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Painting & Publishing

May 19th, 2019

I’ve been busy with various things the last few months. I ran a Kickstarter campaign for Million Mile Road Trip, did some promo for the Night Shade edition, gave a talk at a cryptocurrency conference in Miami Beach, wrote a story, and did a couple of paintings. Let’s start with the latest painting

“Mexico” oil on canvas, May, 2019, 40” x 30”. Click for a larger version of the painting.

This Mexico painting could more accurately be called Guanajuato. As I’ve mentioned, Sylvia and I went there in March, and were blown away by the small mountain town’s beauty. My most recent blog post has photos, and there’s another post, too.

I collaged together some of my mental and photo images for the composition, also some fantasias. To start with, I did the one-point perspective thing, picking a vanishing point and drawing lines. I have a rushed tendency to think I don’t need to do perspective lines, but the result is better if I do. Perspective is oddly counterintuitive, but it works.

The colors are all-out, as they are in Guanajuato. In the yellow wall on the left, I wanted to put scenes in the windows. At one point I had the tall guy holding a knife, but that grabbed the eye to hard, and was too harsh. I ended up with a skull, a piñata, the old couple, and the Virgin of Guadalupe, who was in fact an occasional graffito on the walls of Guanajuato. On the street: a dog, a guy carrying a bread basket and an alluring woman. In the window on the pink wall, two white-haired tourists from the north—that’s me and Sylvia.

How to the characters all fit together? What’s the story? I don’t know. As I always say, I like the stories in my paintings to be obscure. Like illustrations of forgotten proverbs or unknown folk tales.

And, speaking of stories about Guanajuato, I just read Lewis Shiner’s excellent, page-turning novel Outside the Gates of Eden, and it has a bunch of scenes in Guanajuato. That’s a picture of me in the Mission, vaping and reading Shiner’s ebook on my smart phone. Well, okay, that’s not me, but I did carry my Kindle around a lot while whizzing through the intricate narrative. Couldn’t stop. For some reason it reminded me of James Baldwin’s Another Country, I guess because of the tangled cast of characters, and the sense of reportage. But this time, the reportage was on an era that I myself lived. Witty and worldly wise, a massive read with epic sweep, a secret history of our times.

I also found myself looking up various bands that Lew mentioned on my music service…got into Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen the other day, for instance. Such a great band. Ah, Texas.


Hopping back to the theme of visual perspective kicks, here’s a cool drawing that Bruce Sterling found online. It combines two things: a Maurits Escher-style impossible figure, and a Waclaw Sierpinski fractal gasket.

Sylvia and I drove down to Big Sur on a recent sunny day. Big Sur never disappoints. We found this great, level path leading from Rt. 1 out to a promontory, which ended in a clutter of sheer cliffs, outcrops, and blue, blue water. This rock here looks kind of like a tomahawk. Marvelous how nature crafts such things. What’s the point? God is inside everything, like the light in a stained glass window.

Our path tunneled through a grove of Monterey pines and emerged into the sun.

I got some nice clip-on shades online. I love amber shades. As good as being high. Much cheaper than buying new prescription sunglasses. My vision gets worse all the time. Eventually I’ll *ugh* have to get my eye’s natural lenses replaced by plastic lenses. Not yet. Relax and enjoy Big Sur.

An awesome dick-like (can I say that?), century plant flower on a hill near our house. Bloom, my friend, spread your seed!

I’m really happy with the finished Night Shade editions of Million Mile Road Trip. And the book’s getting good early reviews. More info on my page for the book.

I published a companion volume Notes for Million Mile Road Trip as well. Why? It’s not like I’ll sell many of them. Well, as I said, somewhat jokingly, in an interview by Jeff Somers on the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog,

“Long-term, the Notes will be fodder for the locust swarm of devoted Rucker scholars who are due to emerge any time now from their curiously long gestation in the soil.”

Curiously long, indeed!

Word from your sponsor again. I know I linked to this in my previous blog post…but oh well! This is my killer book trailer; I got it down to three minutes long. It took days, using a reasonably good and inexpensive commercial video editing program called Pinnacle Studio 21. I only use this program about once a year, like for a Kickstarter or a book launch, and I always forget how to use it, but each time it’s pretty easy to figure out. Equal time: Here’s a nice two minute book trailer for Lewis Shiner’s Outside the Gates of Eden.

I’m enjoying having ambient water in its liquid form. There’s this one pond I like to hike too. And, ah, the patterns on gently rippling water. I might paint this one.

The whole Night Shade series of my novels is looking good. They’re doing nine back-list novels as well as the new one, Million Mile Road Trip. It’s been a life-long dream of mine to have a uniform edition like this. Hard to believe it’s actually come true.

