Archive for the ‘Upcoming Events’ Category

Art, Journals, Grandkids, Beat Shindig, Rbt. Williams

I’ve been away from my regular blog posts for awhile.

I had that thing with the art show and the talk at Borderlands. I made a nice video of the “art tour” part of my talk¬—I figured out how to use this free Microsoft Windows tool called “Movie Maker” to cut still photo in with a video I’d made, and I overlaid a good audio tape that I made while I was talking. I filmed the video itself via a camera hanging around my neck so it’s kind of random cinema verité. Check it out.

Then I got into a bloodlust hacking frenzy creating a full-on podcast station for myself, Rudy Rucker Podcasts. Googling for advice, but, when it gets really specific and weird, you don’t always find anyone who is talking to your precise situation. The process morphed into a nightmare of addiction, me compulsively standing in front of my computer from dawn till ten at night a couple of days. But now it’s kind of over. Maybe. For a little while.

Painting by Robert Williams.

I got a ticket to go see the Grateful Dead concert at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday. Last night I dreamed about almost setting up a deal to buy four ounces of pot. Talking to the dealers, debating the price, them giving me a free sample pack to slip into my jeans pocket. I didn’t get around to smoking it. And then I was lost in a museum.

And we had two of our grandchildren here for two nights, the twin girls, almost eight. We took them down to the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz and I went on this ride that I went on when I was their age, 61 years ago, still the same ride, it has the special chaotic quality. Called the Tilt-A-Whirl, although in Cruz the call it Rip Tide. Same sinister clown painted on the Tilt-A-Whirl chairs, amazing. Just about killed me to ride in it.

We rode on this chairlift that coast along above the rides. A statue of a cavewoman and a caveman in two of the chairs, like live cartoons.

Some of the rides are insane torture. On the third day our three-year-old grandson showed up as well, and we had a big cookout in our back yard with Rudy Jr. and his wife.

The girls found about a hundred varicolored gumballs in the town park, along with two transparent miniature plastic baseball bats that the gumballs had been inside of. The bats’ handles pulled off, they were like tapered plastic jars. The size of billy-clubs. And the girls gathered the balls and put them into the clubs and marched back and forth on our porch pretending they were police. And then I hid the clubs, as I worried the girls would spill the dirty gumballs all over the house or the yard. And then eventually Rudy let them dump the gumballs on the street to watch them roll downhill.

Rudy and I were into it, especially Rudy, lying on his back in the street being hyper. A good time. The three-year-old was excited about the bats, and it was a fresh feeling to be seeing them through his eyes, they looked magical, totemic, glinting in the yellow light from our kitchen door. The little boy like an urgent dwarf in a fairytale. I pick up on the mythic, magic feeling of childhood. Everything in rich color, in depth. Profound, incomprehensible, magical.

Dig these reflections of fluorescent lights on the tiles at Xanath ice cream on Valencia Street. The squiggles look like Arabic script.

I like to play with the grandchildren, grubbing with our stash of random old toys. They’re so at ease, so cuddly, sturdy, in the moment. And I’m lying on the floor, playing along, and looking at at the little kids, and I get the dizzy time-tunnel feeling that I’m peering back to 1949, looking at three-year-old Rudy. Me. A smart little boy who doesn’t yet know he’s smart. Unworried. Playing. Back into the land of magic. The peaceable kingdom. I might work some of these feelings into Million Mile Roadtrip.

Robert Williams Painting.

I haven’t really written much about going the Robert Williams art show in Santa Rosa, but oh well. Fun to talk to Williams, even if he is kind of brusque. Has this great hick accent, and is fairly intimidating—I think these feelings of mine are a carryover from studying his cartoons back in the 70s. “Rude Chuckles With A Negative Charge.” I managed to give him a copy of my art book, Better Worlds, and he said he’d look through it, “Lookin’ for stuff to steal.”

In fact he was flipping through my book in the gallery real fast, and he came to my painting “The Sex Sphere,” it’s of a giant ass with boobs on it, with an A-bomb explosion in the background, and this was very much to the Master’s taste. “Now you’re cuttin’ to the chase,” he says.

Purses are a lot like vaginas, you know? I think that might have something to do with why women like to carry big fancy purses around. Like a man carrying a bat or a billy club.

Wild ponytail on the Tornado ride at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

Anyway, I have a couple more things to mention. I’m going to appear for fifteen minutes at the tail end of V. Vale and Marian Wallace’s presentation on William Burroughs at a conference called Beatnik Shindig (ow!) at Fort Mason tomorrow at 4. I’ll be talking (briefly) about my novel Turing & Burroughs: A Beatnik SF Novel. I don’t know that Burroughsians are really aware of my book. Why would they be? No matter how tiny a splinter group I join, I’m always the outsider, the one who’s beyond the pale.

Sure, sure, wheenk, wheenk, wheenk. Anyway, I had two tough tasks in writing this novel: (1) To get my head into a place where I could believably describe a gay love affair. (2) Come to terms with the lingering tensions around Burroughs shooting his wife. (She comes back to life and shoots him .)

[Rbt. Williams cowhand lassos empty space. I used this fine, vintage move in Spaceland and in Realware, but never thought to try painting it. The Master at work.]

Also there’s a big feature article about my Journals in this week’s Metro Silicon Valley newspaper. Article by Dan Pulcrano.

Audience at my Journals event at Borderlands, June 13, 2015. Click for a larger version of the photo.

And, finally, here’s a zoomable photo of those loyal fans who showed up at my Borderlands talk. There’s a link for the talk in a previous post.

And here’s my portrait of the Master, yeah. Outta here now…

Getting Hyper for Borderlands, Saturday Afternoon

I’ve been in kind of a daze, wondering about how many planets there might be like ours, how many universe, how many intelligent races and, above all—how it is that we’re right here and now on a great planet like Earth.

Divine Providence? A secret magic code? A umptifloptillion-superfaczillion-wubbawubbagodzillion rolls of the dice?

One of my readers made the remark that, if there were inexhaustibly many planets, and you went and took a picture of the main drag of each one, then some of the pictures would, on a pixel-by-pixel basis have to repeat. Not that EVERY picture has to be repeated, but some of them will have to repeat and in fact at least one of the pictures will have to repeat endlessly many times. That’s the one where the main street has a Gap and a 7-11 and a Pizza Hut and a TGIF bar…

A zombie mystery painting by Robert Williams, I forget the name, you can see it at his show in Santa Rosa CA right now… Click for a larger (and zoomable) version of the painting.

This nasty, nasty painting by Robert Williams ain’t never gonna repeat. This image repays close study. Note that the dead man is so frank an admirer of the fair sex that he has—o my god those are squid—yes, a squid tied, one each, to his eyeballs and his tongue. Rbt. Williams is a menace.

Back to my metalogical ruminations…if someone could write out a thumpin’ fat biography in English of each person in the universe, each book less than 2000 pages long, and if there were infinitely many people, then some of these infinitely many less-than-2000-page bios would have to be the same as some others. But my bio doesn’t necessarily have to be repeated anywhere, and neither does yours, friend.

Click for a larger version of the poster.

And herewith I’ve worked my way around the fact that the opening party for my own art show will be at Borderlands Books, Saturday, June 13, at 3 in the afternoon. We’ll hang out, I’ll do a reading from my thumpin’ fat Journals 1990-2014, answer question, and I’ll give a little tour of the paintings.

Note the chiasmus, the X, the encounter of streetpole and scrappy urban tree.

In addition I’ve made about thirty prints of my paintings¬—I’ve been printing them out this week, printing on highest-quality thick, archival “Museum Etching” paper, using my balky 10-color Pro9500 Canon printer, and mounting the prints on archival mat board.

The only way to get these signed prints is to buy them from me in person, like at an artshow or a reading, for instance on this Saturday afternoon at Borderlands. I don’t sell my hand-made prints by mail nor in stores, although, yes, you can get commercial and somewhat less bitchin’ prints online via Imagekind.

With the high price of the ink and paper and mat board and the fact that I often have to do a print twice, my prints cost me quite a bit, plus an unreasonable amount of labor. And on Saturday I’ll be selling them at prices between $15 and $30, depending on the size of the prints. Practically giving them away!

Oh, wait, am I sounding like a tweaked carnival hawker, a shabby man, his voice hoarse from shouting? Time to fade and merge into the fog…

Hope to see you Saturday, 3 pm, Borderlands Books.

Cyberpunk Day in LA with Bruce Sterling

The Rudy Rucker Podcasts feed has my talk on my Journals from May 1, 2015. Click the icon:

Video of the USC Cyberpunk day panel is still to come.
My April 30, 2015 blog post:

I’m giving a talk about my Journals 1990-2014 on Friday night at 7:30 above Logos Books in Santa Cruz. Details in this image below. “Santa Cruz College” is just a manner of speaking, the sponsoring group isn’t “really” a college.

Last weekend I was at the University of Southern California in LA for a day of talks, panels, and workshops about cyberpunk. My old pal Bruce Sterling was there too, also Mark Pauline of SRL, famed for his “bad robots.” The pioneering VR maven Scott Fisher—now a film school dean at USC—hosted the event, and eventually his group will be posting some video.

[Photo by Karen Marcelo]

In the afternoon they played a “Techologies of Cyberpunk” compilation video with about a hundred clips from Hollywood movies showing people’s minds being removed from their brains and/or being implanted into robots.

I like to claim that my 1982 book Software was the first SF novel to talk about this precise idea—although sometimes people argue with me about this. Somewhat in the same ballpark, the ancient movie Metropolis has a cool scene with a woman’s body-shape being copied onto a robot in a lab amid showers of Tesla coil sparks.

But I do think Software was the first novel where (a) A human’s mind is extracted and stored on a computer, and then (b) The mind is copied onto a robot body. (I once got involved in a comment thread debate on this somewhere on this blog, but I can’t find that thread today.)

I’m issuing a new second edition of my Complete Stories this week, including all my stories from 1976 right up to 2014. You can browse the whole book online, and you’ll find buy links there as well…it exists in Kindle, generic EPUB ebook, and in (two volume) paperback form.

In LA, we stayed in the downtown Standard hotel. The downtown of LA is a lot livelier than it was a few years ago. A few blocks are as bustling as Manhattan, and with all these 1950s tan-brick office buildings. The LA Library is very cool, with weird languages on the front steps.

Bruce and I took a walk one morning, and were pleased to see a movie shoot in progress. The extras and the two actors were fleeing from something up in the sky, maybe a monster, maybe a UFO. The cameraman was using, incredibly, nothing but a Canon 5D SLR camera, mounted on a rack with a good directional mic. Another few years you’ll be able to make hi-def movies of your life, just walking around with a “third-eye flat-cam” on your forehead.

[Photo by Bruce Sterling]

We came across a huge wall of conduit pipes—later someone told me the pipes are stuffed with internet fibers. Like an Aztec monument, kind of.

We also saw a cool poster advocating quake preparedness. Note that those cracks in the ground spell “QUAKE.”

Bruce and I were basically taking pictures of all the same things. Similar sensibilities. Great to see him. He gave a good talk on cyberpunk at the meeting, saying something about the style being characterized by crammed sentences and eyeball kicks…and then he somehow got into a rap about Lafcadio Hearn, an expat writer like Bruce.

Bruce has a good Tumblr blog going these days…the pictures kind of clarify his in-person word avalanche.

Dig these rails laid down for a dolly camera shoot. Stairway to the heaven of media omnipresence.

Harking back, here’s a nice water tank I saw near Occidental, California, a few weeks ago.

Another shot of me and Chairman Bruce, this one by Scott Fisher.

And here’s Bruce, USC Prof Henry Jenkins, and Scott Fisher.

“Dangerous Pass,” Journals, SF Scenes, Talk & Panel

Today’s eye candy, my latest painting. This one took me about thirty hours, a lot of layers and detail.

“Dangerous Pass” oil and acrylic on canvas, April, 2015, 40” x 30”. Click for a larger version of the painting.

I painted Dangerous Pass to help previsualize a scene in my novel Million Mile Roadtrip. My chracters are on an endless world, and they’re migrating from one Earth-sized basin to the next. They have two flying mascots, one is a UFO named Nunu, the other is a blobby creature who calls herself Meatball. My party includes Villy and Zoe in front, being lovers, with Villy just a bit uneasy, and Villy’s younger brother Scud is in back. The cadmium-red Scud is on the alert, and he’s noticing that the stones in this mountain pass are…alive. The composition and vibe of this painting were inspired by Peter Bruegel’s Conversion of St. Paul.

My 828 page book, Journals 1990-2014 is on sale now
* Paperback ($24.95) Amazon.
* (Kindle) ($4.95) Amazon.
* (Kindle and EPUB) ($4.95) via Transreal Books

And you can read a hefty free sample of the Journals as an online webpage.

I’ll be giving a one or two hour talk on the Journals at the so-called “College of Santa Cruz” group on the 3rd floor of the Logos Books building on Pacific Ave in Santa Cruz at 7:15 on Friday, May 1. The door is in the back of the building. Talk title, “Rewriting My Past.”

