The Rapture of the Nerds: A Tale of the Singularity, Posthumanity, and Awkward Social Situations
Cory Doctorow & Charles Stross
Note to self: when I write a book, never start with Chapter 1: Jury Service. It made me instantly and instinctively want to find a way to get out of reading it. As it turned out, the rest of The Rapture of the Nerds was a huge shitshow, a massive ripoff of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and a tedious read full of lame nerd junk. If you’re into bottom of the barrel, low-quality geekisms, and terribly integrated pop culture references, 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.
Post-singularity, a lot of the nerds on Earth have “raptured” up to the “Cloud” by uploading their minds to the great Internet in the sky; not a new concept by any means if you’re into science fiction. Meanwhile down on Earth, an Arthur Dent-like character is chosen for tech jury service. True to his Arthur Dent-like nature there are all sorts of bumbling shenanigans and people way cooler, with a better handle on things, helping him out. He gets into all sorts of nerd scrapes, giant anthills, super-future evangelicals, bad friends, parent problems, an itchy virus, and a whistle that gets stuck in his throat. All of this leading up to the Doctorow/Stross version of a Vogon Construction Fleet building an Interstellar Highway through the Earth threatening meatsack hominids and cloudminds alike.
What’s bumming me out right now is that I feel like my explanation of this book is more interesting than the actual book. Could I have written this book better? The Stross/Doctorow combination might have been a little too much cool for one book. They were trying way too hard. It took me a week to read a book that should have taken me an afternoon. I kept thinking, “These words are all in English, but they’re arranged so jumbly and weird.” There was no flow or easy immersion into the story. No movie in my head, just a lot of wincing and sighing. Hell, I didn’t even read the last three pages of the epilogue. I just tossed the book off the side of the bed and said, “Oh, eff it.”
But then I had a thought. Now this is going to sound really meta, so stay with me. What if I’m like that bumbling Arthur Dent knockoff being all sour, incapable of getting the blinding awesome that is so clearly in front of me, denying that there’s any way possible that this book could be any good even though so many people clearly thought it was great? What if I’m already in the Cloud and this is just one simulation of Sara being played out, the sim that happens to have hated this book, but all the other millions of instances of Sara may have loved it? Maybe I’ve been Craptured?!