Archive for the ‘The Big Aha’ Category


Teep Scenes

So I’m still working on my novel The Big Aha. I reached the halfway point about a week ago. And then I ran into what my old mentor Robert Sheckley called a “black point.” I can’t see the land that I sailed off from, and I can’t see the land I’m sailing towards. A black zone in the sea of story. Whither now?

One obvious step that I took is to print out the first half of the novel and begin rereading it and marking it up. The process gives me a feel for where I am. Also it smoothes out the earlier stuff to match with where I’ve progressed to during this unpredictable growth if this particular “magic beanstalk.” Doing the revision can give me some momentum for the next chapter. And I can take inventory of the various plot threads that I already planted. Pretty soon now I ought to begin reeling them in.

Another thought is that I might as well put in an evil, psychotic, ruthless, murderous, half-mad human villain. I’ve often shied away from using characters like this, as I find them to be unrealistic and counterrevolutionary. That is, (a) I’ve never met anyone that’s really evil like that, and (b) presenting images of such bogeymen is in bad for the public discourse in that it promotes hysterical fear that leads to blind acceptance of police-state-style security measures. Usually, when I have a villain, they’re presented with a modicum of sympathy—like the tortured Jeff Luty in my novel Postsingular. But maybe not this time.

After all, I’m only spinning a tale here, a fairytale, really, so why not have an utterly unsympathetic ogre or a witch? The mad killer is a traditional action-fiction plot device. No need to turn up my nose at this time-honored move. Intense puppet-show conflict is good for the story, it gets the readers’ pulses pounding, and the villains work to set up good ticking-clock crisis scenes— will he kill again?

Looking forward to the next chapter, I’d like it to be an homage/evocation of the psychedelic Sixties. I want something of the flavor of William Craddock’s Be Not Content. .

Maybe even with an introductory line like: “I’m going to fast-forward through the following weeks, hitting highlights. Thanks to our budding scene, people all over the world would be doing qwet teep by the end of November. And then of course, the big problems with fairyland would kick in. But at the start, everything was good. We were turning people on. For many of us, life took on the feeling of a joyful waking dream.”

My rough idea of the flow is that, as I mentioned, more and more people are drawn into qwet—which (a) gives you the ability to jam your head into a trippy “cosmic” mode and (b) gives you a kind of teep, or telepathy, with the other qwetties.

I think of Leary’s Millbrook redoubt, with seekers coming to dabble in acid. I also see the cops starting to bug them. And we want a crisis involving the emerging parallel reality called fairyland.

I’d like giant group qwet teep session, sort of like an orgy, or maybe like an early Stinson Beach Acid Test party or a Furthur bus scene—only it’s in Louisville, Kentucky. And, while deep into the trip, the participants can pick up echoing vibes from qwet teepers in some other town, maybe New York, or maybe just Cincinnati.

Two months seeming like two years. Someone develops an ability to “bookmark” past psychic states, and hops up and down the timeline. Someone else gets stuck in a loop, circling around one particular instant over and over again.

A shrill argument that quantum amplifies out until a building collapses. The qwetties dust themselves off, laughing in the rubble, then restore the structure by talking to the individual atoms. The arguing couple swap personalities. Or mesh, exchanging only the contents of their left brains.

A guy gets fully into the consciousness of a housefly, absent-mindedly slaps it and kills it when it crawls into his nose, he freaks out, spends a day as a dead fly, oozes back. Some qwet tripper gets stuck in the alternate reality of fairyland, and only a few pieces of them come back.

A dream you can’t wake up from. Or you do wake up, but only into another dream, level upon level, transfinitely many of them. Someone gets an early premonition of the Big Aha beyond it all. Beyond mundane reality, beyond fairyland.

Ve going to za Vite Lite, my friend. Za great Alef’s home.

Art Show & Reading At Borderlands Books (Coming Again in January, 2014!)

[I'll be staging a new Borderlands art show starting Friday, January 17, 2014, in conjunction with a book release party for my novel THE BIG AHA. More info to come. The rest of the material in this old post is about the show in January, 2013.]

I’m venturing forth from my office this weekend to do some promo at Borderlands Books at 866 Valencia St. in San Francisco.


View of my home office from my desk chair. Click for a larger version of the image.

I’ll be hanging a show of my paintings in the Borderlands Books café with a reception on Friday, Jan 11, 5-7 pm. And I’ll give a reading and Q&A session for my novel Turing & Burroughs: A Beatnik SF Novel on Saturday, Jan 12, at 3 pm—you can visit with the paintings then as well. The show is scheduled to run until March 7, 2013.

