Rudy Rucker has written forty books, both pop science and SF novels in the cyberpunk and transreal styles. He received Philip K. Dick awards for his Software and Wetware. He worked as a professor of computer science in Silicon Valley. He paints works relating to his tales. His stories can be read online his Complete Stories webpage. His for coming novel Juicy Ghosts is about telepathy, immortality, and assassinating an evil, insane President who has stolen an election. Rudy blogs at

White Light by Rudy Rucker

A hipster mathematician travels to the afterworld. Young math prof Felix Rayman spends his days in another world. Between teaching indifferent students, pondering his theories on infinity, napping, and worrying about his wife and baby, he's barely here. But when his dreams separate him from his physical body, Felix plunges headfirst into a transfinite universe that looks a lot like the afterworld—complete with angels, demons, and the restless souls of the dead. And it only gets stranger, as Felix—in the company of a giant talking beetle—ascends other-worldly peaks that range past infinity toward the zone of the White Light, where Nothing and Everything are the same.



  • "In White Light Rucker commandingly synthesizes mysticism, pop imagery, the great mathematicians and their ideas, 'head culture,' and even voodoo into a novel that takes us on a wild journey to infinity, to the Absolute, and back again. As for sheer writing, there's probably no one like him."

    – John Shirley
  • "White Light is a marvelously inventive and lunatically logical story, where not only is the scaling of infinity a mad, convincing adventure, but where ordinary human happiness matters too movingly."

    – Ian Watson in Vector
  • "An adventure through time and space, the likes of which only a collaboration between Umberto Eco and Lewis Carroll could attempt. With traveling companions ranging from Einstein to the devil to a giant beetle named Franx…each turned corner of White Light is another gleeful surprise, another celebration of cleverness and imagination… This novel belongs to the tradition of science fiction pioneered by H. G. Wells, where the science is the source of intrigue that adventures grow from and propel the protagonists."

    – Amazon editorial review



After a frenzied dream of infinite catacombs I woke up with my body paralyzed again. I struggled to scream, to kick, to wave my arms. If I could only grunt, only twitch a finger—but I couldn't. I gave up and relaxed.

Although it was raining quite hard, I felt warm and comfortable. I wondered if I was dying. My mind strayed back to the dream. I had picked a perfectly random, utterly indescribable path through the labyrinth. There had been infinitely many choices, no last one, but now I was done with them all. In a way I had dreamed my way past alef-null. I wondered what it would take to reach alef-one, to go on and on through all the levels of infinity, out towards the unattainable Absolute Infinite…

But I had to wake up! With a superhuman effort I managed to roll over, and that did it. I stood up and began walking unsteadily out of the graveyard, looking around for that mausoleum I'd dreamed about. I didn't see it ahead, so I turned to look back towards the beech tree.

My real body was still lying under the tree. I was in my astral body again. The rain was falling right through me and I hadn't noticed.

I hesitated there for a time, torn between fear and curiosity. I had never been so far from my physical body before. I was scared it would die, but I was dying to see what my astral body could do out in the open.

I jumped off the ground and didn't fall back. I could fly! Maybe I should whip home, see what April was doing, zoom back here, wake up my body, walk home and ask April if I was right. Then I'd know whether or not this was real.

But that's how you got into trouble yesterday, I reminded myself. I was hovering some 15 feet off the ground. It was getting dark and I could see people walking home from work. Most of the houses had some lights on. The lit-up windows looked warm and yellow—homey. I thought of April and Iris, wanting only to love and be loved. This madness had to end.

At a touch of volition my astral body floated over to my inert flesh. The body was laying supine near the base of the beech tree. The rain came down through the bare branches to split into droplets on the greasy face. Fortunately the head was twisted to the side, and the water couldn't fill the crooked nostrils or the slack mouth. The body looked utterly uninviting, but I began trying to get back into it.

I had never been out so long before. My astral body had flowed into a blobbier, more comfortable shape, which was hard to fit to my old skeleton. The space occupied by my flesh had a clammy, icky feel to it. It was like the body cavity of a defrosted turkey, full of pimply skin, splintery bones and slippery giblets. But April needed me, and I shuffled on those mortal coils.

I tried everything then. I put steady pressure on my eyelids—nothing. I waited for minutes, then hit my nerves with a jolt of stored energy—nothing. One by one, I tried every muscle in my body. I tried to hold my breath, to wet my pants, to get an erection. Nothing doing. There was just the rhythmic weaving of my automatic body processes. Maybe I had narcolepsy.

I withdrew abruptly and hovered again in my wonderfully responsive astral body. "The hell with you," I thought as I looked down at my old body. "You'll wake up when you're ready. Meanwhile—"

I began testing the capabilities of my astral body—which looked to be made of a sort of glowing greenish jelly. Ectoplasm. I could change my size at will. One instant I towered tenuously above the beech tree, the next I was rumbling along a crack in its bark.

My light sensitivity extended as far up and down the electromagnetic spectrum as I wanted, and the sensitivity at each level could be adjusted. If I wanted to I could see by the sputtering flicker of cosmic rays.

But that was not all. I began noticing things that didn't fit into any theory of physics I'd ever heard of. There were blobs of…of stuff drifting around everywhere. Little pin-point bubbles and big dopey-looking balloons were filtering through the objects around me. With their dark wrinkles and foolish nodding, the big ones made me think of a drawing in one of Iris's Dr. Seuss books. I decided to call them bloogs like the good doctor had.