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Rucker Rudy (2017 Most Popular Book Lists)

$15.95
1. The Ware Tetralogy
$7.98
2. The Lifebox, the Seashell, and
$10.63
3. The Sex Sphere
$33.82
4. Software
$15.39
5. Infinity and the Mind: The Science
$24.82
6. Wetware
$6.22
7. Postsingular
$1.99
8. Hylozoic
$2.00
9. The Hollow Earth
$0.95
10. The Hacker and the Ants: Version
$5.74
11. Mathematicians in Love
$108.54
12. The Secret of Life
13. Jack and the Aktuals, or, Physical
 
14. AS ABOVE, SO BELOW. A Novel of
$1.88
15. Master of Space and Time
$10.56
16. Spacetime Donuts
$9.16
17. Freeware
$8.27
18. Realware
$10.23
19. Spaceland: A Novel of the Fourth
$15.00
20. Seek! Selected Nonfiction

2017 buy books shipping

1. The Ware Tetralogy
by Rudy Rucker
Paperback: 704 Pages (2010-06-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$15.95
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 1607012111
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
An omnibus of Rudy Rucker's groundbreaking series [Software, Wetware, Freeware, and Realware], with an introduction by William Gibson, author of Neuromancer. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

2-0 out of 5 stars Derivative and shallow
Clearly a book intended to be borrowed from a library, indeed, most of the ideas seem to have been so borrowed -- so blatantly that I thought it might be satire or hoax.Consider Mr Rucker's key magic substance Imipolex-G, which first hit print in '73 under another man's name (T. Pynchon).Either Gibson and Rucker have never heard of Mr. P or are perpetuating an in-joke, but no credit is given in either foreword or afterword.Now I realize that few of those reading scifi also read "literature", but a rip is a rip. (Kids, the characters "Tashteego" and "Daggoo" are rips from Melville.)And, no surprise, Mr Rucker is not a stranger to literary hoax (viz. "Saucer Wisdom").With this "tetralogy", I believe we are looking at a hoax, perhaps it is some sort of collegially written satire?I feel *almost* able to put my finger on the sources of these characters, and most plot snippets *seem* familiar. (The flying to the moon bit is from Lovecraft, for example. In fact, the second two volumes feature slug-like Lovecrafty creatures called "moldies".)

Rucker's characters lack either of the features that seem to me essential: depth and development.They are shallow and one-dimensional, stereotypes, forgettable, uninteresting and insofar as they are defined, seemingly derived from some other author's work; some seem to be shadows of Pynchon characters, such as Pig Bodine. The characters seem all to be foils for a hero, but there is no hero.

There is no plot, no "story arc"; this book consists of 800 pages of half-anecdotes, situations which seem always resolved by dei-ex-machinarum, gratuitous perverted sex, and inexplicable human reactions, most typically what is called flatness of affect, adrenal exhaustion and inappropriate response.The language is wooden, the vocabulary stunted and unevocative, the sentences short and declarative; the author surrenders to the temptation to invent hipster "futuristic" slang; he also toys with English dialect, chiefly to mock "rednecks". In lieu of plot, the author attempts to "rollick", a literary technique usually described in favorable jacket reviews. He does not rollick.He has his moments, particularly in the earlier material, written long ago, before he became convinced of his genius.

The fourth volume is a decrepit exercise in banality, tedious to read, embarassing to possess, shameless to write, profitable to publish.

Gibson must have owed him big-time to write that glowing introduction, a eulogy reminiscent of a late renaissance dedication to a noble patron, in short, bogus.

I keep thinking, "this was some sort of hoax, there is some subliminal subtext here, some memetic injection."The alternative is that it is just bad.But, de gustibus non disputandam.

5-0 out of 5 stars What a fun ride!
I picked this up when I realized that I had a Rucker deficit--I knew about his novels, but hadn't read any. So I got this and it blew my mind with funky characters (yeah, for some of them, that seems literal), strange but straight sf, and occasional turns of phrase that tickle the pleasure center of the brain. Humor, weirdness, kinks and creativity abound in these pages--I suggest turning them!

4-0 out of 5 stars Rudy Rucker Writes Revelations
In the first three books of his `live robots' series, Rucker is so brilliant on so many levels it is sometimes hard to realize that he was writing to be read for fun.

In the first three books of his Tetralogy, Rudy Rucker shows himself to be one of the rarest and brightest lights that science fiction produces; a science fiction writer who knows what he's talking about in terms of the science involved; and one who makes it happen in prose that an adult will find entertaining-even, and perhaps especially, an adult who has read something other than science fiction.

His books are like looking at an onion in cross-section: you can stay close to the surface layers if you like, or you can look deeper and try to go to see what he does and how he does it. Rucker always lets you go deeper but no matter where you stop looking, it's still a wonderful onion.

Some highlights:

Rucker's central scientific premise works by getting around the limit of artificial intelligence established by Marvin Minsky's observation that a system cannot create another system as complex as itself.

Rucker's plots involve conflict between machines and machines and between machines and humans. What comes from it creates some wildly entertaining reading involving comedy, drama, war ("how about a nice laser-blast?") and intrigue-and sometimes all three at once.

Rucker's use of language is like no one else's. He's been compared to Phillip K. Dick, but only because too many people have read Phillip K. Dick. Rucker's language is all his own and it is just *better*-often better than mainstream fiction writers whose broader audiences allow them to be paid a lot more for a lot less.

The books are a breeze to read and Rucker comes up with gems of language that demonstrate not only that he can pound typewriter keys but that he has the rare gift of understanding that each member of his audience is another mind and playing with that fact with every word.

I am delighted that they are republishing the trilogy as an omnibus edition. I loved the first three books and it will be as if I'm getting the fourth one for free.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hysterical
I recently re-read the 4 books and the first 3 are just great. Clever, inventive and laugh out loud funny. Really great Science Fiction. The 4th book is a disappointment and very tedious. It was written years after the first 3 and Rucker didn't get better. However, the first 3 are FABULOUS.

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential Sci-FI
Though I own every book of this tetralogy, I think I'm going to buy them collected as they are here because out of any living author I can think of, Rudy Rucker deserves my money (plus at 16 bones this is a STEAL).

When I first read Software (the first book in this collection) I flipped: it has become one of my favorite books ever. The series follows the rise and development of artificial intelligence on Earth and the Moon. Maybe that sounds vaguely interesting to you or maybe you think it sounds stupid and boring or simply over done, but Rucker approaches the whole story with a playfulness and irreverence and creativity that has left me only ever wanting more. The 'ware series is educated and does speculative fiction in a refreshing, funny and even gritty way. Rucker tackles topics like mathematics and spirituality but you would be hard pressed to ever called him pretentious or contrived. Great characters like Sta Hi Mooney, a young drug frenzied loser punk, and Cobb Anderson, an alcoholic old man ex-scientist ex-human (!), color the story with Rucker's unique charm. This is a winner for Philip Dick and Stanislaw Lem fans, though I think even readers that don't like science fiction will enjoy Rucker. ... Read more


2. The Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul: What Gnarly Computation Taught Me About Ultimate Reality, the Meaning of Life, and How to Be Happy
by Rudy Rucker
Paperback: 560 Pages (2006-09-28)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$7.98
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 1560258985
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, goes the ancient saying. This concept is at the root of the computational worldview, which basically says that very complex systems — the world we live in — have their beginnings in simple mathematical equations. We've lately come to understand that such an algorithm is only the start of a never-ending story — the real action occurs in the unfolding consequences of the rules. The chip-in-a-box computers so popular in our time have acted as a kind of microscope, letting us see into the secret machinery of the world. In Lifebox, Rucker uses whimsical drawings, fables, and humor to demonstrate that everything is a computation — that thoughts, computations, and physical processes are all the same. Rucker discusses the linguistic and computational advances that make this kind of "digital philosophy" possible, and explains how, like every great new principle, the computational world view contains the seeds of a next step.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Anything but Muddled
This is one of the most fascinating books I have ever read. Rudy Rucker is an accomplished science fiction author and popularizer of mathematics and computer science. In this book he seems to bring together everything he has written in the past while playing with constructing a coherent world-view and philosophy of life. It works quite well. (Rucker is such a fascinating writer that my son was going to apply to San Jose State just to take classes from him. The book's revelation that Rucker is retiring disappointed my college-bound son and left him scrambling for other schools.)

Any description of this book with less complexity than the book itself will do the book an injustice. If you're a fan of Rudy Rucker, of infinity, or of mathematical and speculative philosophy, you MUST read this book. Students of the social sciences may have some difficulty wrapping their minds around the computational science ideas, but this book is an essential part of understanding what it means to be human.

Rucker has structured the book well. Each chapter is prefaced with a piece of microfiction that illustrates the concepts to come. The chapters begin with an annotated outline that relates the concepts discussed. Ideas are reconnected with earlier mentions in the book as well as preceding ideas.

Rucker is not afraid to make novel combinations of philosophy, psychology, math, computer science, quantum physics, science fiction, and personal anectdotes. This is one of the best books produced for handling notes well. Turning to the back of the bookfor a note is generally rewarded with insights or speculations related to the text. Only occasionally is a note simply a bibliographic or web reference.

The book itself is a gnarly computation as well as a gnarly program for gnarled minds. It should be required reading for everybody who things they have a grip on life, the universe, or anything. If I could give it more than 5 stars, I would.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Technical Introduction with Soul to Spare
I found Rudy Rucker on a road trip.Or at least, I found part of his lifebox.If you haven't yet read this book, you probably don't know that the lifebox is a fictional invention into which a person speaks, and eventually it gets to know him well enough to tell his stories, and perform more menial conversational duties.That was Wetware, the first of his books that I read.Since then, I've read everything of his I could get my hands on, and I anxiously awaited the arrival of my pre-ordered copy of The Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul.

I had a bad experience with submitting a snarky review about A New Kind of Science after I'd only read 200 pages, so I decided to actually read this whole book before trying to draw any conclusions.I believe that is something the crappy reviewer from Publishers Weekly just didn't do.My conclusions after the first read:

1. This is the most phenomenal, approachable, and thorough introduction (certainly leaves Fredkin and Wolfram in the dust for approachability) to cellular automata and computation that I've ever met.
2. This book, true to its title, has soul.It's wacky, interesting, fun, deep, and self-critical of the so-called "Universal Automatist" philosophy.
3. The illustrations, stories, personal anecdotes, and tables (yes, he loves his tables) are what makes the book work- it would have been possible to write this book (and probably to read it) without them all, but it would have been less fun, less interesting, and less illuminating.
4. Rucker obviously spent a tremendous amount of time in actual experimentation- doing it himself.He articulates a better "feel" for the field than anything else I've read.

I'm sending this book to my dad and my brothers for Christmas.I got them all A New Kind of Science year before last, but none of them got past the first chapter.I can't wait to hear what they think of this one!

4-0 out of 5 stars universal automaton
As a disiple of the Stephen Wolfram's universal automaton paradigm this book does a good job of looking at the different areas of science to see how they work with such a view.Taking on issues like free-will, quantum mechanics, and psychology he attempts to demonstrate there compatibility with his thesis that the world consists of computations.I recommend this book to anyone how has interests in determinism, aritificial intelligence, and/or Wolframs "new science" as this book has something of value to offer on all this areas.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book will change the world!
Genius SF writer Rudy Rucker's new book is fantastic, and just in time, too! He writes, among other things, that we are
presently in the midst of a third global intellectual revolution. The
first came with Isaac Newton: the planets obey physical laws. The second
came with Charles Darwin: biology obeys genetic laws. In today's third
revolution, says Rucker, we are coming to realize that even minds and societies
emerge from interacting laws that can be regarded as computations.
Everything is a computation. Cool!

