Rudy Rucker
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Rudy Rucker

Rudy Rucker
Rucker in 2004
Rudolf von Bitter Rucker

(1946-03-22) March 22, 1946 (age 75)
Alma materSt. Xavier High School, Swarthmore College, Rutgers University
Known forWare Tetralogy
Sylvia Rucker
(m. 1967)
RelativesG. W. F. Hegel
WebsiteRudy Rucker

Rudolf von Bitter Rucker (; born March 22, 1946) is an American mathematician,[1] computer scientist, science fiction author,[2] 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.

Early life

Rucker was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the great-great-great-grandson of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.[3]

Rucker attended St. Xavier High School before earning a B.A. in mathematics from Swarthmore College (1967) and M.S. (1969) and Ph.D. (1973) degrees in mathematics from Rutgers University.[4]


Rucker taught mathematics at the State University of New York at Geneseo from 1972 to 1978. Although he was liked by his students and "published a book [Geometry, Relativity and the Fourth Dimension] and several papers," several colleagues took umbrage at his long hair and convivial relationships with English and philosophy professors amid looming budget shortfalls; as a result, he failed to attain tenure in the "dysfunctional" department.[5]

Thanks to a grant from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Rucker taught 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,[6] Rucker became a computer science professor at San José State University in 1986, from which he retired as professor emeritus in 2004.[7][8]

From 1988 to 1992 he was hired as a programmer of cellular automata by John Walker of Autodesk which inspired his book The Hacker and the Ants.

A mathematician with philosophical interests, he has written 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 transreal 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.[]

His earliest transreal novel, White Light, was written during his time at Heidelberg. This transreal novel is based on his experiences at SUNY Geneseo.

Rucker often uses his novels to explore scientific or mathematical ideas; White Light[9] 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).[10]

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."[]

Personal life

Rucker was the roommate of Kenneth Turan during his freshman year at Swarthmore College.[11] In 1967, Rucker married Sylvia Rucker.[12] Together they have three children.[13] On July 1, 2008, Rucker suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. Thinking he may not be around much longer, this prompted him to write Nested Scrolls, his autobiography.[14]

Rucker resided in Highland Park, New Jersey during his graduate studies at Rutgers University.[15]



The Ware Tetralogy[17]
Transreal Trilogy[18][Notes 1]
  • The Secret of Life (1985)
  • White Light (1980)
  • Saucer Wisdom (1999) novel marketed as non-fiction
Transreal novels[19]
Other novels

Short fiction

  • The Fifty-Seventh Franz Kafka (1983)
  • Transreal!, also includes some non-fiction essays (1991)
  • Gnarl! (2000), complete short stories
  • Mad Professor (2006)
  • Complete Stories (2012)
  • Transreal Cyberpunk, with Bruce Sterling (2016)
Title Year First published Reprinted/collected Notes
Yubba Vines 2013 Rucker, Rudy; Di Filippo, Paul (July 2013). "Yubba Vines". Asimov's Science Fiction. 37 (7): 43-57.
Juicy Ghost 2019 Rucker, Rudy (June 2019). "Juicy Ghost". Rudy's Blog. Retrieved 2021.
Surfers at the End of Time 2019 Rucker, Rudy; Laidlaw, Marc (November 2019). "Surfers at the End of Time". Asimov's Science Fiction. 43 (11): 14-45.
The Mean Carrot 2020 Rucker, Rudy (March 2020). "The Mean Carrot". Big Echo (15).
Juicy Ghost 2020 Rucker, Rudy (September 2020). "Juicy Ghost". Rudy's Blog. Retrieved 2021. Extended and modified version of "Juicy Ghost" (2019). As of April 2021, the author started calling this story "Treadle's Inauguration" [20]
Everything Is Everything 2020 Rucker, Rudy (October 2020). "Everything Is Everything". Big Echo (17).
Mary Mary 2021 Rucker, Rudy (March-April 2021). "Mary Mary". Asimov's Science Fiction. 45 (3 & 4).
Fibonacci's Humors 2021 Rucker, Rudy; Sterling, Bruce (July-August 2021). "Fibonacci's Humors". Asimov's Science Fiction. 45 (7 & 8).


  • Geometry, Relativity and the Fourth Dimension (1977)
  • Infinity and the Mind (1982)
  • The Fourth Dimension: Toward a Geometry of Higher Reality (1984)
  • Mind Tools (1987)
  • 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)[21]
  • Collected Essays (2012)
  • How To Make An Ebook (2012)
  • Better Worlds (2013), art book of Rucker's paintings
  • Journals 1990-2014 (2015)

As editor

Critical studies and reviews of Rucker's work

  • Spinrad, Norman (October-November 2013). "Genre versus literature". On Books. Asimov's Science Fiction. 37 (10-11): 182-191. Review of Turing & Burroughs.


  • As actor-speaker in Manual of Evasion LX94, a 1994 film by Edgar Pêra


  1. ^ Arranged in the order of the events they describe.


  1. ^ Jonas, Gerald (May 4, 1997). "Science Fiction". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Jonas, Gerald (September 12, 2004). "Interstellar Serial Killer". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "Family tree of Rucker's mother's brother, Rudolf von Bitter" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Rudy Rucker". NNDB.
  5. ^ Rucker, Rudy (December 11, 2012). Nested Scrolls: The Autobiography of Rudolf Von Bitter Rucker. Macmillan. ISBN 9780765327536 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ "Rudy Rucker interviews Stephen Wolfram". Retrieved 2009.
  7. ^ Rucker, Rudy (January 20, 2008). "Everything Is Alive". CiteSeerX Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ "Rudy Rucker". Locus.
  9. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (December 16, 2007). "Across the Universe: Planetary Politics". The New York Times.
  10. ^ "The Central Teachings of Mysticism".
  11. ^ Rucker, Rudy (December 11, 2012). Nested Scrolls: The Autobiography of Rudolf von Bitter Rucker. New York, NY. ISBN 978-0765327536.
  12. ^ Rucker, Rudy (December 11, 2012). Nested Scrolls: The Autobiography of Rudolf von Bitter Rucker. New York, NY. p. 105. ISBN 978-0765327536.
  13. ^ Rucker, Rudy (2015). "Photos for Rudy Rucker, JOURNALS 1990-2014". Rudy Rucker. Retrieved 2015.
  14. ^ Rucker, Rudy (December 11, 2012). Nested Scrolls: The Autobiography of Rudolf von Bitter Rucker. New York, NY. p. 3. ISBN 978-0765327536.
  15. ^ 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."
  16. ^ "Rudy Rucker Books".
  17. ^ "Wares".
  18. ^ "Transreal Trilogy". Retrieved 2021.
  19. ^ Rucker, Rudy (September 2013). "Timeline for My Transreal Novels". Rudy's Blog. Retrieved 2021.
  20. ^ Rucker, Rudy (April 2021). "Lots of Book Covers + Fantasy Hive Interview". Rudy's Blog. Retrieved 2021.
  21. ^ "Nested Scrolls".
  22. ^ "Rudy Rucker".
  23. ^ "AK Press".

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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