Oh, and another upcoming event, on Friday, April 24, I’ll be on a Cyberpunk Panel at the University of Southern California in LA. Bruce Sterling, Marc Pauline, and other fellow droids will be there too.

We spent Easter with our son Rudy Jr. and his family. Got a nice big collection of eggs. And endless line. Love the bare feet in this photo, so human.

We also went to our grandson’s third birthday party at Rudy’s house. They have a toy plastic play house and they put up a towel so the kids could “fish” by holding a line over the towel and getting, maybe, a kid-drawn paper fish in the clothespin at the end of the line. This image is like a Fairyland tollbooth.

Sylvia and I stayed in downtown SF for two nights for my 69th (!) birthday. At the cute Hotel Boheme in North Beach. We hit the recently refurbished Coit Tower. This mural is bird related.

Another shot of son Rudy’s patio. I like the plants and the toys. It’s like a diorama of life in the early 21st century. All the picture needs is people.

The top of Coit tower has a nice open feel, with high arches and the open sky. Some of the little windows around the bottom open up and you can breathe in that high ocean-scented air.

Branches on the floor of an old growth redwood grove. Like calligraphy.

We saw this on another trip, this one up to Occidental, CA—a spot I’d never visited, between Sebastopol and Bodega Bay. A friend of mine, Roger House, and his wife Marylu Downing let us use their AirBnb cabin for two nights. (More photos of this trip in a later post.) I got to know Roger as he proofread the Journals. He has a great eye for typos. And another of my friends, Michael Troutman did copy-editing and fact-checking, helping to get the proper names spelled right, as well as picking up the remaining typos.

View from Coit Tower. Click for a larger version of the panorama.

SF really isn’t a very large city, but it’s a gem.

I always like getting out of the house.

It’s good to finally have the Journals done.

Reading with Robert Shults at Borderlands

On Saturday at 3 pm, I read my recent story “Laser Shades” at Borderlands Books in San Francisco. I appeared with Robert Shults, who recently launched his fascinating photo book, The Superlative Light. See the account of his project in the New York Times.

I taped today’s event. The audience included Jude Feldman of Borderlands, plus my wife Sylvia, my son Rudy, and our granddaughters Jasper and Zimry. To make today’s podcast fun, I taped Jude talking about the history of Borderlands, followed by Robert’s rap about his book of photos of the Texas Petawatt Laster Lab, followed by my story, “Laser Shades,” and then a little more talk about the technology of lasers. With Jasper and Zimry pushing in whenever they could. Kind of a cinema verite podcast, you might say. (57MB, 47 min).

You can play it right here.

Here’s Robert and me at the Rosicrucian World Headquarters in fabulous San Jose, California.

My story was written to fit into Shults’s book. The book contains lovely and sinister photos of the Petawatt Laser Lab in Austin, Texas. And my story is about a guy who uses a superpowerful laser to try and raise his dead wife from the dead.

“Laser Shades,” oil on canvas, February, 2014, 24” x 20”. Click for a larger version of the painting.

While I was working on the story, I wasn’t quite sure about how to end it, and then I made my new painting as a way of previsualizing a big scene. The guy in the painting is wearing special laser-proof shades and he’s (rather unwisely) holding a fetal “egg” in the path of a yottawatt laser beam. A yottawatt is about the power of the Sun. That zapped egg is going to hatch out some kind of weird person, so look out!

I have an older recording of me reading “Laser Shades” online also. Recorded in my home studio.

You can play it right here.

Or go to Rudy Rucker Podcasts.

But don’t just listen at home, come on out and meet me and Robert Shults. Borderlands Books Cafe on 870 Valencia Street in the Mission district of San Francisco, 3 pm Saturday, November 8.

The saucer is waiting for you.

Lit Crawl: Dark Lords of Cyberpunk—Recap & Podcasts

I organized a reading as part of Lit Crawl in San Francisco on Saturday, October 18, 2014, from 8:30 to 9:30 at Haus Coffee, on 24th Street near Folsom. Many thanks to Erica of Haus Coffee who helped us settle in.

Our session was called FLURB: Dark Lords of Cyberpunk, and was also listed as session #97: FLURB: Astonishing Misfits. Here’s the official Lit Crawl schedule and map.

The readers were me, Richard Kadrey, and John Shirley. We’re all cyberpunks, and we all published stories in the Flurb webzine that I edited and published through 14 issues a few years back. Samples of our work in Flurb are my “Tangier Routines,”, Kadrey’s “Trembling Blue Stars,” and Shirley’s “Bitters.”

[Photo by Wongoon Cha, whose story “Procrastination” was in Flurb as well.]

I read a San Francisco B-movie-type story called “The Attack of the Giant Ants.”

Richard read “Surfing the Khumbu,” about a cyberpunk woman who brings down satellites with her mind…and gets high off this. You can find this story online in Infinite Matrix.

John read the Flurb story “Bitters” mentioned above—it’s about a guy who eats brains to get high.

Here is a podcast of my reading, about fifteen minutes long. And here’s the Rudy Rucker Podcasts station:

“The Attack of the Giant Ants” is scheduled to appear in print on the webzine Motherboard this month. It was inspired the Blondie song of the same name, and by the vintage movie, Them. Thanks, by the way, to editor Claire Evans for help in bringing the story to a level of full gloss.

Richard Kadrey read a second story as well, a horror tale about a serial killer who’s propitiating an Egyptian god.

John Shirley’s bravura reading / performance was ill, sick, and wondrous.

Many thanks to the enthusiastic listeners who turned out and tuned in. After the readings, they could only formulate one question: “What were you guys like as kids?”

And a closing thanks to the cute and very California-girl Laurie from Lit Crawl who helped coordinate the event.

NYC Photos, April, 2014. Post #2. Plus Brainwash Reading

Last week I did a reading at this cool café / laundromat near 7th and Folsom St. in San Francisco. The Brainwash. And here’s a podcast of my reading, which was about twenty minutes long, including some brief Q&A.

I read the ending of the new edition of my Kerouac-style scroll novel, All the Visions. In May I’ll be planning to run a Kickstarter for a Transreal Trilogy + All the Visions project. The trilogy will contain reprints of The Secret of Life, White Light, and Saucer Wisdom.

The event was organized by David Gill, who teaches at San Francisco State, and who runs a small SF magazine called Pravic. He’s shown here playing SF-style boop-whoop music on his computer. He doesn’t always look like this—I asked him to look like a sinister mad scientist, a request to which he responded with a perhaps disconcerting alacrity.

We had a decent crowd, including such luminaries as V. Vale, Marian Wallace, Ted Hand, and Dave Pescovitz.

So now let’s jump back to NYC. This is the foreshortened curtain at the new Woody Allen musical version of Bullets Over Broadway (seen from below). When the curtain came up some flapper-type dancers were in that same pose. Best musical show I’ve ever seen. Great to forget yourself in the laughter of a crowd.

Times Square is so freaking chaotic. Especially when, as I already mentioned, you don’t know which direction is which when you come up from the subway. Times like this, Google Maps on your cellphone isn’t all that helpful—the currents are too strong to let you figure it out, and maybe it’s not a great idea to be blindly waving around your phone in a crowd of a twenty thousand louche strangers. So you bumble along like an molecule in a rushing river.

Huge limos ply the streets.

People hurrying past. Such an anthill. And you’re one with the ants.

Buskers all over the place, good music. Classy Bethany (?) fountain area in Central Park, string quartet, kind of. The walls are, like, Renaissance.

The new World Trade Center tower is almost done. With the antenna it’s supposed to be 1776 fee tall. A fairly simple design, but strong, iconic. Takes awhile to get onto the grounds, like with airport-style searches and all that, although eventually I guess it’ll have to be wide open so people can actually be using the place.

Those big memorial holes are still there, they give me a lump in my throat, unexpectedly. Such a graphic image of death…you flow down in the sparkling waterfall, your life’s course runs in maturity along that calm plat area, and then it’s down into the deep dark hole of death.

We hit Washington Square Park just for old time’s sake. Like this tree. You do get hungry for plants in Manhattan.

Busker with a grand piano at Washington square. Playing good stuff.

I always like looking at Wall Street and Lower Manhattan too. No idea what this structure is, but it looks nice with the people. Kind of a Federico Fellini vibe.

All the way down at Battery Park where you can get the ferries, I saw an easy photo, wharf pilings and a number.

And then back uptown.

I like the buildings reflected in each other. It’s the One World Trade Center again here.

A slanted bottom façade on the building on the left.

And the makeup mirror in our bathroom…

Free BIG AHA Paperbacks at Scribd Reading

Added March 28, 2014:

So I did my reading and Q&A session at Scribd yesterday. A good, responsive crowd.

I made a podcast of the event. You can click on the icon below to access the podcast via Rudy Rucker Podcasts.

Here’s a zoom of that group shot.

Original post below:

A talk, reading, and Q&A about writing and about The Big Aha , a cyberdelic novel which Rudy funded with a Kickstarter campaign.

“Rudy Rucker’s latest novel, The Big Aha, is pure transreal Ruckeriana featuring extreme biological and quantum technologies, steamy techno-sex, nasty aliens from higher dimensions — and all soaked in the unique atmosphere of the magical 1960s. … This is a great example of how science fiction publishing is being redefined.” — Giulio Prisco, io9


When? Date: Thursday, March 27. Doors open at 5:30 PM. Event begins at 6. Runs till about 7.

Goodies: Free coffee, tea, wine, non-alcoholic beverages and snacks
Plus free copies of The Big Aha in paperback for the first 30 guests or so. And maybe some other titles as well. Get more info and register to attend via Eventbrite.

The Big Aha gloriously and objectively exists on an absolute level with all of Rucker’s classic work, chockfull of crazy yet scientifically rigorous ideas embodied in gonzo characters and plots. Like a jazzman, Rucker takes his intellectual obsessions as chords and juggles them into fascinating new patterns each time out…a rollercoaster ride that is never predictable and always entertaining…straight out of some Kerouac or Kesey novel, yet with a twenty-first century affect. Rucker is remarkably attuned to a new generation. Ultimately, all the craziness and whimsy and otherworldly menaces of Zad’s mad odyssey induces true pathos and catharsis in the reader.” — Paul Di Filippo, Locus Online.

Where? At the Scribd space, 539 Bryant St. , Suite 200, near Bryant & Second, near South Park.

What is Scribd? As I understand it, Scribd has always been an ebook-sharing site where pretty much anyone can upload any non-pirated text. Recently they’ve been putting more focus on selling commercial ebooks and, even more than that, they’re starting a subscription service that’s something like the Netflix model. For $8.99 a month you can read any ebook that’s distributed via Scribd.

I’m not sure whether or not Scribd’s business model will take wings and fly, but it’s worth a look. They’re offering passwords for free two-month trials, and they have a bunch of my books on their site right now. And, as I mentioned, Scribd is paying for some of my paperbacks to give out at this event, which is pretty great.

Hope to see you there.

And by the way, I’ll be taking down the fourteen paintings in my Big Aha art show at Borderlands Books on Thursday, Mar 27…the show was extended from March 15. SoI’ll be taking the pictures off the walls a couple of hours before the Scribd talk. Come by Borderlands in person about 3 or 4 PM, and I might make you a deal…with no mailing costs. I’ll have some quality prints with me too.

Gave Two Talks: Dorkbot & Transhuman Visions

I gave two talks this week. Wednesday I was at the Cyclecide Swearhouse in San Francisco, reading from The Big Aha for a Dorkbot event. I didn’t tape it, but some video may appear on the dorkbot archive page for this event in a week or so.

Photo above shows Jericho Reese, Rudy Jr., me, Isabel R., and techie Mark Powell in his anti-tech T-shit. In the background we have John Law’s Doggie Diner icons.

Another picture of Mark Powell…reading a poem “I’m on TV!” Love how fervent he looks. It was a great evening for me, hanging out with the cool Dorkbot crowd.


Today I was at the Transhuman Visions conference at Fort Mason in San Francisco and gave a talk called “The Big Aha: Cosmic and Robotic Consciousness.” It went over well, got some big laughs. You can click on the icon below to access the podcast via Rudy Rucker Podcasts.

And you can view my slides online as a PDF file.

After my Transhuman talk, some nice people talked to me for awhile, and I took a picture of them shown below. Didn’t get all their names but starting second from the left, that’s David Dye, Jr. and Sr., Dan Dye, and a guy called Scott. These four forward-thinking men bought copies of my books.

One other event worth noting. I happened to mention one Frank Shook in my Transhumans talk, and incredibly, I ran into this man soon thereafter, the hero of Saucer Wisdom. Frank has resurfaced in the persona of an antiquarian bookseller Gregory Gibson, running a front organization called Ten Pound Island Books. His cover story was that he was at Fort Mason for the Antiquarian Book Fair.

