Rudy's Blog

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June 26th, 2017

Today I signed a contract selling the print rights for ten of my novels to Skyhorse Publishing, the books to appear under the Night Shade Books imprint, edited by Jeremy Lassen, with the deal negotiated by my agent John Silbersack.

I have some other things to be glad about this week, and I just finished a painting that sums up my feelings. The painting is called Hooray!

“Hooray!” acrylic, June, 2017, Each canvas 40” x 30”. Click for a larger version of the painting.

I’ll say more in a minute about my painting process for Hooray! . But let me tell you about the book deal first. It’s for my new novel Million Mile Road Trip, which I finished a year ago but hadn’t sold yet. At the Locus Christmas party at Ysabeau Wilce’s house in December, 2016, I ran into my old pal Jeremy Lassen, who’d published my novel Jim and the Flims as a hardback at Night Shade Books back in 2011. Since then Night Shade went through reorganization, being bought out by Skyhorse Publishing, and Jeremy is still working there. During the transition I’d reverted Jim and the Flims and published it in paperback and ebooks via my own Transreal Books.

[“Saucer Bagpipe,” the chief villain of “Million Mile Road Trip.”]

Anyway, when I talked to Jeremy in December he liked the sound of Million Mile Road Trip, and he then came up with the audacious plan to publish that novel and, while he was at it, “Get Skyhorse on the Rucker train,” and publish nine of my backlist books (including Jim and the Flims)—the idea being to publish some of the old ones to create a little interest, then come out with Million Mile Road Trip, and then do the rest of those nine back list books. This is to happen during the time frame 2018-2020, roughly speaking.


As I mentioned in a recent post, the backlist books are novels that I’ve been publishing via Transreal Books. The Night Shade editions will have new designs and new covers. I’ll no longer be distributing the Transreal editions in print although—and this is a nice thing about the new Night Shade deal—I still own the ebook rights to these books and will continue publishing them in Kindle, EPUB, and other ebook formats.

[Detail of a painting by Chuck Close at SFMOMA.]

Another piece of good news is that a production or metaproduction outfit called GoodWizard has paid me handsomely to renew their option my Ware Tetralogy until December, 2018. I don’t quite get what GoodWizard’s plan is, but if the Wares end up as a movie or a long-form video series, so much the better. My agent for this deal is Marty Shapiro.

More good news is that my wife Sylvia and I just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. Incredible how the time as accumulated. We’re still having fun. I’m glad we’re together.

We went and spent a couple of nights at the Dream Inn in Santa Cruz. They’ve really fixed the place up since the last time I stayed there, which was some 25 years ago. Very surfistic.

[The new SFMOMA]

Anyway, in case you’re interested, I’ll get back to how I painted Hooray! I started it a couple of weeks ago by laying a big canvas on the ground, and covering it with whitish paint, and then glopping on some big gouts of various shades of cadmium yellow with a lot of liquid medium and gel medium (liquid for smoothness and gel for an impasto look in the strokes), and then I leaned over it and did full-arm swirls and scribbles with a fat brush until I had a nice complicated knot of yellow lines. Put a little blue in there for some green threads too.

When I do this kind of “finger painting” type thing I need to make myself stop sooner rather than later. It’s fun to do it, so I don’t want to stop, but if I do it for too long, the brush strokes get too smeared out and the colors get too homogeneous.

I let the painting dry for half an hour, and then I put in white patches at the more off-road parts of the scribble…the spots that weren’t directly painted over with a big stroke. And I felt it needed a focus so I put a big white patch in the middle. I was thinking at first that I might paint an image of a person or a monster into each oval. Maybe all the faces would be aspects me, or images of the voices in my head. I was in fact feeling kind of down two weeks ago, and I was thinking of the umpteen faces of Rudy as selfish and unpleasant.

[Speaking of unhappy artists, we saw the recent Edvard Munch show at the SFMOMA the other day. This one is called “Ashes.” The artist and his lover.]

Back to Hooray!, three of my grandchildren came over to spend two nights, and I gave each of them a small canvas and I let them use the acrylics off my palette to make pictures of their own. I’d thought I’d work on my painting while doing this, but I couldn’t focus on it, and I ended up offhandedly drawing a kind of big crooked smiley face, but maybe not an entirely happy face. A troubled happy face. I put two expressions onto the mouth.

[First draft of “Hooray!”]

And I didn’t know what to put in the other white patches. But then, as I say, I started getting good news about my publishing, and I got into a good place with Sylvia, what with the anniversary coming, and our daughter Isabel visited. And our daughter Georgia and her family are about to move back to the US after two years in Budapest.

[Isabel and Rudy Jr. at the 5th floor cafe as SFMOMA.]

So by then I was like, yeah, make this a happy painting, with, like, party balloons and confetti and lots of bright yellow.

