Rudy's Blog

   Buy Rudy's books! Click covers for info.      Blog text and images copyright (C) Rudy Rucker 2019.

Links and Photos

I’ve been taking a lot of photos with my new Canon 5D. For awhile my blog may resemble a photo blog even more than usual. To fill in the cracks today, I’ll post some links that people recently sent me.

Emil Rojas sends a link to YouTube video of huge flocks of starlings in Otmoor, England. Just the kind of emergent gnarl I like to see.

In my weighty tome, The Lifebox, the Seashell and the Soul, I was writing about flocking and to celebrate the phenomenon, I quoted some lines from John Updike’s poem, “The Great Scarf of Birds,” describing a flock of starlings lifting off from a golf course:

And as
I watched, one bird,
prompted by accident or will to lead,
ceased resting; and, lifting in a casual billow,
the flock ascended as a lady’s scarf,
transparent, of gray, might be twitched
by one corner, drawn upward and then,
decided against, negligently tossed toward a chair:
the southward cloud withdrew into the air.

Bruce Sterling sent me a link to a simulation of butterfly wings.

John Roche and Bob Reary both sent me links to article about computer-eating ants in Houston, reminiscent of the story “Hormiga Canyon” I wrote with Bruce.

Greg Parker links to his a photo of the Rosette nebula.

Gamma sends news of a Frank Zappa conference in Paris this July.

Nathaniel Hellerstein sends a link to a list of SF cliches. The underlying inspiration for the list is, I think, a desire to systematically list essentially all possible SF tropes and power chords. I myself did something similar in my essay, “What Do SF Writers Want?”

But object to the jaded, snarky, know-it-all tone of the SF Cliches list. I mean, why is every possible idea or archetype to be dismissed as a cliche? Life is a cliche, from beginning to end, and great SF isn’t necessarily about brand new ideas and plot structures. It’s more about language, characterization, and eyeball kicks. If I took the implicit injunctions of the SF Cliches list seriously, it would inhibit me from writing at all.

I rather suspect that working on such a list can become an excuse for not trying to write fiction. It’s as if an aspiring painter were to say, “Hell, I’m not gonna use red, yellow, oragne, green, blue or violet! Those have been done to death. And forget about black and white!” Oh, wait, that’s already happened…

Paul Di Filippo sends a link to an io9 post about colorful nudibranchs, a.k.a. sea snails. I have a nudibranch character named Unger in Mathematicians in Love. He was inspired by a guy I went to grad school in math with at Rutgers.

My son Rudy Rucker, Jr., posted a page of increasingly absurd “cute animal in a bucket illustrating the theme of Thank God It’s Friday,” images on

Rebecca Sandford-Smith noticed a Wired article that seems to echo the scene in my novel Software where the robots grind up Cobb Anderson’s brain to extract his personality software.

Coop has been Flickr-documenting his insanely comprehensive collection of plastic Japanese figurines.

And my jeweler daughter Isabel Rucker sent a link to an incredible video “Muto” created by Buenos Aires artists as stop-motion photos of repeated overpaintings of wall-graffiti.

On the publishing front, my other daughter’s Georgia Rucker Design is turning two of my paintings into covers for my novels The Sex Sphere and Spacetime Donuts , which will be released in e-book and print-on-demand form by E-Reads later this summer. I used PhotoShop to stretch out the middle of my Spacetime Donuts paintings so as better to fit into a narrowish band wrapping from front to back cover.

5 Responses to “Links and Photos”

  1. COOP Says:

    Thanks for the link! (Flickr is censor-happy these days, so viewers may need a free account to look at my photos, though.)

    I like these photos, keep it up. I just got a new 25mm prime lens for my Leica DSLR, so I’m a bit photo-happy myself right now.

  2. Gamma Says:

    Phoenix just arrived on MARS wow in only a few months now looking fer microbes – camera pictures soon – robotic arms rudy on mars rudy & everywhere at the X-day July the 5th dimension thyme & sage Rudy oh???

  3. HAL-1701 Says:

    rudy! look at this! a map of a million amazon books, like magnetic sand jiggled into place according to amazon’s “relatedness” linkages:

    it took 140 hours of processing time. and this is just the first time anyone (publicly…) has done anything like this (except in the Minds of Us Literate Persons!)…

    note that there are four far-separated valleys of “science fiction” books (one next to “religion and spirituality”)…. but imagine if such a map went into the fertile “Assam Tea Growing Valley” regions where ideas come from (or have landed like meteors)… or document the rivers and mines and roads and ecosystems of idea flows….. or show the ‘walled cities’ and ‘stuck in the mud tarpits and dried-up sucky places’ and ‘deserts and wastelands’ where new ideas are kept out…. or perhaps citylike places
    where ideas are shipped in and put to work building working eco(nomic?)systems…

    and today we see the magnetic sand of mars clumped like dragonscales…

    this map is basically an annealed 2D plane of colored magnetic sand, using the Amazon “relatedness” info (… all scraped from Amazon by an outsider, imagine if there was full text/word/concept access, imagine if “origination dates” and “borrowed ideas” and “development of ideas” was mapped — this is a map of ideaspace, the mindsystems of earth. you could even drop ‘memebombs’ on it like The ‘Genesis’ PixarTrekThang and watch what happens…. in realtime?!……..

    and imagine someone like Flight404 working with such data: (“Solar, with lyrics”)


  4. Rudy Says:

    Cool map, HAL-1701. Science Fiction and Fantasy is in little hepas by Romance and Other as well as by Relgion and Spirituality. I wonder if Chris Harrison has the forces wrapping around the edges of that square, as in a flat torus or Asteroids game —- that would be, I think, a good idea. I don’t like that my field is just dust at the edges! Though I always knew twas thus… I notice that Chris Harrison has a bunch of other visualization projects, too, interesting stuff.

  5. Greg Parker Says:

    Hi Rudy,
    Please check out all the deep-space images taken from the New Forest Observatory and processed by Noel Carboni in Florida U.S.A. (in our International Internet Collaboration) at
    For photos of butterfly wings, butterflies, bees, Venice, the New Forest and a ton of other stuff taken on a Canon 40D please check out
    All the best,

Rudy's Blog is powered by WordPress