"Jury Service" by Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow: An Appreciation by Chris Nakashima-Brown
This thing is a case study in why SF writers--and readers--have more fun. Two brightly burning young Turk authors body-slamming in cyberspace like a virtual WWF tag-team. A mano-a-mano ¿Quien es Mas Macho? for people whose stock-in-trade is post-cyberpunk eyeball kicks. Every page another bite of Gonzo Marzipan as the boys pile it on:
- Libyan Goth ninjettes!
- A hungover protagonist "trapped in a mutating bathroom by a transgendered atheist role-playing critic."
- Biohazard burkas! Anti-nanophage underwear!
- The world reimagined post-Singularity as "a matrioshka brain, nested Dyson orbitals built from dismantled moons and planets."
- Mile-long catamaran airships to North Africa crewed by uplifted Islamic gibbons!
- A feral privatized blood bank with a thing for Welsh T-helper lymphocytes.
- Visual spam filtered with adbuster proxy services!
- A chimera engineered with Koranic genome from drosophila, mus musculus, and twentieth century situationist Dan Quayle.
- Doc Björk and the People's Magical Libyan Jamahirya!
The plot? Twenty-first century party people thrown into the tech jury service: "defending the Earth from the scum of the post-Singularity patent office." A solid frame for a story that reads more like a really good Worldcon panel than a conventional narrative. After all, it's the literature of ideas.
The brain bombs pop out of the screen here, each page a contest between the authors to outdo each other with imaginative pyrotechnics. Politics, technology, fashion, food, physics (real and meta-), geography, travel, architecture, religions, genetics, you name it. Fun, and funny, infused with a warm and welcoming nerd whimsy--the spirit of Douglas Adams channeling Greg Egan through an Ono-Sendai translator. Snap, crackle, pop, chortle and boing!
Link to story.