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The Rapture of the Nerds

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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 molecular machinery so thick that it obscures the sun.

The splintery metaconsciousness of the solar-system has largely sworn off its pre-post-human cousins dirtside, but its minds sometimes wander...and when that happens, it casually spams Earth's networks with plans for cataclysmically disruptive technologies that emulsify whole industries, cultures, and spiritual systems. A sane species would ignore these get-evolved-quick schemes, but there's always someone who'll take a bite from the forbidden apple.

So until the overminds bore of stirring Earth's anthill, there's Tech Jury Service: random humans, selected arbitrarily, charged with assessing dozens of new inventions and ruling on whether to let them loose. Young Huw, a technophobic, misanthropic Welshman, has been selected for the latest jury, a task he does his best to perform despite an itchy technovirus, the apathy of the proletariat, and a couple of truly awful moments on bathroom floors.

351 pages, Hardcover

First published September 1, 2012

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About the author

Cory Doctorow

223 books4,585 followers
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 Electronic Frontier Foundation and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group. Born in Toronto, Canada, he now lives in Los Angeles.

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5 stars
574 (15%)
4 stars
1,218 (32%)
3 stars
1,233 (32%)
2 stars
530 (14%)
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203 (5%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 531 reviews
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,845 followers
February 11, 2017
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 really zany characters such as a judge who is a dalek, and ends up with a galactic singularity overmind checking us over and using this poor sod to determine if we, as a species, deserves a chance to keep on living.

Fairly simple story and it reads very quick, but the best part (or the worst, depending on your tolerance for geeking out with tech and post-singularity societies,) has got to be the world-building and the ideas, with the satire being a distant third. :)

I personally love singularty stories. And if you need a description, just assume that all matter has been turned into computers and we've all been uploaded as pure minds to live in any kinds of realities we desire, then you'll have a pretty good feel for it.

But where's the conflict? Oh, it's all mental and ideological and sometimes even territorial as long as you can wrap your mind around major causality loops when you tamper with the fundamental forces of matter. :)

In other words, this is a simple story with a dense layer of computronium and satire wrapped around it like bacon around a nice juicy steak.

Not that it doesn't have it's flaws, of course, but if you like this kind of thing, you really shouldn't miss it. :)
214 reviews8 followers
February 10, 2013
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?). Sadly, some of the societies they envision show a lack of creativity - the religious ones in particular come across like neither of them have any friends who are sincerely religious people.

It's only in the last third of the book that something which is more novel - the interactions between multiple variants of the same character, and some of the implications thereof, are quite interesting. Again, it's unfortunate that the authors chose to skim several ideas rather than really immerse into any one - I would have liked to have seen more insight applied to that. Honestly, the whole book should have simply started with the incident that led up to that last third: the first two-thirds is a mere appendix, which can be excised "Phantom Menace"-style to no storytelling ill-effect.

I probably would not recommend this book: Doctorow's other work is better, and I haven't read other stuff by Stross. It's not terrible, but it's not good either.
Profile Image for Peter Tillman.
3,406 reviews301 followers
September 23, 2021
It's pretty uneven. OK, VERY uneven. But the good parts are really, really good. And you can try it FREE: https://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog...

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 promised) here is my friend Susan Stepney's take: https://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/susan...
"This is superb. Every sentence bristles with wit and insight, and the plot boils with unexpected and ever more serious consequences, delightfully weird extrapolations, and deep questioning of humanity."
Well. SS & I agree on a lot of books, and I wish she would be a more active reviewer again. But, on this: caveat lector!
Profile Image for Rellac.
11 reviews8 followers
June 22, 2012
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 approximational data? How much energy does the universe contain and how much processing power does it take to run a simulation of yourself in the cloud? How are you paying for all of this? Are you vulnerable to malware?
The list goes on.
Overall pretty damn engaging. I would recommend this book to most SF fans.
Profile Image for Alan.
1,076 reviews104 followers
March 30, 2013
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 in his post-national world) who has chosen to live a Nineteenth-Century lifestyle, which only makes him about three centuries behind current. Huw works clay with his hands, throwing pots and mugs and such, painting them with glaze and then firing them in a kiln. He's not even close to Day Million but this still makes him, even among the biological humans who remain on Earth, a remarkable reactionary.

