Complete Stories, by Rudy Rucker. Complete Stories by Rudy Rucker. Including collaborations with Bruce Sterling, Paul Di Filippo, Marc Laidlaw, John Shirley, Rudy Rucker Jr., Terry Bisson, and Eileen Gunn. Buy some of their works! Complete Stories is Copyright . The introduction and the notes to the stories describe the stories' previous publications. Last updated on November 1.
Introduction. Jumpin’ Jack Flash. Enlightenment Rabies. Schr. On the whole, the later stories are better than the earlier ones, so you might do well to start reading somewhere towards the middle of this collection. Like many professions, writing is something one learns on the job. Over the years I’ve published four print anthologies of my stories: The 5.
Franz Kafka (Ace Books, 1. Transreal! The big win is that, given that I’m working with an ebook, I can make make my new anthology comprehensive. Thus: Complete Stories. I first assembled this collection in 2. I expect to write a few more stories in the coming years. As time runs on, I’ll continue making new editions of my Complete Stories.
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Walt Whitman spent his whole life revising and expanding one single book of poetry: Leaves of Grass. Complete Stories is in some sense my final anthology. Flipping through these tales, I feel a mixture of nostalgia, pride, and embarrassment. I used to write as if women were wonderful, fascinating aliens—over the years I’ve gotten better at depicting them as people. Intoxication has remained a years- long literary obsession.
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My politics remain those of the hippies, punks, and grungers. But always the stories have their own wild humor and logic.
I can characterize my fiction with in terms of six concepts: (1) Thought experiments, (2) Power- chords, (3) Gnarliness, (4) Wit, (5) Transrealism, and (6) Collaboration.(1) The notion of fictional thought experiments was made popular by Albert Einstein, who fueled his science speculations with so- called Gedankenexperimenten. Thought experiments are a very powerful technique of philosophical investigation. In practice, it’s intractably difficult to visualize the side effects of new technological developments.
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In order to tease out the subtler consequences of current trends, a complex fictional simulation is necessary; inspired narration is a more powerful tool than logical analysis. If I want to imagine, for instance, what our world would be like if ordinary objects were conscious, then the best way to make progress is to fictionally simulate a person discovering this.
The kinds of thought experiments I enjoy are different in intent and in execution from merely futurological investigations. My primary goal is not to make useful predictions that businessmen can use.
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I’m more interested in exploring the human condition, with literary power chord standing in for archetypal psychic forces.(2) When I speak of power chords in the context of fantastic literature, I’m talking about certain classic tropes that have the visceral punch of heavy musical riffs: blaster guns, spaceships, time machines, aliens, telepathy, flying saucers, warped space, faster- than- light travel, immersive virtual reality, clones, robots, teleportation, alien- controlled pod people, endless shrinking, the shattering of planet Earth, intelligent goo, antigravity, starships, ecodisaster, pleasure- center zappers, alternate universes, nanomachines, mind viruses, higher dimensions, a cosmic computation that generates our reality, and, of course, the attack of the giant ants. When I use a power chord, I try to do something fresh with the trope, perhaps placing it into an unfamiliar context, perhaps describing it more intensely than usual, or perhaps using it for a novel thought experiment. I like it when my material takes on a life of its own.
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This leads to what I call the gnarly zone.(3) In short, a gnarly process is complex and unpredictable without being random. If a story hews to some very familiar pattern, it feels stale. But if absolutely anything can happen, a story becomes as unengaging as someone else’s dream.
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The gnarly zone is lies at the interface between logic and fantasy. I see my tales as simulated worlds in which the characters and tropes and social situations bounce off each other like eddies in a turbulent wake, like gliders in a cellular automaton graphic, like vines twisting around each other in a jungle. When I write, I like to be surprised.(4) My early mentor Robert Sheckley was a supremely witty writer.
Over the years I got to spend a few golden hours in Sheckley’s presence. And I think it’s safe to say that wit, rather than mere humor, was his primary goal. Wit involves describing the world as it actually is. You experience a release of tension when you notice a glitch. Something was off- kilter, and now you see what it was. The elephant in the living room has been named.
The evil spirit has been incanted. Perceiving an incongruity in our supposedly smooth- running society provokes a shock of recognition and a concomitant burst of laughter. Wit is a critical- satirical process that can be more serious than the “humorous” label suggests.(5) “Transrealism” is a word that I made up. Early on, I found that using myself and my friends as characters in my science- fiction tales appeals to me very much. My actual life is the real part, and the trans part are the cool things that happen to the characters in my science- fiction stories.
In other words, I found that I could use the special effects and power chords of SF as a way to thicken and intensify my material. The tools of science fiction can be a way to add a more artistic shape to the suppressed fears and desires that you inevitably incorporate into your fiction. To my way of thinking, transrealism is a way to describe not only immediate reality, but also the higher reality in which life is embedded.(6) Regarding collaboration, note that nearly a third of the pieces in Complete Stories were written with other authors.