We got this bird-feeding-type object called a Treat Bell. Seeds stuck together with honey. We see nuthatches and chickadees. So cute. Lots of little fledglings around the house this spring. They scuttle across the carport floor when I’m in there, a bit unsettling, like mice or other vermin.

Dig this goal post. Like a really big tuning-fork. I wonder how it sounds in the wind.

The other day my glasses fell behind my bed, and I had to crawl on the floor to haul them out with a coat hanger. The non-stop excitement of a writer’s life.

This is me up by that pond I like; I was up there with my friend Emilio. The day before I got my spring haircut.

Prime Books has had my Ware Tetralogy in print as a paperback for years, but now I agreed with them that I’d be in charge of the ebook. With Prime’s permission I used their cover design, but I changed the art. It’s a crystallized image of me making my acceptance speech in Manhattan, when I got the first P. K. Dick Award ever for Software.

In 2010, intoxicated by the heady rhetoric of Cory Doctorow, I released a free Creative Commons edition of the Ware Tetralogy. It’s still out there, too. But at this point I’d rather you bought the ebook from me!

As it happened, getting my new commercial edition on Amazon was a little hard, as it turned out some scumbag pirate was selling my CC edition online. But I wheenked and wheenked till Amazon got the picture. Dog eat dog.

While I was doing my marketplace thing, I used the excellent Draft2Digital site to push a wide range of my ebook editions onto B&N, iBook, Kobo, and Google Play Books. If you make your EPUB ebook file and JPG cover file on your own, Draft2Digital is free, although they do take a small cut of your ebook royalties.

“Moonrise” acrylic on canvas, March, 2019, 40” x 30”. Click for a larger version of the painting.

This painting, “Moonrise,” is based on a photo that I took back in February, 2019, shown below.

The cloud made me think of an arm. And I liked the shapes of the palm leaves and the pine tree. I did a lot of layers on the painting, trying to get some of the luminous coloring that the photo had.

Got a lot of paint on my corduroys.

And right now I’m busy mailing out the rewards for the Million Mile Road Trip Kickstarter campaign.

Many thanks to my supporters and, what the heck, I might as well list their illustrious names here, as well as listing them on the Million Mile Road Trip book page.

AgentKaz, Alan Robson, Albert Henry Tyson, Alex Baxter, Andrew Baker, Andrew Ward, Andy Agnew, Aris Alissandrakis, Arthur Murphy, Beat Suter, Benet Devereux, Benjamin H Henry, Bob Hearn, Bob Vernon, Brian Dysart, Bruce Evans, Carl Z, Chad Bowden, chris cavanagh, Chris Day, Chris Lindsay, Chris McLaren, Chris van Gorder, Cliff Winnig, Colin Alevras, Daniel Monson, Dannen Harris, Darwin Engwer, Dave Holets, David A Bouvier, David Good, David H. Adler, David Kirkpatrick, David Rains, David Schutt, Derek Bosch, Don Tardiff, Doug Bissell, Doug Churchman, Dr. Ralph J. Garono, Eddie Churchill, Edward Winston Bear, Edwin Metselaar, Emilio Rojas, Erik Biever, Erik Sowa, ewelina feinberg, Fraser Lovatt, Gabriel McCann, Gary Dean Bunker, George & Hedvig in Budapest, Greg Deocampo, Greg Goddard, Gregory J Scheckler, Ian Chung, Jaap van Poelgeest, James Ramsay, Jeff Aldrich, Jeffrey T. Palmer, Jim Anderson, Jim Cavera, Joe Sislow, John Monroe, John Paul Spain, John W. Fenner, John Winkelman, Jonas Karlsson, Jonathan Hamlow, Jonathan Korman, K. Clark, Karen Marcelo, Karl Reinsch, Karl-Arthur Arlamovsky, Ken Nickerson, Kevin Maroney, Larry Roberts, Leah A. Fenner, Lee Fisher, Lorenzo Cipparrone, M. Cox, Madeleine Shepherd, Mark Anderson, Mark Martinez, Massimiliano Maffini, Michael Becker, Michael Weiss, M-Jo Baker, None, Patricia Miller, Patrick Edmondson, pete23, Peter Yeates, Petri Kanerva, Philip Rubin, Rafael Laguna de la Vera, Raja, Julie, and Jason, Ramon Cahenzli, Ray Cornwall, Raymond MacCauley, Richard Ohnemus, Rick Floyd, Robert Messick, Roderick Bartlett, Ronald Pottol, Scott G Lewis, Scott Jon Siegel, Simon Travis, Space Captain Hellers, The Hackers Conference, Thomas Lockney, Tim Conkling, Timothy M. Maroney, Timothy Wyitt Carlile, Todd Fincannon, Vasyl, Walter Croft, Wayne Sumter, WhatBear, William Harris, and Yoshio Kobayashi.

