Well, though I’m an unabased geek, I’ll admit to having never heard of “the rapture of the nerds”. This books plays out the idea of the ‘technological singularity‘ by describing the development of a family (the Mancx’s) over three and a bit generations.

In plain English, a technological singularity is point in a civilisation’s history where thinking machines start to develop technology faster than their creators. The result is that pretty soon the machines become much, much smarter than us, and we become partially, or completely obsolete.

It’s a pretty fascinating idea, and Stross’ take on the concept is that at a given point all humans will upload their consciousness into a giant interweb of sorts, and biological life is unnecessary. The start of Accelerando coincides with this happening on Earth, and ends with the last humans fleeing the solar system of their own volution.

Now, while it is a good read, the book is written as a series of short stories about different characters, all of whom are tied together by the family’s robotic cat. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t really tie together much past that. There is the potential for the cat to become a dominant presence in the lives of the characters, but Stross kind of muddles along without really setting up any real dramatic tension. The inevitable family conflict is present, but even that isn’t fully emphasised enough.

Essentially, the my greatest interest in the book is Stross’ vision of a dark technological distopia, while also playing out the origins of non-biological space travellers a la the monoliths of Arthur C. Clarke. For that reason alone it was worth reading through the book.

So read if you’re a sci-fi buff, but don’t expect to be held on the edge of your seat. It isn’t a page-turner, but is fascinating.

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