Ants

(Rudy Rucker is a guestblogger. His latest novel, Hylozoic, describes a postsingular world in which everything is alive.)

I've always been fascinated by ants. Look at these guys taking apart a dead fly.

boingantfly.jpg

I found a (somewhat slow) website called AntWeb with a lot of ant pictures, like, of all 28 different genera of the ant subfamily called the ponerine ants.

There's a striking similarity between ants and motorcycles, I've always thought---maybe there's something about that rear ant bulge (known as the gaster) resembling a gas tank.

boingbug.jpg

I like insects of all kinds, really. The ubiquitous roly-poly or pill-bug or woodlouse is a good pal.

In the early 1990s, when the notion of Artificial Life was big, I wrote a Windows program called Boppers: Artificial Life Lab, which incorporated a kind of virtual ant farm. I did the work at Autodesk, and now you can get the program as a free download.

In my usual "transreal" fashion (here's an essay called "A Transrealist Manifesto" that explains that word), I wrote an SF novel about my stint at Autodesk, including some virtual ants that take over the world.

boingcaliforniaartist.jpg

[California artist Robert Arneson's ceramic sculpture self-portrait, "California Artist," in which the dark lenses of the sunglasses are in fact holes. (I think he did this as an in-your-face gesture towards his critics, saying something like, "You say I'm an airhead, but can you make a sculpture like this? And can you fathom the meaning of Emptiness?")]

I just noticed that on Google Books you can find part of the text of my Autodesk ant novel, The Hacker and the Ants, Version 2.0. Why 2.0? Well, the book first came out in 1994, and when I republished it in 2003, I upgraded some of the tech and gave it a slightly happier ending.

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