Added Jan 13, 2013. I made a podcast of the first 20 minutes of my presentation on Turing & Burroughs, I’m describing the book and reading from it. Unfortunately I ran out of memory on my digital recorder, and the podcast stops abuptly at the 20 min mark. But it’s fun for as far is it goes. You can click on the icon below to access the podcast via Rudy Rucker Podcasts.

I number my paintings, and I have an overview image of all my paintings below, showing paintings #1 – #94. The pictures in the show will from the bottom rows, that is, in the range #79 – #94. Further down in today’s post I’ll put in images of the individual pictures that will be in the show, with notes on each picture.

For a limited time, the pictures are on sale at drastically reduced prices—up to 50% off! The current prices of the paintings can always be found on my Paintings page. Several of the paintings in the show have already sold, so do buy early if you want to be sure of getting a given picture at a low sale price.

Note that the Painting page also has a link for buying prints of the pictures, and a link for buying Better Worlds, an art book of the paintings. Better Worlds and a few prints are also available at Borderlands Books.


Overview of my paintings. Click for a larger version of the image.

All the pictures I’ll be showing have not been shown before, except for one, Turing and the Skugs, which relates to my Turing & Burroughs novel. This older picture appeared in my last Borderlands Books cafe show, which was in November, 2010.


“Turing and the Skugs”, 40″ x 30″ inches, Oct 2010, Oil on canvas.” Click for larger version.

I made Turing and the Skugs while gearing up for my Turing & Burroughs novel involving the computer pioneer Alan Turing, the beatniks, and some shape-shifting beings called skugs. I got the word “skug” from my non-identical twin granddaughters, aged three. When I used visit my son’s house in Berkeley, I always liked to open up his worm farm and study the action with the twins. We found a lot of slugs in there, and we marveled at them. The girls tended to say “skug” rather than “slug,” and I decided I liked the sound of this word so much that I’d use it for some odd beings in my novel. I’m supposing that Turing has carried out some biochemical experiments leading to the creation of the skugs. Here we see Turing outside the Los Gatos Rural Supply Hardware garage, with two skugs backing him up. Alan is meeting a handsome man who may well become his lover. Unless the skugs eat the guy.


“A Skugger’s Point of View”, 40″ x 30″ inches, January, 2011, Oil on canvas.” Click for larger version.

In A Skugger’s Point of View I wanted to render an extreme first-person point of view…in which we see the dim zone around a person’s actual visual field. The person in question is the Alan Turing character in my novel The Turing Chronicles. He has become a mutant known as a “skugger,” and he has the ability to stretch his limbs like the cartoon character Plastic Man. He’s traveling across the West with two friends, a man and a woman. In this scene, Turing’s cohort is being attacked by secret police, one of whom bears a flame-thrower. Turing is responding by sticking his fingers into their heads, perhaps to kill them, or perhaps to convert them into skuggers as well. We can see Turing’s arms extending from the bottom edge of his visual field. Even though it’s not quite logical, I painted in his eyes as well because they make the composition better


“V-Bomb Blast”, 40″ x 30″ inches, July, 2011, Oil on canvas.” Click for larger version.

This painting has to do with my novel, The Turing Chronicles. In the last chapter, my hero, Alan Turing gets inside a nuclear weapon called a V-bomb. I figured this lies beyond the A-bomb and the H-bomb. Turing is in there tweaking the bomb until the last minute. And due to Turing’s efforts, the bomb explodes in an odd fashion: it makes a fireball that shrinks, rather than growing—and then the bomb explosion tears a hole in space and disappears into another dimension or into another level of reality. The early nuclear devices really were hut-sized metal constructs, as shown on the right. Somehow I ended up putting a naked woman inside the bomb instead of Turing. In the middle we have a kind of sunflower/fireball with a zonked face on it. And on the left, a small explosion-ball disappears into a vaginal rent. The woman seems to be pulling a cord that sets the bomb off in the first place. I like the picture because, as with some of Bruegel’s paintings, it seems to illustrate a detailed parable whose precise meaning is forever a mystery.


“Painter Near Mt. Umunhum,” 24 x 18 inches, September, 2011, Acrylic on canvas.” Click for larger version.