So that’s what I did…it turned into an abstract art color balancing exercise, juggling the colors of the disks, and layering on more and more and more coats of different shades of yellow for a rich background. The paint store was out of titanium white, and I got an off-white called titan buff instead, and that was a good thing.

One last hooray-type thing to throw in is that I saw our dear friend Michael Blumlein the other day with his wife Hillary, and they’re in a good place. Happy about their grand daughter. Somebody, I don’t remember who, said, “My grandchildren are the one part of the 21st century that I thoroughly approve of.” Life rolls on.

Waiting for my Contract

June 21st, 2017

Nothing much going on. I’m still waiting for the final contract for that ten-book deal I was talking about, that is, for nine of my back-list books plus my new novel Million Mile Road Trip. Meanwhile I’m revising Million Mile Road Trip to the tune of maybe five thousand corrections…that is nearly twenty per page across three hundred pages. Making it better no doubt.

Meanwhile you can still buy the old Transreal Books editions of those nine backlist books.

Here’s some recent photos, in no particular order or higher meaning.

Busy feet in Yerba Buena park near SFMOMA. California summer day with the air like cool water.

Awesome ping-pong table at the Garage Bar on 2nd street in the NuLu district of Louisville, KY. That’s a crushed car under the table.

Wideangle shot of the old SFMOMA entrance hall. I don’t really like the changes they’ve made to the building for the expansion. The elevators are confusing, and there’s no longer a good, big , reasonably priced cafe. Also it’s always too crowded now.

Giant bat at the Louisville Slugger factory/museum on 2nd Street in Louisville. I toured this place in the third grade. They didn’t have the big bat then.

A type of shot I like, shadows on a sunny wall.

Two tourists in a multi-mirror lens. I’m the one on the right. Hockney-ized.

Peaceful hot Louisville space behind the crafts museum. Love the purplish brick and the soft shadows.

Monica Bengoa is a cool Chilean artist, interested in fiber. This is a detail of her installation at the Kentucky museum of arts and crafts…she drew fruits and veggies in pencil on a wall, and overlaid it with embroidery hoops containing very detailed and color-rich photo-real embroideries she made.

Rudy the elder in brother Embry’s house.

Old-school stag-horn punch-bowl from colonial America, seen in Philadelphia.

Antler rack of an animal my brother killed…he’s a hunter.

Cheered me to see my childhood hero Bo Diddley on a Summer of Love poster from San Francisco.

Love this logo at the Los Gatos Farmer’s Market. Reminds me of Heinlein’s novel Starman Jones, where the boy leaves Pa’s farm to serve on a hyperjumping spaceship.

Soft Louisville clouds, with soft old houses.

Me with a something-gon in Hayes Valley. An Archimedean solid, hmm, look it up, it’s the small rhombicosidodecahedron.

Nice graffiti near the >rhombicosidodecahedron. Even the guy who runs a market across the street couldn’t tell me what the words say.

Screen in focus, painters in bokeh, working on our deck and house.

The famed Marcel Duchamp urinal entitled, “Fountain,” mais wee! Actually the original from 1917 was lost, but an art dealer went and found a similar urinal at the dump, and had MD sign it. Now at Philadelphia Museum of Art. A nice shape, although inexpugnably grody.

Going out to beach a lot these days.

Last Chance for Nine of Rudy’s Transreal Books

June 15th, 2017

[Updated June 25, 2017: The new publisher for the nine backlist novels mentioned in this post will be the Night Shade imprint of Skyhorse Books. Starting this week, print copies of these titles will no longer be produced or sold by Transreal Books. Transreal Books will continue to sell the ebook editions. The new Night Shade print editions will be appearing during the time frame 2018-2019.]

I found a publisher (name soon to be announced) for my latest novel, Million Mile Road Trip. The new publisher is acquiring the print rights for ten of my books in all, that is, rights for Million Mile Road Trip plus rights for nine of my backlist novels, all of which are presently in print via my Transreal Books imprint.

Transreal Books will still be handling the ebook editions for these books, by the way, but my print editions will be redesigned with new covers by the new publisher. And the print Transreal Books editions will no longer be produced.

Sooo, for a short time, that is, about a week, you can still buy the Transreal Books print editions of those nine backlist paperbacks, with designs and covers by Rudy Rucker. And then begins a differently awesome era—with new designs, larger production runs, and more visibility. An exciting change.

But the uniquely styled old Transreal Books print editions of those nine books will be out-of-print collectibles. Get ’em while you can. The clock is running out.

*White Light
*Spacetime Donuts
*The Sex Sphere
*The Secret of Life
*Saucer Wisdom
*Mathematicians in Love
*Jim and the Flims
*Turing & Burroughs
*The Big Aha

Swarthmore 50th Reunion. Louisville Icons.

