Rudy Rucker

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My real speciality is the mathematical analysis of Hilbert Space operators. But this was no time to come on like an ivory-tower idealist.

Rudolf von Bitter Rucker (born 22 March 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 most famous for the novels in the Ware Tetralogy, the first two of which (Software and Wetware) both won Philip K. Dick Awards. At present he edits the science fiction webzine Flurb.



The Sex Sphere (1983)

Ace ISBN 0-441-75984-X
  • I'm not a brave man. My self-image is of a very small and weak person. In point of fact, I'm almost six feet, and solidly built. But I was a late bloomer. I spent those formative early high-school years as a pudgy little science whimp. I'm still scared of big men with deep voices.
    • p. 13
  • Not only am I scared of big, strong men, I'm scared of mean little women. It's just little skinny men and nice big women that I get along with.
    • p. 40
  • I stared down at the object in my lap. A skin-colored sphere the size of a giant beach ball, with breasts on top and a mouth between the breasts. At the bottom were the generous buttocks, a crinkly anus and a vaginal passage containing my rapidly limpening penis. Was this safe?
    • p. 65
  • It was funny. I knew I didn't want the bomb to be a success. But yet I'd spent so many years working around physics labs that I couldn't stand not to do it right.
    • p. 68
  • This brought back the sick, ashamed feeling I'd woken up with. I was no better than some geek with a foam-rubber woman's torso like they advertise in Hustler. What a pathetic, twisted version of womanhood: all the "inessential" parts lopped off, nothing left behind but tits and ass and holes. Lifelike washable plastic skin. Greek and French features. But yet, in a way, wasn't the sex sphere always what I'd wanted in a woman? An ugly truth there. "Shut up and spread!" How many times had I told Sybil that, if not in so many words?
    • p. 69
  • Amazing, the respect that nuclear weapons bring.
    • p. 74
  • I had formed a vague idea that the sex sphere was a hypersphere extending into the fourth dimension. Which meant that if the sphere's giant cunt swallowed me I could end up somewhere very . . . different.
    • p. 84
  • Sybil had an unreal, larger-than-life feeling . . . as if she were a person in a book.
    • p. 103
  • At first the tumbling had me totally disoriented. With each degree that I turned, the images around me would deform and change. Three given blobs might split or merge to two or five, while some other shape's angular facets would sprout interlocking crystals. It was a little like trying to make out a human body by watching a Carousel slideshow of three hundred sixty microtomed cross sections.
    • p. 106
  • But after a while, some higher brain-center cut in, and I began being mentally able to fit the wildly changing scenery into a coherent four-dimensional whole. The process was really no more devious than the process by which one integrates the two hundred lines of a TV screen into a single two-dimensional image . . . which in turn is interpreted as a three-dimensional scene. It's just a matter of processing information. Impossible? I saw.
    • p. 106
  • A person's lifeworm is a tangle of atomic worldlines. A braid. The dotty little atoms trace out smooth lines in spacetime: you are the pattern that these lines make up. there is no one single atom that is exclusively yours. I breathe an atom out, you breathe it in. Your garbage helps my tomatoes grow. And so the little spacetime threads weave us all together. The human race is a single vast tapestry, linked by our shared food and air. There are larger links as well: sperm, egg and umblilicus. Each family tree is an organic whole. Your spacetime body tapers back to the threads of mother's egg and father's sperm. And children, if you have them, are forever rooted in your flesh.
    • p. 108
  • This is just so typical of you, Alwin, to be in love with a giant ass.
    • p. 111
  • The fifties were supposed to be a golden age when the pig had everything his way. That's what TV and the government wants us to believe: there was a time when no one made trouble. What about Kerouac, you assholes? What about Neal?
    • p. 130
  • Was I to be Earth's first casualty in the Attack of the Giant Ass From Hilbert Space?
    • p. 133
  • At the most elemental level, reality evanesces into something called Schröedinger's Wave Function: a mathematical abstraction which is best represented as a pattern in an infinite-dimensional space, Hilbert Space. Each point of the Hilbert Space represents a possible state of affairs. The wave function for some one physical or mental system takes the form of, let us say, a coloring in of Hilbert Space. The brightly colored parts represent likely states for the system, the dim parts represent less probable states of affairs.
    • p. 133-134
  • The matter of color is more confusing. Not every property of a system can be stated as a definite spatio-temporal state of affairs. A system's tendency, for instance, to move from State A to State B, but not from State B to State A . . . a tendency like this is not any specific event which you can point to in space and time. These nonspecific properties correspond to overall gestalts in the Hilbert Space coloring. Alternating bands of red and green light might, for example, represent a particle which is moving from left to right but which has no specific location. A good mood could be a golden haze not tied to any particular cause.