Does this, then, mean that the world is dull? Far from it. The
naturally-occurring computations that surround us are richly complex.
For example, a tree's growth, the changes in the weather, the flow of daily news, a
person's ever-changing moods --- all of these computations share the
crucial property of being gnarly. Although lawlike and deterministic,
gnarly computations are --- and this is a key point --- inherently
unpredictable. The world's mystery is preserved.

Mixing together anecdotes, graphics, and fables, Rucker teases out the
implications of his new worldview, which he calls "universal
automatism." His analysis reveals startling aspects of the everyday
world, touching upon such topics as chaos, the Internet, fame, free
will, and the pursuit of happiness. More than a popular science book,
this book is a philosophical
entertainment that teaches us how to enjoy our daily lives to the
fullest possible extent.

4-0 out of 5 stars Open your mind for a great purpose
This book is Rudy Rucker's latest mind-child, and incorporates all the many threads of his very active and acute intellect. For those who have read some of his earlier books on math (esp. the superb Infinity and the Mind), this latest work builds on the vital importance of approaching the cosmos from the perspective of computability. Rucker's thinking on this is precise and playful, a rare and valuable combination. He extends the ideas toward applications of how to view your own "lifebox," and offers great suggestions for booting up an expanded appreciation of your reality. Highly recommended. ... Read more


3. The Sex Sphere
by Rudy Rucker
Paperback: 192 Pages (2008-11-10)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$10.63
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0759285837
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
Punk-rock SF! Nuclear terrorists, a political kidnapping, and a giant woman from the fourth dimension.Say goodbye to the old world.This literary tour de force explores the landscape of the higher dimensions with the humor and vigor of an underground cartoon.At the same time, it manages to be a heartfelt and realistic depiction of a contemporary marriage. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Rudy Rucker is a nut
Rudy Rucker's nuts. In a good way.

This early volume in his oeuvrehelps us count the ways he's nuts.

First of all he starts from the great novel about a 2 dimensional world, Flatland, and moves to another dimension. This, being Rucker, introduces us to a new mutli-dimensional humorously and well intentioned but dangerous demented life form called Babs. Babs is the sex sphere of the title and she(?) is the story revolves around her capture in a physics lab to her freedom and the resulting chaos including terrorism, sex, nuclear weapons, sex, family relationships, sex, mathematics, physics and sex.

And it's not really an erotic book.

It probably helps to be a bit of a nerd to read this. You do have to have some comfort with multiple dimensions, but for the open minded it may not matter.

Fun for all.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sex sphere, another rucker classic!
One of his early works, its a wild romp all the way through. May not be one of his best titles, but if your a rucker fan, its a must have... yarr! ... Read more


4. Software
by Rudy Rucker
Paperback: 176 Pages (1987-10-01)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$33.82
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0380701774
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****

It was Cobb Anderson who built the"boppers"--the first robots with real brains. Now, in 2020, Cobb is just another aged "pheezer" with a bad heart, drinking and grooving an the old tunes in Florida retirement hell. His "bops" have came a long way, though, rebelling against their subjugation to set up their own society an the moon. And now they're offering creator Cobb immortality but at a stiff price: his body his soul ... and his world.It was Cobb Anderson who built the "boppers"--the first robots with real brains. Now, in 2020, Cobb is just another agedpheezerwith a bad heart, drinking and grooving on the old tunes in Florida retirement hell. His "bops" have come a long way, though, rebelling against their subjugation to set up their own society on the moon. And now they're offering creator Cobb immortality, but at a stiff price: his body, his soul. . .and his world.

Amazon.com Review
Cobb Anderson created the "boppers," sentient robotsthat overthrew their human overlords. But now Cobb is just an agingalcoholic waiting to die, and the big boppers are threatening toabsorb all of the little boppers--and eventually every human--into agiant, melded consciousness. Some of the little boppers aren't tookeen on the idea, and a full-scale robot revolt is underway on themoon (where the boppers live). Meanwhile, bopper Ralph Numbers wantsto give Cobb immortality by letting a big bopper slice up his brainand tape his "software." It seems like a good idea to Cobb. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Such a great book
I'd never heard of Rudy Rucker until I found (tattered, on the sidewalk, by complete chance!) a volume with a short story of his in it. The story blew me away--it was so juvenile and refreshing and irreverent and yet dealt with some pretty serious and interesting higher brow concepts. I immediately ordered a copy of Software and was not disappointed. Software is playful and serious at the same time and a great starting point for anyone interested in reading Rucker's fiction. He reminds of some Stanislaw Lem or Philip Dick (yeah, I know everyone says that). I could not put this book down and devoured the sequels just as quickly. I recommend Rucker to everyone I know that has a smidgeon of good taste.

1-0 out of 5 stars Self-aware robot revolution at Moon
Florida has been donated to aging hippies. In this pension, Cobb Anderson knows he has only two years until his heart comes to an end. His pockets are empty: he can't afford new artificial heart to replace his failing, secondhand one. Time for few drinks. And few more. Cobb remembers when he was responsible for creating self-aware robots on the moon. A great achievement until the robot Ralph Numbers led an independence movement. Good old days. "what would you think if you could get immortality", whispers a man -- man with his face?

This is a story about how robots are fighting for their rights after liberating their Asimovian programming and take over the world: assimilate all human minds into ONE. Humans couldn't develop full self-concious robots, so Cobb included selection and mutation to make the robots evolve. They were designed to build copies of themselves, but they had to fight over parts. Natural selection and cosmic rays to jigger their programs. And Cobb, the designer, is okay if his brains are dried out to become software in artificial body. But what happens when his conscious is stored elsewhere: Is Me a real Me? The sequel is Wetware (1988).

One (1) star. Written in 1982 this book won P. K. Dick Award by Philadelphia Science Fiction Society in the same year. Overall an admirable effort to open the cyberpunk genre at the time; before Willian Gibson's famous Neuromancer (1984). Unfortunately the story hasn't aged well. The technology aspects are outdated, the drug junkie hero is a mess, the brain eating gang is more hilarious than horrific, and dialogue is abrupt, quirky and not surrealistic enough to be humorous. A dusted cyberpunk read.

1-0 out of 5 stars Couldn't get interested in this one to save my life
Revolted robots, okay.Old hippies have taken over Florida, great.A government that's given Florida to said old hippies, still pretty funny.An old boozer genius, still good.Sta Hi, what a hoot.Immortality and nosy cops too, fabulous.Mix all of these elements together and all this promise gets tangled up in the cords and falls flat.Maybe if I'd been able to force myself to finish it, I'd have a different opinion, but I couldn't get that far.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
This is Rucker's short, whacky cyberpunk take.The protagonist is an aging genius, more interested in the beach and booze these days than anything else.

Robots basically now run the joint, and the bigger robots want to take over all the little robots.Get the picture?The little robots aren't a fan of this, and a metal acquaintance of our drunk dude offers to digitise him.


4-0 out of 5 stars Creative, quick read
I blew through this book for two reasons:

1. It was short
2. It was addictive

This book is an interesting mix of "modern" cyberpunk type writing and content with older Heinlein style creativity. It has some of the hard edge of cyberpunk but I couldn't help feel that I was reading an updated "boy's adventure" style sci-fi story where we are taken on a ride and shown wondrous things without much background explanation.
I'm looking forward to reading some of the other books by this author but I'm hoping for more content since it definitely needs an increase in density. ... Read more


5. Infinity and the Mind: The Science and Philosophy of the Infinite (Princeton Science Library)
by Rudy Rucker
Paperback: 368 Pages (2004-11-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$15.39
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0691121273
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
In Infinity and the Mind, Rudy Rucker leads an excursion to that stretch of the universe he calls the "Mindscape," where he explores infinity in all its forms: potential and actual, mathematical and physical, theological and mundane. Rucker acquaints us with Gödel's rotating universe, in which it is theoretically possible to travel into the past, and explains an interpretation of quantum mechanics in which billions of parallel worlds are produced every microsecond. It is in the realm of infinity, he maintains, that mathematics, science, and logic merge with the fantastic. By closely examining the paradoxes that arise from this merging, we can learn a great deal about the human mind, its powers, and its limitations.

Using cartoons, puzzles, and quotations to enliven his text, Rucker guides us through such topics as the paradoxes of set theory, the possibilities of physical infinities, and the results of Gödel's incompleteness theorems. His personal encounters with Gödel the mathematician and philosopher provide a rare glimpse at genius and reveal what very few mathematicians have dared to admit: the transcendent implications of Platonic realism. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (19)

2-0 out of 5 stars Is this statement true: 'this book is a collection of mistakes'?
The modern theories of the infinite were invented by Georg Cantor, though there's no notable starting date, as they emerged in a series of papers. They were anticipated by (for example) Zeno, and Euclid, or whoever it was who proved there's no largest prime number - you can always find a bigger one. Pascal pondered such questions as the value of the St Petersburg game - a coin is tossed, and if it's (say) heads the first time, you get 1; if heads second time, 2; if heads the third time, 4; then 8, 16... so it appears the game is worth an infinite amount. Anyway, Cantor invented a notation; he influenced Bertrand Russell, Goedel, and others. Rucker's book has collected together most of this material, added stuff on relativity, the mind, the big bang, and other rather dubious ideas, notably problems with self-referential language, to make this book. Some of it's been reworked to make it look original to him, e.g. a Mount Om, I think it was, much the same as the frog hopping half the distance to the end of a round pond, and never quite getting there.

My opinion is that all the material on the infinite is fallacious, because it assumed there's a continuity between colossally huge numbers and 'the infinite'. The starting point is 'one-to-one correspondence' where for example 1, 2, 3, 4,... are matched with 1, 4, 9, 16,... and the conclusion is made that if you continue forever, there is the same number (aleph subscript zero) of each of them. Then we have an aleph 1, and so on. I don't think there's any useful application or deduction that's ever been made from this construct. This isn't quite the same as infinite series, many of which have a limit, the bits left over becoming vanishingly small, so the problem of similar size bits left over doesn't arise.

The verbal problem is a similar construction and maybe appeals to similar minds. "I am a liar" illustrates the principle: there's some reference to the same sentence. Now, obviously, languages evolve and change and develop to provide useful information, maybe factual, maybe persuasive, or whatever. It's not surprising problematical marginal cases where language doesn't work can be made up. -- "Some adjectives describe themselves. Most don't - fat, red, smelly, for example. But some may do - adjectival, elongated. Let's call an adjective that does not describe itself 'heterological'. Is 'heterological' itself heterological?" It obviously is, yet it can't be.

Russell thought questions of this sort were the logician's equivalent of experiments.

Rucker includes quite a bit of related material - he must have combed through a university library - plus, as I've said, things like the highly suspect 'big bang' and the highly suspect relativity. And the inevitable material on religion, three-in-one, God, and so on. He includes some problems, and even gives his answers.

1-0 out of 5 stars Infinite Amount of Math
I've always been facinated with the concept of infinity. Having been a math minor I figured the math wouldn't be all that bad; however, after the first 100 pages, the book became 'Infinitly Bored out of my Mind'. Anyone without a PhD in math, looking for a philosophical read on infinity and infinity paradox, can safely skip this book.

