The Hacker and the Ants

by Rudy Rucker

First Edition, Avon Books, 1993
Second Edition, Running Press, 2003.
Buy Paperback .
Buy Ebook.

Free Notes on Writing The Hacker and the Ants

The Novel of Silicon Valley


What if William Blake had worked in the "dark Satanic mills" of the Industrial Revolution? What if Rudy Rucker had worked as a programmer in late 1980s Silicon Valley? Rudy did. Behold the result: The Hacker and the Ants.

This cyberpunk adventure reads like a ripped-from-Reddit romp of white hat hacking, artificial intelligence run amok, and unstoppable electronic bugs. It's a modern nightmare: the most destructive computer virus ever. Programmer Jerzy Rugby spends his days blissfully hacking away in cyberspace — aiding the GoMotion Corporation in its noble quest to create intelligent robots. Then an electronic ant gets into the machinery ... then more ants .... then millions and millions of the nasty viral pests, wreaking havoc throughout the Net. And suddenly Jerzy Rugby is Public Enemy Number One, wanted for sabotage, computer crime, and treason — a patsy who has to unravel the plague of virtual ants. 


With a protagonist named Jerzy Rugby, hackers who call themselves Bety Byte and Riscky Pharbeque and computer daemons that look like ants and destroy digital television transmissions, Rucker's novel clearly dwells in that peculiar subdivision of postmodernism known as cyberspace. As it is enthusiastically described, Rugby's attempt to design a household robot that can function even in the most dysfunctional of homes seems truly like the Great Work he believes it to be.
            — Publishers Weekly.

Impatient hackers itching for the next leap forward in computer technology will be thankful for this, the latest vivid romp through cyberspace wonderland. … Rucker's tale engagingly previews a Silicon Valley that's just around the corner and displays a wealth of potential computer innovations that is truly breathtaking.
            — Booklist

A fascinating vision of corporate intrigue and digital creativity run amok. Told with a great amount of humor, this lighthearted look at the world of hacking and cyberspace is as much parody as a possible misadventure of the future.
            — Interzone

He has caught the very soul of Silicon Valley.
            — Nick Herbert, author of Quantum Reality.

As a satire of Silicon Valley and a cockeyed glimpse at the future of virtual reality, The Hacker and the Ants works marvelously. Rucker is one of science fiction’s wittiest writers, and this new novel displays his considerable talents to full effect.
            — San Francisco Examiner-Chronicle.

Humorous thriller... Estimable.
            — New York Times Book Review.

Rudy's Blog

Book cover art and design by Georgia Rucker.