Frank, who tends to disorder and undermine any and all aspects of consensus reality insisted I was talking about “transhumance,” instead of “transhumans.” And, now that Frank has said this, there is indeed a Wikipedia word “transhumance,” applying to nomadic people. A strange and powerful entity is Mr. Shook. I believe he’s re-manifesting himself because I am making some plans to republish my long-suppressed Saucer Wisdom exposé.

Journey to Winterland

I haven’t done a regular blog post in awhile—in the first part of January, I was busy promoting The Big Aha and my art show. And in the latter part of December, my wife and I were on a trip to Wisconsin and Wyoming, visiting our daughters and their families.

So I’ll mention some upcoming events, and then I’ll run some of my snowy trip-to-the-midwest photos.

Next Wednesday, Jan 29, I’m part of a wild line-up of Dorkbot entertainment in SF. “People doing weird things with electricity.” I’ll be talking about how to get high off quantum mechanics—which is a theme of The Big Aha. I’ll probably run a slideshow of some of my paintings as well.

A couple of days later, Saturday, Feb 1, I’ll be part of an equally louche speaker-list at Transhuman Visions, a con at Fort Mason.

I’ll try and podcast one or both of these talks. I finally got a decent pocket voice recorder (it’s a solid little SONY digital recorder…I hated that piece-of-crap Zoom I was trying to use, the one with the inscrutable controls and a display as unreadable as a new San Francisco parking-meter’s).

Speaking of this, see a click-link for Rudy Rucker Podcasts just above. You can find the podcast of my Big Aha talk, reading, Q&A, and art tour there already

The Big Aha reading at Borderlands was good. Some of my artist/author pals showed up, including Paul Mavrides and John Shirley, also Richard Kadrey and Michael Blumlein, these two guys shown above. I wish I got to spend more of my time talking to writers.

So now wah-wah-wah back to December 22, 2013. Flying from Sunny Californee to Salt Lake City and on to Madison. I just love the views you get when a plane’s about to land. Especially cool with snow on the ground. I view that image above as Gilbert Shelton’s cartoon character Philbert Desannex, implemented as vast grayscale Mormon-land earthwork. Philbert’s big wobbly nose is pointing to the left.

Fun with daughter Georgia in Madison. Her husband Courtney made these amazing cut-out snowflakes with the grandchildren…he’d researched the web about cool ones to make. This awesome young woman YouTuber Vi Hart has a great video on topic.

Nice and nostalgic to be out there in winterland, a part of my early past. Xmas-tide sundown in winterland, wow.

Sylvia and I stayed in a hotel with, of all people, the Harlem Globetrotters, out on some intense performing tour. I saw them in the Kentucky State Fairgrounds in 1956. They didn’t look much older. Goose Gossage! One morning it had snowed still more and we walked around the Madison capitol building. Snow always very nice on heavy-duty Beaux-arts-type architecture.

A beautiful Christmas together.

Caught the plane to Jackson, Wyoming, to visit Isabel and her husband for New Years Eve. Flew over a Magic Mountain.

Isabel and Gus live in Pinedale, a little wilder than Jackson.

We were staying in an inexpensive motel a few blocks from Isabel’s house. It enjoyed walking the half mile to her house and taking pictures along the way. I do my best photos when I’m alone and I’m, like, having a conversation with the camera.

The patent mysteries of solid, well-used sheds.

There’s the one house where the guy keeps an endless amount of junk in his yard. He’s just ouside the town line, so he can do as he pleases. I’m inordinatley fond of this one particular rusted old car. I think of it as “the R. Crumb car,” because it looks like one of Crumb’s drawings, maybe like the car on the cover of Zap Comix #0, or was it #1.

For me, a big highlight of the trip was that I got to go cross-country skiing with Georgia in Madison, and then again with Isabel in Wyoming. This picture shows me at the start of a blizzard off-trail on the edge of a huge canyon holding Fremont Lake, at the tip-ass-end Wyomingwhere. I was really proud and happy that I was able to get out on the trail one more time. Yeah, baby!

I’ve still got more trip pix, but I’ll save them for a later post.

BIG AHA Art Show & Reading, Borderlands

Added Feb 12, 2014: I made a YouTube video of the art on the walls at the Borderlands Cafe show:

Added Jan 19, 2014: I made a podcast audio of my talk on The Big Aha and of my “art tour” at Borderlands. Visit Rudy Rucker Podcasts here:

Original post, Jan 6, 2014. I have an art show coming up, running from Jan 17 to March 15, 2014. A lot of the paintings were done for my new SF novel The Big Aha.

Poster for our show. These are the paintings I plan to hang. Click for a larger version of the image.

The show will also include four of Vernon Head’s table-top deco-style assemblagist California Funk sculptures.

Vernon Head’s “Constructions & Contraptions” for our show. Clockwise from top left: “Lost Mine,” “The Trout’s Dilemma,” “Mesa Motel,” “The Machinist.” 12 to 15 inches high. Click for a larger version of the image.

We’ll have an opening reception, reading, and guided tour of the exhibition from 5:30 until 7:30 or so. This will be on Friday, January 17, at Borderlands Books Cafe on 870 Valencia Street in the Mission district of San Francisco.

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Free pastries! This party is for the public, and it’s a thank you reception for my Big Aha Kickstarter supporters.

We’ll mingle, and around 6 or 6:30, I’ll do a short reading from the novel, then give the “guided tour” of the paintings, explaining their roles in the book, and then hang out some more. We’ll be selling hardback and paperback copies of The Big Aha, plus paintings, prints, and the latest edition of my art book, Better Worlds.

For more about my paintings, see my paintings page. I’m maintaining a public Facebook event page for the show as well. And you can find the event on the SF Chronicle’s SFGate listings as well.

“Frog Man,” oil on canvas, January, 2014, 20” x 24”. Click for a larger version of the painting.

By way of getting my final prep done, I just finished one more painting. This particular painting started out as a horizontal “landscape mode” canvas of a Monet-style scene with trees and cliff or a sky…made up of vertical daubs of paint left over from my painting before this one, “Woman With Jellyfish”. I let the landscape dry for two weeks, then had the idea of turning the picture to a vertical “portrait mode” orientation, and now the horizontal daubs were water. On a quick inspiration, I painted in the head and webbed hands of a “frog man.” He looks friendly, but I don’t think I’d jump into the water with him.

I also made some high-quality prints to sell at the opening. Ten-color giclee print on achival museum etching paper, with the prints mounted on acid-free mat board, individually signed, reasonably priced.

Prints of Rudy’s Paintings Click for a larger version of the image.

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.

Interview On My TURING & BURROUGHS Novel.

On Saturday, September 22, 2012, I’ll be at the Philip K. Dick Festival on the SFSU campus in south San Francisco. I’m scheduled to give a talk, “Haunted By Phil Dick” at 2 p.m. that day, and I’ll be on a panel with Jonathan Lethem and other Dickians at 5 p.m. as well.

For today’s longish post, we have the text of an email interview about my novel Turing & Burroughs that the young writer Nas Hedron conducted with me from Brazil.

Hedron is the author of the novel Luck & Death which, like my own novel, involves Alan Turing. You can learn more about Hedron via the links on his blog The Turing Centenary, where his interview with me also appears.

$16 paperback, $6 in ebook.

Q 1. I wonder if you can set the stage for us with reference to Alan Turing, you, and writing. Who was Alan Turing to you before you wrote Turing & Burroughs: A Beatnik SF Novel? And what gave you the impulse to write your novel about him?

A 1. In the course of getting my Ph.D. in mathematical logic, I learned the technical details of Turing’s theorems about the idealized computers that came to be called Turing machines. I read his epochal 1937 paper “On Computable Numbers” numerous times, and I was struck by the clarity and the depth of his thought.

Being interested in the possibilities of intelligent machines, I also studied Turing’s 1950 paper, “Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” a non-technical paper in which he proposes the so-called Turing imitation game as a test for true AI: you might say that a program is intelligent if you can’t tell it from a human when you’re exchanging emails with it. It’s worth noting that Turing initially framed his “imitation game” in terms of someone trying to distinguish between a woman and a man.

Later I became interested in using so-called cellular automata programs to simulate the patterns that emerge in the tissues of plants and animals—patterns like the the spots on leopards, the markings on butterfly wings, the zigzags on South Pacific cone shells. This is what Turing was working on near the end of his life. In 1952 he published an amazing paper, “The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis.” In the morphogenesis paper he explains how, by dint of days of hand computation, he emulated a biological cellular automaton process to produce irregular black spots like you might see on the side of a brindle cow.

To me Turing is a heroic and inspiring figure. He worked on deeply fascinating things without getting lost in merely technical mathematics.

The other compelling aspect of the Turing story is that he was openly gay, he was persecuted for it, and that he had a strange and tragic death—which is usually described as a suicide.

Regarding Turing’s death by cyanide poisoning, I’ve always felt there’s a real possibility that he was in fact assassinated by agents of the British government. This seems even likelier now that we know Turing was involved in a top-secret code-breaking effort during World War II. In the 1950s, there was a collective hysteria over the possibility of homosexuals being a security risk.

Before I began contemplating my own novel, I’d read some stories and plays about Turing. But I didn’t feel that any of these works captured the vibrant image of Turing that I wanted to project. There can be a tendency to write about homosexuality in a lugubrious tone—as if a homosexual is a pathetic person who’s afflicted with a lethal disease. But Turing was anything but downcast about his predilections.

A 1 (Continued).

In the spring of 2007, I wrote a short story about Turing, “The Imitation Game.” And this story later came to be the first chapter of my novel. In the short story, Turing escapes being poisoned by British government agents. And to escape, he swaps appearances with his dead male lover. And here comes the science fiction: Turing grows two new faces by using principles that he described in that paper where he generates the shape of a spot on a black-and-white cow.

As sometimes happens to me, I had difficulty in selling my story. Maybe it wasn’t sufficiently solemn and lugubrious—and I was presenting Turing was a gay outsider, heedless of proprieties, and by no means a victim. In any case, in 2008 my story appeared in the British magazine Interzone and in 2010 in The Mammoth Book of Alternate Histories, edited by Ian Watson and Ian Whates.

Early on, I began wondering if there might be some way to expand my Turing story into a novel. At the end of my story, Turing escapes to Tangier, and I formed the notion that he ought to connect with the Beat writer William Burroughs, who was living there at that time. Two brilliant men, gay, outcast—perhaps they’d hit it off.

I’ve been a huge Burroughs fan ever since I first came across an excerpt of Naked Lunch in the beatnik magazine, The Evergreen Review—this would have been back in 1960, when I was fourteen. My big brother had a subscription to the magazine, and I’d leaf through it, looking for smut. Instead I found a literary career.

I particularly admire the irresponsible and laceratingly funny style of the letters Burroughs wrote to his friends from Tangier. And so I decided to write my second Turing story in the form of letters from Burroughs to Kerouac and Ginsberg.

This second story, “Tangier Routines,” was so gleefully scabrous that I didn’t bother sending it to any magazines, science-fictional or otherwise. Instead, in the fall of 2008, I printed it in a webzine Flurb that I’d managed to start. And then in 2010 and 2011, I ran two further Turing & Burroughs stories in Flurb—“The Skug” and “Dispatches From Interzone.”

I was still unsure about how to build my tales into a full novel, but in 2010 I finally read Alan Turing: The Enigma, the wonderful biography by Andrew Hodges, And here I learned that Turing was everything I could have hoped. Stubborn, unrepentant, impulsive, and with a very warm and human personality.

I discovered that, as part of some psychological therapy he was undergoing, Turing himself made a start at writing a transreal speculative novel late in his life—and this allayed any uneasiness I’d felt about dragging his name into the gutter of science-fiction.

So why did I write a beatnik SF novel about Alan Turing? In short, I’d come to think of him as my friend, and I wanted to give his character a cool place to live.

Q 2. What interested you about bringing the mathematician Alan Turing together with the Beat writer William Burroughs?

A 2. To some extent this was a matter of convenience. I needed Turing to flee England in 1954 to escape assassination by the secret service. Even though Turing has changed his face in my novel, it seemed like he’d feel safer taking trains and ferries than in trying to get on a plane.

From my familiarity with Burroughs, I knew that Tangier was an open city at this time, a good place to take refuge—Burroughs often referred to it as Interzone. And, checking my references, I realized that he was indeed living in Tangier at this time.

Having my two heroes meet seemed perfect. Having them connect also solved a problem I was having in figuring out how to write a gay male character in an effective way.

William Burroughs is a queer writer whom I’ve always found easy to identify with. He has an outspoken zest and a defiant rudeness that make it seem cool and reasonable and entirely desirable to be a homosexual heroin addict.

Even though I myself am merely a punk SF writer, I sometimes feel a certain social opprobrium regarding my esoteric interests, and, over the years, I’ve occasionally girded myself by adopting Burroughsian attitudes and mannerisms. Wearing the old master’s character armor.

One of the challenges in writing a William Burroughs character was that I had to deal with the fact that, a couple of years before the start of my novel, Burroughs had shot and killed his wife Joan in Mexico City. At first I felt like this was too explosive and difficult to write about directly. But then I realized that I had to face the killing.

