When the Singularity arrives and computers possess superhuman intelligence, will there be an ecstatic merging of machine and mindor 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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About the Author
James Patrick Kelly is the Hugo, Nebula, and Italia awardwinning 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 .
Table of Contents
"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
"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
"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