Pro - It has a pretty cover
Con - Anything beyond the cover

4-0 out of 5 stars Rucker's personal notes on the Infinity problem
I was first introduced to this book by a mathematical philosopher friend in 2001. Immediately I was drawn into the book, because it dealt with many subjects I'd been thinking, such as how there are more real numbers than natural numbers, how infinity comes in different sizes, and how the mere existence of infinity is to be questioned. Soon I got lost in all the numbers and had to put the book down a few times until the summer of 2006.

Rucker's writing was more like personal notes he wrote for himself than a well-constructed thesis on the subject. And here are some of my own personal notes about this book.

Chapter one reviews the history of infinity, and introduces the concept of mindscape. Years ago I was excited about the idea of mindscape, but after I had the fortune to see the Reality as a whole, I found this idea rather intuitive and basic. I was happy to see the mention of the Absolute as part of the discussion of Infinity.

Chapter two is about all the numbers. Again soon I became confused with the names of different infinities. Unless one can tightly grab onto the endless symbols Rucker introduced incessantly throughout the chapter (and the book) one would have a difficult time follow the text. Also his figures are ill-labeled. I don't think I am missing much by skipping some of the paragraphs. I also skipped the two excursions because they are even more technical.

Chapter three is titled "The Unnameable", and Rucker discussed the Berry Paradox and discussed the reality of Truth, among other subjects. It's interesting to see how systematically and detailed he talks about the logic of "This sentence is false", and even distinguishes it from "This sentence is not true". I skipped the more technical section of Richard's Paradox, assuming it is along the similar line of the truth discussion. I was glad to find out that Rucker is also a Borges's fan (I only wish I could write reviews of books and movies as clearly and originally as Borges). From Borges's story about the Library of Babel--the library of all possible books, Rucker introduced a clever tool--to code each book into a natural number. Furthermore, the whole universe can be coded into a natural number, and thus we can think about the infinity nature of the universe the way we think about numbers.

Chapter four is about robots and souls, but the more interesting part is the three conversations Rucker had with Godel. I was happy to know that Godel is a mystic, partly because I am becoming more and more identified with the label mystic.... Godel has found. Rucker is still seeking.

Chapter five is on the One and the Many, the most philosophical chapter of the book. Rucker probably does not have the One figured out, but it's interesting to see how he compares the One and the Many in a rational way.

Rudy Rucker wrote this book in 1982. Perhaps he has reached another stage in his search. Despite of many inadequacies I found in this book, it nonetheless has showed me fascinating new ways of thinking about the universe. For this I am grateful. I would rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

p.s. I feel I am much slower than 5 years ago. I don't seem to be able to comprehend complex systems as effortlessly as I used to--perhaps a sign that my brain power is declining?

3-0 out of 5 stars Infinity and the Mind
This book is packed full of a lot of good information on infinity.However, the author's philosophical position on infinity is a bit extreme, outside the mainstream of mathematical thought today.

1-0 out of 5 stars Misleading
Rucker had finished writing this by June 19, 1981, as his preface says.Yet, he has the naivete (or perhaps the gall) to say something inane like "Set theory is, indeed, the science of the Mindscape.A set is the form of a possible thought." on p. 41.Since Zadeh published his landmark "Fuzzy Sets" paper in 1965, and Black and others had written similar ideas years earlier, along with multivalued logicians like Lukasiewicz developing possibly infinite-valued logics as far back as the 1920s, one would think that Rucker would be informed or wise enough than such statements.It appears otherwise.I find it curious that Rucker also knew Godel who did work in multivalued logics, but basically Rucker doesn't acknolwedge multivalued logics as even possible forms of thought.

As for the comments about Mr. Rucker qualifying as an intellectual descendent of Hegel, they simply don't hold water.Rucker denies the property of contradiction (it is not the case that A and not A hold).Hegel accepted it and sought some other way to do logic than Aristotle's logic. ... Read more


6. Wetware
by Rudy V. B. Rucker
Mass Market Paperback: 183 Pages (1997-04)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$24.82
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0380701782
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
In 2030, bopper robots in their lunar refuge have founds a way to infuse DNA wetware with their own software code. The result is a new lifeform: the meatbop. Fair is fair, after all. Humans built the boppers, now bops are building humans. . .sort of. Its all part of an insidious plot thats about to ensnare Della Taze--who doesnt think she killed her lover while in drug-induced ecstasy. . .but isnt sure. And its certainly catastrophic enough to call Cobb Anderson--the pheezer who started it all--out of cold-storage heaven.

Amazon.com Review
Humans created the sentient robot "boppers," but nowit's the boppers who have started creating humans. Clones andDNA-splicing have spawned the meatbop, a human body infused with thesoftware (the mind and personality) of a bopper. The meatbops areinterested in propagating down on Earth, but that might not be so goodfor humanity (the boppers have a nasty habit of enslaving humans,actually). When a couple of (reasonably) innocent humans get tangledup in the bopper's machinations on the moon, it's time to drag out thestored mind of bopper-creator Cobb Anderson and see if he can help. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

3-0 out of 5 stars Robot evolution implanted in humans
A detective is hired to find a Girl, Della. She is a lab chemists's belowed one. The detective gets an ampule of drug called merge. A trip of a lifetime: the drug will temporarily melt a human body, or bodies if taken together, and bring person to meet his creator. The petaflop robot, Berenice, get into her hands the drug and realize Christmas being in her doorsteps. An embryo is grown in Della; an experiment to later seed as many woman as possible. The only problem is that the born he, the boy man, will age one year per day (after 7 days; 7 years old). Will the robots succeed to merge with humans this time?

This is a sequel to Software, but it is not strictly necessary to know the back story; albeit it would help. The previous robot revolution failed to build super brains that would have melded human brain charts into ONE. This time robots want to become humans by tampering the genome by seeding and planting in babies in the Womb of as many women as possible. The 'wetware' explored consider the possibility of blending robot programming with the human brain, together with the entire nervous system. The book develops the idea of neurosurgery by planting small mouse into human brain to make then zombies. In neurophysiology sense Rucker plays with the mammalian brain system: touching the the voluntary and involuntary nervous system and the lateralization of the brain hemispheres. The sequels are Freeware (1997) and Realware (2000).

Three (3) stars. Written in 1988 the book won Philip K. Dick Award in the same year. The plot development and writing tone of the book has improved by a big leap since the prequel Software (1982; also the PKD winner). Fortunately this book has less messy drug humor than its predecessor. The surroundings are described in detail, the motivations behind the robots are made more tangible and overall improvements in quality of the prose can be observed. The weakest point is the dialogue between the characters who dawdle too much around without clear target. In the end one person, half of his brain sliced away, saves the world by spitting clumps around to spread organism called chipmold. If the reader can get past the slack characters, like a boy chasing girls and women and making them pregnant, following this cyberpunk robot evolution can be mildly amusing and entertaining.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Sorry, but I don't understand the negative reviews.This book is so well, so completely conceived, it really has few peers.Hilarious, too.There are more projective/predictive ideas in the first chapter than in most writer's entire oeuvres.It makes perfect sense to me and I am awe at an author who has such a vivid, logical, and prolific imagination.Well written, too, in a gonzo way.

Incidentally, the boppers aren't robots, exactly.They are more like self-programmable, sentient, artificial protoplasm... with good senses of humor, no less (well, some of them).

Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars meatbop cyber opera
Gideon's Fall: When You Dont Have a Prayer, Only a Miracle Will Do This is a strange but intriguing novel. Written in a lyrical style that melds one to the subject matter. I enjoyed it from the first page........think of that

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
Rucker's Robotos, or bops, have decided to go in for a bit of hybridisation, so they create organic clone bodies for themselves from human DNA.

Quite a bit of silliness in these books, robot moon bases and other explorations notwithstanding, it is a bit of a look at how weird sentient machines or AI could get.


1-0 out of 5 stars "Wet" wears thin
Rucker's "Wetware" is one of those books that confirms everything bad that some people believe about Science Fiction.Aside from a rushed pace and the overused "robotic messiah" plotline, the most frusturating thing about Wetware is the fact that you can't avoid its prevalent sexism.Women exist either as prostitutes for drug dealers or temporary carriers for robot/human hybrids.In such an environment it takes a strong author to create sympathies for a character, but here all we are left with is a depressing vision of all the characters as scum without the vitality of prose that Gibson or Stephenson manage to portray even their most unsympathetic character with. ... Read more


7. Postsingular
by Rudy Rucker
Paperback: 320 Pages (2009-02-03)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$6.22
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: B0041T4RCI
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****

It begins the day after next year in California. A maladjusted computer industry billionaire and a somewhat crazy US president initiate a radical transformation of the world through sentient nanotechnology; sort of the equivalent of biological artificial intelligence. At first they succeed, but their plans are reversed by Chu, an autistic boy. The next time it isn’t so easy to stop them.

Most of the story takes place in our world after a previously unimaginable transformation. All things look the same, and all people feel the same—but they are different (they’re able to read each others’ minds, for starters). Travel to and from other nearby worlds in the quantum universe is possible. And our world is visited by giant humanoids from another quantum universe, some of whom mean to tidy up the mess we’ve made.

Or maybe just run things.

Rudy Rucker lives in Los Gatos, California.

It all begins the year after tomorrow in California. A maladjusted computer industry billionaire and a somewhat crazy US President initiate a radical transformation of the world through sentient nanotechnology—sort of the equivalent of biological artificial intelligence. At first they succeed, but their plans are reversed by Chu, an autistic boy. The next time it isn't so easy to stop them. 

Most of the story takes place in a world after a heretofore unimaginable transformation, where all the things look the same but all the people are different (they're able to read each others' minds, for starters). Travel to and from other nearby worlds in the quantum universe is possible, so now our world is visited by giant humanoids from another quantum universe, and some of them mean to tidy up the mess we've made. Or maybe just run things.

“Always willing and able to embrace sf's trendiest themes, Rucker here takes on the volatile field of nanotechnology and the presumed inevitable 'singularity' of human and computer unification. In a series of interrelated vignettes, he describes the calamity that befalls nanotech inventor Ond Lutter and his would-be benefactors when Ond unleashes a variety of self-replicating nanobots. In one episode, trillions of microscopic bots, dubbed nants, chew up Mars to create a colossal Dyson Sphere orbiting the sun. When the nants move on to Earth to transform every living being into a virtual-reality doppelganger, Ond saves the day with a nant-busting virus. The real fun begins, however, when Ond 'improves' on the nants with apparently benign nanobots, called orphids, that blanket every surface and provide plugged-in users three-dimensional access to every conceivable scrap of knowledge and experience . . . [Rucker’s] devoted fans and dazzled newcomers to him will revel in his willingness to push technological extrapolation to its soaring limits.”—Carl Hays, Booklist

“In the very near future, two influential and maladjusted individuals initiate a radical transformation of the world through the use of sentient nanotechnology—only to have their plans foiled by Chu, the autistic son of two scientists engaged in nanotechnology research. The persistence of money and politics, however, creates a strange new world in which humans become telepaths and can travel to other worlds in the quantum universe; finally, gigantic visitors from another place entirely arrive to sort things out. Rucker excels in mind-bending premises and thought-stretching stories peopled with appealingly flawed characters that resonate with familiarity despite their eccentricities.”—Jackie Cassada, Library Journal
... Read more

Customer Reviews (19)

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Novel
Sorry in advance for the lack of detail, but I'd just like to say that as a fan of authors such as Neal Stephenson and Charles Strauss, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book from beginning to end.That said, I'll likely be looking into some of Rucker's other works.Cheers!

