Jim's Books

The Rapture of the Nerds

Cory Doctorow & Charles Stross

The Rapture of the Nerds
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ISBN: 9781250196446


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.

Reviewed on 1st September 2019

I picked this book up in a charity shop based on the title, and having read a book by one of the authors previously. It’s the tale of a neo-luddite Welshman in a technological future, who travels to attempt to put a stop to modern technology, but ends up on a complex roller-coaster ride.

I must confess to not finishing this book - I reached around halfway and realised that I didn’t find the character, the setting, or the plot interesting enough to hold my attention, and that I’d much rather move on to something else.

The narrative is aligned completely with the main character, and I didn’t engage with him - his motivation seemed unwarranted, and his focus led to a lack of explanation of the world he lived in which frustrated me. It was particularly unhelpful when he was thrown into part of the world he didn’t know either, which just left me even more lost.

I can’t recommend this.

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