As I often say, I’ve written many of my SF novels in what I call a “transreal” style. This means that, although the novels deal with science-fictional scenes, the characters and situations in the novels are to some extent modeled on me, the people around me, and events I’ve experienced in my life. I had this idea back in 1983, very early in my career. You can find “A Transrealist Manifesto” as part of my Collected Essays, which I recently put online.
I’ve always thought that, in a loose sense, my transreal novels could be thought of as parts of a single extended work, and back in 1990, I made up a table for six of the novels, trying to show how the books might fit together. (You can find that table in the very first answer in my compilation All the Interviews, which is, as of today, 382 Q & A pairs long.)
This week, my friend Paul Di Filippo happened to send me a link to an article about Jack Kerouac’s thirteen-novel cycle, the Duluoz Legend.
So I spent August 30, 2013, making up an extensive…
Timeline for Rucker’s Transreal Novels
|Book Title||R’s “Name”||R Life||R Activities|
|Frek and the Elixir||Frek Huggins||1956-59||Boyhood in Louisville|
|The Secret of Life||Conrad Bunger||1963-67||College, engagement|
|Spacetime Donuts||Vernor Maxwell||1968||Being a hippie|
|Master of Space and Time||Joe Fletcher||1969||Newlywed, grad school|
|Mathematicians in Love||Bela Kis||1972||Getting a Ph. D. in math|
|White Light||Felix Rayman||1972-78||Math professor at Geneseo|
|The Sex Sphere||Alwin Bitter||1978-80||On a grant in Heidelberg|
|The Hollow Earth||Mason Reynolds||1984-86||Lynchburg, Virginia|
|The Hacker and the Ants||Jerzy Rugby||1989-91||Programming at Autodesk|
|Spaceland||Joe Cube||1991-94||The Silicon Valley scene|
|Saucer Wisdom||Rudy Rucker||1995-97||Being a writer|
|Jim and the Flims||Jim Oster||2008||Brain hemorrhage, near death|
|The Big Aha||Zad/Lennox Plant||2009-12||Remembering Louisville|
And I even came up with thirteen novels to put in. Note that some of the correspondences are more of a stretch than others. And some of the novels incorporate elements from more than one period of my life, and could have been positioned at different points on the timeline. Given a choice, I’ve tried to order the table in what seems to make for the best flow.
I chose not to include my six specifically cyberpunk novels in he transreal timeline table. These are the four Ware novels, and the pair Postsingular and Hylozoic. My cyberpunk novels do include characters and situations drawn from my life, but they are so purely science-fictional that they don’t really match with specific periods of my life.
I also left out my beatnik SF novel Turing & Burroughs, and my historical As Above, So Below: Peter Bruegel. These novels are, at least in a fanciful sense, biographies, and thus are less readily seen as transreal, although there are, as always, transreal elements.
I’m finishing the second draft of The Big Aha today, and I’ll be sending it to my copy-editor/proofreader. I’d kind of forgotten how much work it is to write a novel. Who knows, this might be my last one.
The end of the Ruduoz Legend?
Well, once I’ve had eight months or a year off, I’ll probably want to jump back in.