June 1st, 2017

Sylvia and I just went back east for a week, first hitting my Swarthmore College class of 1967 reunion, then visiting my brother in Louisville. On the way to Swarthmore, we spent a couple of nights in Philadelphia.

Rainy day at the Philadelphia Art Museum. One of the big four or five museums in US, up there with NYC Met, Boston MFA, DC National Gallery.

Odd painting of the Annunciation by the first established African-American academic level artist in the US, Henry Ossawa Tanner. I love that angel on the left, a line of light, very science-fictional. I have aliens like that in my novel The Secret of Life. Rods of light with a crystal at one end.

I’m always a sucker for these statuesque (literally) marble women, with gaze so fraught and far-away.

And I love cases of object after object, like all variations on some concept such as glass vase.

When we got to the Swarthmore reunion my old pal Kenneth Turan was there…he was my roommate Freshman through Junior years. He’s a famous film critic now, for the LA Times and PBS, he has a great voice. I well remember him telling me plots of movies in the dark before we went to sleep.

Sylvia and I located a sturdy tree where I incised our initials RR + SB in something like 1965. Fifty-two years ago. The letters warped by time, fatter, higher off the ground. The passage of time like a dusting of fine snow that somehow heaps up into a drift that covers your house.

We had various class dinners together, here’s Sylvia with our pal Roger Shatzkin, who was not only with us at Swarthmore, but at Rutgers too. The reunion was more touching than I’d imagined, and more relaxed.

Here’s good old Don Marritz with his wife Harriet Barriga. I always like to say that (for me) Don is a comfortable as an old shoe. We do Times cryptic crosswards together via email once a month. No need to prove much of anything to each other…we’re all over seventy years old. Just happy to be alive here together under the snowdrift blanket of time.

We visited my brother Embry, his wife Joanie, and his daughter Siofra in Louisville after Swarthmore. We had a jolly dinner in a restaurant with Joanie’s family. Joanie showed us a trick for folding a napkin into a brassiere / rabbit-ears shape. So here’s neice Siofra and me wearing the ears on our heads.

Siofra has a nice stuffed goose in her house; she claims she bagged it with a shotgun, possible, as Embry is a big hunter. I like the miniature pillars inside her house, built a hundred years ago. Interesting houses in Louisville, all kinds of them, loosely spaced, not so crowded as out here, and not with everything all filled-in and gentrified. A straight-through house with the rooms in a row is called a shotgun house, and if you have a second floor on the back room, it’s a camelback shotgun. Not that Siofra lives in a camelback shotgun. It’s just a phrase I like to say, and hope to work into a story one of these days.

Remnants of past dinner parties.

Dig the jockey and the trainer (I guess) behind him, the kid looking at the jockey, and the woman approaching him. Jockeys are tough little men and women.

We went out to Churchill Downs one day with Embry, his wife Joanie and our friends Lee and Susie Poague. I won about $28 dollars and lost $35, so it was a pretty good day. It wasn’t crowded at the the track, even though it was Memorial Day. Everyone doing other stuff. Kind of odd how a big part of Louisville’s cash inflow derives from that one two-minute-long Derby race once a year.

[Click for larger view.]

Here’s Embry, Sylvia, Susie and Lee in the stands. Embry has a box he rents every year, the box just some metal pipes around some little chairs. But it’s a precious thing to have access too. Going to the track is a little like going to a baseball game, but even less eventful. Mostly it’s about hanging out.

We trekked across the old Big Four (railways) bridge across the Ohio, now retrofitted into a pedestrian/bicycle path. Not especially crowded, fun to be out there, and see one of the frequent two-hundred-yard-long (?) barges pushing by with a tug at one end. There’s some low falls and a set of locks in Louisville, which is kind of why it’s where it is. “Falls City.”

Sylvia and I drove Embry’s Porsche to the big old Cave Hill cemetery and saw Muhammad Ali’s grave and Colonel Harlan Sanders’s grave. You follow a green painted line to get to Ali, and a yellow painted line to get to the Colonel. Sylvia got this exceptionally cool shot of me by the Colonel’s grave. I’m thinking that we’re the big four of Louisville iconography: Colonel Sanders + Muhammad Ali + Hunter Thompson + me. I’m still on the rise, you understand, my rep won’t peak till about 2030.

Speaking of Hunter, turns out they had a Gonzofest in his honor in Louisville this year. And here’s a Gonzoville poster that is, perhaps, connected with the event. Like I say, I’m waiting for Louisville to wake up to the fact that my novels Wetware and The Big Aha are set there.

Speaking of monuments, dig these metal geese attached to a Cave Hill gravestone beneath that wonderful fluffy-cloud Louisville sky.

Meanwhile, far away, a soulless villain schemes against us… But I warn’t frettin about him none this week.

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