Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Top Ten Best classic Bizarro Sci-Fi novels: Your meat suit is disgusting in #6

Over the summer I did a ten week countdown of my favorite horror novels of all time. I had fun doing it and seems based on the numbers that a lot of people were reading them. I enjoyed the discussions and so I decided to do another top down. So here are some rules, one book by each author because in this list it runs the risk of becoming the Philip K.Dick list. The second rule is nothing published in the 21st century. There are great gonzo sci-fi novels released in the last thirteen years for sure, The Skinner by Neal Asher and Dr. Identity by D.Harlan Wilson are great examples. They are great but we are talking old school now. The more weird the better, they can be serious or totally funny, the most important thing is that they are bizarro and awesome.

10.Shockwave Rider By John Brunner

9. Transmaniacon By John Shirley

8.Void Captain’s tale By Norman Spinrad

7. Beyond Apollo by Barry Malzberg

And 6 is

Released: 1982 (Winner of the Phillip K. Dick Award)

The Plot: 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 Weirdest Aspect: 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. The level of intelligent bizarro inventiveness in a Rucker novel is pretty much unmatched else in fction.

What does it say about our world? Software explores the idea that our organic bodies could become outdated altogether. 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 its toes in the trans real water, as Cobb’s major contribution to the robot revolution is teaching one of his 12 original 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.

Although released in the early 80’s this novel doesn’t feel as dated as other work from the era. Rucker seems to have a better grasp of where things are heading.

Bottom line is it good? Software is closer to traditional Science fiction or cyberpunk than some of Rucker’s other books like White light, Space Time Donuts, Mathaticians in Love or my personal favorite Jim and the Flims. They 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. Still this book is very funny.

The Author: Rudy Rucker is a mathematician, computer scientist, and then he is science fiction author. He edits a fantastic webzine called Flurb. Rucker’s work is far from traditional Science Fiction or even Cyberpunk a subgenre he is considered a founder of. Rucker’s book have a funny sarcastic tone and often get their humor from the characters. Rucker has referred to his work as Transrealism which is most on display in Saucer Wisdom which is a thought experiment (Novel?) that explores where Rucker thinks the future will go. I’m a huge fan.

Honorable mention of the week:

Songs of a Distant Earth Arthur C. Clarke

David Agranoff is the author of two published novels the Wuxia Pan style horror fantasy crossover "Hunting The Moon Tribe," and the satire "The Vegan Revolution With Zombies. He is also the author of the Wonderland award short story collection "Screams From a Dying World." His next novel Boot Boys of the Wolf-Reich is due to be released soon by Deadite press.

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