Rudolf von Bitter Rucker (born March 22, 1946) is an American mathematician, computer scientist, science fiction author, and one of the founders of the cyberpunk literary movement. The author of both fiction and non-fiction, he is best known for the novels in the Ware Tetralogy, the first two of which (Software and Wetware) both won Philip K. Dick Awards. Until its closure in 2014 he edited the science fiction webzine Flurb.
Rudy Rucker, Fall 2004, photo by Georgia Rucker
|Born||Rudolf von Bitter Rucker
March 22, 1946
|Alma mater||St. Xavier High School, Swarthmore College, Rutgers University|
|Known for||Ware Tetralogy|
|Spouse(s)||Sylvia Rucker (m. 1967)|
Rucker taught at the State University of New York at Geneseo from 1972 to 1978. Thanks to a grant from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Rucker taught math at the Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg from 1978 to 1980. He then taught at Randolph-Macon Women's College in Lynchburg, Virginia from 1980 to 1982, before trying his hand as a full-time author for four years. Inspired by an interview with Stephen Wolfram, Rucker became a computer science professor at San José State University in 1986, from which he retired in 2004. A mathematician with philosophical interests, he has written The Fourth Dimension; Geometry, Relativity and the Fourth Dimension; and Infinity and the Mind. Princeton University Press published new editions of Infinity and the Mind in 1995 and in 2005, both with new prefaces; the first edition is cited with fair frequency in academic literature.
As his "own alternative to cyberpunk," Rucker developed a writing style he terms transrealism. Transrealism, as outlined in his 1983 essay "The Transrealist Manifesto", is science fiction based on the author's own life and immediate perceptions, mixed with fantastic elements that symbolize psychological change. Many of Rucker's novels and short stories apply these ideas. One example of Rucker's transrealist works is Saucer Wisdom, a novel in which the main character is abducted by aliens. Rucker and his publisher marketed the book, tongue in cheek, as non-fiction.
Rucker often uses his novels to explore scientific or mathematical ideas; White Light examines the concept of infinity, while the Ware Tetralogy (written from 1982 through 2000) is in part an explanation of the use of natural selection to develop software (a subject also developed in his The Hacker and the Ants, written in 1994). His novels also put forward a mystical philosophy that Rucker has summarized in an essay titled, with only a bit of irony, "The Central Teachings of Mysticism" (included in Seek!, 1999).
His non-fiction book, The Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul: What Gnarly Computation Taught Me About Ultimate Reality, the Meaning Of Life, and How To Be Happy summarizes the various philosophies he's believed over the years and ends with the tentative conclusion that we might profitably view the world as made of computations, with the final remark, "perhaps this universe is perfect."
Rucker attended Swarthmore College, where he was roommates with Kenneth Turan his freshman year. In 1967, Rucker married Sylvia Rucker. Together they have three children. On July 1, 2008, Rucker suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. Thinking he may not be around much longer, this prompted him to write the book Nested Scrolls, his autobiography.
- The Ware Tetralogy
- Transrealist novels
- Other Novels
- The Fifty-Seventh Franz Kafka (1983)
- Transreal!, also includes some non-fiction essays (1991)
- Gnarl! (2000), complete short stories
- Mad Professor (2006)
|Title||Year||First published in||Reprinted/collected in|
(with Paul Di Filippo)
|2013||"Yubba Vines". Asimov's Science Fiction. Vol. 37 no. 7. July 2013. pp. 43–57.|
- Geometry, Relativity and the Fourth Dimension (1977)
- (editor), Speculations on the Fourth Dimension: Selected Writings of Charles H. Hinton, Dover (1980), ISBN 0-486-23916-0
- Infinity and the Mind (1982)
- The Fourth Dimension (1984)
- Mind Tools (1987)
- All the Visions (1991), memoir
- Seek! (1999), collected essays
- Software Engineering and Computer Games (2002), textbook
- The Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul: What Gnarly Computation Taught Me about Ultimate Reality, the Meaning of Life, and how to be Happy (Thunder's Mouth Press, 2005)
- Nested Scrolls - autobiography (2011)
- As actor-speaker in Manual of Evasion LX94, a 1994 film by Edgar Pêra
- Jonas, Gerald (May 4, 1997). "Science Fiction". The New York Times.
- Jonas, Gerald (September 12, 2004). "Interstellar Serial Killer". The New York Times.
- "Family tree of Rucker's mother's brother, Rudolf von Bitter" (PDF). Rudyrecker.com.
- "Rudy Rucker". NNDB.
- "Rudy Rucker interviews Stephen Wolfram". Retrieved 2009-04-08.
- "Rudy Rucker". Locus.
- Itzkoff, Dave (December 16, 2007). "Across the Universe: Planetary Politics". The New York Times.
- "The Central Teachings of Mysticism".
- Rucker, Rudy (December 11, 2012). Nested Scrolls: The Autobiography of Rudolf von Bitter Rucker. New York, NY. ISBN 978-0765327536.
- Rucker, Rudy (December 11, 2012). Nested Scrolls: The Autobiography of Rudolf von Bitter Rucker. New York, NY. p. 105. ISBN 978-0765327536.
- Rucker, Rudy (2015). "Photos for Rudy Rucker, JOURNALS 1990-2014". Rudy Rucker. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
- Rucker, Rudy (December 11, 2012). Nested Scrolls: The Autobiography of Rudolf von Bitter Rucker. New York, NY. p. 3. ISBN 978-0765327536.
- Rucker, Rudy van Bitter. All the visions, p. 102. Ocean View Books, 1991. ISBN 9780938075097. Accessed February 28, 2018. "Audrey and I were newlyweds there in Highland Park, and we used to watch The Newlywed Game on TV every week."
- "Wares". Rudyrucker.com.
- "Nested Scrolls". Rudyrucker.com.
- "Rudy Rucker". Cs.sjsu.edu.
- "AK Press". akpress.org.