1-0 out of 5 stars Pseudoscience fiction
1) Nants (nanotech machines) eat most humans on earth, to create more nants.2) Scientist reverses computation of the CPUs in the nants.3) Nants eventually turn back into humans in their original form, none the worse for wear, in violation of the laws of thermodynamics.After reading this story line, I knew this book was in trouble.It only got worse - much worse.

5-0 out of 5 stars For any science fiction collection strong in 'hard science' stories
A billionaire decides to unleash a human-changing nanotechnology upon the world - and life will never be the same again. In a world where people read minds and live concurrent virtual lives with intersecting worlds intervening, what will define humanity? POSTSINGULAR is a gripping story of what it means - or doesn't mean - to be human, and is fine for any science fiction collection strong in 'hard science' stories.

2-0 out of 5 stars A Physics Lesson That Fails
What does quantum computation, string theory, and cryptography mean to you? If nothing, then you most likely still won't have a clue at the end of this book. Rucker attempts to explain certain ideas and concepts through storytelling, but it seems he didn't compute what his readers would take away from reading his book. Autistic and brilliant, Chu is at the center of this tiring and boring tale, which takes place mostly here on earth, after an unfathomable change. The surface looks exactly the same, but some things (like mind-reading) hide under the surface. Giant humanoids visit the planet from a different universe in an effort to fix and run things. Rucker throws out scientific jargon left and right in an attempt to teach the reader certain ideas, but in the end, it falters, and the reader is left wondering where his time went. Not one of his better books.

Reviewed by James Rojek

2-0 out of 5 stars Silly, and not in a good way
While there are a lot of interesting SF ideas, they do not make for a coherent story.Characters perform purposeless actions to advance a story that makes little sense.Very disappointing. ... Read more


8. Hylozoic
by Rudy Rucker
Paperback: 336 Pages (2010-06-08)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$1.99
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0765320754
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****

In Rucker's last novel, Postsingular, the Singularity happened.  Life on Earth has been transformed by the awakening of all matter into consciousness and telepathic communication. The most intimate moments of your life can be experienced by anyone who cares to pay attention, or by hundreds of thousands of anyones if you are one of the Founders who helped create the Singularity. 

The small bunch of Founders, including young newlyweds Thuy, a hypertext novelist, and Jayjay, a gamer and brain-enhancement addict, are living a popular live-action media life.  But now alien races that have already gone through this transformation notice Earth for the first time, and begin to arrive to exploit both the new environment and any available humans. Some of them are real estate developers, some are slavers, and some just want to help.  But who is to tell the difference? Someone has to save humanity from the alien invasions, and it might as well be reality media stars Thuy and Jayjay. They have the problems of soap opera stars, and are still propelled through adventures in time and in other universes, a long strange trip indeed.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Rudy rocks
It helps to have read "Postsingular" because that book introduced many of the high-concept multiverse ideas that he refers to in Hylzoic.Nonetheless is is a delightful fast paced romp through the mind of one of SFs great treasures.Non-stop zaniness, with interesting characters and mind bending SF concepts.

1-0 out of 5 stars An epic mess
A number of interesting ideas here, but developed in a devestatingly incoherent fashion. A random mess of stuff happens, then some more stuff happens, then there's other events. Aliens, weird science indistinguishable from poorly designed magic. Quite a few drafts short of making an effective world, scenario or setting. Combine this with leaden prose, arbitrary character developments (the female lead deciding to bang a 14 year old boy while being broadcast on global reality tv was probably the worst) and you have a story that doesn't remotely believe in itself. The whole angle of 'the world is watching your sexscipades now' raises other issues, as it appears that the larger planet is watching but uninterested in the iminent threat of alien invasaion, and all the action has to be focused in the hands of a small group of supertalented people using the lion's share of the wanky tech.

I see no reason to invest in it or further things by the author. This is basically a crackfic that happens to be original and canon. If readers are interested in the singularity and/or aliens there are many better authors--Iain M. Banks, Vernor Vinge, Charles Stross, Greg Egan, Stephen Baxter come to mind.

5-0 out of 5 stars Crazier than ever
If you are already a Rudy Rucker fan you know how crazy the worlds he creates can be."Hylozoic" is the craziest most intricate story yet.It's a fun book to read, but I wouldn't recommend it for the first time Rucker reader.Since "Hylozoic" is the sequel to "Post Singular" I recommend reading that fantastic book first.

5-0 out of 5 stars Teleporting, Alien Manta Rays, Surfing and Infinity - all before lunch
It's very good. Just how good is this book? Well I've done some calculations and come up with this theory, it's weird multiplied by wonderful and then raised to the power of freakin awesome!

Looking for a fun story about Teleporting, Alien Manta Rays, Surfing, Infinity, Alef-null, Time travel, Bosch (yes Hieronymus Bosch the painter)? Well this book has all these and more.

It's set in a post singularity world where everything has come "alive". Stones, rivers, trees, houses and you can talk them all. This is done via a thought process called "Teep". It sounds mad, but it's done in an utterly convincing matter of fact manner. After a few days reading this book I found myself wishing I could "Teep" the fridge to find out what was in there.

As with all Rudy Rucker books this is an easy read, the story moves along at a very lively pace. The only times I stopped reading was to ponder the amazing ideas. ... Read more


9. The Hollow Earth
by Rudy Rucker
Paperback: 400 Pages (2006-12-25)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$2.00
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 1932265201
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
In 1836, Mason Algiers Reynolds leaves his family's Virginia farm with his father's slave, a dog, and a mule. Branded a murderer, he finds sanctuary with his hero, Edgar Allan Poe, and together they embark on an extraordinary expedition to the South Pole, and the entrance to the Hollow Earth. It is there, at the center of the world, where strange physics, strange people, and stranger creatures abound, that their bizarre adventures truly begin. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars An Appropriately Mad Poe
Essentially an update of the Vernian science fiction adventures of the 19th century, with a dose modern anthropology, post-modern sci-fi weirdness, and Rudy Rucker brand sexuality thrown in.Told from the perspective of a young man from the pre-war South, who becomes Poe's assistant and accompanies him on an adventure to increasingly strange and bizarre lands.Quite enjoyable for anyone who knows something of Poe's biography, and doesn't shirk away from the pervier elements of it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but not Rucker's best work
Essentially a variant of Journey to the Center of the Earth blended with Huck Finn and Edgar A. Poe (as himself), with Rucker's usual somewhat adolescent take on relationships and sex, not to mention the bizarre. A pretty good story, just not one of Rucker's best.

2-0 out of 5 stars Huck Finn goes to the center of the earth... duh!
Interesting in some spots but a bit drawn out.Some of the 'science' explanations are a bit tortured to fit into a pseudo-19th century phraseology... without being the least bit edifying.Structurally the book needs some help... with only a wisp of motivation the characters are swept along by events that don't really drive them plausibly to the actions they take.A few parts are captivatingly told but in the end this reading was a waste of time.Read some Mark Twain instead... or even some Jules Verne.

5-0 out of 5 stars Poe Fans Will Love It!
If you've read some Poe, especially "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym," you'll enjoy this pastiche.It's especially fun if you're familiar with Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness," another book that makes homage to Poe's "Arthur Gordon Pym."Rucker never disappoints-- he's crazy in a *good* way.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Great American SF Novel
Poe, Lovecraftian critters, wild adventures from the American South to the Hollow Earth--it's all here.One of Rudy Rucker's best novels, back in print. ... Read more


10. The Hacker and the Ants: Version 2.0
by Rudy Rucker
Paperback: 308 Pages (2003)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$0.95
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 1568582471
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
From a two-time winner of the Philip K. Dick award, and one ofthe founding fathers of cyberpunk comes a novel about a very modernnightmare: the most destructive computer virus ever has been traced toyour machine. Computer programmer Jerzy Rugby spends his daysblissfully hacking away in cyberspace — aiding the GoMotionCorporation in its noble quest to create intelligent robots. Then anelectronic ant gets into the machinery ... then more ants .... thenmillions and millions of the nasty viral pests appear out of nowhereto wreak havoc throughout the Net. And suddenly Jerzy Rugby is PublicEnemy Number One, wanted for sabotage, computer crime, and treason— a patsy who must now get to the bottom of the virtual insectileplague.Amazon.com Review
This super-smart and wildly goofy work by Cyberpunk author Rudy Rucker is a hilarious and totally engrossing tale of electronic pestilence and conspiracy. Protagonist Jerzy Rugby is trying to create truly intelligent robots. While his actual life crumbles, Rugby toils in his virtual office, testing the robots online. Then, something goes wrong and zillions of computer virus ants invade the net. Rugby is the man wanted for the crime. He's been set up to take a fall for a giant cyberconspiracy and he needs to figure out who--or what--is sabotaging the system in order to clear his name. Plunging deep into the virtual worlds of Antland of Fnoor to find some answers, Rugby confronts both electronic and all-too-real perils, facing death itself in a battle for his freedom. The Hacker and the Ants is funny, chilling, and surprisingly rich. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

4-0 out of 5 stars void writeRealisticCodingNovel(void);
There aren't a whole lot of SF books that represent realistic views of what it means to be a programmer. This is one of them. For that reason it's recommended if you're a coder. It's also a fun story with some very interesting ideas.

Cracker: "I've seen your code."

Hacker: "Yeah, but you didn't understand it."

5-0 out of 5 stars Must-read prologue if you've read Software, Wetware, Freeware, and Realware
Great book as expected from Rudy Rucker, it's a lot of fun, reads fast, has at least one new twist and one new idea every 3 pages.Light-reading, moves quickly, but gets you thinking.

NOTES:There are several references to other SF works, including "Perky Pat" (from PK Dick), "Imipolex" (a kind of plastic) from Thomas Pynchon, and there were others as well.

4-0 out of 5 stars Mostly harmless
If Douglas Adams were a dirty old man he might have written like this.It's fairly light and frequently amusing.There is a bit of substance if you require that, but mostly the entertaining misadventures of a no longer youthful brainiac with a modest amount of self loathing.Somewhat of a fish out of water he manages to get by through luck and pluck while all hell breaks loose around him.

4-0 out of 5 stars lived it
I enjoyed Hacker and the Ants more than any other Rucker book I've read. When working in silicon valley in the 90's I lived near White Road, in the dry east hills of San Jose, and also had my share of lusting after Vietnamese girls. Reading this book in 2008 takes me back to those days and resonates with the feel of the whole place. Rucker is right on with this one.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not just a nano-other Silly Valley Romance
But the hero seems "ethically challenged"...?
This cyber da Vinci is a software developing genius
but takes a fall at his bosses wishes.
At lot of times Rudy Rucker is on the money in his
futures and he seems in 1994 to see Silly Valley today
better than Steve Jobs does? AI hasn't quite kept up, but
virus technology hasn't made him a liar either.
Rudy Rucker earns his sci fi bucks the hard way. ... Read more


11. Mathematicians in Love
by Rudy Rucker
Paperback: 368 Pages (2008-07-08)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$5.74
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: B003156BPO
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****

Reality is never more unpredictable than when two mathematicians are in love with the same girl, and can change the world to get her.

