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VINE VOICEon September 3, 2012
Rudy Rucker has always seemed one of the more personally interesting SF writers: descendant of the philosopher Georg Heigel, professor of math and computer science, devoted to writing SF with real science that also incorporated his personal life and experiences, a style he dubbed "Transrealism." His novels have been wild and raw-nerve affairs for his entire career, from White Light to Postsingular -- they've all had a consistent mad-professor tone and a loose-limbed laid-back affect, in which even the most bizarre and extreme transformations (man to robot to alien, at the very mildest) are just something to shrug about and live with. A favorite SF writer of slackers, surfers, and math-heads, Rucker could have been the second coming of Philip K. Dick: just as dazed by the wonders of life and identity, but one rung up on the karmic ladder and happy to see what happened next.

NESTED SCROLLS is the story of Rudy Rucker's own life; how he became the man who wrote those novels, and what was going on in his life while he wrote them. It's a surprisingly conventional autobiography, beginning with Rucker's earliest childhood memories and moving forward chronologically through his life. It tells all of the stories of Rucker's life to date, and is as interesting in the rhythms of a family (through his own childhood, marriage in college, and eventual children) and the terrors and rigors of the academic life (Rucker was *nearly* a top-rank math researcher, but he didn't get that one big paper, breakthrough or theory when he needed it, and so settled into teaching college math, and eventually computer science, at a series of mid-rank schools) as it is about Rucker's SF career.

Rucker is a thoughtful, introspective man accustomed to writing long prose -- and he has more than a hint of the Richard Feynman-esque wild man about him -- and NESTED SCROLLS launched out of a near-death experience (a cerebral hemorrhage) in 2008: so this is both a book Rucker was well able to write and one that he knew he had to do now. Nested Scrolls has some of that urgency to it, as if it's the things that Rucker needs to get down on paper, the details of his life or of life itself, while he still has time.

A writer's life is not full of big events, nor is an academic's. Still, Rucker's Transrealist style -- the point is to "write like yourself, only more so" -- makes NESTED SCROLLS an engrossing, deeply thoughtful amble through one well-lived life. It's vital for readers of Rucker's novels, and exceptional even for those who've never read him before.
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on May 16, 2013
I'm a huge Rudy Rucker fan, so I was a little nervous about reading his autobiography in case
I found some unappealing revelations.
I didn't need to worry, it a wonderful book and a wonderful life he has had so far.

His observations on life in general are sincerely profound. Especially when talking about his children.
It all confirms my feeling that a happy life is one where you try to be kind to others,
have some fun and if your lucky enough, have a few kids along the way.

A few of my favorite quotes should give you a feeling of how funny,
outrageous and poignant this book is.

"I'm, so glad to be leaving Virginia... I feel like a Jew leaving Hitler's Germany"

Even though it sounds like he had a pretty good time in Virginia and
any 'repression' real or imagined, actually stimulated his creativity.

I liked this part as well
"A family's parade of days... It seemed like it would never end,
but now, looking back, it didn't last nearly long enough"

One of America's greatest living writers, albeit sadly underated in
his own country, has produced an excellent memoir.
I wish it had been a few hundred pages more.

Hopefully he will live to be at least 100 and
then maybe we can get a 2nd volume.
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on September 16, 2013
OK, I know RvBR is wacky in his writing especially in his fiction, but also in his non-fiction. Here not as wacky, more matter of fact, still very entertaining.
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#1 HALL OF FAMEon December 27, 2011
The opening chapter of this fascinating memoir sets the tone as Rudolf von Bitter Rucker entered "Death's Door" in 2008 when a vein burst in his brain; this cerebral hemorrhage had the author-mathematician on the verge of the big dramatic exit but "no spiral tunnel, no white light, no welcome from the departed one. Maybe it's just that everything goes black." Mr. Rucker obviously recovered to write an intriguing interesting autobiography motivated by his near death experience of nothingness. The author discusses his life as a mathematician, science fiction author, punk rocker, and hacker. He grew up in Louisville. In the same year another Louisville native son was winning a boxing gold medal in Rome, fourteen years old Rudy was injured in a swing accident. He told his dad he hurt his spleen, which proved correct as his prolific reading came in handy. With Hegel genes, it is not surprising that he read Philip K. Dick's science fiction and the writings of the On The Road beatniks; adapting the latters' use of alcohol as a stimulator. This set the table for his life as a mathematician and a science fiction writer, but hindered his imagination rather than expanding it. Fans of one of the new light "cyberpunk" authors of the 1980s will want to read Nested Scrolls, but so will fans of nonfiction as The Autobiography of Rudolf von Bitter Rucker is a well written engaging memoir.

Harriet Klausner
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on November 17, 2014
Needed an editor
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on December 30, 2014
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