Freeware is the third in the series of Rudy Rucker's Sci-Fi novels set in the near future. These are books on the nascence of artificial people (as opposed to strictly artificial intelligence), who are very different from their human creators. Many of this book's central characters are synthetic moldies, amorphous and intelligent beings made from futuristic plastics shot through with conductors and, yes, mold.
It's a story about a number of junkies, hoods, computer scientists, and other adventurers in California + throughout the world. The characters are loosely tied together through a series of past crimes and liaisons, as detailed in Wetware (1982) and Software (1988). What happens seems to be less important to the series, than how. This is a fairly common theme in Sci-Fi, but Rucker's detailing of personal development throughout this story is at an altogether more raw level. Few novelists in the genre (or in any genre) are quite as loving in their description of the junkie mindset and lifestyle. But few are also capable of conveying the intellect and theory that is behind the ideas present in this work.
And the ideas are thick on the ground; sexual, mathematical, theoretical, and social matter are strung around as haphazardly as the motives and actions of the characters. Unlike the hordes of Sci-Fi that flog one or two technical innovations or social changes as the basis of a story (or several book anthology, for that matter), the story-line here is set in a world so rich, it's hard to forget.