Malcontent mathematics instructor Feliz Raymond's afternoon naps are the subject of Rudy Rucker's strange and delightful White Light
. Bored with his life and job at a state university in New York and making no headway in solving Georg Cantor's Continuum Problem, Raymond finds himself every afternoon, lying flat on his floor, entering into a state of lucid dreaming that allows him to explore an entirely new surreal and mathematically-charged reality. What follows is an adventure through time and space, the likes of which only a collaboration between Umberto Eco and Lewis Carroll could attempt. With traveling companions ranging from Einstein to the devil to a giant beetle named Franx, Raymond explores the infinite reaches of his new playground, which is filled with a multitude of cultural and scientific references, some subtle and many overt. Each turned corner of White Light
is another gleeful surprise, another celebration of cleverness and imagination. Rucker, who is just as comfortable presenting accessible introductions to modern ideas in geometry (The Fourth Dimension: A Guided Tour of the Higher Universes
) as he is spinning yarns of hacker fiction (The Hacker and the Ants
), wrote this novel while, like the protagonist, endeavoring to solve Cantor's Continuum Problem at a state university in New York. This novel belongs to the tradition of science fiction pioneered by H. G. Wells, where the science is the source of intrigue that adventures grow from and propel the protagonists.