My painter friend Vernon Head and I were painting en plein air in the Almaden Quicksilver Park south of San Jose near the Guadalupe Reservoir. I was about to get my left hip joint replaced, due to arthritis, but I led Vernon up to a nice oak I admired on a hilltop. I framed Painter Near Mt. Umunhum to include the reservoir, Vernon, the oak, and Mount Umunhum in the background. “Umunhum” is an Ohlone word meaning “home of the hummingbird.” The box on top is a leftover from an Air Force radar station, that’s due to come down…someday. I layered on my paint thicker than usual, using my palette knife to imitate the grooves of the bark on the tree, the waves in the water, and the long stalks of grass.


“Noon Meeting”, 40″ x 30″ inches, August, 2011, Oil on canvas.” Click for larger version.

Noon Meeting is one of those pictures that’s a bit like an unknown parable. I started out with a set of pebble-glass windows that I like, for the the background grid of green and yellow rectangles. I put three characters in front of the windows, happy to be getting together in the daytime: a woman, a dog, and an octopus. I feel like these three friends are people I know. Indeed, I might be the dog in the middle, bringing the two others together—I used to have a dog who looked a lot like that, his name was Arf. When I told my artist friend Vernon Head bout the theme of my new picture and he said, laughing, “Ah, yes, the three fundamental elements of any successful painting: a woman, a dog, and an octopus.” My other artist friend Paul Mavrides had suggested that I try using an impasto medium to build up more of a texture on my pictures and I did this here, with a nice effect.


“Santa Cruz Harbor,” by Rudy Rucker, 20 x 16 inches, September, 2011, Acrylic on canvas. Click for a larger version of the picture.

My friend Vernon Head and I went to Santa Cruz Harbor for a painting session. The waters were fill of life—apparently a school of mackerel had swum in, and the pelicans and seals were there feeding. I liked how this cute baby seal seemed to hover so weightlessly in the very clear water. I started my Santa Cruz Harbor painting on the spot, and finished it at home, working with some photographs I’d taken. It had been awhile since I used acrylics, and I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I was done.


“Rigging,” by Rudy Rucker, 20 x 16 inches, September, 2011, Oil on canvas.” Click for a larger version of the picture.

The reflections of sailboat rigging fascinate me. I took some photos for my Rigging painting during the same session where I started Santa Cruz Harbor. Back home I copied one of the photos for an oil painting. I put on quite a few layers, and used a gel medium to emphasize the brush strokes on the masts and lines.


“Four-dimensional Ducks,” by Rudy Rucker, 30 x 40 inches, October, 2011, Oil on canvas. Click for a larger version of the picture.

I started Four-Dimensional Ducks as an abstract painting with seven globs. I made efforts to make the globs look different from each other, and to have intricate, three-dimensional forms. And then I started thinking of the globs as cross-sections of four-dimensional creatures. And then I realized they should be loosely based on the master cartoonist Carl Barks’s drawings of Donald Duck, as if they were rotating in and out of our space. Four-dimensional ducks. A way to move my pop surrealism style towards abstraction.


“The Lovers,” by Rudy Rucker, 24 x 20 inches, January, 2012, Oil on canvas. Click for a larger version of the picture.

The idea is that these two lovers are in a nearly telepathic state, sharing a single thought balloon. And in the thought, they’re merged like a yin-yang symbol. Her 1940s bob acquires an infinity symbol, and their lips form a pair of little hearts. An early Valentine’s Day picture!


“Loulou and Skungy,” oil on canvas, February, 2012, 30” x 30”. Click for a larger version of the image.

In Skungy and the Rat, Loulou is the somewhat mysterious woman in green, Skungy is the rat, and the guy holding the rat is an artist named Zad Plant. The picture is like an illustration of an unknown proverb or a forgotten fable. When I painted it, I didn’t entirely know what’s going on. But I did have some ideas, as the picture was painted as a previsualization of a scene in the novel I was preparing to write—The Big Aha. The woman character, named Loulou, is luring Zad and his “qwet rat” Skungy into following her. The composition was inspired by a Joan Brown painting The End of the Affair.


“Garden of Eden,” oil on canvas, May, 2012, 40” x 30”. Click for a larger version of the image.

My frequent partner in art, Vernon Head, went out for an en plein air painting session with me on the bank of a stream that runs into the south end of Lexington Reservoir near Los Gatos. It was a lovely spring day, and we daubed away. The one thing that caught my attention the most was a particular bend in the trunk of a tree overhanging the creek. That made it into my painting, Garden of Eden, but not all that much else about the actual scene. Instead I put in two of my favorite things: a dinosaur and a UFO. I’m not exactly sure what the scenario here is—perhaps the UFO is in some way bringing enlightenment to a prehistoric pair, an Adam and an Eve.


