This has been an exciting---and exhausting---two weeks, guestblogging for Boing. I don't see how the regular Boing bloggers get anything else done.
As a parting offering, I'd like to share some of my reminiscenses about Silicon Valley as I found it when I moved here in 1986.
[Me in 1985, photo by David Abrams. I don't remember exactly why I drew the line on the photo...something about distinguishing between the two halves of the brain, that is, the writer side vs. the programmer side.]
A little background. Over the last year I've been working on a memoir called Nested Scrolls, and I'm hoping to find a publisher for it soon.
The memoir's title has to do with two things: (a) my favorite kinds of cellular automata rules make seething scroll-like patterns that nest together like layers of scrolls, and (b) you can think of writings as being scrolls, and to the extent that a multilevel written work refers to other works, it's a nested scroll.
What I'm posting here is Chapter 10 of Nested Scrolls, called "Hacker"---and this particular chapter is about diving into the Bay Areas scene of yore. Here's an excerpt:
In 1987 I attended an annual event called the Hackers Conference. Remember—hacker was still a good word, so these guys were Silicon Valley programmers and hardware tweakers. Some of them were even fans of my books. The fact that I’d written a science fiction novel called Software had put me on the hackers’ radar.
I brought my computer with its CA axe [that is, its hand-made cellular automata accelerator card from Systems Concepts labs], and I stayed up all night with the hackers, drinking beer, smoking pot, and admiring our weird screens. Although Hollywood often depicts hackers as nerdy, inhibited types, that’s not generally accurate. It’s more common that hackers are like hippies or acid freaks or mad scientists or car mechanics.
And with that I'm outta here. Rock on, y'all, and, if you liked my posts, come see me at Rudy's Blog.
Rudy Rucker is a writer, a mathematician, and a computer scientist--with thirty-two published books. In the 1980s he received two Philip K. Dick awards, for his cyberpunk novels Software and Wetware, which are available as part of the Wares tetralogy. Rucker has a Ph.D. in mathematics, and he worked as a computer science professor at San Jose State in Silicon Valley for twenty years. He took up painting in 1999, and he's had three shows of his pop-surreal works in San Francisco. Rucker's latest publication is his autobiography, Nested Scrolls. Nested Scrolls received the Emperor Norton Award for "extraordinary invention and creativity unhindered by the constraints of paltry reason."