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Timeline for My Transreal Novels

As I often say, I’ve written many of my SF novels in what I call a “transreal” style. This means that, although the novels deal with science-fictional scenes, the characters and situations in the novels are to some extent modeled on me, the people around me, and events I’ve experienced in my life. I had this idea back in 1983, very early in my career. You can find “A Transrealist Manifesto” as part of my Collected Essays, which I recently put online.

I’ve always thought that, in a loose sense, my transreal novels could be thought of as parts of a single extended work, and back in 1990, I made up a table for six of the novels, trying to show how the books might fit together. (You can find that table in the very first answer in my compilation All the Interviews, which is, as of today, 382 Q & A pairs long.)

This week, my friend Paul Di Filippo happened to send me a link to an article about Jack Kerouac’s thirteen-novel cycle, the Duluoz Legend.

So I spent August 30, 2013, making up an extensive…

Timeline for Rucker’s Transreal Novels

Book Title R’s “Name” R Life R Activities
Frek and the Elixir Frek Huggins 1956-59 Boyhood in Louisville
The Secret of Life Conrad Bunger 1963-67 College, engagement
Spacetime Donuts Vernor Maxwell 1968 Being a hippie
Master of Space and Time Joe Fletcher 1969 Newlywed, grad school
Mathematicians in Love Bela Kis 1972 Getting a Ph. D. in math
White Light Felix Rayman 1972-78 Math professor at Geneseo
The Sex Sphere Alwin Bitter 1978-80 On a grant in Heidelberg
The Hollow Earth Mason Reynolds 1984-86 Lynchburg, Virginia
The Hacker and the Ants Jerzy Rugby 1989-91 Programming at Autodesk
Spaceland Joe Cube 1991-94 The Silicon Valley scene
Saucer Wisdom Rudy Rucker 1995-97 Being a writer
Jim and the Flims Jim Oster 2008 Brain hemorrhage, near death
The Big Aha Zad/Lennox Plant 2009-12 Remembering Louisville

And I even came up with thirteen novels to put in. Note that some of the correspondences are more of a stretch than others. And some of the novels incorporate elements from more than one period of my life, and could have been positioned at different points on the timeline. Given a choice, I’ve tried to order the table in what seems to make for the best flow.

I chose not to include my six specifically cyberpunk novels in he transreal timeline table. These are the four Ware novels, and the pair Postsingular and Hylozoic. My cyberpunk novels do include characters and situations drawn from my life, but they are so purely science-fictional that they don’t really match with specific periods of my life.

I also left out my beatnik SF novel Turing & Burroughs, and my historical As Above, So Below: Peter Bruegel. These novels are, at least in a fanciful sense, biographies, and thus are less readily seen as transreal, although there are, as always, transreal elements.

I’m finishing the second draft of The Big Aha today, and I’ll be sending it to my copy-editor/proofreader. I’d kind of forgotten how much work it is to write a novel. Who knows, this might be my last one.

The end of the Ruduoz Legend?

Well, once I’ve had eight months or a year off, I’ll probably want to jump back in.

2 Responses to “Timeline for My Transreal Novels”

  1. Steve H Says:

    Last one? Ha. Brian Aldiss claims FINCHES OF MARS will be his last SF book, probably meaning he has 62 volumes of mainstream work needing a publisher. You’ll be planning another one before xmas.
    Fred Pohl’s gone. Dammit. I met him once at a party, talking to Bud Foote about Cyril Kornbluth without realizing Fred was standing behind me grinning. Nice guy.
    Also, we’ve decided some investigation needs to be done into the principle behind Red Lobster©’s “Endless Shrimp.” Possibly part of the shrimp is in another dimension? Why is this breakthrough being wasted on seafood dinners instead of producing free energy?

  2. emilio Says:

    This may be a strange thought, but maybe you can think of the books that come after Jim as coming from the other side as you reflect on your life. To wit: The Big Aha seems like an appropriate topic.

    I just came back from my forth burn, you should go next year to witness the afterworld.

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