For Huw, that throwback among throwbacks, lives after the Singularity has occurred—when most human beings (as well as their AIs and quite a few of the more intelligent animals) have already uploaded their essences to the swarm of tiny interconnected computers that's been constructed out of the other solid bodies in the Solar System. Earth revolves alone, pinpointed (in a vivid image from the book) by a solitary beam of sunshine that follows it in its orbit. The rest of the Sun's output is intercepted, used to power the clusters of computronium that host the Solar System's teeming trillions. Earth is, these days, something of a museum, if a neglected and little-visited one.

But every museum has its vandals... and some supposedly-uplifted intelligences aren't all that mature. They periodically transmit society-shattering inventions and concepts to Earth, and it's up to Earth's rather disorganized governments to intercept, evaluate, and erase these transmissions—or at least eradicate the results after the fact—if they're determined to be too Earth-shattering.

Which is where Huw comes in. He's been called to jury service, one of those randomly (?) chosen to determine whether the social cost of allowing the cloud's latest brilliant idea to propagate Earthside is too great. If only he hadn't been recently infected by a hazardous species of bioware...
Those Dawners really made fast decisions. You wouldn’t catch them wasting a full minute setting up a business.
—"Slow Tuesday Night," by R.A. Lafferty

Now, I like Charles Stross a lot. I'm not so enamored of Cory Doctorow, who is usually too didactic for me, but I was still willing to take a flyer on this collaboration. And on the whole it worked for me. I'm not sure how they wrote this, though. I suspect they traded volleys of "can you top that?" and "how will Huw get out of this one?" via email, smoothing out the results after the fact. It's really hard to tell where the Stross ends and the Doctorow begins, at any rate.

The Rapture of the Nerds may not, at its heart, be as new and forward-thinking as it purports to be... but it was still a fun and dizzyingly fast-paced excursion into a bizarre, but hopeful, future. And that's a good thing.
Profile Image for Alex Sarll.
5,606 reviews223 followers
April 24, 2013
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 Warren Ellis (which is to say, most modern Warren Ellis). But then the next episode, 'Appeals Court', while still sledgehammer-subtle in its critique of messianic American capitalism-religiosity, develops a certain power - and by the final instalment, 'Parole Board' (as long as the other two combined), there's a certain emergent grandeur.
Incidentally: the ebook of this, because of the authors' own ideological stances, can legitimately be had for free. I have it. And yet I *read* this in a paper edition, borrowed from an underfunded, physical library. A couple of times while reading it, I realised that no other commuter I could see around me was reading a paper book. So for all that he infuriated me, perhaps I have more in common with the protagonist, Singularity refusenik and luddite potter Huw, than I would like to think.
Profile Image for Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides.
2,081 reviews76 followers
September 17, 2012
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 bodies are a dead end or hindrance, or at least a flawed prototype. (Start paying attention to how many SF works have life extension or immortality as a casual background, and you might be surprised.) Its conception of the virtual world of uploaded human intelligences owes a lot to Neal Stephenson, and less to Greg Egan than I was expecting.

If you can handle/laugh at humor and mockery about Ayn Rand, well, there's a very amusing payoff.

At least one reviewer on GR has noted that this book is very Strossian, at least if the Halting State universe is your benchmark for Stross. Doctorow's writerly tics are harder to detect here.

Profile Image for Jenny (Reading Envy).
3,876 reviews3,023 followers
December 21, 2012
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 bioinstances dirtside. When they were finally deconstituted into a fine powder of component molecules, it'd been a technicality, really, a final flourish in their transhumanifaction."

Really, if you're familiar with Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross, both in their fiction but also in knowing what they themselves geek out about, this is probably the book for you. I've read more Doctorow than Stross, but follow both of them in Twitter, so I suppose I qualify!

My favorite bit of this book is the second chapterish section, where Huw is taken to South Carolina to serve as an ambassador of sorts. Only Charleston, SC, is known as Glory City, and is only filled with people who think they should have been taken in the rapture and weren't. Not exactly the friendliest place for an atheist to have to go. Because of the environmental catastrophe (he refers to the people living there as radioactive), Glory City is in a dome surrounded by chemical showers to keep out the ants. Ants live in continental supercolonies, and are the dominant species, at least in North America.