So my Turing and Burroughs end up going to to Mexico City, resurrecting Joan, and letting her run a number on Burroughs. I wanted to give Joan a voice, and to give her a chance to get even.

I wrote the Mexico City chapter from the Burroughs point of view, writing very fast. It was like I was possessed—but in a good way. The experience was heavy and ecstatic. For months I’d been anxious about writing the chapter, and all at once it was done

I’m always happy when I’m being Bill Burroughs. He didn’t give a f*ck what people think. And neither did Alan Turing.

Q 3. Its impossible to read Turing & Burroughs without comparing and contrasting Turing’s real life with his life in your novel. Two of the simplest ways in which one might develop a story about an outsider’s relationship with the world are victory and defeat. In a victory story, the outsider transforms the world into something more congenial; in a defeat story, the world crushes the outsider.

In Turing’s real life, defeat was the way things played out. But throughout much of The Turing Chronicles, it looks as though Turing is headed for victory or at least for a rapprochement. He and his allies are turning everyone into shapeshifting mutants like themselves—what you call “skuggers.” But then, at the end of your novel, you return to something closer to Turing’s real life, something like defeat. Your Turing character saves the world, and he dies. Did you plan this in advance?

A 3. That’s a very interesting question, and I hadn’t thought about this so clearly before.

I’ve always been piqued and annoyed by the defeat aspect of Turing’s actual life. Either he was goaded into suicide or he was murdered outright. So, as I mentioned before, In writing Turing & Burroughs: A Beatnik SF Novel, I wanted to create a world in which Turing escapes his tragic fate and lives on to have wonderful adventures.

But I knew from the start of my novel that, even though my Turing character has escaped England, he’s a marked man. The pigs, the bullies, the scumbag straight-arrows—they’re unrelenting in their efforts to bring down our Alan. So my novel takes on the quality of a long chase.

It would have been possible, at least in principle, to write a novel in which Turing manages to convert everyone in the world into a shapeshifting skugger like himself. But fairly early on, we begin to understand that this wouldn’t be a pleasant endpoint to reach. We want to be ordinary humans, not skuggers.

So I needed for Turing to somehow undo the mutations—but without killing off all the people who’d become skuggers. And this wasn’t going to be easy, with the cops and feds breathing down his neck. So before long, Turing was heading towards a world-redeeming self-sacrifice. But this felt like the most dramatic way to go. Turing as Savior. It’s a big, strong ending.

I think one can argue that Turing doesn’t truly suffer defeat here. He transcends. As the Beat writer Jack Kerouac would put it, Alan ends up safe in heaven dead. And in the context of my novel’s world, heaven is a real place.

Q 4. In Turing & Burroughs, Turing experiments with what one might call computational human flesh. This bears a certain family resemblance to “flickercladding,” the soft robot flesh you imagined in the Ware Tetralogy, in which each grain of the cladding acts as a processing unit. This particular feature of your work puts me in mind of the effects that director David Cronenberg uses in his movie version of Naked Lunch—I’m thinking of his Burroughs character’s soft, genitalia-like typewriters. Are you conscious of a reason why you like conflating computation and flesh?

A 4. I’ve always been bored by the idea of rigid, clunky, machine-like robots. I wanted robots to be funky and wiggly and sexy. I think it’s likely that if we ever have really useful and intelligent robots, they’re going to be more like tentacled octopi than like brittle ants. Of course thirty years ago, when I started writing about flickercladding and piezoplastic “moldie” robots in my Ware novels, this wasn’t at all a familiar idea.

Having gotten used to the idea of soft machines, it became natural for me to turn things around—and to have the cellular structure of human flesh become as malleable as the material of a computer display.

In my Ware novels there’s a drug called “merge” that lets people melt together inside a tub called a love puddle. And in Turing & Burroughs, a person who’s a skugger can turn into something like giant slug. There’s a scene where Turing and another skugger have sex by twisting themselves around each other while hanging from a rafter at Burroughs’s parents’ house. Mrs. Burroughs throws them out.

Reading a draft of Turing & Burroughs, my wife said, “Oh, you’re always doing this, having people merge together, it’s so icky.” And I’m like, “Yeah, but that’s sex, isn’t it? That’s how it is.”

We’re biological organisms—we’re not computers, and we’re not machines.

A 5. In your free downloadable book-length Notes for the Turing & Burroughs novel, you mentioned the possibility of having J. Edgar Hoover be a character. I’m a little disappointed that he didn’t make it into the book. I had a hankering to see Turing and Hoover go head to head. What kinds of considerations are important in making decisions about what to leave out and what to put in?

A 5. My sense was that I didn’t want to put too many famous people into my book. If you overdo that, then you’re name-checking, and it gets to be like a bus tour of the homes of the stars. And the stars dazzle away the reality of the characters whose lives you want to delve into.

If I am going to recreate a historical character, I want it to be an interesting person whom I like. And for sure that’s not J. Edgar Hoover! He’s a dead horse. Just because I write something in my notes for my novels, doesn’t mean I’m really serious about using it. Often in my notes I’m just killing time and goofing around. Waiting for the Muse.

Given that I had Burroughs and Turing in my novel, I did feel that I ought to bring in some other Beats and at least one other scientist. I went for Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady, and the mathematician Stanislaw Ulam.

Ulam isn’t too well known, but he did a lot of fascinating things. He helped invent the hydrogen bomb, he wrote some of the first interesting computer programs, and he worked with lava-lamp-like continuous cellular automata. His friends thought he was too scattered, too much of a playboy. My kind of guy.

I was happy to have Ginsberg and Cassady show up in a Cadillac. My friend Gregory Gibson read a draft of the novel and he said that scene was like in a circus when you see the wild clowns getting out of a car.

I held back from putting Kerouac into Turing & Burroughs, as Jack would have been too much. He would have taken over. Remember that the main Beat I wanted to write about was William Burroughs.

When I was in the middle of writing the novel, I happened to see some video footage of Burroughs at his house in Lawrence, Kansas, taken a year or two before he died. And I knew right away I could use this scenario for the last chapter of my book. So the last chapter is set as a transcript of Burroughs talking to a video camera.

“And now I’m turning off the machine.”

That’s the book’s last sentence, with Burroughs talking. I like that ending. You might say that it captures the theme of the book.

You can turn off the machines and get wiggly. Even if you’re Alan Turing. Long may he wave.

[Curious? Go to Transreal Books or try browsing free sample version of Turing & Burroughs online as a webpage.]

Talk: Transrealism, Beatniks, TURING & BURROUGHS

(Revised this post on Aug 30, 2012) I gave a talk and reading in Gloucester, Mass, on Wednesday night, 7:30 pm, Aug 29, 2012, at the Gloucester Writers Center.

I made a podcast of the event. You can click on the icon below to access the podcast via Rudy Rucker Podcasts.

My topics were transreal SF and beatnik writing, particularly that of William Burroughs. I gave a short reading from TURING & BURROUGHS, folowed by Q&A touching on Burroughs’s cut-up technique and contrasts between fantasy vs. SF. The introduction is by my old friend and fellow writer Gregory Gibson.

You can see the web announcement of the talk here. And see the poster below (note that my novel’s title has changed from THE TURING CHRONICLES to TURING & BURROUGHS.)

gloucester writers center talk

I’m here thanks to my old writer friend Gregory Gibson, and thanks to Henry Ferrini. As well as spreading the word on Beatnik SF, I’m pre-promoting my upcoming TURING & BURROUGHS novel.

Be there if you can. And if you weren’t, see the podcast link at the stat of this post.

Reading “I Arise Again” At Borderlands

My wife and I have been on a road trip out to Wyoming and back. I’ll post some of my pictures over the next week or two.

But first I have a short announcement. On Saturday July 21, I’ll be reading a brand new transreal short-short story called, “I Arise Again”. It’ll take about ten minutes and will be, in a sense, a performance piece relating to my recent difficulties in getting published. The story’s about a beatnik SF writer who finds a new way of distributing his work…

My appearance is part of the Clarion West Fundraiser Reading at Borderlands Books on Saturday, July 21st at 5:00 pm. I’ll be reading with authors Cassie Alexander, An Owomoyela, Tim Pratt, Rachel Swirsky, and Ysabeau S. Wilce. Details on the Borderlands Events page.

The event will be in the cafe section of Borderlands, and should be fun.

[Fellow readers/organizers at the Clarion West Reading. Left to Right: Christopher Reynaga, Maggie Croft, An Owomoyela, Nick Mamatas, Tim Pratt, Kate Kligman.]

[Added July 22, 2012] The reading was fun, and some of us went out for dinner at Frijtz on Valencia St. I always enjoy being with a group of writers—the wit, the gossip, the tips, the solidarity.

I made a tape of me reading my story—which was so transreal (it’s a story about me giving a talk) that I felt a little weird. But it seemed like I was getting over. I may post a podcast, but first I’m going to try and sell the thing somewhere and make sure there’s no conflict.

Tim Pratt read a great love poem called “Scientific Romance,” also a nice story called “Gingerbread.”

Rucker and Byrne Reading in NYC, Tuesday, March 13

The New York Review of Science Fiction Readings presents:

Rudy Rucker and Brendan Carney Byrne

WHEN: Tuesday, March 13th. Doors open at 6:30 — event begins at 7

WHERE: The SoHo Gallery for Digital Art, 138 Sullivan Street (between Houston & Prince St.) Map. $7 suggested donation.

HOW: By Subway: 6, C, E to Spring St.; A, B D or F to West 4th; 1 train to Houston St; or R, W to Prince St.

[Photo by Brendan Byrne]

Brendan Byrne’s fiction has appeared in Flurb; his nonfiction has been published in Strange Horizon, The Brooklyn Rail and Rhizome. His novella The Showing of the Instruments was published in 2011 by Phone Booth Press. He is the editor of the webzine The Orphan.

[Photo by Sylvia Rucker]

Rudy Rucker is a writer, a mathematician, and a former computer science professor. He received Philip K. Dick awards for his cyberpunk novels Software and Wetware, now available in the Ware Tetralogy. His fantasy California novel of the afterlife, Jim and the Flims, appeared in 2011, as did his autobiography, Nested Scrolls, which received the Emperor Norton Award. Rudy recently finished writing a 1950s alien invasion novel called Turing & Burroughs, featuring a love affair between Alan Turing and William Burroughs. Rucker took up painting in 2000, and he’s had three shows of his pop-surreal works in San Francisco. For ongoing updates, see Rudy’s Blog.

Thanks to:

* Reading organized by Jim Freund, Producer and Executive Curator of The New York Review of Science Fiction Readings, and known for his long-running live radio program, Hour of the Wolf, which broadcasts and streams every Wednesday night/Thursday morning from 1:30-3:00 AM. Programs are available by stream for 2 weeks after broadcast.

* The SoHo Gallery for Digital Art is dedicated to re-establishing SoHo as an international center for the development of new artistic forms, concepts and ideas. A screens-instead-of-canvases approach allows a wide selection of art from around the world which would otherwise never make it to the City. The SGDA is available for private gatherings and events of all kinds.

* The New York Review of Science Fiction magazine is celebrating its 21st year!
Subscribe or submit articles to the magazine at New York Review of Science Fiction, PO. Box 78, Pleasantville, NY, 10570.

Podcast. Around North Beach.

Reminder: I’ll be reading from my autobiography Nested Scrolls at an SF in SF gathering at 7 PM on Saturday, February 11.

I’ll be joined on the podium by the eminent SF writers K. W. Jeter and Jay Lake, also reading from their work. If you come, be aware of the huge Chinese New Year’s Parade in the same neighborhood…in fact come early and watch the parade for awhile before our reading.

I was already up in SF earlier this week, staying in North Beach and giving a reading from my small book Surfing the Gnarl at The Green Arcade bookshop on Market Street near Gough St., a great little store with very cool and diverse pickings. Curated with wit and attitude by owner Patrick Marks.

I made a podcast of the Green Arcade reading, which is introduced by Terry Bisson. You can click on the icon below to access the file via .

My wife and I were walking around SF enjoying ourselves. I like how multicultural the city is, how busy, with the sun so bright and the air so clear and intense. Like water.

I always dig seeing the freaky window display at Aria on Grant Street near Washington Square.

Everything shaped and colored so nice in the morning sun.

But beware the Invasion of the Goobs on … blessedly I’ve temporarily managed to forget the name of those obnoxious roller vehicles. A tour of twenty of them went by! Me taking their picture I was, of course, a collateral Goob invader, come to think of it. “It’s okay, I’m from near San Jose.”

Skungy Art. “Surfing the Gnarl.” Read Feb 7, Feb 11.

I have a couple of upcoming readings on Feb 7 and Feb 11, but first I want to tell you about my new painting , Loulou and Skungy.

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

Loulou is the somewhat mysterious woman in green, Skungy is the rat, and the guy holding the rat is named Morton Plant. At present this is like an illustration of an unknown proverb or a forgotten fable. I don’t entirely know what’s going on. But I do have some ideas, as this is meant to be a previsualization of a scene in my next novel, The Big Aha. Loulou is luring Morton and his helper-rat Skungy to follow her.

