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The Ware Tetralogy (2010)

The Ware Tetralogy (2010)

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3.78 of 5 Votes: 3
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1607012111 (ISBN13: 9781607012115)
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About book The Ware Tetralogy (2010)

Four books spanning nearly twenty years (Software (1982), Wetware (1988), Freeware (1997), and Realware (2000)) and encompassing a shifting view on technology, drug use, sex, and the direction of humanity. Over all - I ended up really enjoying the direction this series took - though that was not my initial sentiment. Initial I took the books as a series of cheap melding of beatnick, science fiction, and an inappropriate dash of 'new words'. That still may be true for the first book, but taken as a whole series the whole concept works well. Much like a mesh of Fariña and Asimov. ~~ Spoilers a head ~~The books follow a core family line as sudden and unexpected changes shape and alter humanity's development (though in the end the author's general pessimistic view wins out and shows that - even with marvelous things occurring around us - humans, on a whole, are still brutish and bent on destroying his neighbors). The main patriarch, Cobb, is the man that unshackled robots (boppers) from the Asimov three laws, and they moved to the moon. The deep coded requirements to evolve brought about an interesting take on a society of calculating and super smart beings pushing up against the meat of humanity.Boppers try to beget meatbops. Human retaliation begets moldies. Moldies bring in metamartians. Earth (mudders) ideas and priorities conflict with the moon colony's (loonies). It is a shifting world of external forces that cut off one path and push another. Tech wise I really enjoyed the programmable plastic called impolex. A shapable storage and processing.. putty?.. that can be universally applied with 'DIMs'. Talk about a programmer's dream! This substance is also setup as a conflict in need and priorities between the humans and nonhumans. The constant drum of change beats heavily through out this series. Change in environments, cultural desires, escape, views and consciousness through drug use, and trying to minimize change (or at least stave it off). The end of the series rang a bit hollow and a little too neat for me, but I'll let it slide. It was a hell of a ride through eighteen years of the author's views on technology change (as our real world tech revolution happened), and seeing that translate across a hundred or so years of book time. A solid use of unique tech concepts, and after a while the 'new words' peppered through out the book grew on me.

Rucker's ideas are great...well thought out, imaginative and compelling. Over the course of the 4 books Rucker tells a story of technology rushing forward and pushing at the intellectual event horizon. Change happens fast and becomes more fantastic and more removed from human hands as the novels go on. It is a bit of a slow start in the first and second books but by the third I was hooked and in the fourth I was anticipating the singularity. I don't want to give away spoilers for the book so I won't go into detail but it felt almost as if Rucker lost his nerve at the end of the fourth book and ended on a whimper. Either that or perhaps he had written himself into a corner and couldn't imagine a way out. It was a shame because the four novels felt like they were leading up to a point that never happened. I felt disappointed when I had finished and it soured my enjoyment of the work somewhat. Unfortunately, as great as Rucker's ideas are his characters leave a lot to be desired. Rucker seems to be very cynical about humans (and by extension...artificial and alien personalities). His characters are selfish, short-sighted and consistently see other beings as objects or means to an end. They exist in a cloud of sex and drugs and care very little for anyone other than themselves. It is hard to tell if Rucker writes this way because he simply believes that intelligent beings can never rise above base needs and emotions or if he thought they would be more interesting characters through which to tell his story. Either way, a bit of variety would have been nice, or some respite in the shape of a character with an ounce of nobility or thought. Personally, I felt it was harder to care about what happended when everyone was so damned unlikeable. Rucker's ideas about technology, evolution and change are very astute and imaginative. They are the core of The Ware Tetralogy. If you are a big fan of cyberpunk and science fiction I would recommend this book for that alone. If not, I'd give it a miss.

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This is a book all about taking drugs and having horrid sex with loveless, disgusting robots.There is no science fiction in this book, beyond the magical idea that robotics and nanotechnology can magically make anything possible.I have not yet read anything so base and devoid of merit.Finishing this book felt like eating a rotten-eggs and diarrhea omelet.(I only post reviews for books I FINISH reading!)One main character, Sta-Hi, is a drug addled, adult-sized baby who is married to a woman's body controlled by a psychopathic robotic cloak.Another major character, Randy, is addicted to sex with stinking "Moldies".Moldies are hybrids between robotic machinery and a kind of biological mold.The reader is continuously and vividly reminded of the vile and awful smell of the Moldies, usually while some human is busy copulating with it.Sound vomitous? Yes, it is.

This tetralogy is in four parts, thats what makes it a tetralogy. What makes it a really good read is that each of the four parts are very different in style, pace, length, and theme. Each part explores a different dimension of consciousness, with a variety of different 'wares': software, hardware, wetware, and realware. I found each of the books enjoyable for different reasons. The characters common throughout the books helped to tie the books together, but there were enough new characters that the character development didn't stagnate.
—Paul Hancock

It's hard not to echo other people's views on the tetralogy. Starts off very well IMO, it's engaging and plausible, the characters are actually pretty good and I found myself enjoying this all the way through until about the last book. At that point, Rucker's imagination was extended to a full limit I think. He had taken the concept of materialism and applied a meta-physics to it that while it gave him an unlimited possibility for story lines, became a limiting factor for the story because where do you go once you've explored a race that can control matter with thought? Spirituality, art, creativity, war, sex, drugs, these all are explored but I think in the end the story fizzles out because once you have explored these areas, that's pretty much it. It's like playing a game of sim city, building the best city and then thinking, well, not much more I can do now and wandering off to read a book.I don't think I'm a fan of the whole series, but did like books one and two very much.
—Simon Bailey

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