While I agree with valwe that the books take a deep look at mankind's potential apotheosis, I do not agree that they are "slightly less fucked up." I must ask: What is fucked up about them?

Sure, they challenge nearly every belief system known to man, have copious amouts of violence, sex, and heresy towards many human institutions, advocate communism and suppress freedom - but so what? The books are fantastic, and I often find myself dreaming about being in either Mallory or Danlo's position. To potentially ascend to the throne of godhood as one seeks the secrets of the universe seems quite attractive if you ask me. In the meantime, Danlo, the protagonist in the series, learns that his humanity is more valuable than anything, and vows to take down the gods (computers the size of entire solar systems). In the end, humanity is the ultimate goal, its ends already attained, right from the very beginning.

Truly marvelous and inspiring books.

Oh, and I have at least 20 copies of each book. They aren't so rare.