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by Charles StrossCory Doctorow

Pub Date: Sept. 18th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7653-2910-3
Publisher: Tor

Obviously, the title must be understood in two senses: How rapturous is it that two titanic figures of geek culture collaborated for this trippy, technobabble-laden tale of the Singularity (aka the technological Rapture)?

Billions of humans have abandoned their meat bodies and uploaded themselves into the cloud surrounding the Earth, where they engage in esoteric amusements, spamming the incarnated with bizarre inventions and concocting Byzantine political schemes. Their pawn is Huw Jones, a cranky, neo-Luddite Welsh potter whose larynx, accustomed to the complex glottals of his native tongue, is ideally suited to host the sophisticated communications array of their ambassador. The ascended humans’ machinations convey Huw to a Libyan courtroom run by an insanely dictatorial judge; a Charleston, S.C., inhabited by fundamentalists, an underground cult of kinky hedonists and an invading Hypercolony of cyborg ants; and finally the cloud itself, where the continued existence of humanity…depends on Huw’s reconciliation with his estranged parents. The novel offers a technologically updated, if less emotionally resonant, discussion of the digital mind/body conundrums explored by William Gibson and Charles Platt 20 years ago, and Tony Daniel 10 years ago. Even though Earth’s fate hinges on Huw's relationships, they don’t have much depth to them—which may be intentional. In particular, Huw’s alleged love for the transhuman, Bonnie, never truly comes into focus; the authors are far more adept at illustrating Huw’s incredible self-involvedness and immaturity. Although this book is clearly meant to be broadly humorous, a little less petulance from the protagonist would have made this absurdist sci-fi quest a more absorbing read.

Fun, but one might expect more from these two.