Along the way, Huw changes genders, and then gets taken into the singularity by his/her mother, or at least a version of her. I love her take on her qualms about living in the cloud:
"Her primary beef against the singularity has never been existential - it's aesthetic. The power to be a being of pure thought, the unlimited, unonstrained world of imagination, and we build a world of animated gifs, stupid sight gags, lame van-art avatars, stupid 'playful' environments, and brain-dead flame wars augmented by animated emoticons that allowed participants to express their hackneyed ad hominems, concern-trollery, and Godwin's law violations through the media of cartoon animals and oversized animated genitals."

To that, I say... word.
Profile Image for Jeffrey.
2 reviews2 followers
October 30, 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 the story, rarely catching my notice with a clumsy or repeated phrase.

I read this sort of fiction for the ideas, and the ideas contained herein expand upon those from Accelerando--namely, the lives of uploaded minds; the culture and economy of a solar system increasingly dedicated to ekeing more computing power out of the raw matter available (everything is in the end reducible to "computronium", or more importantly to the FLOPS it provides); the unwillingness of some to give up the physical world for the endless possibility of a purely virtual one; and what human relationships might be like in this insane postsingularity universe. (And the scope really is the universe, by the way--these authors aim high.) A tremendous amount of ground is covered, and the authors' facility with computing concepts serves them well as they set concepts from the realms of neuro- and computer science into motion. I can imagine, though, that readers not familiar with (for instance) source code control might be put off by a few of the more obscure references.

Despite my misgivings and reservations, I was happy to be reading this novel at least 60% of the time, and most of the rest had me at least interested in the subject. How to end a mixed review but with a mixed endorsement? Enjoy this book, if you can, and you'll be glad you did; unless you can't, in which case you won't. At least you can get it for free.
Profile Image for Sara Calvosa.
34 reviews1 follower
January 22, 2013
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 a collection of dead bees in there or something.
Profile Image for Eric.
852 reviews72 followers
December 7, 2012
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 point of looking this far into the future, but it certainly didn't make for compelling literature.

Also, on an entirely different note, I do not like books that are narrated in the present tense. So there's that too.

Since I have greatly enjoyed some other works by Cory Doctorow, and have never read Charles Stross, I will unfairly blame this book on the latter author. Sorry, Stross, but somebody has to be the scapegoat, and it isn't going to be the guy that wrote Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.
Profile Image for Colleen.
659 reviews110 followers
April 21, 2018
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 splintery metaconsciousness of the solar system has largely sworn off its pre-posthuman cousins dirtside, but its mind sometimes wanders nostalgiawise. When that happens, it casually spams Earth’s RF spectrum with plans for cataclysmically disruptive technologies that emulsify whole industries, cultures, and spiritual systems.”

If that paragraph does not grab your attention, then you probably should not read this book. Because the whole damn thing is written like that. It’s a clusterf*ck surrounded by a dense miasma of pretentiousness and confusion. And it certainly did not help that the book is coauthored and written in present tense: two things I am not fond of.

The book is set in a cyberpunk post-singularity world. I cannot tell you much more than that because I honestly never gained a good grasp of what the hell was going on. Almost everything is built of “smartmatter” which can be easily manipulated into almost anything. With a few clicks, your smart bathroom could brush your teeth, cut your hair, or give you gender reassignment surgery. So you really don’t want to hit the wrong button on the toilet.

Anyway, the story dumps you in with no background information. Seriously, the worldbuilding was horrendous – like you got roofied and woke up on another planet but everyone treats you like an idiot if you try to find out what happened. I was ridiculously far into the story before the authors deigned to give even the most cursory of background information. I had no idea what was going on. And I really did not enjoy feeling so disoriented. I was grasping at straws the entire time trying to figure things out. The short version? There was someone named Huw who was technophobic and utterly lacking in personality. He got jury duty, and then somehow ended up being the only person who could save the universe. I have no idea how or why because his skill set was as lacking as his personality. The other characters were just as flat. The writing was self-indulgent and lacked cohesion. And the plot was chaos followed by deus ex machina. This certainly was not “mindbendingly entertaining” as the cover advertised.

Maybe somewhere in there was a message about humanity, but I certainly could not find it. This definitely was not the book for me.

