I've just come home from two months overseas to discover a great big exciting box of shiny new paperbacks for Rapture of the Nerds, the comic Singularity that Charlie Stross and I wrote together. As spiffy as the hardcover was, I'm even more pleased with the paperback cover-art. What's more, it's out in time for Christmas, which is quite a nice surprise -- I hadn't expected that! As with all my other books, this one is a Creative Commons download, too.
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Alternatives to the Singularity is a funny, crowdsourced, extended piss-take on the idea of the Singularity, created through futurists' challenge. A bunch of funny people, futurists, and weirdos created 80+ variations on the theme of Singularity. They go on a bit, but they range between mildly funny to genuine ROFL, and are worth the time.
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I loved Nexus, Ramez Naam's 2012 debut novel about biohackers who produce a nano-based party drug that installs a networked computer inside your brain, and quickly turns into a war-on-drugs bioethics thriller about the free/open transhumanists and mirthless, ruthless drug enforcement agents.
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Well, this is
fabulous news: Rapture of the Nerds
, the novel Charlie Stross and I published last year, is a finalist for the 2013 Campbell Award for best novel
. It's in some truly outstanding company, too -- check out that shortlist!
Hey, Londoners! I'll be launching the UK edition of Rapture of the Nerds today at 1PM at Forbidden Planet. Although the book is available across the country at finer stores, this will be your only chance to stroke the marvellous 3D printed Space Marine Stross and have your picture taken with it.
Hey, Londoners! A reminder that I'll be signing the UK edition of Charlie Stross's and my novel Rapture of the Nerds, tomorrow at 1PM at Forbidden Planet. Charlie can't make it, so I have fashioned a cunning 3D printed Space Marine Stross to accompany me, which you may rub for good luck if you attend.
Hey, Londoners! A quick reminder that I'll be signing the new UK edition of Rapture of the Nerds this Saturday at Forbidden Planet on Shaftesbury Ave at 13h. Come on down and say hi!
The UK edition of Rapture of the Nerds
hits shelves on April 12, but we're having a sneaky early release
at Forbidden Planet in London on Mar 23 at 1PM. Tell your friends! (I'm pretty sure that Forbidden Planet will take advance mail-orders for people who can't make it, and I'll sign and personalise every one of 'em).
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.
An Interview with Cory Doctorow, Part 1 of 3
Patrick sez, "Sci Fi writer Ken MacLeod discusses the possibility of gaining a sense of global purpose through technology, framing it against the last attempt to create a unifying ideology, Communism.
ALong the way he takes in the Singularity ('the Rapture of the Nerds'), Humanity 2.0 and discovers that like Nietzsche's death of God, the death of Communism has unexpected effects, namely the death of all hoped of global togetherness.
Has technology come to save us?"
Shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, a friend forwarded me a post from an obscure email list. The writer had calculated that the continued existence of Afghanistan would delay the Rapture by six months. Millions around the world who would have had a chance of eternal bliss would be irretrievably lost to natural deaths in the interim. According to strict utilitarian reckoning, exterminating the Afghans via a nuclear carpet-bombing campaign would be the kinder course.
This heinous calculus didn’t come from the email list of some apocalyptic cult but from the ‘extropians’, advocates of a massive technological upgrade in the human condition. The event in question wasn’t in fact the Rapture but the Singularity: a predicted moment when the speed of technological advance would go off the scale and, in passing, let us abolish ageing, disease, poverty, and death. For extropians and other adherents to the doctrines of transhumanism, the human condition has been, in principle, a solved problem since 1953, when Watson and Crick published the structure of DNA. The rest is engineering.
The ends of humanity
Here's a thought:
"It takes about the same amount of computing to answer one Google Search query as all the computing done — in flight and on the ground — for the entire Apollo program."
(Quote from Seb Schmoller’s "Learning technology – a backward and forward look," attributed to Peter Norvig and Udi Mepher of Google on hearing of the death of Neil Armstrong)
I remember hearing that the processor in a singing greeting card had more capacity than all the electronic computers on Earth at the time of Sputnik's launch, though I can't find a cite for it at the moment. Exponential processor improvements are pretty wild.
Learning technology – a backward and forward look
(via Memex 1.1)
Eric sez, "The Singularity Summit 2012, exploring 'Minds and Machines' and 'Emerging Technologies and Science' will be taking place October 13 - 14 at the Nob Hill Masonic Center in San Francisco. The Singularity Summit is the premier event on cutting-edge technologies including robotics, regenerative medicine, artificial intelligence, brain-computer interfacing and more.
Join some of the most brilliant minds in the world for discussions on the most revolutionary technological advancements on the horizon. Speakers include inventor, entrepreneur and author Ray Kurzweil, Nobel Prize-winner Daniel Kahneman, professor and author Steven Pinker, professor and author Temple Grandin, science fiction author Vernor Vinge, and many more."
The Singularity Summit | October 13-14, San Francisco
Reminder: Charlie Stross and I are doing our grand finale
tonight at Rochester's RIT -- last chance to see!
Joly MacFie 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!
We're making our final stops of tour tomorrow -- Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! -- in Rochester, NY, at RIT. Tell your friends!
Cory Doctorow & Charles Stross - The Rapture of the Nerds
Charlie Stross and I conclude our whirlwind transhumanist comedy two-act on Sunday to support our new novel Rapture of the Nerds
with appearances at RIT
in Rochester, and the IEEE International Games Innovation Conference 2012
. Be there or be consigned to the scrapheap of history!