“God’s Eye,” oil on canvas, June, 2012, 24” x 20”. Click for a larger version of the image.

I’ve always been intrigued by a certain image that one sees in old European churches—an eye inside a triangle. This icon also appears, of course, on the dollar bill. It’s meant to represent the all-seeding eye of God or perhaps the divine Mind within every object. In researching me novels with Bruegel and Bosch as characters, I got the impression that medieval people really did think God was watching them. So in God’s Eye I’ve painted the eye as looking down through clouds—like a spy-satellite. I made the “skin” in this image pink as a kind of joke on the fact that God is sometimes visualized as an old white man.


“Louisville Artist,” oil on canvas, October, 2012, 24” x 20”. Click for a larger version of the image.

I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, so the title Louisville Artist is a bit of a parodistic self-image riff. In other words, that’s could be me on the right , shirt all untucked and with no fingers on my hands. The woman might be my muse. Another interpretation is that the two figures are characters from the novel, The Big Aha, which I’m presently working on when I made the painting. In making this picture, I thought it would be interesting to put in some figures that looked like children’s drawings, so I worked from a messy sketch I’d made. The colors are more pastel than usual for me, and there’s a bit of a Japanese quality.


“Night of Telepathy,” oil on canvas, November, 2012, 40” x 30”. Click for a larger version of the image.

Night of Telepathy started out with the abstract background pattern, which I made using leftover paint from Louisville Artist. I decided to put in some figures in, and I thought I’d like to reuse the Louisville Artist figures. In my novel in progress, The Big Aha, my two characters Zad and Loulou had just spent a night in bed in in telepathic contact with each other. And I wanted to give an impression of an odd, dreamy night. The six little rats correspond to some subdimensional creatures that might be scuttling around inside people’s dreams. And the other creatures are just there for fun.

So…make the trek to the mirage-like realm of Borderlands Books at 866 Valencia St. in San Francisco.

And, as I already said, I’ll be hanging a show of my paintings in the Borderlands Books café with a reception on Friday, Jan 11, 5-7 pm. And I’ll give a reading and Q&A session for my novel Turing & Burroughs: A Beatnik SF Novel on Saturday, Jan 12, at 3 pm. Hope to see you there.

Fun Boschian Nurb Scene from BIG AHA

Some fun reading for the holiday week, a new passage from my novel in progress, The Big Aha.

A half hour later, the five of us were riding up a curving nurb-grass driveway in Glenview—me, Dad, Loulou, Joey and Rikki—with our spooked roadspiders staring up towards the Roller mansion. Unlike its half-timbered, white-brick, or columned plantation-style neighbors, the Roller home was modeled on a Norman castle, with immensely high battlements of yellowish stone. The walls were pierced by diamond-paned windows and corniced slits. Decorative turrets sprang from each turning of the walls, and a substantial master tower rose beside the arched entrance. Besotted by old movies, Mr. Roller’s father had built the place in the 2020s.

A great, jellyfish-like nurb hovered above the mansion, tethered to the pointed peak of the high tower. The flying jellyfish was what we called a laputa—iridescent and the size of a small house, with well-appointed staterooms on the lower level. The jellyfish nurb had hydrogen-filled bladders on its upper level, and dangling tentacles below. A cluster of the tentacles led to the tower.

“Kenny lives in the laputa,” said Joey.

“I know all about it,” I said. “Kenny had Jane and me up there for dinner a few months back. Him and his boyfriend Kristo. Kenny got wasted and pretended he was going to push me out through a porthole. Only he wasn’t really pretending. He’s always been a jerk. I don’t know how Kristo puts up with him.”

“I’ve seen Kenny,” interposed Loulou. “He’s handsome. That counts for a lot. If you’re a handsome jerk, you’re romantic and damned. If you’re an ugly jerk—forget it.”

A rock thudded into the ground beside us, then another and another. The roadspiders made herky-jerky evasive moves. Joey lost his seat and fell to the ground. The seeming rocks uncurled to become many-legged gray scuttlers—overgrown versions of those woodlice or pillbugs you find in rotting leaves. A hundred meters above us, a maniac laughed.

“I hate you, Kenny!” screamed Joey, shaking his fist. The pillbug nurbs were staring at us with bright eyes—sending our images to Kenny.

“Come on up!” called Kenny from above. His head was a small dot in one the jiggling laputa’s windows. “Brunch time! Bloody Marys! I see Joey, Loulou, Zad, Mr. Plant, and—who’s the geek girl?”

