Postsingular

May 17, 2011
Author:
Rudy Rucker
Publisher:
Tor Books (2/3/2009)

Postsingular

Booklist | Always willing and able to embrace sf’s trendiest themes, Rucker here takes on the volatile field of nanotechnology and the presumed inevitable “Singularity” of human and computer unification.

In a series of interrelated vignettes, he describes the calamity that befalls nanotech inventor Ond Lutter and his would-be benefactors when Ond unleashes a variety of self-replicating nanobots. In one episode, trillions of microscopic bots, dubbed nants, chew up Mars to create a colossal Dyson Sphere orbiting the sun.

When the nants move on to Earth to transform every living being into a virtual-reality doppelganger, Ond saves the day with a nant-busting virus. The real fun begins, however, when Ond “improves” on the nants with apparently benign nanobots, called orphids, that blanket every surface and provide plugged-in users three-dimensional access to every conceivable scrap of knowledge and experience.

While Rucker’s improbable scenarios sometimes cross the line into pure silliness, his devoted fans and dazzled newcomers to him will revel in his willingness to push technological extrapolation to its soaring limits.