Rucker, Rudy

Language: English

Published: May 27, 1999

Words: 131522
Pages: 579


The essays and memoirs collected in Seek! trace Rudy Rucker's trajectory through the final decade of the second millennium. His topics include artificial life, chaos, the big bang, Pieter Brueghel, the church of the subgenius, live sex, mathematics, science fiction, and TV evangelism. A computer scientist and programmer, Rucker is an articulate, engaging guide to the world on either side of the computer screen. 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 science professor and a devoted family man, but his fiction has kept many a reader up all night with visions of humans uploading their consciousnesses into robots that eventually return the favor. His collection of short nonfiction, *Seek!*, is just as clear and sassy as his novels. Whether he's having visions in Yosemite with his son, flipping the bird at Jerry Falwell's second in command, or playing with his favorite artificial life forms, Rucker seems to know he'll be telling us about it later; his uncanny knack for perfectly apt descriptions must arise from this knowledge. Once you've been told that 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 guide to the New Renaissance: after reading "A Brief History of Computers," we can move on to "Cyberculture in Japan," visit Industrial Light and Magic, and examine Brueghel's *Peasant Dance* in depth. All are infused with Rucker's intense delight and frustration with the things and people of this world; they inevitably provoke the kind of staring-into-space reveries long thought lost to our youth. He provides Web page URLs so that readers will have natural starting points for continuing research, including his own Web site's free software for playing with cellular automata and other funky almost-living critters. As Rucker says to his students, referring to the boundary between order and chaos (and providing a title for this book): Seek Ye the Gnarl! *--Rob Lightner From Library Journal Sf novelist Rucker (Freeware) is also a professor of computer science at San Jose State University, CA, and an industrial-strength programmer. In this collection of his nonfiction, Rucker ruminates on a variety of topics, mostly digital. His thoughts range from Silicon Valley where he has lived since 1946 to hacking, cyberpunking, the ghost of Philip K. Dick, and art in Amsterdam. You don't have to install anything other than your own mindAand the effect will be longer-lasting than most net-related IPOs. A very good book, for all libraries. Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.