September 4, 2008

What are the must-read transhumanist/futurist books of the past 5 years?

A question for my readers: In your opinion, what are the most important books about transhumanism (i.e. human enhancement) and/or futurism in general that have been written in the past 5 years?

Please use the comments section below to share your picks.


  1. Anonymous3:42 PM

    Two good ones are Nanofuture: What's Next for Nanotechnology and Beyond AI: Creating the Conscious of the Machine. Both are non-fiction futurism books by J. Storrs Hall.

  2. The Singularity is Near must be the definitive text for singularitarians but I think Rainbow's End by Vernor Vinge is a good read for those interested in Vernon's view of the future with strong AI just starting to take off.

  3. Fiction: Charles Stross, Accelerando.
    Nonfiction: Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near.

  4. I would recommend Kurzweil's "The Singularity is Near" and Huga De Garris - The Artilect War: Cosmists Vs. Terrans. Not because I think they are the best out there but because those are the only ones I've read on the subject :(

  5. Best introduction to transhumanist philosophy so far:

    Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond To The Redesigned Human Of The Future by James Hughes

  6. a few others not yet mentioned...
    Ending Aging, Aubrey
    Fantastic Voyage, Kurzweil
    my long list...

  7. Anonymous10:57 PM

    The Year Million essay anthology edited by Damien Broderick

    And I second The Singularity is near.

  8. Singularity is near, of course, but also Citizen Cyborg is necessary.
    In fiction, Accelerando and Rainbow's End are good options, and, while not strictly transhumanist, a powerful argument for Geoengineering is Kim Stanley Robinson's Climate Change Trilogy.

  9. see my singularity fiction tags at

    Non-fiction? Just remember it's all fiction at the moment.

  10. Anonymous10:38 AM

    An honorable mention should go to On Intelligence, by Jeff Hawkins. It explicitly avoids "futuristic" scenarios, but is the most innovative AI book I've read in the last 10 years.

    BTW you've got a great blog George.

  11. I found Kiln People by David Brin quite pertinent. It does draw on some themes earlier established by Hofstadter in The Mind's Eye and also much of John Varley, and also The Wedding Album, by David Marusek.

    To allow and accept willingly the transient nature of our workaday avatars (and in Varley's case, our originals!) qualifies as transhuman to me.

  12. Anonymous10:09 AM



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