From Publishers Weekly
Much cyberpunk SF is grimly noir in depicting future-shocked people trapped by their limitations, but in this collection of 19 laid-back yarns, Rucker (Mathematicians in Love
) finds human dilemmas much too important to take seriously. "Jenna and Me," for example, co-written with his son Rudy Rucker Jr., shows President Bush's daughter brain-wiped by agents of the "conspiracy elite," but eventually becoming the unwitting focus for an alien invasion that may remake humanity for the better. "Junk DNA," a collaboration with Bruce Sterling, depicts the accidental benefits of unprincipled commercial exploitation of bioscience. Other stories emphasize extreme physical transformation, positive or negative results of thought experiments, and cheerful horniness. While readers who want rigorously developed plots or characterization may be disappointed, those who can groove on something like a collaboration between Italo Calvino and Jimmy Buffett will find themselves grinning and humming along. (Feb.)
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Often cited as one of the original cyberpunk pioneers, Rucker has channeled his groundbreaking ideas and yen for mathematics into almost 30 volumes of fiction and cerebral nonfiction over as many years. His latest book of stories finds him in fine form, extrapolating number theory into madcap tales about quantum elves and lotto-playing programmers. Five of the 13 pieces are collaborations with other notable sf veterans, such as Bruce Sterling and John Shirley. In "2+2=5," written with Terry Bisson, two nursing home-bound seniors zero in on breaking the world counting record. "Cobb Wakes Up" recounts the fate of a long-dead robot inventor resurrected as a conscious computer program. In perhaps the volume's most satirical entry, "The Men in the Backroom at the Country Club," aliens infiltrate Rucker's former home base of Lynchburg, Virginia, and meet their unlikely nemesis in the form of the town's religious zealots. A delight for both Rucker devotees and sf fans who prefer that their fiction be a little zany. Carl HaysCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved