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About Rudy

Rudy Rucker in 2010
[Photo by Sylvia Rucker, 2010]

Rudy Rucker is a writer and a mathematician who worked for twenty years as a Silicon Valley computer science professor. Rucker is regarded as contemporary master of science-fiction, and received the Philip K. Dick awards for his cyberpunk novels Software and Wetware.

It’s worth noting that his novel Software (2020), was the very first SF work to introduce the by-now-very-familiar notion of transferring a human personality to a bot. What’s more, Software was the first SF novel in which robot minds are evolved, rather than being designed.

As well as writing cyberpunk, Rucker writes SF in a realistic style known as transrealism—where the author uses SF archetypes to symbolize the  concerns of the characters. This is an increasingly common style among mainstream authors.

Rucker’s forty published books include non-fiction books on the fourth dimension, infinity, and the meaning of computation.

Rucker has also worked on several software packages; he runs a podcast of his talks; and you can browse some of his works online, including his autobiography NestedScrolls and his Complete Stories.

For many more links, see the main page of Rudy’s Blog.

30 Responses to “About Rudy”

  1. Rudy Says:

    Morgan Roche—You can find images of lots of my paintings through links on this blog, for instance here is a nice painting of beach in California called “Four Mile Beach,” just click to see it. You can print that screen and take it to school. I hope your teacher doesn’t expect you to get an original painting on canvas via email! 🙂 — Rudy R.

  2. John Roberts Says:

    Yo, Dr. Rucker!

    Just wanted to let you know how greatly I’ve enjoyed reading the Lifebox, The Seashell and the Soul, and also the Ware Tetrology (I plan to read all of your work, as time permits).

    I’ve been interested in many of the ideas covered in those books for some time, but reading them inspired me even further.

    As a fellow painter, I wanted to share this Moldie-inspired pointillist painting I did, which makes use of lots of scrolling patterns and toys around with ideas related to emergent phenomena, as well (Seriously, the final work wouldn’t have come out in quite this way at all, if not for the Ware books):

    Sincere thanks for broadening my horizons, man.

  3. Rudy Says:

    John, these are really really nice paintings. Kind of a superpointallist style. I’m thinking you use acrylic? If you ever show these in the SF Bay area, let me know, would be interesting to see them in person.

  4. John Roberts Says:

    Thanks! I like your paintings, too.

    Yup, acrylic dries quickly, so it is much easier to lay down one layer of color on top of the other than it would be with oil.

    Man, it would be a nice thing if I were able to show some paintings in the SF area. Since I live in Croatia, it wouldn’t be very practical to do so any time in the near future. Still, you never can tell where life will lead…

  5. Jim Nichols Says:

    I’m pleased at having encountered your website in the course of looking for something else. I was traversing a list of contributors to Boing Boing and your named leaped out as one I recognized. I read several of your novels years ago when I discovered “cyberpunk” fiction. I didn’t know you were into painting, too, which I love. Obviously I’m catching up with your career. Your software offerings are of great interest. I’ll bookmark your site and look forward to many returns. Very best wishes….

  6. alex Says:

    I’ve read The Hacker And The Ants, and let’s see … Software, Wetware, … seems there were three of them. Maybe 4? Living robot colonies on Mars and old folks getting their drugs drops by helicopter. “Bex brews it herself”. It’s been a while. I just have no patience with fiction any more, but yours was some of the last I’ve read. You and Stanislaw Lem.

    Good stuff, your writing. Good thing you got a straight job teaching college kids to draw Karnaugh maps so you could write without pressure.

    Carry on.

  7. Stephan Pickering/Chofetz Chayim ben-Avraham Says:

    Shalom & Boker tov, Rudy…How does one obtain a PDF (even a photocopy) of your 1980 paper ‘The actual infinite’?
    Stephan Pickering / Chofetz Chayim benAvraham

  8. Bruce Camber Says:

    I went looking for an answer in Fuller’s Synergetics I & II, D’Arcy Thompson’s On Growth & Form, Shubnikov’s Symmetry, and Whyte’s Aspects of Form.

    Then I remembered “Rudy’s Infinity and the Mind. I looked. No dice.

    Base-2 scientific notation. Have you seen it laid out from the smallest at Planck’s constant to the human scale to the largest scale at the edges of the observable universe? I hadn’t, couldn’t find it, so created a Big Board of our little universe for five geometry classes just this past December 2011. My nephew is their teacher and he asked me to substitute. He went on his fifth anniversary cruise.

    Strange things happen when you substitute:

    I have had your 1982, December ’83 edition of “Infinity and the Mind” on my bookshelf through 20 moves. It is now safely resting with in a stack that includes Einstein, Sagan, Bronowski, Capra, Bohm, and others. You are in good company. On page 27 of that book, you introduce the reader to the platonic solids. The trick is to go inside each of them. What is perfectly enclosed in the tetrahedron? …octahedron? …icosahedron? When you begin looking at those nested objects and the diversity of structure within just a few notations, recurring structures throughout nature is just simple commonsense.

