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Showing 1-10 of 45 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 63 reviews
on September 10, 2012
This was by no means a quick read - not only are the references arcane to the point of incomprehensibility, the plot is not so much constructed but thrown together, a sequence of nonsensical events that build up to non-climaxes and finally ends on a rather soppy note. That being said, the writing is excellent, and some of these sequences or plot segments are great fun - the moments of sheer absurdity proliferate, but continue to surprise and amuse.

The protagonist - a misanthropic Luddite Welshman living on a post-Singularity Earth where humans no longer die, but choose to be 'uploaded' to the Cloud, where they continue a virtual (and extremely tacky) existence - is extremely annoying for most of the text. Deeply passive, he is (often literally) dragged from one horrendous and painful experience to the next, continuously requiring rescue like an old-fashioned princess. (Note: Extremely graphic descriptions of various forms of torture and injury abound - somewhat gratuitous, in my opinion.) In each adventure, he is expected to 'save the world' in some way or another (the threats becoming increasingly dire), and thus finds himself (sometimes herself - gender is a construct, after all) in the odd position of having to defend a mankind he despises.

If you're looking for light, amusing sci-fi, turn elsewhere - this novel both requires and frustrates your full attention. It does have its rewards, but, unless you're fully conversant with all things gaming and internet-related, I'm not sure if the rewards are worth the slog.
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on September 13, 2012
I've read everything from Charles Stross that I've been able to find, and enjoyed it all - from the Laundry series, to the Singularity series, through the Merchant War series. I've only read one of Doctorow's books (Little Brother), an enjoyed that, so this book sounded very interesting. In concept, the book most closely fits in Stross' Singularity series. In style, it most closely fits his Laundry series. But it took me a long time to get started with this book. It was interesting, at times amusing, but just didn't grab me. Then I started getting a feel for the language and flow of the book and it took off. In the end, I really enjoyed it.

In many ways, this is really three segments, with one flowing in to the next, but it could have been ended three times. Still, it holds together well and it will be interesting to see if the two authors with collaborate again.
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on July 27, 2017
A delightfully dense piece of writing filled with entertaining posthuman singularity concepts as seen through the lens of a grumpy Welsh potter! Cory and Charlie make a power team as writers and every sentence is deliciously chewy. Charlie's sense of social satire overlays the story while Cory keep the story and characters moving along nicely.
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on September 11, 2012
Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross are two of the brightest lights in the SF firmament. Between them they have written such classics, and bestsellers, as Singularity Sky, Little Brother, Atrocity Archives and Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom. And during the last decade they have been writing loosely connected novellas about a post-singularity future. This novel is a sort of "fix-up" of these novellas into a novel, with some additional material added.
At the start of the novel, Huw, the protagonist, wakes up with a bad hangover in a bathtub and the day gets worse from there. By the time the novel is over, Huw have changed sexes a couple of times and is uploaded to Cloud and desperately wants to be back in his pottery in Wales.
The story is fun and funny. There are some genuinely laugh-out-loud movements in the book. The story is exciting and surprising, but what ultimately sinks the novel for me is the ending. After all that has gone before - the ending feels a little anticlimactic - and I realize that might sound weird when saving the world is at stake. Stross and Doctorow are wonderful authors by themselves - and this book have wonderful elements. But they stay that way. Just elements.
I recommend this book if you like the authors and are somewhat familiar with the whole singularity idea.
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on January 2, 2014
I should clearly state that I am a complete fanboy of Stross, and have a soft spot for Doctorow.

In the case of Rapture of the Nerds I think we've stumbled across a case of two heads not being better than one. I think that individually Stross OR Doctorow would have produced a better book than this one.

This book is OK. It's a bit hard to get into and I read it more as "this is what I'm reading right now" as opposed to a burning need to find out what happens next. I finished the book and thought "Oh, OK" rather than wild disappointment that it was over. Is my life better or worse for reading this? Neither really. It just happened.

I don't like leaving lukewarm reviews, especially for one of my favorite authors but there it is. Would I buy this book over, knowing what I know? Probably not. Depends on how bored I am.

