Thursday 11 July 2013

Book Review-The Rapture of the Nerds by Cory Doctrow and Charles Stross

Title: The Rapture of the Nerds
 Author: Cory Doctrow and Charles Stross
Series:  N/A
Published:  12 April 2013 by Titan
Length: 336 pages
Source: Publisher
Summary: 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.
Review: Huw is a Welsh technophobe. In a world where most people have uploaded to the cloud, he is one of the few(ish) remaining on Earth. Called to do jury service, judging whether or not a new invention will make the civilisation happy  or not (or not essentially being will it destroy us), he goes. Also, he discovers that somewhere along the line, he got infected and something wants to use him and..i’m not sure.
I was looking forwards to this. I’ve flicked through Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother and liked what I saw, and I read his contribution to Steampunked and loved it. this collaboration should be good, right?
And then I started reading.  OK, the first few pages made sense as set ups and then characters start cropping up and changing gender and I’m not sure what happened to the plot.   When I say characters cropping up, I mean Sandra being at her house, and then Huw leaving the house to go to jury service, and then Sandra showing up at the jury service with no explanation of what she’s doing there or how she got there or anything. This happens repeatedly.
Huw is a boring character who doesn’t do much. A little more interesting is the doctor whose name I forgot. The cast is very  varied in terms of beliefs and attitudes, but it doesn’t work for me and flow.
The whole cloud uploading, changing houses, products of snakes and things and such-all this futuristic technology was a bit beyond my ability to imagine.
I have absolutely nothing against genderfluid characters, but somewhere along the line Huw (who up until that point had been referred to as male and showed no signs of wanting to be referred to as female) starts getting feminine pronouns. Also, I don’t think that “acquire” is a word  best used in tandem with “gender dysphorria”.
There’s a lot of technobabble throughout. However, hardly any of it is explained and it’s hard to imagine and follow.
I’m not going to talk about the plot because as far as I could tell, I couldn’t make one out.
This book tries to be Hitchhikers, you can tell. The randomness, the futurism, the references to things like Doctor Who and other pop culturey things. but it doesn’t work becasue I can’t follow the  plot at all.

Overall:  Strength 1 tea to an impossible  book.

1 comment:

  1. I think I'll avoid this too, Nina! :) I don't think I'm nerdy enough... Thanks for the review!


Thanks for taking time to read this!
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Nina xxx

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