Rudy Rucker sends us, "My new novel, THE BIG AHA, with an accompanying volume of NOTES FOR THE BIG AHA. Browsable as a free webpage, and available as commercial ebook and paperback. With fourteen chapter illustrations. The plot? Biotech has replaced machines. Qrude young artist Zad Plant works with living paint. But Zad's career is on the skids. Enter qwet—or quantum wetware. Qwet makes you high—and it gives you telepathy. A new psychedelic revolution kicks in. But hungry mouths begin popping out of the air and eating people. Zad and his partner Jane travel through a wormhole to confront the aliens. And they meet something stranger than ever imagined. What is the Big Aha? My wildest adventure yet."
1: Qwet Rat
"What do you think of this guy?" asked my old pal Carlo. It was a fall day in Louisville. I was slouched in my soft chair at the back of my nurb store. Carlo was holding something he called a qwet rat, pretty much shoving the thing into my face. Gray fur, yellow teeth, and a naked pink tail.
"He's skungy," I said, laughing a little. "Who'd ever buy that?"
"Skungy!" echoed Carlo, flashing his version of a sales-conference grin. "The perfect name." He raised the rat high into the air, as if displaying a precious vase. The rat's eyes twinkled like black beads. His pink-lined ears made small movements, picking up our voices and the all-but-imperceptible buzz of the gnat cameras that had followed Carlo in.
"This rat's really your prototype?" I asked.
Flaky Carlo had managed to get a job in business, working at a startup company run by one of our high-school friends, Gaven Graber. In his new persona as a marketeer, Carlo was wearing a jacket patterned in scrolls and cut from the latest termite-cloth. He'd been getting gene-cleaning treatments, and he had a youthful air.
"First thought, best thought," said Carlo, lowering the rat back to the level of my face. "Especially from a qrude dude like you. Hell, we ought to use 'Skungy' as the name for our whole qwet product line."
"What's qwet supposed to mean anyway?"
"Quantum wetware. Nice buzz phrase, huh? It's a new tech. This woman named Junko Shimano invented it. She works for Gaven now."
"You guys are crazy," I said, addressing the gnat cameras as well as Carlo. I figured Gaven Graber was watching us via the swarm.