Sunday, October 4, 2009

Software Review

This was my first novel by Rudy Rucker. Though I wasn't sure what to expect, I knew that this book would take a different approach to cyberpunk than I have encountered before.

Our main character is Cobb Anderson, he is an elderly scientist that is living in disgrace. The cause of his disgrace is the robot revolution that was brought about by him developing a way for robots to evolve and have real brains, not in the physical sense but in the independent thought sense. He has lost is his money and career, left his wife, and is suicidal while being terrified of death. Another consequence of the robot rebellion is that all the "boppers", or thinking robots, have been exiled to the moon. One of the boppers sneaks down to Earth and offers Cobb immortality, money for a ticket to the moon, and a new passport as Cobb's travel is restricted to due his part in the robot rebellion (albeit unintentional).

Cobb has a nemesis, a police officer named Mooney. Mooney is holding a grudge about Cobb's part in the robot rebellion. Ironically, the person that the boppers plan to have help Cobb is Mooney's son, Sta-Hi. I don't want to go into the plot any further, so that I avoid spoilers.

Rucker's writing flowed smoothly, and I even laughed in a few spots. The book was enjoyable, but not riveting. I think that part of the reason I wasn't riveted is because I found some of the events a bit predictible, that might not be the case for you. I wouldn't place it among my all-time favorites; however, I found the question that Rucker posed about the soul very interesting. There was a lack of intensity that I have come to expect from cyberpunk. As the novel is the first in a trilogy, much of the story was exposition. I don't feel that I can reach a definitive conclusion on how I feel about it as a work, because it is not a complete work in and of itself. If you like science fiction and questions of an existential nature, then this would be a good choice for you.