Thanks, all, and may ye hang ten forevermore.

Guanajuato, Part 2

May 13th, 2019

Today I’ll post the rest of my photos from my March trip to Guanajuato in Mexico with Sylvia. I did the initial post on March 29, 2019.

But first a word from our sponsor, that is, me. I made a fairly cool book trailer for my novel Million Mile Road Trip, which went into print last week.

So dig that, and now…back to Guanajuato! Be warned that my commentary isn’t going to be fully in synch with the images.

I took Sylvia to the Museo los Momias, that is, the museum of the mummies. I’d visited it with my artist/writer friend Bef a few years ago.

[In an art gallery.]

Guanajuato is very dry, at an altitude of six thousand feet, and of course hot in the summers. Bodies were buried either in the hardpan, white, alkaline soil, or sealed in crypts. If the descendents didn’t keep paying the annual plot-rental fee for someone, the cemetery owners would dig up the body and put it on display in their Mummy Museum, which remains to this day.

The bodies still have their skin, flesh, teeth, and even wisps of hair. Leathery, dried-out, twisted from the contraction of the tendons, the distorted mouths open as if in the hideous screams of the damned—in every respect like undead, eyeless, zombies. Truly horrible—although from time to time a viewer’s terror flips over into anxious mirth.

There was one guy in particular, with a big jaw and his mouth wide open and quite a few teeth missing, but with a kind of Hell’s Angel biker energy to him, an undead hick out for a good time, and the curators had, for whatever reason, left a grayed-out pair of pants on him, the waistline very low, Pachuco style, or like he might even be on the point of dropping-trou exposing himself to you.

And near him was a woman with her mouth an open O, turned a bit to one side, as if wailing in woe, some teeth in there, her nose dried down to little more than skully nostrils, and somehow I saw her as the date of the Hell’s Angel.

Sylvia was groping for the mot juste to describe how she felt about the displays. Discomfited, dismayed, discombobulated. “I could have lived without seeing this,” she said. But, having heard about it from me, she did want to see it, at least to some extent and, charming though Guanajuato is, there are not a surfeit of cultural venues to explore.

Man did I feel relaxed there. And I know I posted this photo before, but I want to see it again. We liked hanging out in our hotel room with the comfortable chairs and the balcony looking out on the fabulously colorful town. The light and air streaming in.

The evening after the mummy museum, after regrouping in our room, we had dinner downtown at a fancy Italian restaurant on the triangular square, and on the walk home we passed the big yellow basilica or cathedral of Guanajuato. We’d wanted to check it out before, but that day there’d been a funeral with an adult-sized white coffin, and a hundred mourners on the steps, and some mariachis playing away, and he mourners heading off down the cobblestone street behind the hearse.

[Photo of the lounge in the old opera Teatro.]

The day of the mummies, as if in counterposition to the theme of death and decay, the cathedral doors was wide open, with the place lit up like no church I’ve ever seen. Intensely bright white-light bulbs festooned in over twenty elaborate chandeliers, and bright pale-blue LED bulbs arrayed in vertical strings along the edges of the columns.

Sylvia and I went in, some kind of service taking place, we slipped into a rear pew. The space was filled with resonant chanting, wonderful music, and the increasingly fevered ringing of bells. The priest’s voice up there, very soothing, a couple of hundred worshippers closer to the altar. Was it okay for us to be here?

Well, too late for that, here comes the priest, in his white cassock, and four or five assistants, also robed, some of them are women, a couple of thurifers are swinging these billowing incense burners, the priest is moving in a cloud, he’s holding something up, shaped like a hand-mirror, a disk with a handle, the flat disk has glass on front and back, with a wide silver band around the disk’s edge, like a frame, the disk might be a couple of feet across. The music and chanting continue, and the bells, the ringing, the sound is rising to a crescendo, rattling, frenetic, unsystematic, getting into my head. The smell of the incense is mild and pleasant.

[Sylvia gave me this glass heart for my birthday.]

The priest has come all the way down to the end of the aisle, people are reaching out toward him, at first, I don’t get what the people are doing, but now the priest is right by us, and I see they’re touching the priest’s raised disk with their two open hands. I can see through the glass, a big white circle is inside, maybe four inches across, it’s a communion wafer, what they call the Host, it’s sealed between the two layers of glass with the silver frame around the rim. The glass and silver holder is what I think they call a pyx, I recall, and, yes, that big round white flat shape inside the pyx—it’s God! Of course God is a white disk. Like the Sun. The priest is bringing God down to us, and even a poor mean wretch like I can touch God, or at least touch the pyx that God’s riding in. [By the way, when I got back home, a priest friend of mine said that thing is called a “monstrance” and not a “pyx,” but I’ll just keep calling it a pyx here, as that’s such a cool word.]

