NPR science fiction reporter par excellence Rick Kleffel has just posted an MP3 of his interview with cyberpunk legend Rudy Rucker. I love Rudy's books — his latest, Mathematicians in Love is one of the greatest nerd-hero sf novels I've read, a mindbending trip through the math of interdimensional travel.
Rucker is rather unique among science fiction writers, and a great Santa Cruz type of personality, by which I mean he's incredibly smart, highly perceptive with a peculiar and bizarre imagination. And in spite of all that, he manages to remain really funny and a guy with a sort of sunny outlook. Even if the world is going to hell in a handbasket, Rucker is going to suss out just how intricate the path there might be and why, when we arrive, we might find that our destination has been changed mid-journey without our knowledge.
I spoke with Rucker about the beginnings of the cyberpunk movement, and he told me about his love of the Beats and about the high point of cyberpunk, when Mondo 2000 ("Their idea of using computers was to…take drugs and imagine they were having telepathic contact.") was on the cover of Time Magazine. Since Rucker has written a great deal of non-fiction about the future, I was pretty curious to have his take on futurology: "It's not terribly different from science fiction. I guess it tends to be more grasping, more humorless, less interesting…more bogus."