    I’d love to chat with you about this big board and why we have not seen it in other classrooms. Thanks.

  9. Gabriel McCann Says:

    Any chance of you releasing more of your books (eg. Complete Stories) as iBooks instead of just on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Believe it or not I don’t have a credit card and I buy books and music online using those itunes cards you can buy in any shop instead of using credit.

  10. Rudy Says:

    Gabriel, thanks for that hard link to the iBooks offerings…I’ve had trouble figuring out what that link would be. Anyway, I’m working to get my volumes onto iBooks, but this is a bit more complicated than getting them onto Kindle and NOOK, and will take maybe another month or two. Kind of like applying to Stanford 🙂

  11. Romaric Says:

    Hello Mr Rudy Rucker!
    Discover your name on préface of “mostly harmless – globalement innofensive”, Douglas Adams, french version, préface wrote by Jean Bonnefoy. He’s talking (Jean Bonnefoy) about you like a “écrivain-mathématicien-poète-vulgarisateur” as Ian Stewart (Scientific American)… interesting…
    I’m trying to find some translation in french of your work, but this quest is long and hard (impossible ?), and my english understanding is not enough to appreciate your “prose” in original version… hope you will think about it (a massive translation in Old europe langage as french) a soon a you can,
    and so…
    Best wishes, sending good vibes…

  12. Rudy Says:

    Romaric, there exists a fat omnibus of my writings translated into French, Denoel 2005, Maitre De L’Espace Et Du Temps. Perhaps it’s out of print, but if you search the web, I’m sure you can find a used copy or a copy in a library.

  13. Brick Marlin Says:

    Mr. Rucker,

    While searching for more science fiction novels at a local used bookstore – especially stories set in the early sixties and such – I stumbled across “Software” and “Wetware” at the same time. After reading “Software” in just couple of days’ time, I was hooked! I am so intrigued with the dark side of science fiction, stemming from reading great tales written by Phillip K. Dick. I am a writer myself, but can only skim the boundaries of science fiction in my work developing other worlds and bizarre characters.

  14. Anne Odling-Smee Says:

    Dear Rudy

    I am a designer working with a maths educator called Phillip Kent ( on a 5 day news journal called Litmus Paper for Cheltenham Science Festival in the UK.

    We would very much like to publish an extract from this piece:

    Would you allow us permission to do so if we send you the edited version along with a copy of the newspaper once it is printed?

    We would be delighted if this would be possible, we are big fans of your work and your ideas.

    Thank you very much
    Anne Odling-Smee, Director of DesignScience

    PS The event is in 2 weeks so apologies that this is short notice and we would need to hear from you rather quickly.

  15. anna Says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your talk today. You’re funny. I guess I’m going to have to read you now, wondering where I should start. Thank you for making the drive to SF worth it.

  16. Rudy Says:

    Anna, I’m glad you liked my talk at the P K Dick Festival. A good place to start with my books is the WARE TETRALOGY, you can find ebook and paperback editions at Or look at some of the offerings on

  17. Sperry Andrews Says:

    Hola Rudy,

    I´d be interested to learn of your vision,
    for what global telepathy woud be like ?

    As an experiential scientist, it is my actual aim to serve and support nature´s aim
    for us all to share transparenly and tele-somatically here on Earth .

    e.g. (15min)
    This dialog with a friend of mine might be fun to listen to ?

    What´s UP and WHAT WE ARE AS IT, Choicelessly Awakening

  18. jd Says:

    Hi Rudy, you’ve got a big fan in Peru!

  19. Sergio Burns Says:

    Hi Rudy

    I am a UK based journalist – at the moment writing as a financial journalist for Mail On Sunday (UK national with 5 m circulation) World Finance magazine and Elephant (Oil and Gas mag).

    This year I am trying to stretch myself, looking for fresh ideas and new angles for my journalism. I have always been interested in the idea of ‘cyberpunk’ genre and that idea of five minutes into the future world concept.

    I quite like the idea of writing about this style of writing and wanted to write something with the angle – ‘Is there anything to learn from ‘cyberpunk’ literature or how close are we to that dystopian – high tech future?

    Happy to discuss

    Warm regards

  20. pat belford Says:

    Halfway thru Software. Feel the uncontrollable urge to tell you it needs chapter titles.

  21. San Base Says:

    Dear Rudy,
    my name is San Base, I am an artist from Canada. I work in a rather unusual genre, I call it Dynamic Painting. It is an alloy of mathematics and visual art.

    I would like to send you a gift – a Blu-Ray disk with several dynamic pictures meant to be enjoyed on a 3D TV.

    I love your Sci-Fi books; they inspire me in my art.
    Take a look at these 3D virtual worlds, perhaps they, in turn, can inspire you. I’m pretty sure you’ve never seen anything like this before.

    If you are interested, please let me know what postal address to ship to.