The composition was inspired by a Joan Brown painting The End of the Affair, which I just saw in an exhibit that’s at the San Jose Museum of Art till March 11. And I used a thick medium to build up an impasto finish with kind of a van Gogh look on the left. As always, originals and prints of my paintings are for sale on my Paintings page.

I have a small new book out, it’s called Surfing the Gnarl, and it’s from the “PM Outspoken Authors” series at PM Press in Oakland.

The book has two of my more outrageous short stories, a new essay of mine about science and literature called “Surfing the Gnarl,” and an interview conducted by Terry Bisson, the series editor.

I’ll be having a launch party for this slim volume at the funky Green Arcade bookstore near Gough and Market Street in San Francisco, 7 PM, Tuesday, February 7.

Looking a little further ahead, I’ll be reading from Surfing the Gnarl or perhaps my autobiography Nested Scrolls or possibly my recently completed Turing & Burroughs at an SF in SF gathering at 7 PM on Saturday, February 11. I’ll be joined on the podium by the eminent SF writers K. W. Jeter and Jay Lake, also reading from their work.

Reading NESTED SCROLLS at Borderlands.

[Note added after the reading.]

So I gave my reading from Nested Scrolls at Borderlands. We had a small, friendly crowd, including several characters from the book.

I made a podcast of the reading. You can click on the icon below to access the podcast via Rudy Rucker Podcasts.

[Advance announcement.]

As I’ve mentioned before, the US edition of my autobiography, Nested Scrolls, is out from Tor Books.

This Saturday, January 14, at 3:00 pm, I’ll be giving a reading from Nested Scrollsat the fabulous and cozy Borderlands Books (and cafe) on Valencia Street in San Francisco. We’ll have a Q & A session after the reading, and we’ll be giving away a large, high-quality art print of one of my paintings.

Come on over!

TEDx. Beyond Machines: The Year 3000.

I was in Brussels on November 22, 2011, to give a talk at TEDx Brussels at the Bozar building in Brussels.

Here’s a photo I took of the audience after the talk.

A video of my talk went online as of November 24, 2011. And I’ve embedded the video here.


The rest of this post consists of the slides and the outline of the fifteen-minute talk.

In this talk I speculate about the year 3000. A thousand years from now.

I first came to Brussels here in 2000 to do some research for my novel about Peter Bruegel’s life, As Above So Below: A Novel of Peter Bruegel. And in 2002, I was here as a guest of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts.

The picture shown above is called The Beekeepers. It’s disturbing and surreal. Bruegel drew this image in 1568, shortly after the patriots, the Count of Egmont and the Count of Hoorne were beheaded at behest of the Spanish Inquisition. My sense is that those straw hives represent the baskets into which Count Egmont’s and Count Hoorne’s heads dropped after being lopped off by the executioner’s sword in the Grand Place.

The image has some relevance to my talk, as a human head, is after all, a rather compact and intense information storage device, and I’ll be discussing the notion of a “lifebox” model of a human personality.

I got a Ph. D. in mathematics, and I’ve published popular science books about infinity and about the fourth dimension. I spent about twenty years as a computer science professor at San Jose State. And over the last ten years I’ve become something of a painter—and you’ll see some of my pictures here. But the the main thing I do is to to write science fiction novels. By now I’ve published twenty of them.

In 1982, I published my early cyberpunk novel, Software. The book introduced a theme I’ve been thinking about for my whole career. Is it possible to copy a person’s personality and essence into another medium? In Software, my notion was that some helpful robots were copying people’s brains by slicing them up—extracting the human software. And the software was being put onto robot bodies. That woman on the cover is an android, you understand. Software and three follow-up novels are available now as the Ware Tetralogy.

I do see this as being something that will happen in the next thousand years. In the very near term, we already have a simple way for mimicking the process, something that I call lifebox software. The idea behind a lifebox is get a large and rich data base with a person’s writings, videos of them, interviews, and so on. That’s the back end. The front end of a lifebox is an interactive search engine. This will be a huge commercial business soon. I’ve even made a preliminary attempt at a Rudy’s lifebox.

Back in the mid 1980s, I became fascinated with a new style of parallel programs called cellular automata or CAs. I learned about them from Stephen Wolfram. I was interested in his remarks that some cellular automata are universal computers.

I wrote this early CA in assembly language, and the display is made of ASCII characters. I call this particular CA Maxine Headroom after the then-popular animatronic TV character Max Headroom. You can get this program as part of the free Cellab software online.

Although I was getting my novels published I wasn’t earning enough money to support myself, my wife and our three children. I decided to get into computer science. Even though my Ph. D. was in mathematical logic, in 1986 I was able to get a job as a computer science professor at San Jose State University in California.

In principle any universal computer can emulate a human mind. And many natural systems behave like cellular automata. So I began wondering if there might be some way to have natural objects become programmable in an easy way.

Above is an image of me clowning with a South Pacific cone shell. The cone shells are beloved by fans of cellular automata, as it’s widely believed that the shells’ patterns are generated by a biological process very similar to a cellular automaton. Here I’m imagining that the cone shell will somehow connect to my brain.

In the years to come, I got ever more involved involved with CAs. The way they work is that, in a CA, you can think of the onscreen pixel as being a little computer, with all of them updating in parallel. One trick that I liked to use continuous values for the states of these pixels or cells, see my free software CAPOW, available online.

Perhaps my favorite CAs are the ones that spontaneously take on the appearance of ever-turning nested scrolls. These guys are called Belousov-Zhabotinsky scrolls, They’re are common in physics—as patterns of turbulent wakes. And they’re ubiquitous in biology—you find Zhabotinsky scrolls in mushroom caps, shells, beans and fetuses. Some have argued that everything in the world is a CA.

I spent hundreds and hundreds of hours staring at CAs. I was always looking for the gnarly ones, that is the CAs whose pattern is nicely positioned between order and randomness. I like using the more California word “gnarly” instead of “complex” or “chaotic.”

Working as a programmer, I learned the frustration of working with the brittle computing machines. If you omit a semi-colon in a novel, the novel doesn’t disappear—as can happen with a program.

Thinking as a science-fiction writer, I liked to imagine having a completely smooth interface between myself and the outer world—which I’ve painted as a torus here. I was still thinking in terms of a cable into my spine at this point. You can see all of my paintings online.

Where will end up in a century or two will be a device that sits on the back of your neck and communicates with other people via their devices. I call these things uvvies in my science fiction novels.

An uvvy link is very close to telepathy. I think we’ll get true telepathy when, instead of sending information to someone else, you simply send them a link to the location where that information is stored in your own brain. And they can access it there without copying it. Relative to you, other people are part of your data cloud.

This picture shows a pathological regress you might encounter with telepathy. Like pointing a video camera at its output screen. An infinite regress. But there’s nothing really wrong with that kind of experience. It might even be fun. This drawing and the ones to follow are taking from my novel, Saucer Wisdom.

At this point I was getting more and more interested in biocomputation. I think an uvvy might well be a biotech device—probably you want anything that interfaces that closely with your body to be alive.

A much easier biocomputation app we’re likely to see is a substance similar to the skin of a cuttlefish. Call it squidskin for short. We’ll be using squidskin as an inexpensive all-purpose display. This guy has a squidskin pillow so he can look at nice things in bed.

I like to use the word wetware when talking about hacking genomics. I’m taking wetware to mean the genomic information that generates a living organism. An acorn is the wetware for an oak tree, an egg is the wetware for a chicken, a person’s wetware is their DNA.

I don’t see nanotech as a separate discipline. It’s really about learning to work with the biotech already present in nature. To become a wetware engineer.

Looking towards the year 3000, I expect that we will have gotten very good at wetware engineering. This painting show a future city in which all of the buildings—except for that tree in front—have been grown.

Note also the Bosch-style little man in the lower corner. And the floating little figures might be taking the place of surveillance cameras. For some reason each of them shaped like the Virgin Mary. This painting was made for my novel Frek and the Elixir, which is set in the year 3003.

Naturally we’d like to grow our own houses. I think of a seed about the size of a pizza, and you shove it in the ground. I like the idea of a family living inside a kind of oak tree with squidskin on the inner walls.

I see the tree as being powered off photosynthesis. It has toilets in the walls that feed into the tree’s metabolism. It extracts metal from the ground and grows an electrical circuit, in case we’re still using electricity. The internal plumbing system extracts water from a tap-root that grows down to the water table.

The people have symbiotic wings they can strap on. I know there’s an energy problem in human flight—we’ll assume the wings are powered with, let us say, dark matter.

We can expect wetware engineered plants to grow any kinds of objects that we need. Here you see a plant like a corn stalk, except it extracts iron from the soil and forms a knife at its tip. A stub of the stalk makes a nice handle.

In the early 2000s, I became interested in the notion of moving beyond biocomputation as well If we take seriously the notion of quantum computation, anything at all can be a computer.

The notion that I’m leading up to is hylozoism. This is a real word, you can find it in Wikipedia. I got so enamored of this word that I even wrote a novel called Hylozoic, in which everything is alive—even the rocks.

A stone is, after all, like a jiggling mass of a septillion atoms, connected by spring-like bonds. There’s a lot happening inside a rock. Why shouldn’t it be as intelligent as I am?

In a hylozoic society of the year 3000, we don’t use manufactured tools anymore.

Instead we directly program the material objects around us. Every object is filled with quantum wave functions. Every object is programmable. Every object is alive. You only have to tell it what to do.

And how do you talk to the objects? Via our uvvies—that is, via something like telepathy.

Here’s a matching pair of images—just for fun.

This painting shows a weird scene in our biocomputational future. Think of it as a year 3000 disco.

And here’s a pattern of cellular automata that underlies the year 3000 disco. This is what our world is like a smooth field of quantum computation. That’s all that’s there. And we only interpret the patterns as being things like green potatoes and dancing ducks?

And after the year 3000? Perhaps we leave our bodies and turn into light. Or maybe into subdimensional jellyfish, as I discuss in my novel Mathematicians in Love.

I’ll see you there!

Talk at TEDx Los Gatos. Joan Brown show in San Jose.

On Wednesday, October 26, I’m giving a short talk for TEDx Los Gatos. At this point all the seats for the event are taken, but eventually videos will be available and I’ll post a link to them here. The idea behind TEDx events is that they are set up to resemble the official TED talks, but any local group in the world can mount a TEDx, assuming they stick to certain guidelines.

Here’s a preview PDF file of my slides and text for my talk, “Transreal In Los Gatos.” It’s a large file, so when you click the link, it’ll take up to a minute before you see the images onscreen. Note also that I’m still revising the text, and in the end it’ll come out different during live performance.

Sylvia and I were in downtown San Jose this weekend, nice to get a taste of city without driving all the way to SF.

Downtown San Jose does tend to be a little deserted.

But they have a great patisserie called Bijan near the art museum.

The San Jose Art Museum is an interesting building, expanded out from an old stone Post Office.

And they’re having a show of paintings by Joan Brown (1938-1990). She hasn’t had a big show around here since 1998, when there was a somewhat larger two-site show in Oakland and Berkeley. About the best book on Joan Brown was based on that show.

The SJ show is definitely worth a visit. I like the transreal, narrative quality of Brown’s later paintings, and how they go right down into the subconscious.

Reading “The 57th Franz Kafka” Friday Night

Tonight, Friday, I’ll be reading my weird old SF story, “The 57th Franz Kafka,” under the auspices of the SF in SF group, who have arranged a Kafkaesque reading for the annual San Francisco Litquake festival. Doors (and drinks) at 6 pm, Readings start at 7 pm. Terry Bisson and Carter Scholz will be reading as well as me.

And here’s an R. Crumb-illustrated plug for our reading in the Huffington Post.

My story will be reprinted soon in Kafkaesque: Stories inspired by Franz Kafka, edited by John Kessel & James Patrick Kelly. Here’s part of the story note that I wrote for this new anthology.

I wrote “The 57th Franz Kafka near the start of my literary career, in the spring of 1980. My wife and I were in Heidelberg for two years—I had a grant to do research on infinity at the Mathematics Institute of the university. During this period I read and reread the Penguin Modern Classics edition of The Diaries of Franz Kafka several times, drinking in Kafka’s vibes and chuckling over the crazy letters he’d write to his relatives and to the family of his lady friend.

One aspect of Kafka’s writing that’s perhaps not as well-known as it could be is that Kafka himself considered his stories to be funny. His friend Max Brod reports that Kafka once fell out of his chair from laughing so hard while reading aloud from one of his works, perhaps from Die Verwandlung, that is, The Metamorphosis. Our puritanical and self-aggrandizing American culture tends to make out Kafka’s work to be solemn and portentous. But it’s funny in somewhat the same way as Donald Duck comics…

And here, just as a teaser, are the first two paragraphs of my dark tale:

Pain again, deep in the left side of my face. At some point in the night I gave up pretending to sleep and sat by the window, staring down at the blind land-street and the deaf river.

