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Gnarl!: Stories Hardcover – April 18, 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 500 pages
  • Publisher: Four Walls Eight Windows (April 18, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568581599
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568581590
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,059,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The short-story collection Gnarl! is a companion volume to Rudy Rucker's nonfiction essay collection, Seek! (The titles come from Rucker's self-professed motto, "Seek ye the gnarl!") Gnarl! collects all of Rucker's short stories from the last quarter of the 20th century--some 36 selections in all--ranging from a 2-page solo effort to a 44-page collaboration with Bruce Sterling. Rucker has arranged the collection chronologically and also provided autobiographical notes about each piece, making this both the definitive volume and an excellent history of his short-story career. And it's certainly been an interesting career. Rucker is a physicist by day who says he has the politics of punks and hippies, was once obsessed by pot and alcohol, and "tends to write as if women were wonderful, fascinating aliens."

Publishers Weekly called Rucker "a mathematician bewitched by the absurdity of the universe," and it shows in almost every sentence he writes. In Rucker's world people have "face holes" instead of mouths or nostrils, wasps remind him of space monsters, and planet X shares more than a few similarities with Earth. And, not coincidentally, almost all of his protagonists are physicists. Also not coincidentally, physics often plays an important role, even making it into the titles of pieces such as "Pi in the Sky," "Schrödinger's Cat," "Inertia," and "Probability Pipeline." But even though Rucker tends to write "hard SF" in the sense that most of his stories rely heavily on science, this is not the usual nuts-and-bolts stuff of, say, Hal Clement. Rather, this is cutting-edge physics extrapolated almost beyond imagination to create fascinating worlds and wonderful stories. Some traditional SF readers may be intimidated by how far off the beaten science fiction path Rucker sometimes strays, but in the end it's almost always a walk worth taking. --Craig E. Engler

From Publishers Weekly

A mathematician and computer scientist, Rucker (Saucer Wisdom) is probably best known for the bitingly satirical fiction he wrote during SF's 1980s cyberpunk revolution. Arriving on the heels of his newly collected nonfiction, SEEK! (1999), this volume--his first book of short stories to be published in 17 years--collects 36 wonderful pieces. Arranged chronologically, the volume begins with "Jumpin' Jack Flash," which, like a lot of Rucker's work, revolves around crackpot scientists, quantum reality, sexual confusion and screwed-up alien invasions. Later, "Schr?dinger's Cat" considers time machines; "The Indian Rope Trick Explained" and "Message Found in a Copy of Flatland" pay homage to Edwin Abbott's classic Victorian novel (about life in two dimensions); and "The Jack Kerouac Disembodied School of Poetics" and "The Andy Warhol Sandcandle" add beat poets, Warhol and scientists like Richard Feynman into the mix. Even though his plots frequently fit the bill as traditional hard SF-- stories like "The Last Einstein-Rosen Bridge," "A New Experiment with Time" and "The Man Who Ate Himself" each imagine a bizarre device, and then recount its effect on people--Rucker's edgy prose is consistently innovative. The only disappointment in the volume is "Pac-Man"--a predictable story about video game obsession and secret government plots. Despite the broadness of range, Rucker's crisp writing and quantum wanderings keep the work fresh. Fans will treasure this immense collection; even readers unfamiliar with Rucker's work will find in these stories a multitalented, challenging author whose work stretches and distorts the oft-staid boundaries of traditional SF.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 http://www.rudyrucker.com

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert Carlberg on September 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
Initially I was afraid to pick up this collection because I'd read everything of Rudy's still in print, and was afraid there would be duplicates. I needn't have worried.
Everything here is either out-of-print (from "The 57th Franz Kafka") or published in magazines or previously unpublished -- there wasn't a single story I'd read before. There are a wide variety of styles and approaches here, some more successful than others. The best ones (like "The Andy Warhol Sandcastle") are very, VERY good while the worst ("Chaos Surfari") are just kind of silly.
Overall a collection of astonishing variety and imagination. Much better than the companion non-fiction anthology "Seek!"
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
A cross-section of, if not the man's mind, a cross-section of his writing.... A comfortingly hefty tome, filled with some of the most bizarre, original, and funny fiction THIS SF aficionado has ever had the pleasure to read. Sex, drugs, bad taste, irreverence and yes, real physics: the roots of cyberpunk are here.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C. J. Carter on June 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Rucker rarely breaks out of the adolescent mode in this average collection of short stories - where he does, however, the results are intriguing though still fairly derivative.
If, as I did, you first encountered him through the excellent - and truly innovative - 'White Light', you'll be disappointed by this collection. What is good here? I enjoyed 'The Fifty-Seventh Franz Kafka' and 'Bringing in the Sheaves' - stories where the Scientific American physics are turned down and Rucker dabbles with the grotesque...
This collection will stay on my shelf - but I'll be back to my Virgin Paperback copy of White Light and seeking readmission to the Library of Forms!
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