    • p. 134
  • For whatever reason, we find it easier to "read" Hilbert Space patterns in terms of time. Yet the patterns exist outside of time. Thinking timelessly is not some unusual skill; when you remember last night's supper you sense a whole and not a chew-by-chew replay. To know a novel's action is to grasp the four-dimensional spacetime whole described.
    • p. 135
  • Don't you think women would like a man's head that always listens to them and agrees?
    • p. 153
  • Women care about specifics, about details. Men care about generalities, about abstract principles.
    • p. 153-154
  • There are many possible realities, infinitely many. Yet most of them are not . . . alive. Most of them are like books that no one ever actually wrote. A group-mind, like humanity's, lights up one given world. What makes this world different from some ghostly alternative universe is that we actually live here.
    • p. 171
All page numbers from the trade paperback reprint edition published by Thunder’s Mouth Press ISBN 1-56025-703-2 in 2005
  • I knew you’d say that. You’re so anal, Fletcher. Too much math.
    • Chapter 1, “This Is the Name of This Chapter” (p. 5)
  • The government had recently repealed all speed limits in an attempt to boost oil consumption.
    • Chapter 4, “Stars ’n’ Bars” (p. 23)
  • Oh, yeah, she told me about that. I think mysticism’s a bunch of crap. All religions are a bunch of crap.
    • Chapter 7, “100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000” (p. 44)
  • I wished she would go away and let us destroy the universe in peace.
    • Chapter 8, “Magic Doors” (p. 51)
  • This provender was at a double remove from reality; it was artificially made food that had been further treated in an attempt to make it healthy.
    • Chapter 9, “Looking-Glass World” (p. 63)
  • I’ve never seen a religion that wasn’t basically evil.
    • Chapter 10, “God’s Laws” (p. 72)
  • “Now that’s a fib, I know,” said the black woman. “Is you folks preachers?”
    • Chapter 14, “Wanted” (p. 110)
  • It’s perfect, isn’t it? It just goes to show that everything I’ve ever said about religion is true. The sky’s the limit when it comes to religious stupidity. Here we have a race of alien invaders, and the evangelical true believers are flocking here to get taken over.
    • Chapter 16, “Blue Gluons” (p. 122)
  • Anyone who’d volunteer for alien domination doesn’t really deserve to have his or her freedom.
    • Chapter 16, “Blue Gluons” (p. 126)
  • “I’ll wish for ten million more bucks while I’m at it.”
    “And immortality?”
    “No, no. I don’t want to live forever. Death’s the only thing that keeps me going.”
    • Chapter 17, “Sit on My Butt” (p. 129)
  • The surest way to be unhappy is try to be happy all the time.
    • Chapter 23, “The Way Uptown” (p. 180)
  • “What’s superspace?” I felt around for my body and couldn’t find it.
    “Thoughtland, Fletch, the cosmos. Pure mentation. Abstract possibility. Infinite dimensions. The class of all sets. God’s mind. The pre-geometric substratum. Hilbert space. Penultimate reality. White...”
    “Cut the crap, Harry.”
    • Chapter 29, “Rudy Rucker Is Watching You” (p. 220)
All page numbers from the trade paperback reprint edition published by Tor ISBN 978-0-7653-2039-1 in 2008
  • My roommate says anyone who mails bombs to computer scientists can’t be all bad.
    • Chapter 1, “Bela, Paul, and Alma” (p. 21)
  • Mother Nature doesn’t want power-tripping greedheads looking up her skirts.
    • Chapter 2, “Cone Shell Aliens” (p. 59)
  • People always have bad news for you when they call you “sir.”
    • Chapter 3, “Rocking with Washer Drop” (p. 101)
  • “Do you know computer science?”
    “I know it’s for lamers who can’t handle real math.”
    • Chapter 3, “Rocking with Washer Drop” (p. 137)
  • Although my mood swings were the logical and deterministic results of my inputs, they were dismayingly hard for me to foresee, let alone control.
    • Chapter 4, “Hypertunnel at the Tang Fat Hotel” (p. 151)
  • There’s only one way that people change the past, Bela. They stop thinking about it. They move on.
    • Chapter 4, “Hypertunnel at the Tang Fat Hotel” (p. 152)
  • In a sense mathematics is quite objective: the same deductions can become known to everyone who starts with the same axioms and definitions; the same abstract forms can be universally perceived. So it’s perfectly possible to talk math with a cockroach from Galaxy Z.
    • Chapter 5, “Mathematicians from Galaxy Z” (p. 250)
  • It was odd, odd, odd to see people die. The world rolled on the same as before, as heedlessly as if a person were an ant or a wildflower or a puff of wind. Nature kept on making more and more of everything, and never mind that birth is a death sentence. And now that I’d been to La Hampa, I knew that creation was even more prodigal than I’d ever imagined. There were worlds upon worlds filled with people struggling and swarming like fretful gnats, all of them doomed to vanish into dust while the cosmic dance spun on.
    • Chapter 6, “The Gobubbles” (p. 301; in the book, La Hampa is a parallel world)
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