The impossibility of connected thought. Several times I thought I heard the new body moving in the long basin.

Here’s a photo taken at the event—me, Terry Bisson, and Carter Scholz. There’s also some video of the event on YouTube, there’s a link to the video segment with me reading “The 57th Franz Kafka.” Thanks to Litquake, Evan Karp, and Stellar Cassidy for making and posting the video.

My Emperor Norton Award (Tachyon Party at Borderlands)

I was at Borderlands Books in SF for the annual Tachyon Publications party on Sunday from 2-4.

Among the assembled SFictional luminaries were my fellow-writer (and Kentuckian) Terry Bisson, Charlie Jane Anders , a writer and impresario known for editing the SF site io9 & running the Writers With Drinks salon, and Jeremy Lassen—my editor and publisher at Night Shade Books—dressed in a full-on zoot suit from Mission Street.

One of the events at the party is the awarding of two Emperor Norton Awards. As Locus magazine explains:

The Emperor Norton Awards are a San Francisco Bay area specific award given each year for “extraordinary invention and creativity unhindered by the constraints of paltry reason”. The award is named after and commemorates the memory of Joshua Norton I, Emperor of the United States of America and Protector of Mexico, and are presented annually by Tachyon Publications and Borderlands Bookstore in San Francisco.

I was a proud recipient of one of the Norton Awards! It’s nice to get an award now and then, very heart-warming. Along with me, the photo shows Jacob Weisman of Tachyon Books, Jude Feldman of Borderlands Books, and SF eminence grise Richard Lupoff.

The other Emperor Norton award went to Steve Boyett.

Here’s a close-up of my finely printed certificate. Emperor Norton was known for printing his own money—which became an accepted local currency in 1870s San Francisco! Kind of like being a writer, really. We deal with funny paper.

It was a great day and a fun party. Many thanks to Tachyon and Borderlands.

A main reason for my award is that many of books are set in the SF Bay Area, most recently Jim and the Flims, my fantastic novel of Santa Cruz and the afterworld, published by Night Shade this June. See my JIM AND THE FLIMS page for more info.

Unrelated photo: Rooting through some old scrapbook-style journals, I came across this picture of me with my SF mentor Robert Sheckley in Venice Beach, CA, around 1987. Bob would be proud of me today.

By the way, if you stop by Borderlands, they have a number of large, very high quality, signed color prints of my paintings that I made on heavy archival paper. We’re looking to sell a few of these off, so the price is all the way down at $18 a print. Stop by and get one if you’re walking by. Another kind of “Emperor Norton money.”

JIM AND THE FLIMS Reading, now with Podcast

[Added on Monday, July 11, 2011] Here’s a podcast of my reading on July 10: the first chapter of Jim and the Flims with some Q & A. By the way, the station also has a podcast (made by Rick Kleffel) of reading I did back in January from my forthcoming autobiography Nested Scrolls on “The Birth of Transrealism”. You can click on the icon below to access .

My publisher and editor Jeremy Lassen was there yesterday with Liz Upson and Tomra Palmer of Night Shade Books, which was nice.

And here’s the assembled audience.

And I was glad to have fellow writer John Shirley and my artist pal Paul Mavrides there, too.

[Now back to the old post…]

Jim and the Flims, my fantastic novel of Santa Cruz and the afterworld has appeared from Night Shade Books. See my JIM AND THE FLIMS page for more info.

On Sunday, July 10, at 3:00 pm, I’ll be giving a reading from Jim and the Flims at the fabulous and cozy Borderlands Books (and cafe) on Valencia Street in San Francisco. We’ll have a Q & A session after the reading, and we’ll be giving away a large, high-quality art print of one of my paintings.

Get in your flying saucer and come on over.

JIM AND THE FLIMS in Capitola/Santa Cruz Saturday Night.

Jim and the Flims, my fantastic novel of Santa Cruz and the afterworld has appeared from Night Shade Books. See my JIM AND THE FLIMS page for more info.

I’ll be giving a reading from Jim and the Flims at the Capitola Book Café on June 4, at 6:30 pm, sharing the podium with Kim Stanley Robinson, who’ll read from Galileo’s Dream, with Rick Kleffel moderating a discussion.

Four New Books

I have three new books coming up in 2011-2012. Well, four, if you count the new edition of my self-published art book

(1) I just published a new edition of my art book, Better Worlds, on Lulu. It has 79 color paintings now, and sells for $29 paperback or $5 as a PDF.

(2) Jim and the Flims, my fantastic novel of Santa Cruz and the afterworld will appear from Night Shade Books in June, 2011. See my JIM AND THE FLIMS page for more info.

I’ll be giving a reading from Jim and the Flims at the Capitola Book Café on June 4, at 6:30 pm, sharing the podium with Kim Stanley Robinson. And I’ll be reading at Borderlands Books on Valencia St. in San Francisco on Sunday, Jun 10, at 3 pm.

(3a) My autobiography Nested Scrolls is also coming out, first in a limited edition from PS Publishing in July, 2011.

(3b) And a second edition of Nested Scrolls will appear in a hardcover from Tor Books in December, 2011. See my NESTED SCROLLS page for more info.

(4) Last of all, my small anthology Surfing the Gnarl will appear in the Outspoken Authors series from PM Press in January, 2012.

Speakage, and PDA 2011

First I’ll mention three talks in this post. And later, at the end, I add an update about the PDA 2011 con at Internet Archive.

(1) On Friday, February 25, at 4:45 pm, I spoke for a half hour on “Lifebox Immortality” at PDA 2011, a Personal Digital Archiving conference at the awesome Internet Archive in San Francisco—which is housed in a repurposed, Greek revival style Christian Scientist church, shown above

For background on my lifebox idea, see my recent post on “Digital Immortality Again.” I used “lifebox” to mean a digital or online simulacrum of a person. I go into considerable detail about the lifebox in my non-fiction book, The Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul, and in a recent article “Lifebox Immortality” in h+ magazine.

In a nutshell, my idea is this: to create a virtual self, all I need to do is to (1) Place a very large amount of text online in the form of articles, books, and blog posts, (2) Provide a search box for accessing this data base, and (3) Provide a nice user interface.

I made a first crude stab at this a couple of months ago, with my Rudy’s Lifebox page at This page lets you Google-search my rather large site.

[A skyline in San Sebastian, Spain]

(2) Rick Kleffel made a nice podcast of a reading I did of “The Birth of Transrealism,” a chapter from my forthcoming memoir, Nested Scrolls: A Writer’s Life, back on January 15, 2011, in San Francisco at the SF in SF gathering. Here’s his post about the podcast on his blog, “The Agony Column.” You can also get to the podcast via , click the icon below.

(3) A videotape of my Garum Day talk in Bilbao is now online as well.

[Rudy being a Continental writer in his new *eeek* Basque beret]

You can find my description of my Bilbao talk in my recent post, “Selling Yourself”. It relates to the lifebox theme as well.

(Back to 1) Now for some notes on the PDA 2011 meeting at the Internet Archive.

As I mentioned above, the venue was in an amazing building. Brewster Kahle (shown above with his server) acquired it a year or two ago for housing the Intenet Archive. Instead of air-conditioning the servers, Brewster has fans drawing air through them…and the air cycles into the building to heat it.

Good old Ted Nelson gave a talk, to some extent promoting his awesome autobiography, Possiplex.

Gordon Bell, the famous lifelogger was there. I stood next to him and talked to him for a few minutes—a genial guy. And the SenseCam he wears around his neck must surely have taken my picture. So I’m safe in his lifelog!

Cathal Gurrin of Dublin City University was wearing a SenseCam as well, he’s accumulated I think 7 million photos over four years, it takes about 3 shots a minute. Searching the database is the hard problem. I asked him the two obvious privacy questions, and he said he reflexively pauses it for 5 minutes as he walks into a restroom and…he takes it off at night so it can recharge.

And my old pal Faustin Bray from the Hacker and the Ants days was there as well, looking good and, as always, taping and filming for her Sound Photosynthesis site, which features Richard Feynman, Terence McKenna, Robert Anton Wilson and other freaky luminaries.

The meeting had an interesting vibe of a whole lot of people turning up and discovering that there were others interested in the same thing—logging aspects of our lives in digital forms. One thing that struck me was that everyone has their own very distinctive notion of what they’d like their lifebox to be like. In a way, it’s similar to the way that people select different kinds of statues for putting over their graves! Virtual funerary monuments. Ghostly pyramids of Cheops. I’m telling you, this is going to be a huge industry.

More: Daniel Reetz gave a great talk on the impact of ubiquitous low-cost cameras, especially as relating to DIY Book Scanning. And Rich Gibson gave an inspiring and relaxed presentation of the new movement towards gigapixel (and larger) photos, see the Gigapan site. I also met Evan Carroll, co-author of Your Digital Afterlife…this book was mentioned the recent New York Times Sunday magazine article about digital immortality.

Videos of the talks will be up in a week or two.

My Garum Day Talk, “Selling Yourself”

(Post updated on February 23, 2011)

I was in Basque country from Feb 14 – 22, 2011, giving a talk at Garum Day on Feb 16, 2011, in Bilbao.

My talk was called (with slight irony) “Selling Yourself,” and it had to do with various ways in which we try to make money by selling information, culiminating in the notion of creating software replicas of yourself—and then going on to “sell” interactions with your personality model online.

I posted a PDF of my “Selling Yourself” powerpoint slides online, and a draft of the full ‘Selling Yourself” essay.

The Garum Foundation, by the way, takes their name from a type of Roman fish sauce; part of the idea is that, at their meetings, they mix together an interesting stew of ideas, another part of the idea is that a recipe for a traditional recipe is kept alive by communication and interaction.

The Garum Foundation organizer is an idealistic banker, Jose Ignacio Goirigolzarri. The conference was fun, and I had some extremely good meals.

Garum Day brought in a really big crowd, many of them were faculty or students with the Universidad de Deusto, and a number were execs for Spanish industries and banks. I took a photo of them at the end of my talk, which was more or less as outlined in the online PowerPoint and essay, although I threw in quite a bit of autobiographical material. Here’s the photo of the crowd.

The audience at Garum Day, Feb 15, 2011. If you want to find yourself, click for larger version!

As of February, 23, 2011, a videotape of my talk became available online.

At the end of my talk, one person asked if I had advice for entrepreneurs in our age of the internet revolution. I didn’t give a great answer at the time, but here’s a three things I might have said.

(1) Chatbot or lifebox emulations of humans will be a huge online industry, see my post on “Digital Immortality Again.”

(2) Any interesting online program should have a quality of unpredictability or gnarliness so as to appear lifelike and engaging. See my essay “Seek the Gnarl” or my Surrealist video, “What Is Gnarl?”

(3) Online sites are most interesting if you put a full personality into them, and have them be “transreal,” that is, in some sense autobiographical, but with a layer of elaboration atop that. For some discussion of transrealism see my post “Unpredictability and Plotting a Novel.” You can also listen to a podcast of my recent talk, “The Birth of Transrealism.”

And, yes, my advice isn’t what you’ll normally hear in business school but…when has past knowledge ever been right about the future? Odd paths and new recipes are worth a try.

Another fact about Garum Day—the conference’s techs and organizers were largely drawn from a cooperative group known as Las Indias, who say they were originally inspired by concepts of cyberpunk! Here’s a picture of me with them.

Finally, for non-natives of Bilbao, I’ve placed a photo above that shows the awesome hall of Richard Serra sculptures in the Guggenheim Museum here. Serra says his suite is about time. I guess the future is at the far end…

Ripping Vinyl to MP3s for iTunes.

I link to this page from a new post on February 18, 2014. And I revised this page here, as well.

This post goes with another post called, Managing Music in iTunes.

My goal is to document how I got about ripping my old vinyl records into mp3 files that I can run through iTunes to get them onto my iPhone for playing the car and through my stereo, etc. It’s been two years since I did this, and I’m glad I documented the process at that time, as this kind of info has a very short half-life, that is, I forget the tedeious details. So now, in 2014, I’m tacking another what at my vinyl lode, and I’m updating this info.

And I link into these two info pages from a

By the way, the first album I ripped, back in 2012, was the first one I ever bought, Go Bo Diddley, purchased fifty years ago when I was 14. “Crackin’ Up.” [Apparently people can post copyrighted songs on YouTube because the users don’t get to keep the song, they only get to listen to it stream from the site.]

Don’t you think this dino looks like a triumpant Joey Ramone? He learned how to rip his vinyl, which is shy he’s so glad. You might select the following text block and have your browser do a Print | Selection for a handy sheet-of-paper guide for your ordeal.

(1) You can use a regular (non-USB) turntable, but it’s advisable to have a little pre-amp box about the size of a pack of cigarettes. The turntable sends two plugs into the pre-amp, and you run two lines out of the pre-amp. You need a two-to-one connector to hook the pre-amp to your computer. This looks like a single jack, but it is in fact carrying sterio. This 2-to-1 connector wire can be the same one that you might use to plug your one-socket iPod or iPhone into the two stereo input jacks of a living-room sound-system amplifier, although when you do that, you’re using the connector the “other way around.”

