Rucker is a diamond that shoots beams of fantastically colored mind-light. This anthology of his poems, essays, short stories, and graphics (from his "Chaos" program) is broken down into several sections.
His 1983 poetry book, "Light Fuse and Get Away," is reprinted here for those who weren't able to pick it up the first time around (it was originally printed as a chapbook and limited to 50 copies). They are amazingly great info-dense poems, living creatures that'll make you marvel at what can be done with mere ASCII characters.
The second section is a reprinting of his 1983 paperback anthology of short fiction, "The 57th Franz Kafka." There's plenty of funny stories with Fredric Brown-style twist endings.
The third section has his more recent fiction, and the final section contains essays on a variety of subjects, from his confrontation with the leader of the Moral Majority to his adventures with the "Mondo 2000" gang in Japan.
The fractal graphics spread throughout are really cool. The one on page 36 looks like a galaxy that's become sentient and rearranged itself, the one on page 102 looks like a an airplane photo of a village built against a river, and the one on page 308 looks exactly like a happy cartoon Rudy wearing a jester's cap! (Compare it to his photo on the back cover of "Transreal!" Perfect!)
If you are new to Rucker and can't grok my fanboy gushing, pick up a copy of "Transreal!" and sample a few of this man's many facets.
For those of us literary types who've long harbored a prejudice which equated mathematics and mathematicians with unspirited, unhip nerdiness, Rudy Rucker, mathematician, poet, rocker, hacker and writer, comes as a welcome, long overdue revelation. "Transreal", a collection of all Rucker's shorter work to date, includes poetry, critical essays and, most significantly, over two dozen short stories which excitingly exemplify what Rucker calls "Transreal" writing.
In his own words Rucker seeks fictions which convey "immediate perceptions in a fantastic way". This he accomplishes. The stories in "Transreal" are ingenious, potent home brewed mind opening concoctions that mix brain teasing logic, puzzles and philosophical paradoxes involving untamed concepts (parallel universes, anti-matter, the Fourth dimension and synchronicity) with raunchy parables and earthy, funky fables of inspired horny hackers, thinkers and inventors.
PO Box 4674
Englewood, CO 80155
1991, 534 pgs., pb, $17.50
graphic: Disappearing Through the Skylight
Here is the TEXT POPUP for Transreal!:
"She had a scuzzy pad, two rooms on either side of a public hall. Coffee in her kitchen and cross the hall to look at books in her bedroom. Dope coming next week maybe.
He dispersed completely after that. As different variants of Ion Stepanek split off into different universes, each corresponding head would shrink..."get farther away" and a copy of his body would split off with it.
Mixed states happen all the time... Say someone asks you whether or not you want to kill yourself. Before they asked, maybe you weren't really all that much for or against suicide. That's your original mixed state. But answering the question is like being born. You have to stick out a yes-head or a no-head to answer. And the other one has to get shaved off. It could be any question. Do you like milk? Who are you going to vote for? Are you happy? Do you understand what I'm talking about?