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Rudy Rucker

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Author photo by Edward Marritz

A direct descendant of philosopher G.W. Hegel, Rudy Rucker is a mathematician, science author (The Fourth Dimension), on-line editor (Flurb), award-winning SF writer (two Philip K. Dick Awards), and confirmed computer geek. A native of Kentucky, he lives in Silicon Valley with his wife, a Hungarian princess.

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Surfing the Gnarl
Author: Rudy Rucker
Publisher: PM Press - Outspoken Author Series
ISBN: 978-1-60486-309-3
Published: January 2012
Format: Paperback
Size: 7.5 by 5
Page count: 128 Pages
Subjects: Fiction-Science Fiction

The original “Mad Professor” of cyberpunk, Rudy Rucker (along with fellow outlaws William Gibson and Bruce Sterling) transformed modern science fiction, tethering the “gnarly” speculations of quantum physics to the noir sensibilities of a skeptical and disenchanted generation. In acclaimed novels like Wetware and The Hacker and the Ant he mapped a neotopian future that belongs not to sober scientists but to drug-addled, sex-crazed youth. And won legions of fans doing it.
In his outrageous new story "The Men in the Back Room at the Country Club," Dr. Rucker infiltrates fundamentalist Virginia to witness the apocalyptic clash between Bible-thumpers and Saucer Demons at a country club barbecue. He shoots erotica into orbit with “Rapture in Space” to explore the future of foreplay in freefall. In his gonzo nonfiction masterpiece "Surfing the Gnarl," he documents the role of the Transreal in transforming both the personal and the political, distinguishes with mathematical precision between "high gnarl" and "low gnarl" in literature and life, and argues for remaking popular culture as a revolutionary project. 

And Featuring: PM's exclusive Outspoken Interview, in which the author explains Infinity, deconstructs his own outrageous film career, answers one Jeopardy question, and (finally!) reveals the truth about Time. All under oath. 

You’ll never be the same. Is that good or bad? Your call.

“Rudy Rucker should be declared a National Treasure of American Science Fiction...simultaneously channeling Kurt Gödel and Lenny Bruce!”  —William Gibson, author of Neuromancer and Pattern Recognition

"Rucker is a mathematician bewitched by the absurdity of the universe, and a writer possessed of a brilliantly witty pen."  —Publishers Weekly

“Rudy Rucker’s sense of fun is rare indeed. He has been compared to Lewis Carroll, and the comparison is not presumptuous. Like Carroll, Rucker is a mathematician who not only enjoys paradoxes, but can propagate that enjoyment as pure lunatic humor.”  —Washington Post

"Science-fiction author Rudy Rucker is an oddity and a treasure."  —Wired

"Rucker's writing is great like the Ramones are great: a genre stripped to its essence, attitude up the wazoo, and cartoon sentiments that reek of identifiable lives and issues."  —New York Review of Science Fiction

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What Others are Saying

Surfing the Gnarl on Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly
May 2012

Rucker (Wetware) is what you get when you cross cyberpunk (of which movement he is often hailed as the "Mad Professor") and the Beat poets, and this slim reprint volume showcases some of his wilder moments. "The Men in the Back Room at the Country Club" is a surreal piece drawing inspiration from real life, American Graffiti, and Philip K. Dick, while "Rapture in Space" mixes reality television, space travel, sex, and robot salesmen. Both stories are genre-defying and entertaining, but the true draws here are the nonfiction pieces. The free-wheeling interview conducted by Terry Bisson reviews much about Rucker's inspirations and temperament, while his classic titular essay, like his career output, can be summed up with one sentence defining "gnarly:" "Processes that are structured in interesting ways but are nonetheless unpredictable." Complex, intelligent, and quirky, this collection is definitely for scholars and completionists.

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Surfing the Gnarl on City Book Review
By Glenn Dallas
City Book Review
April 2nd, 2012

Rudy Rucker is weird. And I say that with all the respect and esteem in the world. His novel Master of Space and Time is one of the most gleefully bizarre books I’ve ever read, and parts of it have been lodged in my brain ever since. He is deserved considered an icon in the science fiction genre, and his work has opened countless eyes to the possibilities of language.

He’s virtually impossible to encapsulate, but Surfing the Gnarl makes an impressive attempt at doing so. It features two short stories — the first on the far end of fantasy’s richly anarchic bell curve, the other firmly lodged in cyberpunk’s social commentary middle ground — as well as an expansive personal essay and an interview with creative comrade-in-arms Terry Bisson.
The centerpiece essay is also the highlight of this collection, allowing Rucker to meander deftly from explaining what “gnarl” has to do with his writing, right into an exploration of science fiction and fantasy’s role in society, and the infinite potential they hold to change how we view the world.

This latest entry in PM’s Outspoken Authors series is the best yet.

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Surfing the Gnarl on BoingBoing
by Cory Doctorow
February 16, 2012

In between these stories is an essay, Surfing the Gnarl, which posits a theory of literature that ties approaches to fiction in with the mathematics of complexity and randomness, and is an illuminating piece of literary critical thinking. As with the other volumes in the series, this one concludes with an interview between Terry Bisson and Rucker, in which Rucker is his charmingly oblique and uncompromising self on subjects from the history of cyberpunk to the nature of the universe.

I really like the Outspoken Authors series -- these skinny little books seem to distill the essence of each of their subjects into perfect capsules.

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