(2) You use the two-to-one connector to run from the pre-amp into the “Line In” jack that you can find on the exposed back of your sound card on the back of your desktop computer. Most laptops don’t have a Line In jack. You don’t want to use a “Microphone” jack, as that won’t pass the stereo through.

(3) You get the free software Audacity for Windows , Linux or Mac. You fire up Audacity and set the Speakers selector in the menu bar just to Speakers (this is just for monitoring), and you set the Microphone selector to “Line In.” SEt the right most selector to “2 Stereo Input Channels.” Click on the round button to start recording. A moment later, put your needle onto your turntable and let your record play. You can see the wiggles of the sound on the Audacity screen, and you can set the computer to pass the Line In sound out to your computer speakers to monitor waht’s going on. This always takes me awhile and I always forget how I did it. But now I just figured it out yet again, so I’ll write it down. I’m using Windows 7 (and I can’t help you with the Mac OS0. I go to the Windows Control Panel, open the Sound dialog, go to the Recording sheet, right click on Line In, click on Properties, go to the Listen sheet, and click Listen To This Device. Simple, huh? See the Audacity turorial files for help on recording a record on your computer.

(4) Tape both sides of the record into a single file, probably using separate tracks for side on and side two. The different tracks are different horizontal graphs of squiggles. Check the Audacity tutorial about setting the sound level, basically you slide the “microphone” slider in the upper right until the dancing horizontal sound bars are almost but not quite hitting the right ends of the indicators. If you stop and start and make several tracks in your Audacity screen, it’s okay as later when you export, it’ll handle them all. But be sure to make a new track start at the time point where the previous one stops, otherwise you’ll end up hear two tracks at once. You can use Tracks | Alight Tracks | End to End to line up the tracks. ( You might want to do Ctrl+A to select all and run the Effect | Click Removal and maybe Effect | Normalize to clean up your track. YOu can even screw around with Noise Removal and Equalize, but I tend not to run any of the filters, as I don’t really know what I’m doing, and I worry about degrading the original vinyl sound.) Now to save as separate songs. You have to show Audacity where the breaks between songs are, see the Audacity help on this. The easiest way to do this is by hand, inserting labels. There’s an automatic Analyze | Find Silences control you can use, but it doesn’t work very well because vinyl really never is silent anywhere. So I put the labels in my hand, sometimes looking at the song list on the album to make sure I get the right count. I don’t bother putting song names in the labels, just leave them blank, Audadicty can put in numbers for the labels when you save, which keeps them in the right track order. You save the recording into separate files, one for each song. You can use the “Export Multiple…” command, sending the files into a reasonable directory like Music\Bo Diddley\Go Bo Diddley, as numbered files. To give the files reasonable automatic names, check the “add number after file name prefix” and type in a prefix name like rollingstone_letitbleed. And tell Audacity not to ask you about each song, set Edit |Preferences | Import/Export to turn off “Show Metadata Editor prior to each step.” Typically you save the filesin a fairly high quality MP3 format, using the File | Export (as MP3) | Options dialog to use a Variagle bitrate with a target quality of maybe level 5. You can look at file sizes and listen to them to decide. Don’t close your Audacity project file until you’re sure that everything exported properly and is in good shape, and properly trimmed. Or seave the project in a temporary file. You can re-edit and re-export a project as mp3 with no loss in quality. You don’t normally want to SAVE the project file longterm as it’s huge. And you don’t want to re-open and re-edit and re-export an MP3 as every pass through this cycle degrades quality.

(5) Open your newly created directory of (still unnamed) mp3 files with (if you’re a Windows user) the tool mp3tag. Highlight all your tracks and make sure they’re sorted from low track number to high track number (by default it’s often the other way around…you change the sorting by clicking on the “name” heading in the browser). Now you can use the album name to get mp3tag to look up and install the track name metatags for you. There’s various places to search, sometimes you need to try more than one of them. Mp3tag offers several options under the Tag Sources menu item. Don’t try and mess with the freedb option…in my experience it is essentially impossible to get the settings right for freedb. Instead use the MusicBrainz option which is in fact a front end for the freedb data base in any case. Or use the Amazon options. When you find the right list, mp3tag can copy the web data into your track title metatags. And then you can get it to copy the track titles onto the file names. One issue here is that if you skipped some tracks of your album, then your track list won’t match what’s ont he album. The mp3tag program throws up a dialog that lets you adjust the track matches, moving your tracks up and down in play order. I don’t know what the best free Mac tool like mp3tag is, you can find a list of some apparently free options on Softonic, although many “free” wares later turn out not to be. By the way, it doesn’t work very well to import your tracks into iTunes and then ask iTunes to find the track titles for you, as iTunestends to only want to help you with tracks that you bought from theiStore.

(6) Use the File | Add Folder to Library… selection in iTunes to bring your new files into iTunes. You can find a nice album cover with a quick Google image search and paste it into place.

(7) Of course getting control of your iTunes music storage is a whole other (large) issue. I have a page on this topic as well, see my post called, Managing Music in iTunes for Free. The most important step is that you need to use your own directory structure for the music and not let iTunes “manage” the music…which would mean hiding it off in a zillion folders with meaningless encrypted names. But, as a I say, that’s a whole other issue, and I get into it in that other post.

And now…wah-wah-wah of timewarp…this post segues from the 2014 update back to the original post of 2011.

Upcoming event: I’ll be reading “The Birth of Transrealism,” a section from my forthcoming memoir, Nested Scrolls , at 7 PM this Saturday night, January 15, 2011, in San Francisco at the SF in SF gathering in the Hobart Building on Market St. near Montgomery St. and 3rd St. Diana Paxson will be reading as well.

My writing is moving slowly this month. It’s taking some time to ramp back up after the Xmas break. Also I pissed away days and days tweaking my music collection on my computer for my new iPhone, and coming to terms with the obtuse and balky iTunes music management software. And blogging about it, God help me. As an on-going part of the process, I’m “ripping” some vinyl records to files. Converting analog to digital, which is, of course, a good analogue for my lifebox-and-Ware-Tetralogy Digital Immortality kick. I have a brief guide to ripping vinyl at the end of this post.

One cool thing about my novel-in-progress, Turing & Burroughs is that it shows Alan moving against the tide, that is, he’s going from digital computers to analog biocomputations. But the more relevant thing is that it shows something computational (the skugly biocomputation) becoming symbiotic with human life (like people carrying smart phones).

I remain unsure about the over-all plot, which is hanging me up. When I’m lost sat sea in the middle of a book, I fall back on what we used to call “paper-shuffling.” That is, I play with organizational matters. Tidy things up. It’s like—when I lose my wallet, glasses or keys, I can often find them by cleaning up my whole office.

I’ve also been firming up my ever-evolving conceptions about the skugs and their origins, and this involves revisions. It seems a bit much to suppose that the skugs have really strong personalities, as they’re just AI-tweaked networks of biocomputations. I need to keep reminding myself that they’re not alien invaders. This said, I do have the possibility of giving the skugs a hive-mind personality that’s to some extent based on what they pick up over radio and TV signals. This could be a correlative for, e.g., the hive minds you see if you study Twitter or Facebook or Google search results.

Looking ahead, I had been planning to add in a higher level of reality populated by dreamskugs, effectively a second race of odd critters. But yesterday in the car, driving up to Berkeley with my wife, I was telling her about my plans for the book. And when I got to the dreamskugs, she was like, “What!? Don’t do that again, Rudy! One kind of creature is enough. Don’t always overdo it.” And she’s right.

It boggles the mind to think about how many kinds of critters I jammed into each of my last three novels, that is, Postsingular, Hylozoic, and Jim and the Flims. It’s okay and maybe even good that I packed those books with alien eyeball kicks, but it’s a baroque high-SF supercartoon style that I’d like to get away from for Turing & Burroughs. I’d like to see novel one be a more stripped-down. Like a 1950s black and white SF invasion movie. Like Them or the originals of The Fly or The Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers.

But way of opening up my mind to a new conception fo the novel, I moved the second half of my former outline into a new “False Paths” section of my notes for the novel. As I discuss in my free “A Writer’s Toolkit” on my writing page, having this kind of data repository means that I feel less constrained in making brutal cuts and changes to the old outline (or to the text). And thus, today I managed to rewrite my working outline, which is something I’ve been wanting to do for a month. It’s the kind of job that only takes an hour or two when you do it—but getting your head in the right place for the job can take weeks or months.

See some of you Sat nite, I hope.

Art Show at Borderlands Cafe

Another art show! Rudy’s latest paintings.

It’ll run all month, starting November 5 at Borderlands Cafe at 870 Valencia Street in San Francisco. Public parking lot on 21st street.

Opening party is Friday, November 5, from 5 to 7 pm. Join us if you can!

Reading at Borderlands in SF, Saturday 3 p.m.

I’ll be reading from The Ware Tetralogy on Saturday, August 14th at 3:00 pm at Borderlands books in San Francisco.

The store is at 866 Valencia Street, see directions here.

We’ll also be selling some of my older books, and my art book Better Worlds, and some high-quality prints of my paintings.

Hope to see some you there!

Art Show Party, Saturday, May 22, 2010

I had two art show parties in the lobby of the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building on Market St. in San Francisco. It’s a small space, but it has a bar. Here’s a link to a Google map. It’s not easy to park right there, so you might plan to park in one of the garages a block or two away.

I squeezed in 23 of my recent paintings. Rina Weisman of SF in SF fame is doing a lot to make this happen—thanks, Rina.

The opening party was Friday, April 9, from 6-9 p.m. (We had a nice crowd that night, maybe 70 people. I sold a few books and prints. Thanks for turning out, guys!)

Here’s a video of the pictures after I hung them—a couple of hours before the actual show.

And the closing party on Saturday, May 22, from 6-10 PM, where I’ll also read with author Michael Shea as part of the SF in SF author series. I think the plan is that we’ll party from 6 to 7, have the readings (with breaks) and discussion from 7 to 9, and party a bit more from 9 to 10. Don’t feel like you have to come for the whole thing, but do drop by if you can. I’ll be reading some of the all-time gnarliest scenes from my Ware novels, soon to appear . m My readings will be some of the gnarliest bits from my forthcoming four-novel omnibus Ware Tetralogy. Michael will be reading from his kick-ass new novel, The Extra.

To have some stuff to sell besides paintings, I made a new edition of my book of collected paintings, Better Worlds, with paintings #1 through #66. I ordered twenty-five of them on spec, and I’ll be selling some of them at the parties at about the same price as on Lulu, charging $32 each—only signed and with no shipping charge.

I’m also planning to sell a few prints. This weekend I made about 20 high-quality prints of my paintings, using my new high-end Canon Pixma 9500 ink-jet printer and some classy 13” x 19” Hahnemühle Photo Rag paper. As always, you can also buy the prints online from Imagekind, but the ones I’m selling in person will be signed, and a (slightly) better buy, I’m thinking $29 each for the big ones.

A real bright spot on the art front: I’ve found buyers for the Hylozoic triptych, for Under the Bed, and for Octopus in a Funny Hat. But don’t worry, there will be plenty more pieces on sale at the show, see the price list on my paintings page for what’s currently available.

It would be cool if I could keep inching the art biz upward. Or not. Just painting for fun is okay, too. Whether or not it pays, turning painter seems like a good move for an aging writer. I remember as a teenager being impressed to learn that the geezer-writer Henry Miller was selling his dashed-off-looking paintings. Forget the words, just smear the colors around!

At the show, I’ll be offering my painting, Thirteen Worlds, for sale. Unlike my other works, Thirteen Worlds is also available as a Creative Commons Noncommercial-Share Alike hi-res download, so you can make your own print of this one. Cory Doctorow generously funded this release of Thirteen Worlds, which he’s using as an alternate book cover for his “freemium” story collection With a Little Help .

Retro old coot that I am, I thought I’d sold Cory the painting, and was all set to ship it to him—and he was like, “Oh, my place is too full as it is. Keep the physical object and sell it again. All I really want to buy are the rights to use the image as a cover. And…can you make it a Creative Commons release, too? That fits the theme of my book.” Sure, Cory!

On a completely unrelated note—to allay my pre-show jitters, I dove back into fractal programming for the last couple of days, and I figured out how to draw the quartic and quintic versions of the Julia sets and the Rudy sets. Rather than making a fresh post about this boring-for-most-people news, I just added the new material into my prior post, “The Rudy Sets.”

Freakin’ and a-geekin’!

Three Talks in Melbourne, Australia

Hey, I’m in Melbourne, Australia, for a couple of days.

I’m giving two talks at the Burwood campus of Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, this week. Both the Deakin talks are in the “Moot Court” room on the Burwood campus of Deakin University, Building C, Level 3. Here’s a map.