Bela and Paul, two wild young mathematicians, are friends and roommates, and both are in love with Alma, Bela’s girlfriend. They fight it out by changing reality using cutting-edge math. The contemporary world they live in is not quite this one, but much like Berkeley, California, and the two graduate students are trying to finish their degrees and get jobs. It doesn’t help that their unpredictable advisor Roland is a mad mathematical genius who has figured out a way to predict specific bits of the future that can cause a lot of trouble…and that he’s starting to see monsters in mirrors.

When Bela and Paul mess around with reality, all heaven and hell break loose. Those monsters of Roland’s were really there, but who are they?

This novel is a romantic comedy with a whole corkscrew of SF twists from the writer who twice won the Philip K. Dick Award for best SF novel.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
Rudy Rucker is still one of the best science fiction writers around. I love his stuff.

5-0 out of 5 stars Rucker is the King of hidden truths
This is another great Rucker book. He is the King of hidden truths, sometimes subtle, and more often not! A fun read!

5-0 out of 5 stars Surfer mathpunks rule, dog!
Another very entertaining Rucker novel -- one of his best. Surfer mathpunk rules, dog!

You won't be surprised to learn that Robert Sheckley was his first inspiration to write SF -- see rudyrucker[dot]com[slash]mathematiciansinlove

Interesting guy. Cute pix, too. He has a massive pdf of notes for the book online -- -- but for heaven's sake, don't read it first! Some (spoiler-free) samples:

"In principle you could hypertunnel from a Zone B world, butin practice you can't get the tech together.The evil rays revel in chaotic class-threeand class-four zones." -- p.183

"What is wrong with those stubborn, clannish SF fans, Frek is exactly the kind of book they want, for heaven's sake, it's just like Lord of the Rings or Henry Potteror The Golden Compass..." --p.185

Very cool book, from an underappreciated author. If you've never tried a Rucker, this would be a good place to start.

Happy reading--
Peter D. Tillman

3-0 out of 5 stars Wackyland
There aren't too many books that attempt to make a story out of mathematical theories, but this one gives it a go. In some ways, this book does a pretty good job of satirizing academia, political and financial shenanigans, patent law, video blogging, and the sub-genre of alternate realities.

It's the story of two Ph.D. candidates working on their doctoral thesis, who along with their advisor come up with a method to accurately model complex everyday happenings, so accurately that the future can be predicted, at least for the short term. Rather than being a very staid story of how to develop and publish the theory, however, it flies off in multiple directions, as both students fall in love with the same lady; their advisor, while brilliant, is also very egotistical and more than a little round the bend; everyone is suddenly subject to being plastered all over the net due to the distribution of cheap vlogging camera rings; playing in a rock band is, it seems, as important as developing his theory for one of the candidates; murder and rigging elections go hand in hand; and then it gets really weird with various odd aliens poking their snouts in to see just how predictable these 'humans' are.

Unhappily, while I found all these ideas made for great hodge-podge of story, the characters themselves neither engaged me nor were fully believable. Nor could I fully buy into the idea that current real-time and near future events would be fully computationally tractable, even with the caveat that the 'reality' of the starting world of this story was 'docile', not subject to truly random events. The last third of the book that deals with the consequences of how the theorem is implemented seems to be an adventure in pure wackiness, and doesn't seem to grow out of the initial theorem at all, though it is a fine example of fractal mathematics and infinite recursion as applied to 'alternate' realities. At least some of the mathematical statements will probably lose those readers without a solid background in the field, not good when the story arc depends on said mathematics.

Some fascinating concepts, some good skewering of some of today's trends and societal behaviors, but a story line that is out of control, with characters that aren't quite real people.

---Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)

5-0 out of 5 stars amusing not by the numbers satire
In the university, the two mathematic graduate students, Bela Kis and Paul Bridge, are roommates who share much in common besides trying to obtain a PH.D by the numbers and a flat.Both are advised by maniacal mathematician Dr. Roland Haut and each enjoys the lifestyle of an advanced student living in college towns like Humelocke and Klownetown where the zaniest crazies of the universe come together to discuss the meaning of life (more often than not with various forms debating existence).However, what they most share in common is the love of Alma Ziff who is more or less Bela's girlfriend though she zips the bridge at times to be with Paul.

The two roommates compete for who gets the girl at a time when their insane faculty advisor has begun developing a mathematical model that predicts the future; that is when he is not seeing monsters.Jumping off of Mad Haut's theory, Bela and Paul inventing the paracomputer "Gobubble" that predicts even more accurately the future as their advisor's monsters prove real and their love triangle even more acutely convex than keenly isosceles than either student calculated.

Rudy Rucker lampoons politics, universities, mathematical theories, and humanity as he spins a terrific romantic science fiction satire that takes readers where they have never been before with perhaps the only recent exception being the author's novel FREAK AND THE ELIXIR.The math is highbrow insanity as the shortest distance between two points is an arc, but also augments the humorous story line.Haut is way outside the circle of sanity while Bela and Paul argue number theory to determine who ends up with Alma, monsters aside.Readers will appreciate this zany tale that proves the sum of the angles of a romantic triangle does not equal 180 degrees.

Harriet Klausner
... Read more


12. The Secret of Life
by Rudy Rucker
Hardcover: 246 Pages (1985-06)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$108.54
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0312943989
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
Bawdy, hilarious, and brisk, The Secret of Life tours the sixties with Conrad Bunger, alter ego of award-winning cyberpunk Rudy Rucker. Almost suicidally reckless, Conrad doesn't seem destined to reach legal drinking age. However, thanks to the supernatural powers he manifests when in crisis, not even the most severe mishaps interrupt his quest for booze, girls, and enlightenment. From a Catholic high school to college, he gradually awakens to his secret identity as an energy being from outer space. His solemn commission: to proceed incognito and return with the ultimate prize-knowledge of the Secret of Life. Problem is, he's having too darn much fun to keep it together. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Juvenalia
Surpassed by every other Rucker book I've read, I can only imagine this being enjoyed by someone who hasn't had their expectations set high by better works - perhaps an adolescent not yet assigned to read 'Stranger in a Strange Land' and 'The Catcher in the Rye' would find in this book something novel. ... Read more


13. Jack and the Aktuals, or, Physical Applications of Transfinite Set Theory: A Tor.Com Original
by Rudy Rucker
Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-07-14)
list price: US$0.99
Asin: B003V4B4M0
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****

Like many other stories and novels by Rudy Rucker, “Jack and the Aktuals” is a wild and wooly dramatization of certain principles of higher mathematics, with added talking animals, sentient pencils, and orders-of-infinity nested within one another like Russian dolls. No description can ever encompass the mind-bending experience of reading a Rudy Rucker story.

Among Rudy Rucker’s many novels are the Ware tetralogy (Software, Wetware, Freeware, and Realware); White Light, Spacetime Donuts, Mathematicians in Love, and Postsingular. His nonfiction includes such works as Geometry, Relativity, and the Fourth Dimension and The Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul: What Gnarly Computation Taught Me About Ultimate Reality, the Meaning Of Life, and How To Be Happy. He is the great-great-great grandson of the philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.

... Read more

14. AS ABOVE, SO BELOW. A Novel of Peter Bruegel
by Rudy Rucker
 Paperback: Pages (2002-01-01)

Asin: B0014JJC3M
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars more
SF isn't my bag but this was and I searched RR again hoping he had written others about other artists.

4-0 out of 5 stars M. C. Eschers inspiration......
Rudy Rucker has managed to give some insight into the thought processes that created the wonderful works of this 16th century Flemish painter as well as exposing the reader to the hardships endured by the residents of the "low countries" during the merciless Spanish control of the Netherlands.

Brugels early works give a birds-eye perspective of the subject matter as well as depicting religious events as if they were happening in the 16th century. It is my belief that M.C. Escher as well as Salvador Dali both capitalized on Brugels early vision.(See Escher's Tower of Babel as well as Ascending & Descending and several of Dali's works appear to have been inspired by Brugel's "Fall of the Rebel Angels".) Both of these men owe a large debt of gratitude to Brugel for his inspiration.

Although this book is "historical fiction", the author has done such an exemplary job of providing a discerning and perceptive insight into Brugels life and times, it almost reads like an autobiograpy.

If you enjoy history, art, and great storytelling this book is definitely for you! 4 1/2 stars!!!!

3-0 out of 5 stars Spend some time in Renaissance Belgium
Rucker builds a series of chapters around particular paintings by Bruegel, in order to produce a biographical novel that is well-informed concerning the (known) historical details of Bruegel's life and the political and cultural history of the day.The book offers a good way to get engaged with the period and with the paintings.The writing is a bit clunky, and the novel works more because of the inherent interest of the artist and the period than by what the writer contributes.I could easily have put the book down had other things been available, but as it was it served as a welcome companion during a day of many, many delayed flights and long layovers as I flew across the US.

5-0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Book of this Year
My husband and I both love this story of Peter Breugel's life.The book was well researched and obviously written by someone with a life-long passion for Breugel the man, as well as his paintings.It is a beautiful story.My husband and Iboth agree, we want to go to Europe and see his original paintings after reading this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Painless History
Not only is this book well-researched and documented but it is an easy read. The times of Europe in the l6th century are colorfully presented and the characterizations are believable. It's easy to get caught up in the intrigues. I'll now view Peter Bruegel's works in a new light. Well-worth a read! ... Read more


15. Master of Space and Time
by Rudy Rucker
Paperback: 288 Pages (2005-03-10)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$1.88
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 1560257032
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
The real world is unbearable to madcap inventor Harry Gerber, so he uses his genius to twist the laws of science and create his own tailor-made universe. Master of Space and Time combines high physics and high jinks, blurring the line between science and magic.

From a voyage to a mirror-image world where sluglike parasites make slaves of humanity, to trees and bushes that grow fries and pork chops, to a rain of fish, author Rudy Rucker—two-time winner of the Philip K. Dick Award—takes readers on the ultimate joyride. But once the gluons at the core of Harry's creation run out ... disaster looms for Harry and his friends. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

1-0 out of 5 stars Painful
I don't know what book those other people were reading, when they gave this five stars. What bothered me about this book. Short list:
1) Bigotry. I'd obviously prefer people don't flap their bigotries in the wind, but if they're going to, then it's incredibly distasteful to see people justify their bigotry by making the people they hate *deserve* that hatred by doing such palpably inane things. Anti-religious bigotry runs throughout this book. He makes up a couple of religions that are really stupid (showing that he doesn't understand how any religions outside of California actually work), and he has Christians flock straight into alien subservience for no other apparent reason than that it would be stupid to flock in, so Christians would obviously do that. And it just never seems to occur to him that there's something wrong with that.
2) Speaking of Rucker not having properly thought out what "real people" should actually do: early on, a giant lizard attacks a city. The book takes place in a world fairly similar to this one, so nothing like that has ever happened. And the next day, is anyone talking about it? For some reason, no. It's boring old business as usual. And when the main character actually asks somebody about it, it's like "Oh yeah, that thing. Yeah that was kinda weird."
3) If you're going to rip off Robert Heinlein (Puppetmasters) please do a good job of it. Better yet, don't rip off Robert Heinlein.
4) If you're going to rip off Robert Heinlein (By His Bootstraps) please do a good job of it. Better yet, don't rip off Robert Heinlein.
5) Isn't Rucker supposed to actually be a scientist? Then why doesn't he display some sense of science? He just tosses out science terms willy-nilly as justifications for the plot, without any actual science. Why does changing Plank's constant give these guys power? Seriously. There used to be a day when you'd read science fiction and come away actually having learned something. But hey, Rucker's obviously a string theorist. Those guys don't feel like they need to make sense with science, either, so he probably doesn't see what's wrong with this.
6) And for kicks, we get to come along on Rucker's transsexual fantasy. He does make sure to explain that he wished to become a beautiful woman as part of a heterosexual urge, though. Uh, yeah. Riiiiight.