We left our roadspiders in the stable beside the mansion. Dad walked back down the hill to visit with Weezie Roller in the gate house, a solid red-brick affair with a gray slate roof. I led the others up the steps to the manor. The nurb lock on the great doors recognized me.

In my boyhood the Roller castle’s interior had been pure old-school, with walnut wainscoting, ornately patterened glass panels, hanging brass lamps, tile or parquet wood floors, and oriental carpets. Over the years Mr. Roller had added a mad hodgepodge of upgrades. Given that he’d expanded his business from producing nurb chow to marketing actual nurbs, he had access to the latest and greatest nurbs being made. And so, over wife Weezie’s and daughter Jane’s objections, Mr. Roller had evolved the mansion’s interior into a bizarre and bustling nurb habitat. Son Kenny had been all for it.

Right in the front hall, a large leathery nurb armchair had given birth to a litter of four-footed baby chairs. They scampered away from us into the parlor, their woody legs pattering on the yielding flesh of a living rug. A nurb chandelier thrust a pair of brassy stalks around a corner, peering at us with dim eyebulbs.

At the far end of the hall lay a mound of busted-open Roller nurb chow bags. I supposed Kenny and Kristo—or their choreboy nurbs—were hauling in chow to keep the menagerie alive. Our three pillbug nurbs scooted past us towards the food. Their overly numerous feet made an unpleasant skritchy sound.

I saw a hungry nurb teapot on the mound of chow, rooting with its spout. A bendy grandfather clock used its pendulum like a tongue. The newborn leather chairs were rooting into the food, as were a clutch of slithering rugs. A fat couch had bellied up beside them, gobbling chow with a toothy mouth beneath its plump arm. A weathered pair of pants was feeding as well, and a pair of table lamps fluttered over, their shades pulsating against the air.

“Like jungle animals at a watering hole,” said Rikki. “And look at the tendrils running down from the ceiling. It’s covered with some nurby growth up there. Colored fungus?”

“Old Weezie was mad when they put on that stuff,” I said. “Mr. Roller had always wanted a fancy coffered ceiling like in the lobby of the Brown Hotel downtown. A 1920s movie theater look, you wave, with embossed squares and polychrome flowers and cartouche scenes of dancing nymphs. He got some hairball at United Mutations to design a nurb lichen that was supposed to emulate all that. But it’s not even close.”

“Qrude,” said Joey, his head thrown back. “The shapes are layered onto each other in sequences—like the motion trails you see when you’re really high. Like a 3D scribble.”

“I wave the pungent colors,” added Loulou. “Looking at them hurts my sinuses almost. For sure I’d wear a dress like that.”

“Mrs. Roller got all worried that spores were drifting down from the ceiling and poisoning her food,” I said. “That’s when she moved down to the gate house. And a year after that out, Mr. Roller died. So maybe she was right about the spores. Jane said Mr. Roller had this sick rash on his back. She said daffodils and shamrocks?”

“Don’t want to think about that,” said Rikki. “If we move in here, I’ll slap together some annihilator nurbs to clear off that crap. Banzai beetles and cannibal squid. Meanwhile let’s climb that tower. I mean—if you guys really do want to visit with Kenny?”

“Might as well get it over with,” I said. “He’s a key player here.”

Leaving the spying pillbugs behind, we ascended three flights of stairs. Each of the manor’s levels had its own peculiar fauna.

The second floor had held the bedrooms, and was now a dimly lit jungle of wiry bedspring vines, with hairbrushes and hankies flitting through the tangled thickets like little birds. Rabbity pillows foraged in the undergrowth, and beds lolled like cows. A pair of tattered humanoid sex nurbs were back there as well, their faces frozen in vegetal leers.

In pre-nurb days the third floor had held Jane and Kenny’s play rooms. Weezie Roller had tended an eccentric vegetable garden up there as well. I saw some of the expected horror-movie-type talking toys, also two competing tribes of nurb vegetables: the carrots versus the beets. The carrots sped about like hyperactive inchworms; the beets ricocheted off the walls. They bore healthy tufts of leaves, and vied at pressing their foliage to the sunny windows. They rooted in some old troughs of dirt as well.

Nurb disks were buffing the wooden floors, and long-legged feather-dusters cleaned the wandering tables and chairs. A steady stream of toy soldiers were using a little planes to ferry in nurb chow from below.

