Hylozoic   1 comment

Roughtly translated, Hylozoic means the era when everything is alive.  Not only is everything alive, but everything has a mind and is conscious.  What a bizarre thought!  But then, Rudy Rucker specializes in bizarre thoughts.

Where are you going to get enough conflict to create a plot and a good story in a world where everything is alive and conscious?  Why, Outer Space, of course!  Our heroes  get involved with three alien races: the Peng, the Mepples, and the Hrull.  It’s all very silly.

Rudy Rucker has got to be the weirdest writer of science fiction in the U.S.A. today.  Perhaps he’s the weirdest in the world.  I haven’t read anyone so purely out-of-his-mind since the days of R. A. Lafferty in the seventies.

His real name is Rudolf von Bitter Rucker, and he’s a mathematician and a college professor.  You can read all about him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudy_Rucker.  Seven years ago he looked like this:

He’s about a year older than me, and I think I would like him.  I certainly enjoy his books.

Hylozoic is one of those books based on the life of a real person.  In this case, Rucker picked one of the weirdest people who ever lived, the Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch.  Apparently, the word Hieronymous is just the Latin form of his real name–a name that would have sounded like Yeroon.  Bosch painted demented scenes from heaven and hell at the end of the Middle Ages.  Here is one of them.

What is going on in this picture?  It’s Hell, so it can’t be anything good.  I kind of like the rabbit in the lower center though. 

Things we would consider to be inanimate objects frequently appear to be alive and moving around in Bosch’s art.  Apparently that got Professor Rucker to thinking about what life could be like if everything had its own consciousness.  Rucker also likes to wander through time, space, and other dimensions.  Half of Hylozoic takes place on the Hybrane–a place very much like our Earth but with a slightly different history, and 6 times as big as we are.  Why six?   I don’t know.  That’s where we meet Yeroon. 

Hylozoic is all about the importance of being gnarly–i.e. chaotic.  I have often said, “Blood and Souls for Arioch!  Cheese and Biscuits for the Trollgod!  I serve only Chaos!”  So, you can see that the book was a perfect read for me.

If you read science fiction, do yourself a favor and find Hylozoic.  Follow Jayjay (Jorge Jimenez) and Thuy Nguyen through the subdimensions all the way to Infinity.  I guarantee you’ll be weirded out before you finish it.


Posted March 23, 2011 by atroll in Science Fiction, Uncategorized

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One response to “Hylozoic

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  1. I have really come around to Rucker in the last few years. I’ll have to pick this up, and if you haven’t read his book Mathematicians in Love, I’d suggest you do. It was one of the lightest and most enjoyable reads I’ve had in a long time

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