Synopses & Reviews
Welcome to the fractured future, at the dusk of the twenty-first century.
Earth has a population of roughly a billion hominids. For the most part, they are happy with their lot, living in a preserve at the bottom of a gravity well. Those who are unhappy have emigrated, joining one or another of the swarming densethinker clades that fog the inner solar system with a dust of molecular machinery so thick that it obscures the sun.
The splintery metaconsciousness of the solar-system has largely sworn off its pre-post-human cousins dirtside, but its minds sometimes wander…and when that happens, it casually spams Earth's networks with plans for cataclysmically disruptive technologies that emulsify whole industries, cultures, and spiritual systems. A sane species would ignore these get-evolved-quick schemes, but there's always someone who'll take a bite from the forbidden apple.
So until the overminds bore of stirring Earth's anthill, there's Tech Jury Service: random humans, selected arbitrarily, charged with assessing dozens of new inventions and ruling on whether to let them loose. Young Huw, a technophobic, misanthropic Welshman, has been selected for the latest jury, a task he does his best to perform despite an itchy technovirus, the apathy of the proletariat, and a couple of truly awful moments on bathroom floors.
"Doctorow (Little Brother) and Stross (Rule 34) take a comic tour of a post-Singularity solar system where posthumans dump digital junk on the 'pre-posthumans' who cling to terrestrial life. Huw Jones, a Welsh potter abandoned by parents who ascended to the interplanetary smartcloud, receives a summons for jury service, where he will decide what of the posthumans' donations is worth taking and what's too dangerous to touch. He soon falls into a 'flash conspiracy' involving a hanging judge in a Dalek-like wheelchair, a wannabe transhuman, and a sybaritic conspiracy theorist. Huw is chased to North America, where he becomes female with stereotype-laden results, dodges fundamentalists and intelligent anarchist ants, and is unexpectedly uploaded and made the solar system's ambassador to the ominous galactic Authority. Moving at light speed with a light touch, the novel mixes up a frothy cocktail of technological speculation and a wide variety of geeky in-jokes (unobtanium, Vogon poetry, 'all the way up to 11'). (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From the two defining personalities of post-cyberpunk SF, a brilliant collaboration to rival 1987's The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling.
About the Author
CORY DOCTOROW is a coeditor of Boing Boing and a columnist for multiple publications including the Guardian, Locus, and Publishers Weekly. He was named one of the Webs twenty-five influencers by Forbes magazine and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. His award-winning novel Little Brother was a New York Times bestseller. He lives in London with his wife and daughter.
CHARLES STROSS, author of several major novels of SF and fantasy including Singularity Sky, Accelerando, Halting State, and Rule 34, is widely hailed as one of the most original voices in modern SF. His short fiction has won multiple Hugo Awards and Locus awards. He lives in Edinburgh.