The final flight of stairs led into the small tower room—only a few yards across and crowded by the slimy roots of the hovering laputa. The tendrils writhed like a dish of living spaghetti, feeding on yet another stash of Roller nurb chow. Several of the strands displayed eyestalks. Kenny’s laputa was observing our arrival.

“Hop on,” blubbered a slit mouth in one of the laputa’s thicker tentacles. “Free ride.” The thick tentacle’s flesh flowed and formed holes in itself, making a column of four seats just inside one of the tower’s large open windows. Not letting ourselves think about it too much, Loulou, Joey, Rikki and I hopped aboard.

As if on a carnival ride, we were drawn out the window and up into the sky.

Fantasy and/or Science Fiction

This’ll be my last post of 2012. Lots of family coming to town, hooray.

We had a festive lunch at the Fairmont hotel in SF this weekend. Dig the Xmas tree reflected in the grand piano. “Why can’t it always be like this?” said one of our group.

My wife and I were out at the beloved Four Mile Beach north of Santa Cruz last week to look at the unusually low tide, a so-called “king tide.” The surfers were out in the water as usual, working the waves, finding new breaks. I always like to imagine that being a professional writer is a little like being a surfer—you’re out in the gnarl just about every day you can get the chance, taking the flows as they come.

My writing on my new novel The Big Aha has been going well for the last month or two. Unlike my customary practice—at least for the last few novels—I didn’t write up a detailed outline for this one. At the start of my career, I didn’t use outlines either. Back then I just dove in and trusted the muse, making it up as I went along. And now I’m back to that again. So far it’s fun—although eventually I’m likely to hit what Robert Sheckley called a “black spot,” which is when it becomes really hard to keep the story going.

When I get at all stuck, I like to invent semi-bogus explanations for whatever fantastic events I’ve already written in. The explanations themselves may impose constraints or they may open possibilities—in either case, this can lead to new scenes, sequences, and even subplots.

The picture above shows a room at the SF MOMA where there’s a special art installation on the floor this month. Black and white tiles, and as the artist’s crew laid the tiles, they used something like a coin-flip to randomly pick the color of each and every tile as they went along. Patterns emerge. We see things. We hear voices in the noise.

Just because I invent explanations doesn’t mean I’ll always think that they’re true, I mean not for the rest of my life. I do like to convince myself that my latest SF gimmicks are true for as long as I’m working on a story that uses them. “Profiting from” a delusion as opposed to “suffering from” one.

It’s maybe a little late for Xmas shopping, but you certainly ought to get a Turing & Burroughs for a New Year’s gift—if not for yourself then for one of your friends or relatives. Beatnik SF—today’s reader needs it special.

I read Murakami’s long novel 1Q84 this month and enjoyed it a lot. Certainly it could have been about a third shorter, but it kept me reading, and I became fond of the characters. And it had some nice fantasy/SF action in it. Murakami is one of us. Whoever “we” are.

The title is like 1984, but with a Q instead of the 9. The idea is that the main characters spend most of the novel off in an alternate timeline or in an alternate reality. So far as I can tell, Murakami is not an author who spends his spare time in figuring out logical and rigorous explanations for his worlds—complete with spacetime diagrams. He’s more on the “fantasy” end of our field, as opposed to being on the “science-fiction” end.

But that’s fine, Murakami’s book hangs together as well as it needs to, and it has a strong ending.

Out at Four Mile beach, I wrote, as I often do at the start of a novel, a favorite slogan of mine in the sand: EADEM MUTATA RESURGO. It means, “The same, yet altered, I arise again.” It was originally meant to be used as the epitaph for a mathematician who did some groundbreaking work on the nature of the so-called logarithmic spiral, the one that swoops out really fast like the exponentially expanding side of a snail shell. I’ve posted about this slogan several times,

Murakami’s 1Q84 inspires me to be looser than usual about the scientific logic in my Big Aha. At least I’m letting myself be be loose while I’m dreaming up scenes and writing them. Just let whatever seems interesting happen.

And then later, due to my SFish nature, I’ll skulk back and cobble up an explanation after all. No harm in this—as I say, the explanation will give me an idea for another scene. Like rainwater streamlines angling away from a gutter-stuck leaf.

I don’t think I’ve ever dreamed up a weird event for which I was unable to craft some kind of bogus explanation. Like taking a random squiggle and fitting it into a sketch of a realistic scene. That’s what it means to be a scientist, no? Rigorous logic.

Have a great holiday season, and all best wishes for 2013!

I’ll meet you in the heart of the Sun.


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