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

Complete Stories by Rudy Rucker

Every one of Rudy Rucker's science-fiction stories, a trove of gnarl and wonder, from 1976 through 2022. Includes collaborations with Bruce Sterling, Marc Laidlaw, Paul Di Filippo, John Shirley, Terry Bisson, and Eileen Gunn.

Ninety-six tales in all: "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "Enlightenment Rabies," "Schrödinger's Cat," "Sufferin' Succotash," "A New Golden Age," "Faraway Eyes," "The 57th Franz Kafka," "The Indian Rope Trick Explained," "A New Experiment With Time," "The Man Who Ate Himself," "Tales of Houdini," "The Facts of Life," "Buzz," "The Last Einstein-Rosen Bridge," "Pac-Man," "Pi in the Sky," "Wishloop," "Inertia," "Bringing in the Sheaves," "The Jack Kerouac Disembodied School of Poetics," "Message Found in a Copy of Flatland," "Plastic Letters," "Monument to the Third International," "Rapture in Space," "Storming the Cosmos" (With Bruce Sterling), "In Frozen Time," "Soft Death," "Inside Out," "Instability" (With Paul Di Filippo), "The Man Who Was a Cosmic String," "Probability Pipeline" (With Marc Laidlaw), "As Above," "So Below," "Chaos Surfari" (With Marc Laidlaw), "Big Jelly" (With Bruce Sterling), "Easy As Pie," "The Andy Warhol Sandcandle" (With Marc Laidlaw), "Cobb Wakes Up," "The Square Root of Pythagoras" (With Paul Di Filippo), "Pockets" (With John Shirley), "Junk DNA" (With Bruce Sterling), "The Use of the Ellipse the Catalog the Meter & the Vibrating Plane," "Jenna and Me" (With Rudy Rucker Jr.), "Lucky Number," "The Million Chakras," "Aint Paint," "Terry's Talker," "The Kind Rain," "Hello Infinity," "MS Found in a Minidrive," "Guadalupe and Hieronymus Bosch." "The Men in the Back Room at the Country Club," "Panpsychism Proved," "Elves of the Subdimensions" (With Paul Di Filippo), "2+2=5" (With Terry Bisson), "Visions of the Metanovel," "The Third Bomb," "The Imitation Game," "Hormiga Canyon" (With Bruce Sterling), "The Perfect Wave" (With Marc Laidlaw), "Tangier Routines," "Message Found In A Gravity Wave," "Qlone," "Colliding Branes" (With Bruce Sterling), "Jack and the Aktuals" (Or," "Physical Applications of Transfinite Set Theory), "All Hangy" (With John Shirley), "To See Infinity Bare" (With Paul Di Filippo), "Bad Ideas," "Good Night," "Moon" (With Bruce Sterling), "Fjaerland" (With Paul Di Filippo), "The Fnoor Hen," "Hive Mind Man" (With Eileen Gunn), "My Office Mate," "Yubba Vines" (With Paul Di Filippo), "Loco" (With Bruce Sterling), "I Arise Again," "Apricot Lane," "Where the Lost Things Are" (With Terry Bisson), "Laser Shades," "Petroglyph Man," "Attack of the Giant Ants," "Water Girl" (With Marc Laidlaw), "Totem Poles" (With Bruce Sterling), "Like a Sea Cucumber," "The Knobby Giraffe," "Kraken and Sage" (With Bruce Sterling), "Emojis," "@lantis" (With Marc Laidlaw), "Fat Stream," "In the Lost City of Leng" (With Paul Di Filippo), "Surfers at the End of Time" (With Marc Laidlaw), "Juicy Ghost," "Everything is Everything," and "Fibonacci's Humors" (With Bruce Sterling).





I've arranged my stories in the order in which they were composed. The later stories are more skillfully crafted, but the earlier ones have youth's reckless passion. Writing is something you learn on the job.

Over the years I've published five print anthologies of my stories:

The 57th Franz Kafka (Ace Books, 1983)

Transreal! (WCS Books, 1991)

Gnarl! (Four Walls Eight Windows, 2000)

Mad Professor (Thunder's Mouth Press, 2007)

Transreal Cyberpunk. with Bruce Sterling (Transreal Books, 2016)

All the stories from those books appear in my Complete Stories, along with about thirty new and previously uncollected tales. I'm publishing Complete Stories as an ebook, and as a two-volume print book.

But is this really the Complete collection of my stories? After all, with any luck, I'll go on to write a few more stories in the coming years. Well, as time rolls on, I'll simply make new editions of Complete Stories. This particular edition is the third, updated in 2017. Walt Whitman spent his whole life revising and expanding one single book of poetry: Leaves of Grass. Complete Stories can be my final anthology.

Flipping through my 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 a little better at depicting them as people. Intoxication has remained a years-long literary obsession. 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. 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.

(2) I'm interested in exploring the human condition, with literary power chords standing in for archetypal psychic forces. 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, cosmic computations that generate 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 an unheard-of thought experiment. I like it when my material takes on a life of its own. 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. At the other extreme if absolutely anything can happen, a story becomes as unengaging as someone else's dream. The gnarly zone 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 together 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 coined in 1983. Early in my career, I found that using myself and my friends as characters in my science-fiction tales appeals to me. 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 realistic 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, not only is transrealism a good way to describe daily reality, transrealism is a path to understanding the higher reality which lies beyond.

(6) Regarding collaboration, note that nearly a third of the pieces in Complete Stories were written with other authors. As a practical matter, I get lonely working always on my own, and I welcome the chance to get into a collaborative exchange with another writer.

An odd aspect of collaborating is that I find myself imitating my collaborator's style. As if wanting to make myself more readily understandable to him or her. I enjoy diong this–it's a break from being me.

You don't see ordinary literary writers collaborating nearly as often as do SF writers. In this respect, we're like scientists—and like musicians. Science fiction is a shared enterprise. A surreal ant hill.

I'm grateful to be part of it.

Rudy Rucker,

Los Gatos, California

August 28, 2021