Friday, 14 June 2013

The Rapture Of The Nerds Is A Good Book

Or why you should read The Rapture of The Nerds by Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross

The Rapture of The Nerds is a story set deep in the bowels of the Singularity on the homo sapiens nature reserve known as Earth. There, surrounded by a cloud of tiny computers assembled from the mass of deconstructed planets which are in turn home to the software minds of uploaded humans and constructed intelligences, a luddite potter named Huw eches out his stubbornly human life. That is, until he is selected for Tech Jury duty, a panel that rules on the safety of new, Singularity-begat technologies to the existence of Earthlings. Unfortunately for Huw, the particular piece of "God vomit" under consideration has a surprising affinity for him and his equally surprising yet itchy technovirus infection which forces Huw off on a quest with the very survival of respiring humanity at stake. A quest that he stubbornly barely accepts and which will confront Huw with the insanity of modern Tripoli, the hellish wasteland of the damned theocratic America, and the insides of his reviled Singularity, as well as his own technophobia and limited worldview. 

The Rapture of The Nerds is,  more than anything, a spectacularly confounding read. The novel displays a pleasantly demented sense of humour, and spends a substantial amount of time manufacturing outrageous and satirical extrapolations of our contemporary nonsense. Of course, The Rapture of the Nerds is not without a properly cerebral element: it is chock full of really big, really inspired ideas and many of the most ludicrous spats of satire are also deeply insightful. And the seamless fusion of these two essential natures makes The Rapture of The Nerds into something pretty fascinating. Every sentence of prose, taken individually, thrums with a kind of brilliant bit of insight, but when aggregated becomes a kind of nonsense. But this nonsense, taken one step further back, starts to become sublime, a kind of loving drone of madness and life with all of its insane facets. It's... the closest thing to having the internet ground up and forced, unfiltered through a great funnel plugged right into your language centres. It's perplexing, but also kind of great because, after all, the internet might actually be the rapture of the nerds.

I would recommend this book to any fan of Charles Stross, it has that perfect balance of mad glee and cutting insight that makes his best novels go. I suspect I would also be recommending this novel to Cory Doctorow fans, had I read any of his other novels for comparison. For what it's worth, I enjoyed The Rapture of the Nerds enough that I will definitely be trying out some of his books in the future. Also, given how much thematically and tonally The Rapture of The Nerds reminded me of the beloved Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy, if you enjoyed the latter you ought to check out the former. Basically, if you like mad fun coated ruthless future satire and don't mind being periodically perplexed, you ought to give The Rapture of The Nerds a try.

No comments:

Post a Comment