If there was a sequel, would I buy it? Probably not.

Would I buy another collaboration between Stross and Doctorow? Don't know. On paper it's a great match, but ON PAPER it turned out to be a bit "Meh"
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on May 10, 2013
I hate to admit it, but The Rapture of the Nerds is a book I thought I wouldn't like. It should have been a must read for me, but I waited quite a few months before picking up a copy. It's by two of my favorite authors, Charles Stross, creator of the Laundry books and the excellent Accelerando, and Cory Doctorow, author of Little Brother and generally good guy. Cory's even shown the good humor to let me bot-ify him, which is a project I need to get back to. I was just... worried.

It may just be my religious upbringing, but the title of Rapture of the Nerds carried a ton of baggage with it. When you couple the singularity, which has gotten beaten up a lot lately, with a religious concept like the rapture, from these specific authors, it seems like a recipe for some lets-make-fun-of-the-utopian-nerds riffing. That's kind of in vogue these days, so it isn't too much of a stretch to think you could make a novel out of it. Reading a whole novel of that really didn't appeal to me, but it turns out the book isn't about that.

While there's undoubtedly a subtle undercurrent of it in The Rapture of the Nerds, what we really have is a tale of a luddite's gonzo journey to the heart of the post-singularity, complete with mommy/daddy issues. You could call it Boy Meets Post-Singularity World, and that would probably be more accurate. There's some gender morphing, militant deep south isolationist conservatism, hyper-intelligent ant farms, and bio-tech viruses. There are also a lot of scenes in courtrooms. All in all, par for the course for a world where technology makes anything that can be imagined happen.

The Rapture of the Nerds really reads like a looser Charles Stross novel. His space opera titles like Saturn's Children are usually really tight, this one's more loosey goosey like a Laundry novel, probably the result of bouncing back and forth with Cory. If Cory's written much beyond-the-horizon sci-fi, I haven't read it, so this novel seems more Strossian than Doctorowian to me. I think some of the flavor may have bled from or to The Apocalypse Codex, as well, given that novel's bad guy. This book seems more brainstormed over lots of pints down at the pub than carefully planned.

There's a lot of the third act of Accelerando here, or the first bits of The Quantum Theif, if that makes sense. A good chunk of the novel takes place in... well... cyberspace. There's a love story, and a happy ending, both things I appreciate (I'm looking at you, Paolo Bacigalupi.). It's a lot better than I was worried it would be, though it probably isn't either of their best. There's a post-singularity Lovecraftian dread throughout this book that Stross has really nailed with the Laundry novels. In this book it isn't so much defeated as just... survived.
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on July 31, 2014
This was a silly book. I liked it, but I usually enjoy cyber/sci-fi books that are a little more serious in tone. You could tell the author was influenced by Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It had some neat sci-fi ideas that really helped me continue on with the book.

I'd say that my biggest complaint is that I just didn't care for the main character. The "world" could have been painted better, as it's so outlandish you can't really compare it to anything real. The book was too busy being silly to do that. I guess the author wanted to keep things moving along, which I was thankful for.

The concepts in the book about transhumanism, however, were absolutely fascinating. That made it well worth the read for me.
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on May 27, 2017
Can't go wrong with any Stross effort, & this dystopian romp does not disappoint.
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on September 27, 2014
I was disappointed in this book. It was one of those stories where anything can happen, but what makes a story like that work is the knowledge that there are things that *can't* happen. The world of the novel has rules, but you only find out about them after the main character tries to break them. The whole setting just never seems real. There are lots of interesting ideas in this one, but it doesn't add up to a real story.

I have enjoyed other novels by Cory Doctorow, and this book does have an interesting premise, but the author doesn't how to build a plot around it. I don't think I would, either.
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on October 21, 2012
Started out a fun and interesting read (libya), then became somewhat silly and exaggerated (S.Carolina)(tupperware city...really?), then became too literal and limited to current computer metaphors (cloud) and then just became tiring and episodic. At the start it seemed that this was going to be a nerdish Good Omens (very funny book) or Hitchhiker's Guide. Unfortunately in my opinion, it lost its way.
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