* Tuesday, Nov 24, 4 to 5 p.m., “My Life as a Writer”. We videoed this, and I hope to podcast it.

* Thursday, Nov 26, 1 to 2 p.m., “Life is a Gnarly Computation”. Here’s a link to a PDF file of the slides for the talk.

And I’m giving a talk on with Leon Marvell at the “Re:Live” conference at the University of Melbourne. The talk is at the Seminar Room in the Federation Hall of the Faculty of VCA and Music, University of Melbourne, 234 St Kilda Road. More info at the conference page.

* Friday, Nov 27, 3:30 to 5:00 p.m., “The Lifebox Soul Replicator”

Come hear me if you can!

Unrelated link: some guy blogged about buying a Kindle version of Hylozoic. which he’s now reading on his iPhone.

Clarion West. Reading in Seattle.

I’m heading off to be the instructor for the final week of the Clarion West science-fiction writing workshop in Seattle.

To get ready, I reworked and expanded the “Writer’s Toolkit” document that I use when I talk about writing.

I’ll be doing a reading at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 28, 2009, at the University of Washington Book Store in Seattle. More info here.

Two More Readings

I’m back—we were vacationing in Denmark and Norway. I’ll be blogging some of my travel notes and photos over the next couple of weeks. I’m pretty jet-lagged, so today I’ll just do a quick post with info on two readings coming up next weekend.

[Cod, salmon and Norwegians at the aquarium near Alesund.]

Saturday, July 11, 2009,
7:30 to 9:30 PM, (doors at 7:00 PM).

The Writers With Drinks show .

I’ll be reading from Hylozoic at this monthly show at the Make Out Room bar/club in San Francisco. The show will, as always be emceed by the redoubtable Charlie Jane Anders. As well as me, the evening features Derek McCormack, Hugh Behm-Steinberg, and Chelsea Martin.

Location: The Make Out Room, 3225 22nd. St. between Mission and Valencia,
San Francisco, CA. Admission: $3 to $5 sliding scale.

[Sphinx atop the Royal Theater in Copenhagen.]

Sunday, July 12, 2009.
2:00 PM

Dark Carnival Bookstore

Location: 3086 Claremont Ave, Berkeley CA.

Hylozoic Readings

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m going to be over at as a guestblogger for the last two weeks of May, 2009. You can find the BoingBoing guestblog posts listed here.

Meanwhile, the following is a list of the upcoming readings to promote my latest novel, Hylozoic.

(Picture from 1982, accepting the first Philip K. Dick Award.)

Saturday, June 06, 2009. 3 P.M.
Borderlands Books

866 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Sunday, June 07, 2009. 7:30 PM
Moe’s Books

2476 Telegraph Avenue
Berkeley CA 94704
Wednesday, June 10, 2009. 7:30 P.M.
Books, Inc. in Mountain View

301 Castro Street
Mountain View, CA 94041
Sunday, July 12, 2009. 2:00 PM
Dark Carnival Bookstore

3086 Claremont Ave.
Berkeley CA, 94705

EFF Reading with Doctorow, Rucker, Anders, Newitz

On Monday, March 23rd, 2009, the Electronic Freedom Foundation is holding a fundraising event featuring Cory Doctorow, Rudy Rucker, Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders reading from their latest works.

The event is at 7pm at the 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco. Admission is $25 (because it’s a fundraiser), but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Keynote Talk “What is Sex?” at Arse Elektronika

Saturday, September 27, 2008, 1 p.m.
CELLspace / 2050 Bryant Street, San Francisco.
Rudy gives a keynote talk on “What is Sex?” for Arse Elektronika .

What is Sex?

Each of us is here as a link in a chain of a zillion reproductive sex acts. The pleasures of partnership and the orgasm help make us obsessed with having sex, even if we don’t know or care about reproduction. We might think of sex as any path that leads to orgasm. Note here the difference between sex with a person and, say, sex via pornography. In sex with a person, you’re talking about emotion, the positions of your limbs, touch across large skin areas, tastes, scents and pheromones. In the “artificial sex” of pornography, you’re talking about visual images, perhaps enhanced by recorded sounds. Amazing how little we’re willing to settle for! How might artificial sex improve? I’ll sketch some science-fictional scenarios.

Litquake Steampunk Reading and Panel

Thursday, October 9, 7:30 p.m.
The Variety Preview Room, 582 Market St. @ Montgomery, 1st floor of The Hobart Bldg.
Rudy reads and joins a panel as part of a “Steampunk” evening for the Litquake festival in San Francisco.

Reading at Arse Elektronika

Friday, September 26, 2008, 9 p.m., doors 8 p.m.
Center for Sex & Culture, 1519 Mission Street near 11th, San Francisco, September 26 / 9pm, doors open at 8 pm
Rudy participates in the Arse Elektronika reading of sexual science fiction, organized by Carol Queen.

Introduce Stephenson at Moe’s

Wednesday, September 10, 2008 at 7:30 p.m.
Moe’s Books at 2476 Telegraph Avenue, in Berkeley CA.
Rudy introduces Neal Stephenson for his reading from his new novel Anathem .

Live Worms Gallery Show

A group show at Live Worms Gallery on 1345 Grant Street (between Green and Vallejo. Map.) in the North Beach area of San Francisco, based on the Caunes-Minervois Painting session with Glen Moriwaki in June 2007.

Paintings by our teacher, Glen Moriwaki, and the 5 artists who painted in Caunes: Kevin Brown, Paul, Barbara Hefennan, Rudy Rucker, Sylvia Rucker.

As well as “The Muse,” Rudy will be showing his Hylozoic triptych and “Minervois Awning.”

Show Dates: April 8-12th.

Opening party Friday, April 11th from 5-7 p.m.

Rudy will be watching the gallery Saturday afternoon from 1 to 5 p.m., so stop by if you want to say hi to him; bring a book if you want it signed.

A good place to park is the public Vallejo Street garage on Vallejo Street across Columbus Ave between Stockton St. and Powell St.

The Muse

Talk at Sonoma State

Monday April 7 2008, 5 p.m, Multipupose Room, Student Union, Sonoma State Unverisity.

The Lifebox, The Seashell and The Soul, Dr. Rudy Rucker, Noted Author, Mathematician, Programmer and aLife Hacker.

“Dr. Rucker is one of the original Cyberpunk authors and his prescient imagination never ceases to amaze. He has written numerous fiction and nonfiction works detailing the deep philosophical foundations of mathematics, artificial life, Artificial Intelligence, future technology and the meaning of life. Dr. Rucker will discuss his radical views on the future relationship between humanity and technology, presenting his arguiment that Everything Is Alive.”

Link to the talk in PDF form.

Map to Sonoma State University.

Campus Map.

“Psipunk,” Osaka, Japan, Oct 16, 2007

I’m going to present a version of my “Psipunk” talk at the Cybermedia Center, Osaka University.

Here’s the Powerpoint!

The talk will be from 5 to 6 pm. on Tuesday, October 16, 2007.

I love Osaka for being the home town of one of my favorite rock bands: Shonen Knife, touring the US again in November.

Not to mention the experimental musician Tetsuya Umeda. Here’s a cool image from Umeda’s page:

Reading at the Booksmith, Nov 13, 2007

On Tuesday, November 13th, at 7 pm., I’ll reading from Postsingular at that great indie San Francisco bookstore, the Booksmith on fabulous Haight Street.

If you can’t attend, but want to order a signed copy of Postsingular, you can do so via the Booksmith Collectibles page. They have some other signed titles by me in stock as well.

Bach Concert with CA Light Show, Nov 16, 2007

Multum in Parvo: The Music of Bach & Gnarly Computation

An illustrated concert by Rudy Rucker and the Galax Quartet, with triple harp by Cheryl Ann Fulton.

Friday, November 16, 7:30 pm.
College Avenue Presbyterian Church
5951 College Avenue at Claremont Avenue
Oakland, CA

Price of admission: Donations accepted

View Larger Map

Many of Bach’s works showed a unusual devotion to economy and concentration, melodic and contrapuntal writing of ravishing beauty derived from a single intricate theme, finding much in little, multum in parvo.

Our program is a collaboration between San Francisco’s historical-instrument Galax Quartet, triple harpist Cheryl Ann Fulton, and award-winning science fiction writer and mathematician Rudy Rucker, who will present his striking images of cellular automata, visually beautiful examples of multum in parvo.

David Wilson and Kati Kyme, violins
Roy Whelden, viola da gamba
Paul Hale, ‘cello
Cheryl Ann Fulton, triple harp
Rudy Rucker, cellular automata graphics

“What is Life”, Kyoto, Japan, Oct 17, 2007

A talk on “Life as a Gnarly Compuation, or, Is a Fluttering Flag Alive?” at a “What is Life?” conference honoring Yukawa’s dream, sponsored by Kyoto University, in Kyoto, Japan.

View an online PDF of my PowerPoint slides: “Life is a Gnarly Computation, or, Is a Fluttering Flag Alive?” online.

Rudy’s Paintings at Live Worms Gallery, Nov 9-11, 2007

As part of the launch for his new book, Postsingular, Tor Books is helping Rudy Rucker stage a three-day exhibition and sale of his paintings at the Live Worms Gallery in San Francisco.

The show will run November 9 – 11, Friday through Sunday. Stop by anytime on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday to talk to Rudy, who will be manning the gallery himself.

* Opening night party Nov 9, Friday night, 7 pm – 11 pm.

* Reading Saturday afternoon 4 pm – 6 pm with Kage Baker and Rudy Rucker. Hang around and schmooze afterwards; we’ll have some refreshements, and you can buy our books from a table manned by Borderlands Books.

The gallery is at 1345 Grant Avenue between Green St & Vallejo St (see map). Approximate hours of opening (including events):
Nov 9, Friday: 2 pm – 11 pm
Nov 10 Sat: 11 am – 7 pm
Nov 11 Sun: 11 am – 4 pm

Parking can be tough in North Beach; try the public Vallejo St. garage on Vallejo St. across Columbus Ave, a block west of Stockton, which usually has room. It’s funky, but safe, as it’s next to a police station!

American Book Center, Amsterdam

Reading at the American Book Center in Amsterdam, on Friday the 13th of April with R. U. Sirius, time 18.30-20.00.

Rucker and Doctorow, SF in SF

Rudy and Cory Doctorow reading SF stories, for about a half hour each, starting at 7:15 on Wednesday, May 16. Readings followed by Q&A discussion. This is a kick-off for phase 2 of Terry Bisson’s “SF in SF” series, now sponsored by Tachyon Books. It’s at a new venue: VARIETY THEATRE at 582 Market St, San Francisco. Cash bar.

Vlogging and Panpsychism at Dorkbot SF

Rudy presents at the monthly San Francisco Dorkbot meeting, held at 3359 Cesar Chavez Str. at Mission St, starting at 7:30. Others will give some short presentations as well. There’s a cash bar and maybe even food. Rudy will talking about some of his recent ideas about the distant future, including extreme forms of videoblogging plus his (unrelated) notion of quantum computational psipunk panpsychism (or hylozoism), whereby every object is alive.

Reading at MSRI in Berkeley

Rudy will read from Mathematicians in Love, followed by a Q&A session at MSRI (Mathematical Sciences Research Institute) in Berkeley, at 4:30, Friday, March 2, 2007. This 45-minute event will serve as light entertainment after the MSRI Annual Academic Sponsor’s Meeting.

Rudy and R. U. Sirius in Amsterdam

R. U. Sirius and I will be speaking in a retrofitted warehouse, Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 at 8 PM. The event is called “High In Cyberspace” and is part of a the “Sciencefiction/Sciencefaction” series of talks sponsored by the Waag Society.

On their page, you can click at the upper right hand corner to see the page in English. The Waag Society — based in a cool old building called the Waag (which means, I think, “scales”, and I think this was once a customs house) is a think-tank and institute which works in the fields of networked art, healthcare, education and internet related issues like bandwidth and copyright.

Also sponsering the event are the Internet provider XS4AL and the Cyberspace
Salvations research team of Leiden University and the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

“Life is a Gnarly Computation,” Lecture in Rochester, NY

Special lecture: “Life is a Gnarly Computation”, at Rochester Institute of Technology, NY, 8 PM Wed, April 4, 2007, in Webb Auditorium (James E. Booth Memorial Building – 7A).

Reception & book signing in lobby after talk.

Before the evening lecture, in the late afternoon, there will be a panel on my work, “Math Meets Fiction on the CyberEdge:
A Colloquium on the Gnarly World(s) of Rudy Rucker” (Panelists: Jeff Johannes, Steve Jacobs, Peter J. Lazarski and Moderator, John Roche) (4-5:30 – College of Science Auditorium, 08-1250)

Talk at Sunnyvale Library

I’ll talk about writing and my career and then have some Q and A at Sunnyvale Library, Sunnyvale, 7 PM, March 7, 2007.

Reading at Borderlands, SF, Sat, Feb 10

I’m giving a reading at Borderlands Books, 866 Valencia St., SF, 3 PM, Sat, February 10.

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