Geoffrey Cole of Prism Magazine has posted the first part of a three-part interview we conducted in Vancouver, back when I was touring with Pirate Cinema. In this part, we talk about many subjects, notably Rapture of the Nerds:
The “Rapture” in Rapture of the Nerds has many meanings. Foremost, it is the ascension of most of biological humanity to a purely digital existence. Do you really think that such a huge percentage of humanity would leave their bodies behind if they could?
Yeah, totally. The question of whether such an option will likely be available to us is something I’m not at all certain about, but in the presence of such an option, I’m very confident that large numbers of people would opt for it. We like get-evolved-quick schemes. If you can sell Thighmasters, you can sell mind uploading.
Along with its other attractions — David-and-Goliath-like encounters between kids and rich lawyers, epic feasts on jellied eels and other gourmet garbage finds, shivery alley escape routes — “Pirate Cinema” offers ample and appetizing food for thought.
This weekend I appeared on the This Week in Tech Podcast, to talk about the tech news of the week, as well as Rapture of the Nerds, Pirate Cinema and Humble Ebook Bundle. The other guests on the show were Jason Hiner and Larry Magid, and Leo Laporte, as always, played host. It was a great time, and the audio and video is live.
In this milestone novel, Stross and Doctorow have risen to the perpetual SF challenge of portraying a world utterly estranged from our present, yet still somehow our must-be-acknowledged illegitimate bad seed spawn. They’ve raised the bar for all who follow in their footsteps.
More than 30 years ago, the novelist and critic Lester Del Rey wrote a review that hammered a John Varley book because it was premised on a wide range of technological advances. A proper science fiction story, Del Rey argued, should be built around a single speculative premise—that faster-than-light travel is possible, say, or that computers can achieve consciousness. Del Rey was wrong, and Doctorow and Stross know why. Like Varley before them, they understand that the future doesn’t happen in that one-new-idea-at-a-time way. It throws a bunch of new stuff at us all at once, and the pace at which it’s throwing keeps increasing. The Rapture of the Nerds, as funny as it is, reminds us that coping with the future will require us all increasingly to become nerds ourselves. And if you’re already on your way to nerd-dom, I’m guessing this potent science-fiction comedy should leave you rapturous.
I recently sat down for a video interview with the Singularity weblog to talk about about The Rapture of the Nerds, Singularity, science fiction, how fiction works, sf movies, and a lot of varied subjects.
Joly McFie captured video of Charlie Stross’s and my tour-stop at Brooklyn’s MakerBot this week. We were there in support of our new novel Rapture of the Nerds, and did a talk, reading and Q&A that touched on the Singularity, its precedents, its discontents, and its inherent comedy — all while 3D printers chattered in the background. And afterwards everyone got 3D printed miniatures of our heads!
Tor.com’s just published an excerpt from Rapture of the Nerds, the comic science fiction novel that Charles Stross and I collaborated on, which comes out in September. Booklist just gave it a starred review, saying “Doctorow and Stross, two of the SF genre’s more exciting voices, team up to produce a story that is mindbendingly entertaining but almost impossible to explain….Peppered with references to pop-culture staples (The Matrix, Doctor Who, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), and drawing on concepts from hard SF, cyberpunk, and videogames, the novel is a surefire hit for genre fans, especially those familiar with the works of its coauthors. Fans of
Adam Roberts’ elegant, intellectually challenging SF will also be on firm ground here.”
Huw awakens, dazed and confused.
This is by no means unusual, but for once Huw’s head hurts more than his bladder. He’s lying head down, on his back, in a bathtub. He scrabbles for a handhold and pulls himself upright. A tub is a terrible place to spend a night. Or a morning, come to think of it—as he blinks, he sees that it’s midafternoon, and the light slanting in through a high window limns the strange bathroom’s treacly Victorian fixtures with a roseate glow.
That was quite a party. He vaguely remembers the gathering dawn, its red light staining the wall outside the kitchen window as he discussed environmental poli- tics with a tall shaven-headed woman with a blue fore- lock and a black leather minidress straight out of the twentieth century. (He has an equally vague memory of her defending a hard-core transhumanist line: Score nil–nil to both sides.) This room wasn’t a bathroom when he went to sleep in it: Bits of the bidet are still crawling into position, and there’s a strong smell of VOCs in the air.