Rucker's notes for Spaceland

I heard Rudy Rucker read from his new novel, Spaceland, yesterday at Borderlands Books in San Francisco. He mentioned that when he's working on a novel, he keeps a diary of notes and thoughts and frustrations that occur to him while he's at it, and that this notebook is often half as long as the book itself. He's posted the Spaceland notes (37,000 words!) and they're fascinating. Spaceland is a retelling of Flatland, from the perspective of four-dimensional beings who discover Earth's poor, benighted three-dimensional inhabitants. I've got my autographed copy sitting here beside me and I can't wait to dig into it. While you're waiting for your copy to arrive, here're Rudy's notes from the book's creation.

The September, 2000, Scientific American featured articles about wireless broadband for "3G" (third generation) wireless phones. A really nice way to do broadband would be to stick a transmitting whisker klup into 4D and have receiving whiskers up there as well. The whiskers will be a little like periscopes, they shift an incoming light signal klup a tad and send it on its way. We can safely assume that the light will propagate along a 3D hypersheet parallel to our space, not bumping into anything till it encounters a receiver whisker. Different whisker heights get you all new interference free transmission bands. Should the beams be directed? Some guys in San Jose are talking about just that for antennas, but it seems like a lot of work, though certainly more power efficient. But with no smog or even air in 4D, it should be OK to just beam the signals out more or less omnidirectionally.

What to use for the whisker? Well…I could use Joe Cube's actual whiskers since he's been augmented to be 4D. But that's a bit uncontrolled. Also the light sent into one end of his hair in this space wouldn't have a reason to bounce up into the hyperspace part of the hair. Have to think about this one a bit. Momo might provide a carton full of the whiskers.

What's needed is like a prism that takes EM in and shunts it over into hyperspace moving in the same 3D direction parallel. One Flatland analogy for this is a cylinder sitting partly intersecting Flatland with its axis vertical, the intersection is a circle. And there are polished reflector cone dents drilled into the top and the bottom circles of the cylinder. The 4D version might look to us like a sphere with a shiny middle internal sphere, and whenever EM radiation goes into it and hits the inner sphere it disappears, bounced klupward. The receiver looks the same, but EM comes out of it.