Postsingular and its sequel, Hylozoic, represent Rucker's return to the cyberpunk style of his classic Ware tetralogy.
Postsingular takes on the question of what will happen after the Singularity—what will happen after computers become as smart as humans and nanotechnology takes on the power of magic?
A mad scientist decides it might be a good idea to create a giant virtual reality simulation that is running a copy of Earth and of most of the people in it. Fine, but in order to create this simulation, the mad scientist plans to grind our planet into a zillion supercomputing nanomachines called nants.
Ultrageek Ond Lutter and his autistic son Chu find a way to block the nants—but then Ond can’t resist infesting Earth with a congenial breed of quantum-computing nanomachines called orphids.
The orphids coat the planet, one or two per square millimeter, and now everyone is on-line all the time, and everything is visible in the orphidnet. Artificial life forms emerge in the orphidnet, and they pyramid together into a superhuman planetary mind. People can mentally access this mind and feel like geniuses—with the catch that when they come down they can’t really remember what they saw. And this new kind of high is addictive.
The lovers Jayjay and Thuy are addicted to planetary mind, but Thuy manages to kick the habit to work on a vast orphidnet-based narrative called a metanovel. Jayjay continues his sessions with the planetary mind in hopes of learning more about science—and this puts a damper on their love affair. But the mad scientist is still machinating to bring back the nants and destroy Earth, and Thuy and Jayjay reunite to save the world.
It helps that Jayjay has figured out how to do teleportation via the orphidnet. And that Thuy has made friends with a giant, ethereal man from a parallel world called the Hibrane. Jayjay helps Thuy teleport to the Hibrane for help. The Hibraners do have a fix for Earth’s problems, but it’s going to be a bigger change than anyone ever imagined. Earth is on the verge of a postdigital age, more postsingular than anyone ever imagined.
Nature will come alive.
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