2-0 out of 5 stars All over the place
This is my first Rudy Rucker book, and I guess he's not for me. Lots of wacky things happen from chapter to chapter, but it would be nice if there was a plot that I cared about. It just felt very haphazard.

3-0 out of 5 stars Cute, but not his best
I love Rucker's work... but this was not his best.This novel involves people making 'wishes.'And the wishes really aren't thought through very well, even when the novel suggests they are.This is obviously one of Rudy's earlier works... its fun and enjoyable, but he has produced much better.

5-0 out of 5 stars Rucker's best novel -- wonderfully bizarre. 5+ stars
______________________________________________
"Master of Space
& Time" (1985) is still my favorite Rucker novel,
in which the tale of three wishes granted is explored via quantum
mechanics, with wonderfully bizarre results.The apotheosis of Harry
Gerber...I've read MST at least three times, & laughed aloud each time.One never knows
what someone else's taste in humor might be, but I've given away at least half-a-dozen
copies of MST over the years, and never heard a complaint. I'm very glad to see it back in print.

Happy reading--
Peter D. Tillman

5-0 out of 5 stars Michel Gondry's adaptation...
Any chance of this book actually being reprinted now that it is being adapted as the next film by the brilliant Michel Gondry?I'd like to read it, but I don't want to shell out twenty-five bucks for a paperback when I know the film will be brilliant anyway. ... Read more


16. Spacetime Donuts
by Rudy Rucker
Paperback: 184 Pages (2008-11-10)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$10.56
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0759285896
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
he birth of cyberpunk! A seaweed-smoking rebel becomes an incredible shrinking man. Under the bottom is the top--and the power to smash the Machine. After humanity becomes inextricably linked to the computers, a heroic couple makes a scale-ship journey beneath the smallest particles and through the largest cosmic structures, seeking a perfect world. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars This book changed my life
Although, I like White Light better, this book, Spacetime Donuts changed my life. I almost felt like it was written with me in mind :). The adventures of Vernor Maxwell and Mick Stones with the Professor is a story that inspired me to write this review. I hope that my Alice shows up just like at the end of the book. It caused me to write my own comic book. :) How about that? Pick it up if you can and see for once and for all, who the real King of the Cyperpunks is.

3-0 out of 5 stars A magical physics tour
A weird one from Rucker, but then, that's kind of a redundancy; everything from the mind of Rucker has a weird stance. This one posits the idea that space/time is a continuum, and circular in nature. That is, if one was to increasingly make oneself smaller and smaller, after passing through the various levels (atomic, subatomic, etc.) one would then start progressing through space (universe, galaxy, solar system, etc.). Like Robert Anton Wilson's "Schrodinger's Cat" trilogy, Spacetime Donuts posits the theory, then fits a story around what it might be like if that theory were true. Rucker's writing style, at least in this early novel, is most similar to the early novels of Philip K. Dick, but whereas Dick was focused on the nature of reality from a psychological and philosophical viewpoint, Rucker comes at it from a mathematical and physical view. ... Read more


17. Freeware
by Rudy Rucker
Mass Market Paperback: 262 Pages (1998-03)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$9.16
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 038078159X
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****

Rudy Rucker has seen the future. . .and it is extreme.

The Godfather of cyberpunk--a mad scientist bravely meddling in the outrageous and heretical--Rucker created Bopper Robots, who rebelled against human society in his award-winning classic Software.

Now, in 2953, "moldies" are the latest robotic advancement--evolved artificial lifeforms made of soft plastic and gene-tweaked molds and algae, so anatomically inventive and universally despised that their very presence on the planet has thrown the entire low-rent future into a serious tailspin. So the moon is the place to be, if you're a persecuted "moldie" or an enlightened "flesher" intent an creating a new, more utopian hybrid civilization. Of course up there, there are other intergalactic intelligences to contend with--and some not so intelligent--who have their own agendas and appetites.

This is scientific fabulation at its most brazenly inventive--funny, cutting-edge and deeply informed. No writer alive puts it all together like Rudy Rucker.Artificial life forms made of soft plastic and gene-tweaked mold and algae, moldies are evolved robots in the year 2053--anatomically inventive and universally despised. In a sleazy, low-rent future, sexual fraternization with moldies is strictly taboo--a societal sin that is of no concern whatsoever to Randy Karl Tucker. A Kentucky boy who has seriously strayed from the Heritagist religion1s stern teachings about the evils of artificial life, Randy feels a definite something for Monique, moldie bookkeeper and maid at the Clearlight Terrace Court Motel But Monique1s sudden and inexplicable abduction from the planet--coupled with unsettling revelations about Randy1s own dubious origins--is dragging the degenerate flesher and all those around him into an ugly, conspiratorial mess. . .even as it pulls an unsuspecting humanity ever-closer to a stunning encounter with intergalactic intelligence.Amazon.com Review
In Wetware the chip moldvirus destroyed the sentient robots called boppers. But the virusitself has spawned a new life form called moldies. The moldies arebeings made out of a sort of malleable plastic called imoplex. Humansand moldies live in an almost-amicable truce, but radicals (andnot-so-radicals) on each side wouldn't hesitate to use--ordestroy--those on the other. When a moldie called Monique becomesensnared in a grand plot that seems to be either the work ofanti-moldie humans or anti-human moldies, everyone becomes involved inan effort to either save or destroy the Earth. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

1-0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately, I had to pay for this book
My feelings for cyberpunk have turned progressively more negative with the passage of time.More and more, the writing is beginning to sould like an an overly-long stream of existential consciousness with jumbled dialogue, forgettable characters, utterly unrealistic happenings and a plot that redefines that term.SOFTWARE was the best of the trilogy because it was more interesting and at least it was readable.

WETWARE is really a series of vignettes of titled characters.Yes, there is a connection among the various players but on the whole, the work is a rambling barf of images and newly defined terms. Oh those blasted terms!The sheer volume of made-up words, future tech inventions, new speaking manners and hard-to-imagine ideas (the "dimension" thing still makes no sense after repeated readings) makes the book a chore instead of a pleasure.If Rucker had stressed either the terms or the inventions or the new crazed mode of speaking, that would have been sufficient.

Maybe this Brave New World of nihilism, obsession with new experiences via drugs or tech toys, this existence instead of living, this cheapening of life - maybe that is what we have to look forward to but I don't have to read about it.The ending, perhaps meant to be transcendent, instead turns into action-packed silliness.It reminds one of the old novels where aliens from the planet Bogo warn Earthlings to stop their atomic testing or else.To top it off, we defeat these vastly superior species. My grade:D

3-0 out of 5 stars Decent, Not Great, Cyberpunk From Randy Rucker
At his best, Rudy Rucker demonstrates that he can write truly engaging cyberpunk science fiction tales that are heavily infused with his knowledge of mathematics (In real life he is a professor of mathematics as well as a science fiction writer.). I honestly don't know what to make of "Freeware", which is the third of his "ware" novels chronicling the evolution of both humanity and self-replicating AI life. Here he introduces us to "Moldies", a plastic-derived AI life form that has developed an uneasy truce with humanity and colonized the Moon after the "bop" AI life forms were killed off by a virus. Alas "Freeware" isn't as funny as Neal Stephenson's "Snowcrash", though Rucker often tries to be, mixing up fast-paced action sequences with lots and lots of kinky sex. (I'm not troubled at all by the sex, but I've seen it done with more realism and finer literary technique from other science fiction writers.). So hardcore fans of Rucker's work may find "Freeware" quite enjoyable; for me it's a bit of a disappointment.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
Evolution continues rapidly in Rudy Rucker's freeware.From bops, big bops, little bops through meatbops we have yet another life form appearing in freeware, and it is sentient mold.

These moldies, being more organic, can interact with humans differently, and in some cases very closely.

More of the burned out beach bum and borg style can be found here.


2-0 out of 5 stars Not Rudy's finest hour
With all the predictions and future strangeness this comes off as Sodom and
Gomorrah: the characters are mostly seriously morally challenged ( bright like Molly).
It comes off with the feeling that it was written by a person on pot having a dream that turns rapidly into a nightmare.
The ideas of using
aperiodic tiles as computers has so far not had anything but virtual fruit like this.
Written before the current quantum computing doctrines came in
and AI went out of fashion, this novel has a genealogy of humans and moldies
and some sexual content that might be too much for a lot of people.
The two other novels I've read by Rudy Rucker were much better than this one.

4-0 out of 5 stars Stuzzy
I've never thought of Rucker as a great writer, but he never wants for interesting ideas.While his characters tend to be fairly broad and cartoonish, the bright colors of his invented slang and weird technology make for a nice pleasant brain buzz.

In "Freeware", Rucker continues his little AI saga begun in "Software" and "Wetware".The boppers (the little AI robots featured in the first two novels) are all dead, but their spirit (or at least their core software) lives on in the "moldies", who are basically big pieces of self-aware floppy plastic infected with a stinky fungus.Of course what Rucker immediately wants to investigate is: Can you have sex with a moldie?The answer, of course, is yes.

The plot meanders through the backstories of its various characters (which also help shed light on the events which have occurred since "Wetware"), shows off the interesting abilities of the moldies (some of which require some suspension of disbelief), showcases exciting new fictional mind-altering drugs, and eventually comes to the Big Reveal, which I found fairly interesting.Although this sort of thing (I'm not going to say WHAT sort of thing) has certainly been done before, I don't think it's ever been done in quite this fashion.

One major complaint I have about the book is its rather abrupt ending.Rucker wraps things up here in about two pages, as if he was in a rush to finish.A bit more denouement would have been nice.

Basically, if you've read and enjoyed the first two "Ware" books, you're likely to find this enjoyable as well.Anyone who HASN'T read the first two books is advised to start with the first book, "Software", which is a rather short (150 pages) and breezy read. ... Read more


18. Realware
by Rudy Rucker
Paperback: 305 Pages (2000-04-30)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$8.27
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: B000H2N1SY
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****

A leading mathmetician, computer scientist, and cyberpunk pioneer, Rudy Rucker writes novels that surprise and delight with an effervescent mix of cutting-edge science, raucous social satire, and deeply informed speculation into the nature and fate of humanity.Now, his latest work takes its rightful place in this distinguished and hilarious canon.

It's 2054, and Phil Gottner doesn't know where his life is.His girlfriend is hooked on merge, a drug used in "bacteria-style" sex.His father has just been swallowed by a hyperspatial anomaly that materialized from a piece of art designed to project images of four-dimensional objects into three-dimensional space. Then, at the funeral, Phil meets and falls in love with Yoke Starr-Mydol, a young lovely visiting from the Moon.

Spuring Phil's advances, Yoke flies to the Polynesian island of Tonga, where she discovers an alien presence at the bottome of the sea.Calling themselves Metamartians, the aliens offer Yoke an alla,a handheld device that gives its owner the power of mind over matter--which, it turns out, is pretty much like having a magic wand.

