Surfing the Gnarl: A Publishers Weekly Review

Surfing the Gnarl

Publishers Weekly
May 2012

Rucker (Wetware) is what you get when you cross cyberpunk (of which movement he is often hailed as the “Mad Professor”) and the Beat poets, and this slim reprint volume showcases some of his wilder moments. “The Men in the Back Room at the Country Club” is a surreal piece drawing inspiration from real life, American Graffiti, and Philip K. Dick, while “Rapture in Space” mixes reality television, space travel, sex, and robot salesmen. Both stories are genre-defying and entertaining, but the true draws here are the nonfiction pieces. The free-wheeling interview conducted by Terry Bisson reviews much about Rucker’s inspirations and temperament, while his classic titular essay, like his career output, can be summed up with one sentence defining “gnarly:” “Processes that are structured in interesting ways but are nonetheless unpredictable.” Complex, intelligent, and quirky, this collection is definitely for scholars and completionists.

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