Rudolf von Bitter Rucker (born March 22, 1946 in Louisville, Kentucky) is an American computer scientist and science fiction author, and is one of the founders of the cyberpunk literary movement. The author of both fiction and non-fiction, he is best known for the novels in the Ware Tetralogy, the first two of which (Software and Wetware) both won Philip K. Dick Awards. At present he edits the science fiction webzine Flurb.
Rucker attended St. Xavier High School before earning a B.A. in mathematics from Swarthmore College, and a Master's and Ph.D. in mathematics from Rutgers University. He taught at the State University of New York at Geneseo from 1972–1978. Thanks to a grant from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Rucker taught math at the Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg from 1978–1980. He then taught at Randolph-Macon Women's College in Lynchburg, Virginia from 1980–1982, before trying his hand as a full-time author for four years, and then settling at San José State University in 1986, from which he retired in 2004. A mathematician with serious philosophical interests, he has written The Fourth Dimension; Geometry, Relativity and the Fourth Dimension; and Infinity and the Mind. Princeton University Press published new editions of Infinity and the Mind in 1995 and in 2005, both with new prefaces; the first edition is cited with fair frequency in academic literature.
As his "own alternative to cyberpunk," Rucker developed a writing style he terms Transrealism. Transrealism, as outlined in his 1983 essay "The Transrealist Manifesto," is science fiction based on the author's own life and immediate perceptions, mixed with fantastic elements that symbolize psychological change. Many of Rucker's novels and short stories apply these ideas. One example of Rucker's Transrealist works is Saucer Wisdom, a novel in which the main character is abducted by aliens. Rucker and his publisher marketed the book, tongue in cheek, as non-fiction.
Rucker often uses his novels to explore scientific or mathematical ideas; White Light examines the concept of infinity, while the Ware Tetralogy (written from 1982 through 2000) is in part an explanation of the use of natural selection to develop computer software (a subject also developed in his The Hacker and the Ants, written in 1994). His novels also put forward a mystical philosophy that Rucker has summarized in an essay titled, with only a bit of irony, "The Central Teachings of Mysticism" (included in Seek!, 1999).
His recent non-fiction book, The Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul: What Gnarly Computation Taught Me About Ultimate Reality, the Meaning Of Life , and How To Be Happy summarizes the various philosophies he's believed over the years and ends with the tentative conclusion that we might profitably view the world as made of computations, with the final remark, "perhaps this universe is perfect."
List on Rucker's SJSU web page. With links to each book's web page.