Diet Soap: The Transrealism of Cyberpunk

by Douglas Lain and Rudy Rucker on August 30, 2013

The guest this week is the cyberpunk author, mathematician, and transrealist Rudy Rucker, and we discuss his upcoming book The Big Aha.

My novel Billy Moon came out on Tuesday, August 27th, and I’m going to fly to Decatur, GA this weekend. I aim to record the reading in Decatur and possibly include it in next week’s podcast. I will also soon be traveling to San Francisco, Chicago, and NYC in order to promote the novel and this podcast on the Think the Impossible tour. I look forward to meeting people who have been listening to the podcast. I’ll be at Borderlands in San Francisco on September 7th at 3pm, I’ll be at the Book Cellar on September 11th at 7pm, and I’ll be at Bluestockings in NYC on September 15th at 7pm.

There are several sound clips in this episode. You’ll hear from Rick Roderick, a backwards Miley Cyrus, a documentary film about philosophy and the Matrix, and Max Headroom. And for some reason talking to Rudy Rucker about Transrealism put me in the mood to insert clips about Baudrillard and the Hyperreal, so you’ll hear about that in this episode too.

Rudy Rucker on Transrealism:
The Transrealist writes about immediate perceptions in a fantastic way. Any literature which is not about actual reality is weak and enervated. But the genre of straight realism is all burnt out. Who needs more straight novels? The tools of fantasy and SF offer a means to thicken and intensify realistic fiction. By using fantastic devices it is actually possible to manipulate subtext. The familiar tools of SF — time travel, antigravity, alternate worlds, telepathy, etc. — are in fact symbolic of archetypal modes of perception. Time travel is memory, flight is enlightenment, alternate worlds symbolize the great variety of individual world-views, and telepathy stands for the ability to communicate fully. This is the “Trans” aspect. The “realism” aspect has to do with the fact that a valid work of art should deal with the world the way it actually is. Transrealism tries to treat not only immediate reality, but also the higher reality in which life is embedded.

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