But as Phil pursues Yoke, and the altruistic Metamartians distribute more allas, he begins to suspect that his father's disappearance and presumed death are linked to the aliens and their miraculous gift.For it seems that the allas are accompanied by a fourth-dimensional entity known as Om, a godlike being who's taken a special interest in humans.Now Phil and Yoke must solve the mystery of the Metamartians and their god, before humanity uses its newfound powers to destroy itself altogether. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

2-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
Realware is nowhere near as much fun as the other three books in the
whole Ware series. The theme and tone have changed considerably.

You get a feelgood romance thrown in there for no real apparent
reason. The Realware of the title is the technology to be able to make
whatever you want, basically. Chuck in some aliens and other dimensions.


3-0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings
After finishing the Moldies and Meatbops trilogy, I was compelled to check this fourth installment (in the now tetralogy) out from the public library. I am certainly glad I didn't pay for it because, while the novel was fun to read, it was also not as wild, innovative, or thought-provoking as its three predecessors. It basically felt like one of those tacked on, pay-the-mortagage kind of books. Whereas there was a significant time lapse between each of the first three installments of this series, this novel begins mere months after the concluding events in Freeware. The first half of the book is given over to a half-baked story involving a Tongan monarch, a homicidal pseudo-Limey, a lunar girl with questionable taste in men, while the second comprises a too-fast-to-be-true love affairs of not one, but two, couples. Realware, the only interesting thing in the novel, takes a back seat to these plots for most of the novel.

Yet, it is the concept of realware, the culmination of Rucker's "life as information" idea, that makes the book interesting and worth reading. Realware is an alien technology that is able to build anything material (including living things) from the ground up, so to speak. Although it is never explained completely (being one of those technologies that is advanced enough to be indistinguishable from magic), it seems to be a form of nanotechnology whose workings somehow derive from higher-dimensional physics. Rucker's love of the 4th (and higher) dimensions comes into play in the novel, as does his sense of spirituality (though it is a bit more saccharine than is his wont). The idea of realware is definitely interesting, and Rucker sees it as a technology that humanity still won't be ready for in a half-century. (Looking at the contemporary state of the world, I hesitate to disagree, but I digress.)

Yet he does not allow this rather pessimistic appraisal of humanity's capacity to deal with the end of scarcity rain on the reader's parade. Instead, the Metamartians (i.e., the cosmic ray information aliens from the conclusion of Freeware) come to the rescue like the proverbial cavalry or deus ex machina. Tears are shed, the world is saved, and warm smiling California sunshine reigns.

1-0 out of 5 stars Maybe it's paranoia but...
I loved Rudy Rucker's other books - all of them - to the point of obsession.This "clean and sober" [stuff] in this one finally cinches it for me: I'm now CERTAIN the ONDCP's antidrug campaign is targeting book publishers as well as TV, radio and movie producers.Essentially, the media is being paid by the government to pump out antidrug propaganda, and make it come from the very mouths of the drug culture heroes and top minds.Two weeks ago I just heard Neil Young praising the Patriot Act and giving a speech saying "we all need to give up our freedoms for a while so we can keep them for the long term".Now it seems they've got Rudy, too.How do they do this? Pay them off, or threaten to off them? Who knows? All I know is this left me with tears in my eyes and believe me they were NOT tears of joy.

2-0 out of 5 stars A must-read for fans but...
After reading Rudy Rucker's Software, Wetware et al, this book is a must have/must read.But I found it a bit of a letdown compared to the others.I kinda had the feeling that Rudy was trying too hard to "be a better *writer*", like maybe he took a writing course and it ruined him .The ideas stop coming around 1/2 way through the book, and the rest gets to be "she went here, he did this, she did that, blah-blah...".His previous books left me with a lot of ideas and images that I can never forget... ice-cream trucks that steal and freeze your head, cosmic rays that encode alien personalities... but from this one, mostly I remember being unpleasantly stuck in bubble.

I loved the others in the series but this one fell flat for me.Still, if you've read the others you have to read this one too.

4-0 out of 5 stars Stuzzy culmination of the 'ware series
The only works of Rudy Rucker that I have read are the 'ware series.These works are a bit more skanky in nature than my normal read; however, after I've read them, I'm always glad that I did.They are always entertaining and thought provoking.The latest episode in the 'ware series, Realware, is no exception.I did find the level of skank in this novel to be somewhat less in magnitude than that of its antecedents.I finished this book feeling a nice sense of resolution with regard to the characters, although I know the story could easily be carried forward into further stories about its set of characters.What I like most about this series is the discussion of the effects of radical technological paradigm shifts on individuals of many types and the society as a whole.If you've read the other books in the 'ware series, you simply must read Realware - you'll be glad you stayed with it. ... Read more


19. Spaceland: A Novel of the Fourth Dimension
by Rudy Rucker
Paperback: 304 Pages (2003-07-04)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$10.23
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0765303671
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
Joe Cube is a Silicon Valley hotshot--well, a would-be hotshot anyway--hoping that the 3-D TV project he's managing will lead to the big money IPO he's always dreamed of. On New Year's Eve, hoping to impress his wife, he sneaks home the prototype. It brings no new warmth to their cooling relationship, but it does attract someone else's attention.

When Joe sees a set of lips talking to him (floating in midair) and feels the poke of a disembodied finger (inside him), it's not because of the champagne he's drunk. He has just met Momo, a woman from the All, a world of four spatial dimensions for whom our narrow world, which she calls Spaceland, is something like a rug, but one filled with motion and life. Momo has a business proposition for Joe, an offer she won't let him refuse. The upside potential becomes much clearer to him once she helps him grow a new eye (on a stalk) that can see in the fourth-dimensional directions, and he agrees.

After that it's a wild ride through a million-dollar night in Las Vegas, a budding addiction to tasty purple 4-D food, a failing marriage, eye-popping excursions into the All, and encounters with Momo's foes, rubbery red critters who steal money, offer sage advice and sometimes messily explode. Joe is having the time of his life, until Momo's scheme turns out to have angles he couldn't have imagined. Suddenly the fate of all life here in Spaceland is at stake.

Rudy Rucker is a past master at turning mathematical concepts into rollicking science fiction adventure, from Spacetime Donuts and White Light to The Hacker and the Ants. In the tradition of Edwin A. Abbott's classic novel, Flatland, Rucker gives us a tour of higher mathematics and visionary realities. Spaceland is Flatland on hyperdrive!

Amazon.com Review
The product manager for a Silicon Valley startup, Joe Cube thinks the best way to enter the new millennium is to stay safely home with his wife and watch the year 2000 come in on an experimental television/interactive device "borrowed" from work. His wife, however, is less than pleased. And after Jena passes out from too much New Year's imbibing, Joe discovers the undertested device has opened a gateway to a new universe: he is contacted by a fourth-dimensional woman named Momo....

Usually, tribute novels are like movie remakes: a bad idea.However, this tribute to Edwin A. Abbott's classic novel Flatland works wonderfully. This is because Spaceland is written by Rudy Rucker, a Silicon Valley professor of mathematics and computer science who is also a hard-SF writer with the most gonzo sensibility in science fiction.--Cynthia Ward ... Read more

Customer Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ruder Rucker is The Ace of Hyperspace
I've been a Rucker fan since 1990, when I stumbled across "Software," a hilarious psychedelic thriller that climaxes with a brutal death match between a drug-fueled, love-addled young anti-hero and a carnivorous meat-bot that drives an ice-cream truck and eats human brains to extract their organically-stored memories.Oops, I digressed before I began -- wonderful as "Software" is, "Spaceland" is an equally fabulous place to start in on Rucker's ouvre. This smooth cocktail of geek ambition, interdimensional travel, and wireless technology will make you smarter in several directions at once.In proper Faustian fashion, Rucker's hero starts out by trying to impress his woman with a magical display, a three-dimensional television, that creates a connections between this world and the fourth dimension, whose denizens ply his greed with a technology he doesn't quite understand, but that may be the ultimate killer app -- emphasis on "killer." Rucker thickens the plot with a suitcase whose valuable contents have a nasty habit of disappearing, Vegas hit-men in search of the missing contents, an IPO funded by a brilliant but humorless Jobs-like character, a woman worth saving the universe for, and a villain who's hard to hard, but easy to detest.It all works out for the best, because in Rucker's zany universe, good always triumphs in the end, but the contest is very, very close.

4-0 out of 5 stars Ever Wondered about the Fourth (Spacial) Dimension?
If you ever wondered about the 4th (spacial) dimension, but didn't want to get too technical, this book by Rudy Rucker might be the one for you. In some ways, it picks up and/or expands on the much earlier book FLATLAND by another author (Abbott), which you might want to read first if the subject interests you (and it is not too technical either). Both books employ fictional stories to illustrate what a world with 4 spacial dimensions would be like.

In any case, SPACELAND is set in Silicon Valley during the dot com boom - remember that? The main character is Joe Cube (great name huh?) an MBA in a high tech company pre-IPO. Other important characters are Jena Cube (nee Bonk) Joe's wife, Spazz (reminded me in some ways of Spike on the BBC series Clatterford, except Spike is way more trustworthy) who works for Joe, Tulip who is Spazz's (sometime) girlfriend and Momo a lady from the fourth dimension. In the background at least, the book pokes fun at the craziness that went on in Silicon Valley at the time portrayed.

The main plot line involves Momo showing up and offering some great technology from her dimension that will revolutionize cell phones here. Suffice it to say that one should "beware of Trojans (in this case in the guise of Kluppers from the 4th dimension) bearing gifts". That is, the stuff seems great, but then we find out that there is a "little" problem that goes along with it.

Important to the story line is that our world of 3 spacial dimensions separates two 4th dimensional worlds that do not seem to be on the best of terms. The Kluppers are from one side and seem to be humanoid in at least a 4 dimensional sense, and the Dronners are from the other - there are several different kinds of strange creatures depicted from the Dronner side including a God like being. Yes, Joe has a religious experience near the end of the book, but it is well done. The author spends a lot of time helping readers "visualize" things that Joe sees in the 4th dimension (and elsewhere) and does a pretty good job with it - there are helpful diagrams as well. By the way, Momo gets a special eye to grow on Joe to help him see in the 4th dimension.

The story moves quickly and there is a lot of action. The world is saved (barely) at the end, and Joe makes a lot of money (less than if Momo's technology would have been "feasible" though). Joe also gets his wife back - why he wanted her back is beyond me.

The book can be a lot of fun if hyperdimensions and all that appeal to you - they do to me. As I mentioned, Abbott's FLATLAND might be a good "prequel" for readers of SPACELAND; I read it, and it is very good. SPACELAND's author also wrote some books more directly about the 4th dimension as well that I hear are good - I even have one on my shelf to read soon (THE FOURTH DIMENSION).

If the 4th dimension appeals, give SPACELAND a try.

5-0 out of 5 stars What a Wild Ride!!!
I read this book and loved every minute of it. Rudy Rucker combines intelligence, humor, and perfect storytelling into one of the best modern sci-fi comedies I've read. Not to mention, this book takes an abstract theoretical concept like 4-D life, and makes it seem completely real.

I wish there were more books like this. I'd recommend it to anyone...it's one of my favorites. And if you're looking for another good book to read after Spaceland, check out National Darkroast Day.

