Your Guide to the 21st Century!
It starts with Software, where rebel robots bring immortality to their human creator by eating his brain. Software won the first Philip K. Dick Award.
In Wetware, the robots decide to start building people—and people get strung out on an insane new drug called merge. This cyberpunk classic garnered a second Philip K. Dick award.
By Freeware, the robots have evolved into soft plastic slugs called moldies—and some human “cheeseballs” want to have sex with them. The action redoubles when aliens begin arriving in the form of cosmic rays.
And with Realware, the humans and robots reach a higher plateau.
Cory Doctorow has described the Wares as his favorite free CC book of all time!
The Ware Tetralogy.
Rucker’s four Ware novels—Software (1982), Wetware (1988), Freeware (1997), and Realware (2000)—form an extraordinary cyberweird future history with the heft of an epic fantasy novel and the speed of a quantum processor. Still exuberantly fresh despite their age, they primarily follow two characters (and their descendants): Cobb Anderson, who instigated the first robot revolution and is offered immortality by his grateful “children,” and stoner Sta-Hi Mooney, who (against his impaired better judgment) becomes an important figure in robot-human relations. Over several generations, humans, robots, drugs, and society evolve, but even weird drugs and the wisdom gathered from interstellar signals won’t stop them from making the same old mistakes in new ways. Rucker is both witty and serious as he combines hard science and sociology with unrelentingly sharp observations of all self-replicating beings. This classic series well deserves its omnibus repackaging, particularly suitable for libraries. — Publisher's Weekly.
Rudy Rucker is one of the modern heroes of science fiction, one of the original cyberpunks. The early cyberpunks only had a few writers who could be meaningfully called punks — writers like John Shirley and Richard Kadrey — but there was only one who could truly be called cyber: Rudy Rucker. Rucker is a mad professor, a mathematician and computer scientist with a serious, scholarly interest in the limits of computation and the physics and mathematics of higher-dimension geometry. But that’s just about the only thing you can describe as “serious” when it comes to Rucker. He’s a gonzo wildman, someone for whom “trippy” barely scratches the surface. His work is shot through with weird sex, weird drugs, weird brain chemistry, and above all, weird science. — Cory Doctorow
One of cyberpunk’s most inventive works. — Rolling Stone.
Delightfully irreverent. This is science fiction as it should be: authoritative and tightly linked with our real lives and our real future. — Washington Post Book World.
One of science fiction’s wittiest writers. A genius ... a cult hero among discriminating cyberpunkers. — San Diego
Union-Tribune. Eminently satisfying ... intelligent and witty ... the climax of what may well have been one of the most important SF series of the past 15 years. — Washington Post Book World.
Much has been made of Rucker’s affinity with Dick, insofar as they both identify with and honor the common man, and both men write with a lucid simplicity that allows them to convey the weirdest ideas in the easiest to understand form. Rucker wishes — for himself, his characters, and everyone else — the maximum freedom that reality will allow. — Isaac Asimov’s SF Magazine.
It is fast-paced, funny, and celebrates the complexity of the universe without dumbing it down. It adds up to a unique voice in SF, exuberant, vigorous and dense with strange but vividly realized ideas. — Interzone.
Freeware is a fearlessly weird and very funny romp through a seedy, decadent 21st century America. Rucker’s evocation of the 21st century has an internal logic that provides a firm foundation for his gonzo inventiveness and dark humor. — San Francisco Chronicle-Examiner.
Rucker’s writing is great like the Ramones are great: a genre stripped to its essence, attitude up the wazoo, and cartoon sentiments that reek of identifiable lives and issues. Wild math you can get elsewhere, but no one does the cyber version of beatnik glory quite like Rucker. Rucker does it through sheer emotional force ... it’s not his universes, it’s his people and how the relate to each other — and to the spiritual. That’s what Realware has going for it: healing and a calm sense of spirituality. — New York Review of Science Fiction.
Strangeness is one of the main attractions of science fiction, and Rucker delivers plenty of it — exotic technologies, a funky future culture, mathematical head trips. Yet Rucker invests his main characters with surprising depth and complexity. From time to time the novel’s often madcap tone becomes unexpectedly serious, even tragic. — SCIFI.COM
Rucker has written a generational saga that spans sixty years of mind-blowing change. Without sacrificing any of his id-driven wildness, Rucker has developed into a benevolent, all-seeing creator ... Realware brings to a fully satisfying conclusion this landmark quartet. — Isaac Asmiov’s Science Fiction Magazine.