The Singularity. It is the era of the posthuman. Artificial intelligences have surpassed the limits of human intellect. Biotechnological beings have rendered people all but extinct. Molecular nanotechnology runs rampant, replicating and reprogramming at will. Contact with extraterrestrial life grows more imminent with each new day.
Struggling to survive and thrive in this accelerated world are three generations of the Macx clan: Manfred, an entrepreneur dealing in intelligence amplification technology whose mind is divided between his physical environment and the Internet; his daughter, Amber, on the run from her domineering mother, seeking her fortune in the outer system as an indentured astronaut; and Sirhan, Amber’s son, who finds his destiny linked to the fate of all of humanity.
For something is systematically dismantling the nine planets of the solar system. Something beyond human comprehension. Something that has no use for biological life in any form...
Stross (Singularity Sky) explores humanity's inability to cope with molecular nanotechnology run amok in this teeming near-future SF stand-alone. In part one, "Slow Takeoff," "free enterprise broker" Manfred Macx and his soon-to-be-estranged wife/dominatrix, Pamela, lay the foundation for the next decade's transhumans. In "Point of Inflection," Amber, their punky maladjusted teenage daughter, and Sadeq Khurasani, a Muslim judge, engineer and scholar, try to escape the social chaos that antiaging treatments have wreaked on Earth by riding a tin can sized starship via nanocomputerization to a brown dwarf star called Hyundai. The Wunch, trade-delegation aliens evolved from uploaded lobster mentalities, and Macx's grandson, Sirhan, roister through "Singularity," in which people become cybernetic constructs. Stross's three-generation experiment in stream-of-artificial-consciousness impresses, but his flat characters and inchoate rapid-fire explosions of often muzzily related ideas, theories, opinions and nightmares too often resemble intellectual pyrotechnics breathtakingly gaudy but too brief, leaving connections lost somewhere in outer/inner/cyber space.
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Big Fuzzy Ideas
There's something fundamentally unsatisfying and unappealing about the brain-computer analogy and its extrapolation into digital evolution. But you've got to love big ideas projected onto a big screen, even when they're disjointed and hazy. (And, maybe, the whole techno-singularity thing has finally run its course.)
Help the Author
Yes you can get the book free. I did initially but after getting through half the book I decided to buy it so the author could be paid for his work.
Anyhow, the stories within the book can be hard to read, you will most likely not understand everything the author is writing about but that's sort of the point. He is writing about the future and of things and culture that does not exist. Still the story within the book is great, I love this book.
Could this be a later edition of the e-book? The hardcover and paper editions included a number of editorial corrections. I have not seen an e-book edition that included these corrections. Maybe this one does? In the paperback edition, in Chapter 7 "Curator" the reference to "Ganymede" is corrected to "Titan".