2-0 out of 5 stars Vivid imagination but unlikeable characters...
Having just come across reviews of Rudy Rucker's work accidentally last week I decided to check out his website (which is very good) and Spaceland, about which I have very mixed feelings. To start with the good comments: Mr. Rucker's imagination in clearly above-average, sort of a combination style-wise of Star Trek and George Carlin's "hippy dippy" era material. (That's a good thing). But I almost wrote a review of this novel before finishing it because, well, the characters are just so damn unlikeable, even nasty. Many elements of the story are obnoxious and not very believable as well; I wasn't offended by the sexual content (though it seemed a little out of place) but the wild, pointless mood-swings of the characters and the meanness they treated each other with gave a bad vibe to the actual story. I finished Spaceland a few minutes ago and am glad I read it overall, but not in the overwhelming way I felt when discovering Octavia Butler's amazing books, for example. (HIGHLY recommended, if you're wondering). Spaceland is full of (dated) high-tech, dot-com excitement but the story itself may leave you, well, flat. PS: It was a real toss-up for me between giving this 2 or 3 stars but I went with two, not because the book is terrible, but to clearly draw attention to some of the aspects of it that many of the above, more-common 3-star reviews have mentioned lightly (like the unlikeable characters). These elements just bothered me more, I guess, and sometimes got in the way of enjoying Mr. Rucker's wild, playful thinking. One more thing: I will read more of Rudy Rucker (I have "Postsingular" next on my list) and you should know that this man is a WONDERFUL artist. Visit his site (rudyrucker.com) and check out the wonderful, colorful, intensely imaginative paintings he shows there. That alone is worth your time. Here's hoping "Postsingular" retains the wild imagination of Spaceland but leaves mean, spiteful characters behind. Dave S. Springfield, Mo. (doctordavestone.com)

5-0 out of 5 stars Flatland "cubed"
Since Edward Abbott penned his original Flatland at the tail end of the 19th century, many modern mathematicians have found themselves unable to resist the urge to put pen to paper in various forms of imitation most notably includiing Ian Stewarts Flatterland, Dewdney's Plainiverse and this entry by Rudy Rucker.

And contrary to some other reviewers who thought that Rucker's Fourth Dimensional treatment paled in comparison to his underlying story, I must confess that I thought the reverse.

In this story, Rucker chose as his protagonist a dot commer named Joe Cube whose comely wife Jena was at various points in the book leaving him, cheating on him and ultimately, well, that would give away the ending.However the point is that Rucker wrote such a complete and convincing portrait of his Jena that you couldn't help yourself but eagerly turning the pages past all the Four D stuff to find out whether Joe would be able to save his marriage and in the end I found myself much more concerned about that than...well...even the fate of the 3D universe which we supposedly inhabit.

The reason I say we supposedly inhabit the 3D universe is because we actually are fourth dimensional creatures.And while viewed from a full fourth dimensional perspective it's true that we would probably more resemble a centipede with a baby at the one end and a (if we're lucky) vibrant geriatric at the other end and while it's also true that we see only slices of this fourth dimensional perspective, I nonetheless still consider it a misnomer to refer to us a "merely" existing in 3D.

Now that being said, Rucker found some exciting and stimulating ways in which to move his story along and to graphically depict the look and feel of 3D.For those alone, he deserves a five star rating (particularly when he retours all the dimensions in a fashion reminiscent of the original Abbott himself).

But for those who like story with their plot, read and it and see if you too get caught up for Cube and join me in rooting for him to save something even more precious than mathematical reality...his marriage. ... Read more


20. Seek! Selected Nonfiction
by Rudy V. B. Rucker
Paperback: 356 Pages (1999-04-30)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$15.00
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: B000HWYKFM
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
"I grew up in a house built of voices."Looking back over his life for an assigned autobiography, high school senior Rob Radkovitz hears his mother's singing, his grandmother's mysteries, Mexican soap operas, Poe, poetry, and most cherished, the voice of his absent father from a single tape of one of his radio shows.

"I'm Lenny Guidry, and it's requesttime.A little show we call "The Ghost Raising.'"

Told in a collage of voices, Seek describes Rob's search for his father, a quest pursued not through San Francisco's streets, but through the labyrinth of the airwaves.

"Drink plenty of liquids and keep your radio tuned to the coolest place on the dial --KWKH, Shreveport."

Psychic readers, baseball an-nouncers, pirate DJ's,friends, and teachers join a rich, ringing aural autobiography that's as joyfully comic as it is compelling.Tune in to this choral symphony, sit back,read--and listen.Amazon.com Review
Rudy Rucker, author of the Software tetralogy and White Light,possesses a quality that could endanger his cyberpunk credibility:enthusiasm. No sullen antihero, Dr. Rucker is a computer scienceprofessor and a devoted family man, but his fiction has kept many areader up all night with visions of humans uploading theirconsciousnesses into robots that eventually return the favor. Hiscollection of short nonfiction, Seek!, is just as clear andsassy as his novels. Whether he's having visions in Yosemite with hisson, flipping the bird at Jerry Falwell's second in command, orplaying with his favorite artificial life forms, Rucker seems to knowhe'll be telling us about it later; his uncanny knack for perfectlyapt descriptions must arise from this knowledge. Once you've been toldthat the "Mandelbrot set is shaped like big fat warty buttocks ..."you're not likely to forget it.

Divided into three sections("Science," "Life," and "Art"), Seek! reads like a user's guideto the New Renaissance: after reading "A Brief History of Computers,"we can move on to "Cyberculture in Japan," visit Industrial Light andMagic, and examine Brueghel's Peasant Dance in depth. All areinfused with Rucker's intense delight and frustration with the thingsand people of this world; they inevitably provoke the kind ofstaring-into-space reveries long thought lost to our youth. Heprovides Web page URLs so that readers will have natural startingpoints for continuing research, including his own Web site's freesoftware for playing with cellular automata and other funkyalmost-living critters. As Rucker says to his students, referring tothe boundary between order and chaos (and providing a title for thisbook): Seek Ye the Gnarl! --Rob Lightner ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Reminiscent of Richard Feynman
Rudy Rucker is a mathematician and computer scientist who also writes science fiction. Unfortunately, he is so well known for his SF writings that his reputation in that area tends to swamp recognition of his accomplishments in mathematics and computer science, as is evidenced by other reviews on this page.

Rucker's mathematical writings tend to focus on the more esoteric subjects of infinity and the fourth dimension. They include: (1) "Geometry, Relativity, and the Fourth Dimension" (1977); (2) "The Fourth Dimension: A Guided Tour of the Higher Universes" (1985); (3) "Mind Tools: The Five Levels of Mathematical Reality" (1988); (4) "Infinity and the Mind: The Science and Philosophy of the Infinite" by Rudy Rucker (1995); and (5) "Software Engineering and Computer Games" (To be published in Nov 2002). That he is regarded as a serious mathematician is evidenced by the fact that "Infinity and the Mind" is published by the Princeton University Press, one of the best publishers of books on mathematics, engineering and science in the world.

In the area of software, Rucker is known for his participation in developing "Chaos" ands "CA (Cellular Automata)Lab", two highly innovative software programs that came out about 20 years ago. Cellular automata, which produce screen images that appear to berandomly generated patterns (in fact, the patterns are generated in accordance with simple rules) have been studied seriously by scientists (including Richard Feynman) interested in determining the patterns that underlie life. In fact, one of the earliest CA games was called "The Game of Life."

Like Feynman, Rucker is a free spirit, interested in virtually everything he encounters in life. Fortunately for the rest of us, he also likes to write about it. Among the topics treated in this collection of his essays are: (1) what it's like to live in Lynchburg, VA with Jerry Falwell; (2) a visit to a semiconductor clean room; (3) his beloved dog, Arf; (4) the paintings of Peter Breughel; (5) visits to Japan, where Rucker's S/F is immensely popular; (6) a live sex show in Manhattan; (7) his life as a hippie and abuse of drugs; and of course (8) thoughts on the possible uses of cellular automata.

Through it all comes the impression of a very good, very open, mind at work. I suspect that he really only writes to please himself; but fortunately he shares it with the rest of us.

Readers with more of an interest in Rucker's S/F writings should consider buying "Gnarl!", a companion volume of essays on that topic.

2-0 out of 5 stars Ruining Rudy's Reputation
I agree with Michael Edelman (below), there are many essays in this collection that just don't merit anthologizing.

I used to have a pretty high opinion of Mr. Rucker, but reading this book took him down a few notches.His travelogues are "nothing to write home about," his self-aggrandizement gets annoying, his extravagant personal claims about cyberpunk and transreal writing are laughable, and his essays on Bruegel add nothing to art appreciation.

The companion volume of fiction, "Gnarl!" is a much better read.

3-0 out of 5 stars A good choice for Rucker fans
Rudy Rucker is a wonderful writer, and judging from his writing, an excellent teacher. If all math professors were like him, there would be a lot more mathematicians, physicists and engineers around. And you've got tolove a guy who can characterize chaotic phenomena as"gnarly".

"Seek!" is a collection of essays onvarious topics, published and unpublished, and therein lies one of theproblems: A lot of these essays would have been better off remainingunpublished. They're just not that interesting or well done. Even some ofthe published essays should have stayed buried in the pulps where they wereprinted. The book is of course required reading for die-hard Rucker fans,but the general reader would be better off sticking with his more carefullyedited books.

His history of computers, for example, is a completelyunoriginal rehashing of the standard hardwware-based story. There'sabsolutely no point in reprinting it, particuarly as he has nothing to addto a thousand other books.

There's another problem as well. Like manyvery bright academics, Rucker seems to believe that skill in one area-mathematics- makes him an expert in all areas. Unfortunately there are some(history, economics, political science, psychology) where he is notterribly well read, and again, like many academics form the hard scienceshe tends to view the social sciences as something you can just handleintuitively. Thus his views on matters of economics and policy tend to bethe kind you get from enthusiastic college sophmores. He can't admit thatsomeone could hold views opposed to his and still be a decent person;anyone who disagrees with him is basically evil. But that's par for coursewhen you spend much of your life in academia.

Still, it's an interestingcollection, and there are a few gems scattered amidst the dross. His A-lifeintroduction is imaginative and particularly well done. My advice: Skip thehardcover and get the paperback.

5-0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable trip with Mr Rucker
This collection of essays is well worth reading if you're any sort of fan of Rudy Rucker. The essays are very wide ranging, and I particularly likedthe travel essays in the section "Life", which were full ofinteresting observations and characters (especially the moody Robert AntonWilson and the inscrutable Terence McKenna in Portugal). The essays aboutRucker's trips to Japan give a unique perspective on the mixture of old andnew culture that he found there.

I found some of the earlier material oncellular automata and other mathematical curiosities to be lessinteresting, probably because I have never explored them, and I can't sharethe enthusiasm Mr Rucker has for them. On the other hand, his essay on thehistory of computing I found fascinating.

Overalll, I came away feelingthat these essays were written by a very real person, one who has managedto enjoy the fame he has achieved largely as a writer. He is not backwardin expressing his admiration for the opposite sex, and his openness andcandour is sometimes startling compared to other more conservative modernessayists.

5-0 out of 5 stars Eclectic, inspiring, and fun!"Seek!" is a blast.
Rucker's an author whose books either leave me wanting more or leave me floored; "Seek!", the author's latest collection of nonfiction, is one of the latter, an always energetic variety of science essays, traveldiary entries, meditations on The Meaning of Life and cyberculture thataccomplishes much more than the sum of its parts.

"Seek!" isnothing less than a portrait of the author, and as such it is both poignantand trippy.I had a great time reading this one. ... Read more


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