Non-Fiction: Nested Scrolls by Rudy Rucker

Rudy Rucker’s Nested Scrolls (2011) is an insightful autobiography, and also proves an entertaining reminder of how massively influential his work was to me as a young writer. Like his fiction, this book is a breezy, effortless read with a relaxed, gonzo sensibility, full of ideas, wit, and wisdom. The text charts Rucker’s life from his youth in rural Kentucky up to his sixties in California, documenting family life, travel, friendships, memorable encounters, and most centrally his varied and interesting careers.

Of course, I was most interested in his exploits as a writer working his way onto the science fiction scene. Rucker was an early pioneer of the cyberpunk movement, and later went on to coin the phrase “transrealism,” a subgenre of crossover fiction which is a useful concept for writers to keep in their arsenal. But Rucker also writes compellingly of his other careers, in mathematics, education, computer programming, non-fiction-writing, and more. Fans of Rucker’s work will find much to treasure in this behind-the-scenes glimpse at his life experience. It left me charged up to re-read Software and White Light and Transreal!, and to follow the advice of his freestyle motto: “Write like yourself, only more so.”

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