John Shirley Rudy Rucker for 'Introduction to HardWired edition of White Light'. San Francisco.

Q: Is there, in brief, a general overall Rucker Theory of the Motif of the Transreal Books? A linking esthetic? A: Oh yes! It’s called “A Transrealist Manifesto,” and it appears in my new nonfiction anthology Seek! But let me try and summarize it for you. Transrealism means writing about your immediate perceptions in a fantastic way. The characters in a transreal book should be based on actual people. This has the effect of making the characters be richer and more interesting. One inspiration for me in doing this is Jack Kerouac, who thought of his novels as a single linked chronicle. Though many would just call Kerouac’s books autobiographical novels. My transreal novels aren’t exactly autobiographical: I have never really left my body, climbed an infinite mountain, met a sphere from the fourth dimension, infected television with an intelligent virus, etc. But they are autobiographical in that many of the characters are modeled on family and friends — the main person of course being modeled on me. The science fictional ideas in my transreal fiction have a special role. They stand in for essential psychic events. The quest for infinity, for instance, is nothing other than the soul’s quest for God. Or, more mundanely, it represents the individual’s quest for meaning. In another sense, a White Light at the top of a transfinite mountain stands for the psychedelic experience, which loomed large in those years when White Light was written (1978 - 1979). But, again, the whole point of the psychedelic experience, at least from my standpoint, was to see God. Another inspiration for me in pursuing transrealism is Philip K. Dick. His blackly hilarious book A Scanner Darkly was a real inspiration for me in forming my ideas about this way of writing. And in fact Scanner had a blurb on it describing the book as “transcendental biography,” which was probably the reason I coined the word “transreal.” In a nutshell, transrealism means writing about reality in an honest and objective way, while using the tools of science fiction to stand for deep psychic constructs.