Rudy Rucker's “Saucer Wisdom” Now Free on the Web

Rudy Rucker has just posted a “free online browsing edition” of his 1999 book, Saucer Wisdom, on the Web. You can read it for free in your browser at the link above or by clicking the cover below.


This is a weird book. It’s a clue how weird that over time it has been published as both nonfiction and fiction, as a work of science popularisation and wacky cyberpunk novel. In 2018, novelist Bruce Sterling wrote in a new introduction to the book,

It’s a text that’s a writer’s business meeting, it’s a prank on gullible publishers, it’s performance art (maybe), it’s a series of discussions and quarrels with a gaggle of visionaries who have wildly different agendas, and it’s a lot of typing which is draped over the mastodon skeleton of what might once have been a popular science book. Or an advanced math text, even.

Sterling adds, about the author,

[Philip K.] Dick and [H. P.] Lovecraft are quite similar to Rudy Rucker; in the great bell-curve of humankind, they’re all three of ’em way off in the same 99.9995. I would dare to assert, though, that Rudy is a more successful version of a human being than they were. He has more imagination, yet he’s also just more okay; he’s less frenzied, scared, and bitter; just as saucerish, but, in fact, wiser.

Rudy is a cranky visionary, but there’s a certain appreciative warmth, an amor mundi about the guy, that particularly comes across in this book. “Give a man a mask and he will tell the truth,” and the book’s author here really thinks he’s getting away with some daring, unheard-of stunts. He figures he’s head-tripping the straights, and, somehow, that makes Saucer Wisdom particularly honest. It’s ingenuous, with a Mark Twain boyishness even. It’s peppy.

Enjoy! If you dislike reading in your browser, paperback, Kindle, and hardcover editions are available. But check out the free online edition first—it’s not for everybody.

I’ll confess to having suggested some of the weirdness between the covers, for example, picking up the Crab Nebula on an analogue television in chapter 3.