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Summary

It was Cobb Anderson who built the "boppers" - the first robots with real brains. Now, in 2020, Cobb is just another aged "pheezer" with a bad heart, drinking and grooving on the old tunes in Florida retirement hell. His "bops" have come a long way, though, rebelling against their subjugation to set up their own society on the moon. And now they're offering creator Cobb immortality but at a stiff price: his body his soul... and his world.

©2010 Rudy Rucker (P)2014 Audible Inc.

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Profile Image for phillip
  • phillip
  • 17-08-15

Dull story. Annoying reader.

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Different reader. This one reads every character as a nasal geek. Better characters. Stah-High is a burnt out hesher, like Jeff Spiccoli. Maybe that was funny when this was written in 1987, but the character is just useless and annoying. Cobb is a burnt out former scientist who comes off as only slightly less useless and ineffective. None of the characters in this book are sympathetic. They're just annoying and weak.

Has Software turned you off from other books in this genre?

No. Plenty of other good sci fi. But this author? Never again.

How could the performance have been better?

Don't read every character with the same inflection, pace, and tone. Don't read it like a driver's ed teacher reading stereo instructions. He sounds bored, so I'm bored. I don't know if Sorensen is trying to sound like a tired nerd stereotype with adenoids, but that's the vibe I get.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment. The premise was compelling, but everything after that was a total letdown.

Any additional comments?

Rudy Rucker was born in 1946, making him about 21 in the Summer of Love. This explains the way he populated his story with old hippies and a useless young burnout with no drive or ambition.

Cobb and the "feezers" just lie around in a bath of technology, drinking and drugging. Stay-High is a spoiled party boy, only out for his next high. Why should I care whether any of them live or die? I guess we know how Rudy Rucker spent his youth. I don't care what happens to any of the characters in this book, except maybe some of the robots.

I'll be returning this one.

4 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Richard Jackim
  • Richard Jackim
  • 03-01-21

Boring, dated...

I love the cyberpunk genre so I tried to like this audiobook, but the story was plodding and the ideas and imagery seemed dated and dull. I found the narrator’s voice to be annoying after several hours so I didn’t finish the book.

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Profile Image for Andrew
  • Andrew
  • 02-01-21

This... did not age well

All the women in the story were objects being manhandled by the men. The MC was an anachronistic hippie named Stay High. All the dialogue was heavy-handed boomer slang. I mean, there was a group of robots called Big Boppers and the MC smoked a lot of reefer joints. The author’s prediction of future technology also seemed half-hearted. He was writing about 2020 (coincidentally when I read it) in 1982, which I’m sure wasn’t easy, but he didn’t seem to do much research about potential technical innovations. They backed up entire human consciousness on 1TB magnetic tapes using coaxial cables. I guess tape backups and high speed coax (DOCSIS 3.0 and 12G-SDI) are still around, but fiber optics and Ethernet were both starting to be deployed by 1980 and hard drives have been around since the 50s. And Moore’s Law was a thing by 1980. The technical portions would have held up better if he went softer and didn’t mention specifics—ironic since the author is a computer scientist and mathematics professor. More of a focus on the philosophy of science and less on mysticism would have held up better as well. All the boomers moving to Florida and Social Security running out did hit pretty close to the mark though. Also, the author tried to make it sexy, but it just came across as sleazy. Neckbeard boomer sleazy. I don’t know if it was the first story to come up with the Ghost in the Shell and natural selection software development concepts or not. Kudos if it was, but in 2020 these aren’t novel concepts. It’s been done much better. It just... really didn’t age well. I did finish it, but I won’t be reading the sequels. The narrator’s performance seemed halfhearted as if he also wasn’t a fan of the work.

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Profile Image for Baumerx20
  • Baumerx20
  • 30-12-20

Interesting story, ok performer

I enjoyed the story. I was concerned the performers voice would get on my nerves, but I found myself encapsulated in the tale and only occasionally got snapped back. His voice is pretty naisly and reminded me of the rabbi on Seinfeld.. the one with the TV show who told everyone's secrets. The premise of the story lends from so many of the good authors. AI, human death, and the mind. I enjoyed the interesting characters and technologies. Its an acquired listen but one I guess I enjoyed.

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Profile Image for Michael G Kurilla
  • Michael G Kurilla
  • 13-11-20

AI / robots post Asimov

Rudy Rucker's Software is the first entry in his 'Ware' series. The story revolves around an aging computer scientist who is responsible for giving robots free will AI. The story begins well after these events with Cobb aging and slowly dying. He is offered immortality by the robots who have since transitioned to the moon where they create new technology for Earth. A young cab driving slacker gets tied up with him and they make it to the moon where immortality is conversion to software with the capability to inhabit robots. At the same time, the robots are on the verge of a civil war where one group is seeking to merge all robot consciousness. Rucker's tale was at the time when Asimov's simple minded robot laws were slowly giving way to artificial intelligence that is not encumbered by mechanical constraints of robots. As such, the story has not aged well. At the same time, there is commentary on aging and social mores that appear more satirical than prophetic. The narration is reasonable with moderate character distinction. The story is relatively short and moves quickly.

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Profile Image for Danny Wilkerson
  • Danny Wilkerson
  • 23-12-14

45 min in and 4 different perspectives not for me.

I am not a fan of books with so many different points of view. The book also had an outdated feel to it that i can't really explain other then to say it's there.

4 people found this helpful