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The Rapture of the Nerds, by Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross - Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Marissa Lingen

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The Rapture of the Nerds, by Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross [Sep. 8th, 2012|12:31 pm]
Marissa Lingen
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Review copy provided by Tor.

I have been thinking about collaboration recently, and I'm wondering if the pattern I'm seeing is accurate or if other people reading this have counterexamples. It looks to me like older authors, late in their career, tend to have collaborations that are more blue-sky, farther from their other projects, and have more...er...holes you could drive trucks through, frankly. It looks to me like younger authors like Cory and Charlie are more likely, even in the middle of the fun of a collab, to turn to each other and go, "No, but wait, that won't work," in the way that they would if they were doing a critique for each other. They cohere more. Examples/counterexamples in comments?

Because this felt very much closer to both of their work. It was almost like drawing a Venn diagram: what does X do that Y also...yes, okay, here we are, this book! Right then. I wouldn't say that it is the most outstanding example of either--I still prefer Makers on the one hand and the Laundry books on the other--but if you have read work by either, you will have a pretty fair guess what it will be going in. And if you have not, I would start with their solo stuff first.

There is a great deal of arguing about the Singularity, mostly in ways that take the piss out of it, some in ways that take it seriously, and none in ways that assume that it will ever be a universal thing that all beings will want because of its great awesomeness. I found the fundies less interesting, but it looked like the writers were having fun with them, and I could name half a dozen of my friends who probably would, too, so I expect that part will find its audience. And for a fix-up, the fixing went a lot more smoothly than in many cases I could name. (For those who don't know, a fix-up stitches together multiple shorter pieces. In this case, a couple of novellas got put together with more work at the end.) I don't want to spoiler the piece too badly, so when someone else has read this and also Kim Stanley Robinson's 2312 and is willing to talk about both with me, come poke me for common element discussion with spoilers. Anyway, most of the post-humanity in this decides not to be too post- after all, which I would really expect under the circumstances, and some of it does, which is a balance I can appreciate.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: alecaustin
2012-09-08 05:55 pm (UTC)
It seems like there's a important distinction to be drawn here re: older authors and collaborations, which is that what you've described here is older, established authors collaborating with each other, rather than the sort of faux-collaboration that you got tons of in the '90s, where Anne McCaffrey or Andre Norton or whoever would plaster their name on a book that was largely actually written by their (younger and less prominent) "collaborator".

Once we've cut away that particular set of distractions, though, I feel like you're on to something here.
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[User Picture]From: swan_tower
2012-09-08 07:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah, my thoughts went immediately to master/slave collaborations. (That's the term I've always heard for them, anyway, though if there's one that fits the actual dynamic better, I'll happily swap out.)
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2012-09-08 08:32 pm (UTC)
Yes, I definitely meant collaborations, not "collaborations."
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[User Picture]From: natf
2012-09-09 04:28 pm (UTC)
I listened to this book when Cory read it on his podcast and loved it.
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