Book Review : Accelerando

ISBN : 978-0441014156
Author : Charles Stross
Title : Accelerando
Website : http://www.accelerando.org/

Pitch : Welcome to the future. Human consciousness merges with the Internet, most of us lead a connected life, storing part of our memory in external data storage, and struggle to keep on top of the various ethnic/nationalist legal fights. Manfred Macx is a twisted genius when it comes to juggling with concepts and legal systems, with a strong (anti-)copyright ideology. Unfortunately, he is engaged to a control freak of a woman, who believes in the “old system” of taxes and copyright property. With the human race evolving towards the Singularity, and a weird signal from aliens who apparently went through the same evolution, Manfred, Pam, Amber, and their various family relatives, friends, business associates, and Aineko-the-not-quite-cat things accelerate at a frightening rate, leaving little to no margin of error to save the human race from self-inflicted destruction.

This is a geek book in every sense of the term. Most references and evolutions are based on current-day technologies, with a great amount of details, which makes the book mostly believable. It is pretty hard to follow if you don’t get all the references (when Manfred gets slashdotted, he is incapacitated for a few moments) and goes at a very fast pace, but some interrogations are very interesting nonetheless. To cheat with the system, Manfred uses all kind of legal loopholes in the (lack of) international legal structure. Children live several childhoods, with the parents “resetting” them every time they take the “wrong” path. Religions struggle with the concept of immaterial humans (uploaded humans).

I think the book is very interesting, but unfortunately impossible to grasp for non tech-savvy people. The end is pretty frustrating, as well, as almost no answer is provided for the questions asked. If you think you know where the human race is headed, read it, you will find either an alternative path, or a confirmation.

  

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