Alia Skourtsi Interview to Rudy Rucker For: ZeroOne Monthly Magazine. Athens.Q: Are still mathematics able to help us in exploring ourselves and the universe? A: Of course, mathematics is the best forever. Mathematics is the science of form, and everything is form ó plus the single divine content of existence. Q: Do you really believe that cyberspace is sterile and boring without A-Life organisms wandering in it? In a few years it is going to be overpopulated by people. Why should we fill it with more living organisms? A: In this context, I am thinking of graphical representations of cyberspace, such as in for instance the game Quake or Half-Life. These worlds would be more interesting if there were artificially alive things in them continually changing them. Mold, for instance, or plants, or ants. Q: Do you still want to create a second self inside a computer? Why? Would you like somebody else to lead your life or are you seeking eternity? A: I would still, yes, like to make an interactive multimedia hyperlinked compilation of all my writings. Interacting with the construct would be in some sense like talking to me. This construct would easily be able, for instance, to answer these interview questions. I want to do this because it is a type of immortality, and like most people I am interested in extending my influence on the world as much as possible. I also happen to think that my information and knowledge is valuable, and that it would be an objectively good thing to have a Rudoid simmie available for the edification of future generations. In Saucer Wisdom, I call such a program a ďlife-box.Ē Q: What do you think is the main disadvantage of the contemporary computers, besides being slow? A: They are very hard to program. You can have an idea for a program in an hour but it takes you a year to properly implement it. Of course all art is like this. Q: Do you think that the digital revolution will lead us to a more democratic society? A: I think politics in every form sucks. The more you think about politics, the more of your energy is siphoned off and turned into garbage. Well, Iím especially full of cynicism today because Iím so tired of hearing about the idiotic Republicans. Russia got rid of the Communists, why canít the U.S. get rid of the Republicans? Itíll be hard to ever get rid of them; as hard as China getting rid of the Communists. But yes, in the sense that people can get better info and make input more easily it would seem that digitizing makes things more democratic. But if there is a whole lot of democratic input itís just going to be ignored the way it is now. The majority of Americans want to get rid of guns, and everyone knows this, but nevertheless the Republicans in Congress are still capable of trying to make assault weapons legal again. It is to weep. Bottom line: fuck politics, itíll just rip you off and break your heart. Focus on getting your own life in order. Q: Why do you prefer the term transrealism more than cyberpunk? A: One very practical reason is that when people mention ďcyberpunk,Ē they always mention Gibson and Sterling and donít always mention me. I prefer a genre word that applies primarily to me! ďTransrealĒ is my word; I made it up. It has to do with the idea of writing SF about my immediate perceptions, and using real people as models for the characters. This is the way I almost always write. Many of my books are also, of course, cyberpunk. Q: Does cyberpunk have an expiration day? If yes, what do you think will follow? A: Cyberpunk is a stage in the endless Bohemian subculture that created the beats, the hippies, the punks, and the grungers of today. This type of countercultural sensibility will never go away. But cyberpunk in the sense of writing about computers may someday not be interesting, just as writing about space-flight is not currently interesting. As long as Gibson, Sterling, Shirley and I are writing, cyberpunk will still be around; just as beat writing was still around as long as Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs were writing. And maybe even longer. Even though Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs are all dead now, thereís still certainly the possibility of others using the ďbeatĒ sensibility in their writing. Q: Which places in the Net do you visit more often? A: Well, ahem, thereís my home page www.cs.sjsu.edu/faculty/rucker. Not that I myself would go look at it over and over! But if youíre interested in computers, I have a lot of free software for you there. Mostly I just read my email. That in itself uses up a fair amount of my time. I get plenty of email, and that pretty much satisfies my Net hunger. So I donít cruise the Web that much. I donít find it a pleasant way to get information. I donít like waiting for a page to download and then having it be a page I donít want to see. Itís like being in a strait-jacket having an overbearing Nurse Ratched feeding you a McDonalds Happy Meal. And sheís using a tiny souvenir spoon that has advertising on it. This said, maybe we have this leftover hominid instinct to stare at something flickering in the evening ó like a fire. So either you stare at the TV or at a computer screen, and certainly a computer screenís no worse for you than TV. A computer has the plus of being more interactive, but it has the minus of being less easy to watch with friends. Q: What is your wildest dream? A: Being able to fly; I dream about this a lot, a couple of times a month. Q: Have you ever been to Greece or met Greek people? What is your opinion about our mentality? A: I have never been to Greece, although I would like to go there. Iíve been around Europe a lot, but never made it that far east. I have no particular opinion about Greek mentality; the only Greeks Iím familiar with are the ancient intellectual heroes such as Plato, Euclid and Zeno. I imagine Greeks to be both passionate and logical.