The book was for me definitely worth staying with it through the slower parts.
The technology is believable, and the scenarios provide some interesting explorations of some of the dilemmas that will be a real part of our near future.
I had to clean my glasses 4 times, as they were so tear blurred that reading was difficult. For those of an empathic bent, it is a real tear jerker, and not as predictable as you might think as you read.
It only lightly brushed the issues of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and did not touch at all on the role of holographic storage in human type awareness (in holograms, every bit contains information about the entire image, as compared to sequential storage where there is typically a one to one correspondence between object and model; tearing a picture in half loses half the picture, leaving the other half in full resolution, tearing a hologram in half leaves you with the entire image, but with half the resolution – in my understanding, what Kant called “pure practical reason” is a side effect of how we store and retrieve information stored in this distributed fashion – certainly all evidence supports the idea that human memories are distributed across the entire brain).
I would also love to have access to the productivity tools that those programmers had available; in my 40 year history of programming I have dreamt of such things, but have yet to experience actually using them – still doing most of my work in 4GLs (4th Generation computer Languages).
Certainly a very engaging book at the emotional level, and with some interesting intellectual content, and exploration of some of the dangers that will soon be with us. While not explicit about how we might address those issues, it is clear to me that a new level of global cooperation between individuals empowered by technology, is the most secure of the possible paths available (and therefore of most utility to those who wish to live a very long time).
Definitely worth the time to read.