Ease of Reading: 1 Star
Writing Style: 1 Star
Characters and Character Development: 1 Star
Plot Structure and Development: 1 Star
Level of Captivation: 1 Star
Originality: 2 Stars
Profile Image for Rachel.
1,340 reviews26 followers
September 13, 2012
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--upgraded humans, AIs, and who knows what else--occasionally take interest in Earth, mostly in spamming it with plans for devices that could threaten old-fashioned embodied life. Not that it's not threatened already--much of North America is inhabited by a giant ant colony with its own agenda, which includes eating everything and everybody it finds. Huw becomes involved a series of interconnected intrigues that have ever-escalating actual and potential consequences.

The prose is outstanding, the events are hilarious, and the characters, if not believable, are distinctive; some are almost likable. New and crazy ideas are introduced constantly, and take the plot through even crazier and totally unpredictable twists. The action builds to a screaming pace, all is resolved, and everyone lives happily ever after (kind of, and with all new parameters). This is exactly my favorite kind of science fiction.
Profile Image for Mitchell.
4,431 reviews170 followers
October 21, 2019
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. In fact there were tons of better books strewn throughout this one. 3.5 of 4 overall (but some sections much better and others much worse).
Profile Image for Robert.
816 reviews44 followers
November 7, 2021
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:

Profile Image for Eric Herboso.
65 reviews25 followers
April 29, 2019
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 versed in physics, philosophy, computer science, poliical philosophy, science fiction culture, and (of course) the singularity, will undoubtedly miss out on several references the authors make within. Whether it's Nightcrawler or daleks, Nikolai Fyodorovich Fyodorov or Ayn Rand, this novel never stops calling back to outside ideas that most people will not be fully up to speed on, even as the plot relentlessly moves forward.

The profundity of obscurity in most of these references can only be intended as a way of letting the authors reward those readers who catch each reference again and again in an ever-increasing paroxysm of positive reinforcement that makes the reading of this book more akin to playing a video game than visually scanning a physical text. While I can't fault Doctorow & Stross for achieving what they've set out to do here, I can object on the ground that I'm not particularly into this kind of reference-intensive writing. I don't even like it particularly when James Joyce does it in Ulysses, so I hope it's understandable why I dislike how it is done here.

As such, I have decided upon giving this book a mediocre score. Not because it is mediocre per se, but because the area in which it excels is one that I'm just not all that impressed by. I can recommend this book only to those people that are into Joyce-style reference gang-bangs of pop culture mixed with science and philosophy alongside really, really weird post-singularity scifi. If you're into that stuff, read this. If not, stay away. And if, like me, you are slightly interested but not particularly amused by the FLCL-style hijinks, then it might be worth a read, even though it'll never be on your favorites list.
Profile Image for Dan.
185 reviews
October 8, 2012
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 it turns out, I didn't miss anything.

The last time this happened: the last time I read Charlie Stoss. Don't get me wrong. I like him and have bought a lot of his stuff. But after reading a number of his books, I am always left with a similar feeling. The concepts are great. The characters are interesting. But it is like the editor went in and deleted out things randomly and Charlie didn't go back and make sure the story still made sense. I know it is co-written, but it is also not like the whole book was like this. The funny thing, the whole time I was reading it, I thought the book was written by Neil Gaiman and Doctorow. So to me, this isn't a case where I pre-judged it in some way. I only figured it out when I got to the end and realized that I had it wrong.

Not that these are real spoilers, but just in case someone cares I'll tag the following notes as spoilers:

Profile Image for Psychophant.
468 reviews19 followers
September 27, 2012
This is a book that normally I would not have read, but I was travelling, and the free book was convenient, so I read it moderately quickly. The two authors are trying to channel Douglas Adams into the XXIst century, with uneven success. Unfortunately they also have an agenda to present the singularity as a religion rather than a historical directive (which I agree wholeheartedly with, up to the alternate name, the nerd rapture) and they are willing to compromise almost anything to promote it.

The first part, up to the escape from Libya, is the one I enjoyed the best. Possible futurism with quick and dirty humour about the present is a tried formula. It is not groundbreaking as HHGG homages go, but it works. Then the American parts are more cringe than worthy, ending in a series of Deus Ex Machina that gets ridiculous, till an abrupt ending.

