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Freeware Mass Market Paperback – March, 1998

19 customer reviews
Book 3 of 4 in the Ware Tetralogy Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

In Wetware the chip mold virus destroyed the sentient robots called boppers. But the virus itself has spawned a new life form called moldies. The moldies are beings made out of a sort of malleable plastic called imoplex. Humans and moldies live in an almost-amicable truce, but radicals (and not-so-radicals) on each side wouldn't hesitate to use--or destroy--those on the other. When a moldie called Monique becomes ensnared in a grand plot that seems to be either the work of anti-moldie humans or anti-human moldies, everyone becomes involved in an effort to either save or destroy the Earth. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In hip, staccato language, the master of cyberpunk (e.g., The Hacker and the Ants, Avon, 1994) merges California surfer culture with a tale of 21st-century artificial plastic and mold lifeforms. The intertwined lives of Heritagist fanatic anti-Moldies, the Moldies' inventors, human "cheeseballs" who have sex with Moldies, and isolationist Moldies on the Moon enliven this fast-paced tale of kidnapping and alien takeover. Recommended for sf collections.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Eos (HarperCollins) (March 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038078159X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380781591
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,836,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rudy Rucker is a writer and a mathematician who spent 20 years as a Silicon Valley computer scientist. He's a contemporary master of science-fiction, and received the Philip K. Dick award twice. His 37 published books include novels and non-fiction books such as THE FOURTH DIMENSION. His cyberpunk series THE WARE TETRALOGY and his novel of the fourth dimension SPACELAND are favorites. His memoirs NESTED SCROLLS and ALL THE VISIONS offer uniquely skewed insights into our times. Recent books include COMPLETE STORIES and the novels TURING & BURROUGHS and THE BIG AHA. His new reprint collection TRANSREAL TRILOGY includes his classic novels THE SECRET OF LIFE, WHITE LIGHT, and SAUCER WISDOM. More info at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By KEVIN M. OCONNOR on December 8, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book. It's light in style and narrative structure, and rucker doesn't take himself at all serriously. Rudy Rucker is a brilliant mathmetician and science fiction writer, and his protagonist, Randy Karl Tucker, is an uneducated redneck, whose primary passion is for sex with artificial life forms that smell of cheese. Other characters include a down-to-earth California surfer girl who, along with her stoner mathmatician husband, runs a fleabag sea-side resort in the autonomous nation of California, the head of a corporate empire who made his fortune selling burgers made from the cloned flesh of his half-human wife, and a delighful host of "moldies," artificial life forms with the power of gods, short lifespans, and generally no other ambition than to buy enough of the expensive high-tech goo of which they're made to form a child to perpetuate their own software.
This book is an absolute gem.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By albemuth on July 6, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
..what else can you ask from a science fiction book? Good characterization, plausible sciences & other stuff you can find in any boring science speculation book scribbled by engineers.
Rudy Rucker belongs to the GREAT freewheeling tradition of imaginative writers; forget Kim Stanley Robinson and Arthur C. Clarke, think van Vogt, Charles Harness and Barrington Bayley - he invents his science (that's why it's called fiction, eh?) and bounces off to the nomansland like some mutant kangaroo. This is stuff you can barely find on the shelves today as franchise poop is being pushed on all the fronts. Rucker knows his science but isn't limited by it - he writes straight from his subunconscious pool, winging it with gusto and joy. Engineers beware, this works on dream-logic and grabs you by the jellyfish.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 27, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Comparisons never quite seem to work. The closest I can get, however, is Heinlein's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" and Greg Egan's "Quarantine". Why? Well, the book <feels> like a prepubescent Heinleinesque make-love-not-war-on-the-moon jaunt, but has a <mind> reminiscent of Greg Egan's heavy physics sci-fi. It seems like a neat synthesis of the two, in fact. On the other hand, it's just a damn good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Culbert on September 22, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've never thought of Rucker as a great writer, but he never wants for interesting ideas. While his characters tend to be fairly broad and cartoonish, the bright colors of his invented slang and weird technology make for a nice pleasant brain buzz.

In "Freeware", Rucker continues his little AI saga begun in "Software" and "Wetware". The boppers (the little AI robots featured in the first two novels) are all dead, but their spirit (or at least their core software) lives on in the "moldies", who are basically big pieces of self-aware floppy plastic infected with a stinky fungus. Of course what Rucker immediately wants to investigate is: Can you have sex with a moldie? The answer, of course, is yes.

The plot meanders through the backstories of its various characters (which also help shed light on the events which have occurred since "Wetware"), shows off the interesting abilities of the moldies (some of which require some suspension of disbelief), showcases exciting new fictional mind-altering drugs, and eventually comes to the Big Reveal, which I found fairly interesting. Although this sort of thing (I'm not going to say WHAT sort of thing) has certainly been done before, I don't think it's ever been done in quite this fashion.

One major complaint I have about the book is its rather abrupt ending. Rucker wraps things up here in about two pages, as if he was in a rush to finish. A bit more denouement would have been nice.

Basically, if you've read and enjoyed the first two "Ware" books, you're likely to find this enjoyable as well. Anyone who HASN'T read the first two books is advised to start with the first book, "Software", which is a rather short (150 pages) and breezy read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Count Zero on December 10, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Freeware picks up where Rucker's other work left off, with enough of the requisite re-hashing to make the novel stand on its own. Artificial Intelligence has taken on another even more bizarre form in this novel than in Software or Wetware. The Boppers are gone in the wake of a cataclism that destroys all electronic hardware. Out of the ashes come the Moldies, sentient artificial life made of a piezo-electric elastic substance that enables them to take on any form, and to perform virtually any task. The Moldies smell awful, hence their collective nickname.
As ever, Rucker takes a serviceable premise, and adds a dash of his patented twisted reality. Before you know it your following a thoroughly perverse tale with disgustingly dysfunctional characters through a bitter vision of the future.
Rucker's characters are perpetual losers with invariably warped motives. Dialogue is often idiotic, but somehow stylishly so. Once again Rucker has created a novel that will make some cringe, and others put it down. But the patient reader will be rewarded with an ending that - even if it doesn't blow your mind - will at least provoke thought. This is no small feat given the seemingly purposeful baseness of the entire plot build-up. Rucker was arguably one of the first authors to write in the style that's come to be known as cyberpunk. His vision then was unique. His earlier novels exert influence on the way much sci-fi is now written. With Freeware, Rucker makes it clear that his vision will continue to be - if not revolutionary - then at least way wierder than most.
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