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Rudy Rucker

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G.W.F. Hegel

Rudy Rucker

Known for
Ware Tetralogy


Rudy Rucker

Computer scientist

Philip K. Dick Award

Full Name
Rudolf von Bitter Rucker

March 22, 1946 (age 78) (
Louisville, Kentucky

Alma mater
St. Xavier High School, Swarthmore College, Rutgers University

Sylvia Rucker (m. 1967)

St. Xavier High School, Rutgers University, Swarth College

Locus Award for Best Short Story

The Ware Tetralogy, The Fourth Dimension, Postsingular, Wetware, Infinity and the Mind

Similar People
Bruce Sterling, Stephen Wolfram, Robert Anton Wilson, William Gibson, Martin Gardner

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Rudolf von Bitter Rucker (born March 22, 1946) is an American mathematician, computer scientist, science fiction author, and philosopher, and is one of the founders of the cyberpunk literary movement. The author of both fiction and non-fiction, he is best known for the novels in the Ware Tetralogy, the first two of which (Software and Wetware) both won Philip K. Dick Awards. Until its closure in 2014 he edited the science fiction webzine Flurb.


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Early life

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Rucker was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the great-great-great-grandson of the philosopher G. W. F. Hegel.

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Rucker attended St. Xavier High School before earning a B.A. in mathematics from Swarthmore College in 1967 and M.S. (1969) and PhD (1973) degrees in mathematics from Rutgers University.


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Rucker taught at the State University of New York at Geneseo from 1972 to1978. Thanks to a grant from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Rucker taught math at the Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg from 1978 to 1980. He then taught at Randolph-Macon Women's College in Lynchburg, Virginia from 1980 to 1982, before trying his hand as a full-time author for four years. Inspired by an interview with Stephen Wolfram, Rucker became a computer science professor at San Jose State University in 1986, from which he retired in 2004. A mathematician with philosophical interests, he has written The Fourth Dimension; Geometry, Relativity and the Fourth Dimension; and Infinity and the Mind. Princeton University Press published new editions of Infinity and the Mind in 1995 and in 2005, both with new prefaces; the first edition is cited with fair frequency in academic literature.

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As his "own alternative to cyberpunk," Rucker developed a writing style he terms Transrealism. Transrealism, as outlined in his 1983 essay "The Transrealist Manifesto," is science fiction based on the author's own life and immediate perceptions, mixed with fantastic elements that symbolize psychological change. Many of Rucker's novels and short stories apply these ideas. One example of Rucker's Transrealist works is Saucer Wisdom, a novel in which the main character is abducted by aliens. Rucker and his publisher marketed the book, tongue in cheek, as non-fiction.

His earliest Transrealist novel, White Light, was written during his time at Heidelberg. This Transrealist novel is based on his experiences at SUNY Geneseo.

Rucker often uses his novels to explore scientific or mathematical ideas; White Light examines the concept of infinity, while the Ware Tetralogy (written from 1982 through 2000) is in part an explanation of the use of natural selection to develop software (a subject also developed in his The Hacker and the Ants, written in 1994). His novels also put forward a mystical philosophy that Rucker has summarized in an essay titled, with only a bit of irony, "The Central Teachings of Mysticism" (included in Seek!, 1999).

His non-fiction book, The Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul: What Gnarly Computation Taught Me About Ultimate Reality, the Meaning Of Life, and How To Be Happy summarizes the various philosophies he's believed over the years and ends with the tentative conclusion that we might profitably view the world as made of computations, with the final remark, "perhaps this universe is perfect."

Personal life

Rucker attended Swarthmore College, where he was roommates with Kenneth Turan his freshman year. In 1967, Rucker married Sylvia Rucker. Together they have three children. On July 1, 2008, Rucker suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. Thinking he may not be around much longer, this prompted him to write the book Nested Scrolls, his autobiography.


  • As actor-speaker in Manual of Evasion LX94, a 1994 film by Edgar Pera
  • References

    Rudy Rucker Wikipedia

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