[The fabulous coffee roasting machine at El Conquistador coffee shop beside our hotel.]

Sylvia reaches out first, and touches the silver band of the pyx with the fingers of her two open hands, and now I do it too, with the smoke all around, and the frenetic rattle of the bells inside my head. I glimpse the priest’s face—humble, good, calm, he’s not looking at me, he’s absorbed in his work. I feel vast, unknown forces moving within my body and my soul—I’m filled with joy in the bright white church. A religious experience, wow. Sylvia and I are quite overwhelmed, nearly in tears.

[On my birthday I spend an hour or two walking the back streets of the hill above our hotel, totally digging the insane colors in the alleyways, and the sudden views across the valley the chocked pastel houses on the other side.]

The beautiful music is playing on, the heavenly glow of the lights continues, the congregation is chanting. People are drifting up the aisle, following the priest, massing in the church’s apse. Will they be taking communion? Not wanting the exulted moment to end, Sylvia and I go along.

The white-robed priest fits God and his pyx into a cabinet on the wall above the altar. God’s house. Rather than offering communion, the priest extends a simpler blessing. He has a ewer of holy water. Over and over he dips in a religious instrument, a little like a ladle or a pestle, then makes a flinging gesture which sends drops flying down onto us. Sylvia and I feel a few on our faces and hands. All right!

“Those Catholics,” Sylvia says to me when we’re back out in the square.. “You’ve got to hand it to them. They really know how to do religion. The theatre of it.”

I like how they’ll just throw a Virgin of Guadalupe up on the wall like a graffiti.

The dogs, their brains tiny spots of lights, little pals, trotting around, and every day is new, and every day is the same.

This pink, or magenta, I’m crazy about it. And the tonal/hue difference between the lit and shaded parts. And don’t forget the wire with the knot in it.

Walking around alone with my good Fujifilm 100XT camera on my birthday, alone in the back streets, the few people that I meet being reasonably friendly, intoxicated by the textures and shades. And, oh, the lovely little meter. “It’s all blue.”

These bread-carrying dudes are cool.

Tricolor, right? And the deep, subtle quality of the texture superseding or underlying the coats of paint.

Insane wrought iron. This dude truckin’ along. He’s about to glance over at me with a bit of a glare…why am I taking his picture? Waning to capture the stride, man, wanting to animate the geometry.

We went down to the big indoor market, the Mercado, huge hall with booths for fabrics, toys, gizmos, and lots of food, like butchers and bakers. Balcony outside with an eatery. On the “segundo piso.” Wish I knew more Spanish. And, ah, the patches of peeling paint, so perfecto.

View off our balcony near the end of the day. God’s acres of cloud cabbages, airy, eternal, perpetually renewed.

Poster in the entrance hall of a student coop near the University of Guanajuato, a big place. In the evenings, groups of student singers in black robes roam the streets, leading (mostly Mexican) tourists, and chorusing classic songs like “Cielito Lindo,” which is an affectionate term literally meaning “Little Sky.” Has the classic first line, “Ay, ay, ay, ay / Canta y no llores,” meaning “Sing and don’t cry.”

A piece of the church where we saw God in a pyx. Or no, wait, this is the church where we saw Jesus inside a glass box, crawling with his cross.

The 3D mosaic of the buildings on the hills.

Those crazy gas meters and the jury-rigged electric lines!

Advanced seminar in projective geometry and the planar sections of space curves.

In a speeding, lurching taxi, early in the morn, driving through the crazy dripping tunnels that lead through the Guanajuato hills toward the airport. I love you, Guanajuato!

And, as I mentioned above, I did an initial post of Guanajuato (and San Miguel Allende) photos on March 29, 2019.

Podcast #108. Lifebox for Telepathy and Immortality

April 25th, 2019

April 18, 2019. Talk at IOHK Summit conference in Miami Beach. 20 min. Lifebox, Natural Language, Telepathy, Immortality. Slides draft and an audio link on Rudy’s Blog at
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Or Subscribe to Rudy Rucker Podcasts.

Podcast #107. Cyberpunk Use Cases.

April 24th, 2019

April 18, 2019. Talk at the IOHK Summit conference in Miami Beach. 20 min. Topics: Cyberpunk, personal web cralwers, telepathy. Slides, draft, and audio on Rudy’s Blog
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