From the intersection of computational science and technological speculation,
with boundaries limited only by our ability to imagine what could be.
I self-publish, and you get to sail my aether wave for free.
i’Ve ALWAYs thouGht of my novels as
“beatnik science fiction,” not that anyone else uses those words. “Beatnik” is
just something I like. I’m more what
you’d call a kiqqie or a qrude. I live in a
hole in the ground. I eat dirt. These are
At 36 I published my first novel, Bad
Brain, about a brain in a jar that grows
tentacles, rides a bicycle to the studio
of a talk-radio station, and hollows
out the head of an anti-beatnik broadcaster. Having preserved the original
gray matter in its own jar, the bad brain
takes up residence within the vacated
skull and entertains the radio audience in offbeat but positive ways, tutoring the broadcaster’s brain all the
while. At book’s end, the now-peace-loving broadcaster’s brain is restored
to its place, and the bad brain rides
his bicycle into the sunset in search of
further ways to improve the world. Bad
Brain appeared in paperback and as an
aether wave. It was met with indifference, mutating to derision and scorn.
No matter. I developed a following. I
won an award.
At night, alone in my burrow, I’d
rub my feelers over the emerging good
reviews. My quill would stiffen. My
ink-sac would fill. I wrote more beatnik SF novels.
As I stand before you today, I’m 66,
with a stack of beatnik SF novels to
my credit. Meanwhile, my sales have
turned anemic, with ever-smaller print-runs. The cretinous, slavering fans
have become oblivious to my work. The
reviewers jeer, and exhort me to stop.
As a comeback stratagem, I pub-
lished my autobiography, Beatnik SF
Writer. My long-term publisher and I
thought it might serve as a late-life mainstream break-out title. It bombed, and
my long-term publisher dropped me.
at this point
my plan was
What next? I wrote another beatnik
SF novel, On The Nod, about a Kentucky
boy on a galactic roadtrip with a drug-addled alien cuttlefish searching for its
soul, with the soul found in the gut of a
microscopic cockroach in a you-tweak-it gene bar in Oakland, CA.
I found a small publisher for On The
Nod. For reasons that were, I maintain,
solely logistical, it bombed, too. The
small publisher dropped me.
I began writing another beatnik SF
novel. What else could I do? I should
mention, by the way, that at all times I
have had at least a few loyal followers,
my cognoscenti. I dedicated my new
novel to them. This one I called Zip Zap,
about an allegedly insane man who befriends a possibly imaginary sea slug
from the 10th [ContinueD on P. 135]
aMusInGly sInIstER t WEaKEd sElF-PORtRaIt by Rudy RuCKER