The third part is quite disconnected (the authors hint that several years passed between the two), and feels stuck just to make the whole long enough for traditional publishing to consider it a book. The quality goes down to Adams fan fiction grade, sacrificing consistency, physics and even sense of humour to further the agenda and I suppose reach the target word count.

If I had paid for it, I would be very angry. As it is, I am grateful the authors gave me the opportunity to check it first for free, I breezed through the first third of the book, labored through the second, and virtally threw it against the wall several times in frustration, though masochism and curiosity made me finish it a few days after I last quit.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jay French.
2,032 reviews74 followers
November 10, 2016
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 service of that slightly funny earth destruction story. Meh. The authors were also being topical by including pop references within the book from when it was written, like mentioning Sarah Palin. This certainly ages the book, and it doesn’t age well. Also to the bad, I found the Welsh-accented narrator (and yes, this is a key part of the story!) to be a bit hard to follow. Overall, this had an interesting and intriguing first third, then it truly lost its way. Based on this book, I will not be looking for this combination of authors to read in the future.
Profile Image for Sarah.
Author 17 books411 followers
September 20, 2012
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 humor can, at times, obscure a very fascinating plot. However, at the end of the day, Doctorow and Stross have managed to marry complex and deep science fiction ideas and themes with some incredibly clever writing. This makes The Rapture of the Nerds a very quick, laugh filled read that will stick with you long after you finish the book.

Read my full review here:

Profile Image for Jen Fries.
79 reviews
August 14, 2019
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 at will, Bonnie is deeply attracted to Hew. Hew the irresistible has noticeable BO, mentioned more than once, yet Bonnie lecherously follows him around and f*cks him despite the stench. Ugh. She is evidently cool and not self-hating, so why she takes up with Hew or pursues him is a mystery. I made it to page 100, wading through the woes of a Welshman in a Libyan setting that feels like Aladdin crossed with Raiders of the Lost Arc, and not in a good way. Gave up.
Profile Image for Ian Farragher.
16 reviews8 followers
January 19, 2017
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 whole time-if it weren't for the State of the Art by Iain M Banks, which I read immediately before. The contrast made me realize that life is too short for bad fiction. So, thanks for that, I guess.
Profile Image for Mouldy Squid.
136 reviews8 followers
April 23, 2013
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, filled with wild tech and even wilder ideas about tech. The characters are interesting, if formulaic; the plots (there are two) non-obvious; and the pacing quick and edge of the seat. I really liked this book.

So why the three stars? Because it's too much itself. I've read Doctorow's fiction (but more of his non-fiction), and this is no different than anything else he has written. The diction is the same, the gonzo tech is the same, the disaffected loner protagonist is the same as every other Doctorow story I have read. I've read a lot of Stross's fiction as well, and quite frankly Rapture… is too Strossian as well as being to Doctorowish. I expected something more, something different, from the combination of these two, but what I got was a novel that could have been written by either. The whole thing reads like a beer session where Doctorow and Stross brainstormed ten short stories and then made them into one novel. I can imagine them passing emails back and forth as they finish their respective parts.

I wanted more.

It's a good novel, but not a brilliant one. It will certainly appeal to either writer's fans, particularly those who liked the short stories contained in Stross's Accelerando.
Profile Image for Andrew.
Author 10 books61 followers
July 2, 2014
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 actual character arc trails just slightly behind our protagonist, just about managing to catch up by the story's end.

The world is interesting, but it all ends up feeling like a three day excursion to Paris: you're definitely in the city and you've seen the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, but somehow after you've left it doesn't feel like you've really been there.

Nothing in the story ever got room it needs to breathe, and the ending manages to unearned when it actually isn't. It's a neat trick, but not one I'd ever like to use myself.

It's never a bad book, and even though it's exploding with good ideas, it ends up feeling a bit disappointing the whole way through, even though what's inside is exactly what's advertised on the cover.
Profile Image for James.
Author 1 book6 followers
April 2, 2013
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 way. Instead, it’s all a muddle.
Profile Image for Liz.
412 reviews3 followers
September 12, 2012
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.
Profile Image for Tim Poston.
Author 9 books62 followers
July 7, 2017
Vastly enjoyed it . . . but the number of (good) nerd jokes per page obviously limits its audience!
Profile Image for Traci.
852 reviews40 followers
April 19, 2020
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.
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