    Best regards,
    San Base

  22. GREG GABREL Says:


    I am the owner of am antique store and recently acquired a Freak Brothers painting on velvet, it is signed by what appears to be Ruly. It is very nice but I am looking for some (any) help identifying the painting and est. value. The painting is framed but the painting itself measures 35″ T x 25″ W. I have pics if that will help.
    Thanks in advance for your time.

    Best regards.

    Greg Gabrel
    Talt Antiques

  23. Rudy Says:

    Greg, I forwarded your question to my artist friend Paul Mavrides, who has been known to do black velvet paintings, and who was also a collaborator on many of the Furry Freaks cartoons. Best, Rudy

  24. Michael Waterman Says:

    Hi Rudy.

    Call me “Dutch.” I am slightly your junior. In October I turn 70.

    In 1980 a friend loaned me a copy of “The 57th Franz Kafka.” Loved it! (I cut my teeth on Kafka. We all fear we will wake up as Gregor Samsa.)

    Then I read and loved “Software.” I recently reread the Ware Tetralogy. Brilliant fun! I just read “Saucer Wisdom.” Frank Shook lives in San Lorenzo! (An homage to Vonnegut, methinks.) I binged on Vonnegut last year and collected many Vonnegut treasures. This year I am binging on Rucker. Life is good! (No reading plans for 2019 yet.)

    I abandoned my mathematics major in favor of fine arts in 1966. (Fickle me, I turned away from the arts to pursue a more “secure” future in Computer Technology in 1978, after marrying my wonderful wife, Kyla. (BTW: In 2001 my “secure” Computer career tanked. It was outsourced and I haven’t worked since. I now consider myself an “Earth Visitor.”)

    Math-like question: I assert that the universe is filled with what I term “subtle energies.” These energies are not currently recognized by science because science has “yet” to find a way to measure them. The ultimate subtle energy is the Life Force. It is the impetus that drives the cosmos. The cosmos is all about life!

    Your thoughts?

    Some call the Life Force “god,” but gods are objects of worship. The Life Force does not require worship, but if you choose to pursue a spiritual life, you can find no finer god than the Life Force! Worship optional.

    I have tried my hand at writing but the results have been only modestly encouraging. I will leave the writing to you, while I continue in my role as life-tourist. Californian by birth, I have lived in the Seattle vicinity of the Cosmos since 1973.

    Also, I poet. {Brace yourself!}

    Break bread with me,
    And I will break infinity with you.

    My ePoetry is available on Amazon. “In Trance the Candid Answers Dance.”


  25. piero scaruffi Says:

    Wondering if Rudy Rucker could be interested in giving a 20-minute talk at Stanford as part of the Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous series that has been going on for 10 years and spread to 30+ universities. Alas, we only have a tiny budget for this so the most we can offer for honorarium is $150. Best, piero scaruffi (LASER founder, among many other things: )

  26. Galileo Says:

    Hi my names Galileo
    I’ve recently become interested in geometry in higher dimensions. I have looked all over the internet and havent found many people who are “experts” on the subject, but was wondering if you could help me with something. Me and a friend are trying to figure out how many edges a fifth dimensional Pentagon has. We know it isnt possible to actually have a 5d Pentagon, but we figure if we can find a formula that works for the previous numbers of edges (0, 1, 5, 30, 720) we can make a chi representation of what a 5d Pentagon looks like.

  27. William L. Ramseyer Says:

    Hi Rudy, this is message rather than a comment. I hope that you are your family are well. Send me a message at my email if you would like to be in contact, and perhaps we can meet and hang out either in the Bay Area or at my house near Paso Robles (search “Almond Chateau” for photos). Cheers! Bill

  28. Dan Abella Says:


    This is Dan again, I forgot to mention DystopiaSci Fi Con will be hosting The
    8 th annual Philip K. DIck Film Festival.



  29. Jan Willem Klop Says:

    Dear Prof. Rucker, dear Rudy, I am/was a theoretical computer science professor of exactly your age, now with emeritate from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
    As a postdoc I loved your book Infinity and the Mind, and now am rereading it while writing with a colleague half our age, a book about term rewriting systems and lambda calculus, which presupposes ordinals and cardinals. I still love your book. I searched in vain for a reference to the Absolutely dense linear order of AB words of length big Omega, p.82-83 in 1982 edition, from Hausdorff as you said. Could you give a hint leading to a reference for Hausdorff’s fascinating AB-words? Couldn’t find it in his two(?) books. We like to include that magnificent example in our book. If you like, we will send you a copy when finished! All the best,

    Jan Willem
    Jan, I can’t remember where I heard of this. In the footnote (15) to Infinity and the Mind I seem to say I found the idea proved Set Theory by Kuratowski & Mostowski, so you might check there, but probably you already did that. -RR

  30. Prof. R.C. Says:

    Dialogue revised from The Graduate (1967)
    Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
    Benjamin: Yes, sir.
    Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
    Benjamin: Yes, I am.
    Mr. McGuire: Gnarl!
    Benjamin: Exactly how do you mean?
    Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in gnarl. Think about it. Will you think about it?
    Benjamin: Yes, I will.
    Mr. McGuire: Okay. Enough said.

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