Friday, October 8, 2010

Book review: Software by Rudy Rucker

Software by Rudy Rucker
176 pages Paperback
Eos publishing

This 1982 cyberpunk classic is a must read for Science fiction fans. I am not sure why others read science fiction but I read it because the ability for the stories to expand my thinking. Out of date in some ways Software holds up very well and that might be because Rudy Rucker is a genius, for real a genius. A mathematician and computer scientist Rucker writes science fiction novels no one else could match. Inventiveness, radical thinking and pretty comical through out.

Software is closer to traditional Science fiction or cyberpunk than some of Rucker’s other books like White light, Space Time Donuts or Mathaticians in Love which exist in Rucker’s own invented sub-genre of Transrealism. Rucker brings a tongue in cheek sense of humor to his work, while software is not quite as knee slapping as others it is a great work of Sci-fi.

The story of an aging hippie Cobb Anderson a anarchist revolutionary who is dying in 2020 Florida, to poor to afford a new heart he is saved by his creations. Boppers are robots, that evolved to have artificial intelligence thanks to upgrades designed by Cobb. He wanted to create a revolutinary type of robots that resisted being slaves to human. The renegade Boppers live on the moon intend to give Cobb immortality, in the body of a robot.

The questions of what is reality? What does life really mean? They are all here is the first book of four in Rucker’s most popular series. Software does dip it’s toes in the trans real water, as Cobb’s major contribution to the robot revolution is teaching one of his 12 orginal boppers to overwrite Asimov’s laws. In a sense that in the most important thing cyberpunk and Rucker are doing here is breaking Asimov’s laws, which are often enforced throughout science fiction.

Another one of my favorite parts is when one human character watches the process of another human's body being taken apart and being mechanical. Rucker does a great job in the scene of making Organic life as we know seem totally disgusting.

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