Rudy Rucker

(b. 1946)

Rudolf von Bitter Rucker was born in Louisville, Kentucky and was educated at Swarthmore (BA, 1967) and Rutgers University (MA, 1969, PhD in mathematical logic, 1972). A great great grandson of the German philosopher Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel (1770-1831), Rucker has taught at SUNY-Genesco and been a research fellow working on the Continuum Problem at the University of Heidelberg. From 1982-1986 he was a free-lance writer.

Along with William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, in the 1980s Rucker was thought of as a writer of cyberpunk, and was included in the definitive sub-genre anthology Mirrorshades (1986), edited by Sterling.

First publication: “The Miracle” in The Pegasus (1962) [amateur magazine]; First publication [professional magazine]: “Faraway Eyes” in Analog (September, 1980); First novel: Spacetime Donuts (first 2 parts in Unearth, Summer, 1978) [all 3 parts, Ace, 1981]; First collection: The 57th Franz Kafka (Ace, 1983). He writes as Rudy Rucker, usually SF with mathematical plots. His most popular novels make up the “Ware” series: Software (1982), Wetware (1988), Freeware (1997) [all three published as an omnibus volume, Moldies & Meatbops: The Ware Novels, in 1997], and Realware (2000).

Awards in the SF genre:Philip K. Dick Memorial Awards for Software, 1983, and for Wetware, 1989 [tied with Paul J. McAuley’s Four Hundred Billion Stars]; other awards, including The Medal of the Italian Senate in 2001.

Other works of fiction include the novels White Light (1980), The Sex Sphere (1983), The Secret of Life (1985), Master of Space and Time (1984), The Secret Life (1985), The Hollow Earth (1990), All the Visions (1991) [a rare, back-to-back novel in the Oceanview Doubles Series/cover art by Robert Williams]; and the collection Transreal (1991), for which Rucker also did the art.

Nonfiction works include Geometry, Relativity, and the Fourth Dimension (1977), Infinity and the Mind (1982), The 4th Dimension: Toward a Geometry of Higher Reality (1984), 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. A collection of his essays, Seek!, and his “nonfiction” novel, Saucer Wisdom [with an introduction by Bruce Sterling], were published in 1999. A SF satire, Spaceland, was issued in 2002, as was As Above, So Below: A Novel of Peter Bruegel [an historical novel about the artist].

Rucker has also published computer software and a collection of poetry. A collection of his short fiction, Gnarl!, a companion volume to Seek!, appeared in 2000. Another collection of his short fiction was The Mad Professor. A revised and expanded edition of The Hacker and the Ants (1994) was published in 2003 as The Hacker and the Ants, Version 2.0. A SF satire, Frek and the Elixir, set in a 31st Century Earth where bioengineering and consumerism have run amok, was issued in 2004.

He was interviewed in the February, 1989, issue (#11) of Paperback Parade and in the September, 2005, issue (#536) of Locus (“The Gnarly Zone”).

Rucker once stated that, when he was young, his favorite SF authors were Heinlein and Sheckley. Today, mathematician-philosopher Rucker is recognized as an individualist who writes in a variety of SF forms, often with humor. He created his own website, Flurb, in August 2006.


See also