Digital Rapture: The Singularity Anthology

Overview


When the Singularity arrives and computers possess superhuman intelligence, will there be an ecstatic merging of machine and mind—or an instantaneous techno-apocalypse? Will there be the enslavement of humanity or “the Rapture of the Nerds”? The post-human future is here in its wildest science-fictional imaginings and intriguing scientific speculations.

This far-reaching anthology traces the path of the Singularity, an era when advances in technology will totally transform ...

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Overview


When the Singularity arrives and computers possess superhuman intelligence, will there be an ecstatic merging of machine and mind—or an instantaneous techno-apocalypse? Will there be the enslavement of humanity or “the Rapture of the Nerds”? The post-human future is here in its wildest science-fictional imaginings and intriguing scientific speculations.

This far-reaching anthology traces the path of the Singularity, an era when advances in technology will totally transform human reality. It travels to the alien far-future of H. G. Wells (Mind at the End of Its Tether), to the almost human near-future of Ray Kurzweil (The Singularity Is Near), from Elizabeth Bear’s fusion of woman, machine, God, and shark (“The Inevitable Heat Death of the Universe”), to Isaac Asimov’s evolution of ineffable logic (“The Last Question”). As intelligence both figuratively (and possibly literally) explodes, science-fiction authors and futurists have dared to peek over the edge of the event horizon. Join them there.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At least as far back as H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, humans have demonstrated a fascination with the entities that will replace us, just as we replaced earlier hominids. This motif runs through science fiction and its progenitors and is continued in Kelly and Kessel's new anthology, which includes 19 stories and essays that draw on sources new (as in Hannu Rajaniemi's "The Server and the Dragon" and Charles Stross' "Nightfall") and old (as in Isaac Asimov's "The Last Question" and an excerpt from Olaf Stapledon's Odd John). Vernor Vinge's influential 1993 essay on "the Singularity," the "creation by technology of entities with greater-than-human intelligence," is prominently featured and speculates that this event will occur between 2005 and 2030. This theory was once described by Charles Stross as "this enormous turd that Vernor Vinge crapped into the punchbowl of sf science fiction writing," while others consider it to be a source of inspiration. Regardless, in the skilled hands of Kelly and Kessel (the duo behind The Secret History of Science Fiction), even the most inane ideas are treated respectfully and discussed sincerely, which allows for an anthology full of compelling and controversial stories.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From the Publisher

“Full of compelling and controversial stories.”
Publishers Weekly

“There are a few things I always look for in a high-quality anthology: First, it should have a wide range of selections that yet epitomize the theme of the anthology. Second, it should be a diverse collection of author and genre. Third, it should have a well-written introduction that acts as a thesis of sorts and adds to the literature on the subject. Digital Rapture has all these things....”
Nerds in Babeland

“Even those in the know will be enthralled by the visions of post-biological futures in this collection of short stories and essays. Sci-fi stalwarts James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel have assembled a definitive primer on the singularity, with contributions from top-tier scientists, futurists, and science-fiction writers.”
Cosmos

“...this book rocks for those who are looking for a primer on the subject. The facts explain the thinking, the fiction tries to figure out what all that thinking could mean. The strength of the book lies in this mashing together of the theorists’ theories and content creators’ creations.”
Book View Cafe

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781616960704
  • Publisher: Tachyon Publications
  • Publication date: 7/17/2012
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 8.82 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author


James Patrick Kelly is the Hugo, Nebula, and Italia award–winning author of Burn, Think Like a Dinosaur, and Wildlife. He is a member of the faculty of the Stonecoast Creative Writing MFA Program at the University of Southern Maine. He has co-edited a series of anthologies with John Kessel, described by the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction as “each surveying with balance and care a potentially disputed territory within the field.” Kelly is the technology columnist for Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine and the publisher of the e-book ’zine Strangeways.

John Kessel is a Nebula, Sturgeon, and Locus award winner and the author of Corrupting Dr. Nice, Good News From Outer Space, and The Pure Product. He teaches courses in science-fiction, fantasy, and fiction writing at North Carolina State University. His criticism has appeared in Foundation, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, the New York Review of Science Fiction, and Science Fiction Age.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

"Digital Rapture" James Patrick Kelly John Kessel 5

The End of the Human Era

"The Last Question" Isaac Asimov 16

"The Flesh" J. D. Bernal 29

Excerpt from the World, the Flesh and the Devil: An Inquiry into the Future of the three Enemies of the Rational Soul

"Day Million" Frederik Pohl 39

The Posthumans

"Thought and Action" Olaf Stapledon 46

Chapter Six from Odd John

"The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era" Vernor Vinge 56

"Hive Mind Man" Rudy Rucker Eileen Gunn 72

"Sunken Gardens" Bruce Sterling 97

Across the Event Horizon

"The Six Epochs" Ray Kurzweil 114

Chapter One from The Singularity Is Near

"Crystal Nights" Greg Egan 118

"Firewall" David D. Levine 144

"The Cookie Monster" Vernor Vinge 165

"Cracklegrackle" Justina Robson 217

The Others

"Nightfall" Charles Stross 252

"Coelacanths" Robert Reed 286

"The Great Awakening" Rudy Rucker 310

"True Names" Cory Doctorow Benjamin Rosenbaum 328

"The Server and the Dragon" Hannu Rajaniemi 418

"The Inevitable Heat Death of the Universe" Elizabeth Bear 427

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