audio version, but found the plot went sideways about 1/3 of the way through, when the book becomes a longer exploration of the destruction of earth as taken from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. Yes, they even mention Vogons and hyperspace bypasses when this section starts. It’s like an entirely different book – much less action, much more deep thought on simulations and time in the serv ...more
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Rapture of the Nerds really didn’t take me long to read. It truly is an enjoyable book that is well worth your time, for the humor and descriptions alone. However, the first half can be rather plodding, confusing and lacking in substance. The second half is where the plot and deeper themes really start to hit home and everything starts to tie together nicely (where plenty of “Ah ha!” moments happen). When I finished the book I realized I really only had one complaint. While enjoyable, the hu ...more
Jan 04, 2014 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
I've never read Doctorow before but I've read quite a few Stross novels and this fits squarely in his techno-geek SF vein of novels, quite similar to Accelerando in style, theme and even plot to some extent.


See the complete review here:
Sep 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Moved to ...more
Mouldy Squid
Feb 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Gonzo post-singularity speculative fiction by the, I am sure to be re-united again, duo of Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross. Both of these writers are known for their computer-geek, wildly futuristic, bizarre technology flavoured science fiction so their combination should mesh well, and it does. If I had to choose who wrote which parts, I would refuse to try since the prose, style and diction are almost indistinguishable.

This is a thrill ride, despite the average rating I have assigned it, fil
Jul 01, 2014 rated it liked it
There's a lot to love in this book. Actually, there's way too much.

This is a book so packed with big ideas and that moves at a such a breakneck pace that Huw, the main character (a hapless hero that reminds me nothing so much as a latter day Heinlein hero in the "Friday" mold), seems to have been fired straight from the barrel of some kind of narrative cannon and rips through breathless escapade to the next at a rate that's often disconcerting when it isn't confusing or annoying.

Meanwhile, the
Jen Fries
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
The singularity - the idea that human consciousness has fused with the web - has happened, and the Cloud likes to toy with the meat critters (embodied humans) in a way that feels unpredictable and deadly. All good so far. What tripped me up was the dour, unlikeable protagonist, Hew, whose racist and transphobic point of view we are expected to follow. Despite Hew being repulsed by the fact that another character, Bonnie, is gender fluid, which in this future means they can switch between genders ...more
Ian Farragher
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: on-my-shelf, stopped
The style that this book is written in, I can only describe as smirking, smug, self-satisfaction. Let's write an unlikable protagonist! Let's torture him! Let's make fun of a self-righteous blowhard. Won't it be grand?!? To which my answer is... maybe if the writing were better or the satire sharper, but in this case it's a hard nope. I got up to the start of jury duty and was exhausted with the sloppy prose and the smirking tone. I probably would have finished this book-being irritated the whol ...more
Apr 02, 2013 rated it did not like it
Truly, epically awful. I struggled through it to the end and I’m not really sure why. I like Doctorow and Stross when they keep a careful reign on their tendency to get cutesy. This book is the unholy combination of their cutesy Ids given free reign, to the total detriment of plot, characterization, coherent worldbuilding, or coherent anything else. At best, I guess, they were trying to convey the cultural confusion that anything like a technological singularity would produce, in a lighthearted ...more
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
A few good jokes and at least one Hitchhiker's reference, but overall this was a muddle of breathless technology, a zany romp. I don't like zany romps. As a huge Doctorow fan I was disappointed with this one. ...more
Tim Poston
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Vastly enjoyed it . . . but the number of (good) nerd jokes per page obviously limits its audience!
Apr 18, 2020 rated it liked it
This is one of those books that sounds good in the description. And I did like it enough to keep going and finish it. But it's very, very heavy on technology, mostly computer simulations, the idea of loading your consciousness to a cloud, etc - and that's a bit above my level. Well, quite a bit above my level.

Overall, not horrible. I liked the characters. I just had some trouble following the story at times.
Aug 19, 2019 rated it liked it
It was an ok read. It read like a TV show- very episodic. The overall message was cool and lots of things to think about.
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Cory Doctorow is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger — the co-editor of Boing Boing and the author of the YA graphic novel In Real Life, the nonfiction business book Information Doesn’t Want To Be Free, and young adult novels like Homeland, Pirate Cinema, and Little Brother and novels for adults like Rapture Of The Nerds and Makers. He is a Fellow for the Elec ...more

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