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Science Fiction - Wetware

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Rudy V. B. Rucker
183 pages
Eos

Wetware is one of those cyberpunk novels that some people love and some people hate but there isn't much reaction between the two extremes. Rudy Rucker has been compared to Gibson though comparisons with Philip K. Dick might be more accurate. One of the problems some readers have with Rucker is the dark cast of his future and the seeming stagnation in male/female relationships that is tinged with sexism. This reservation seems disingenuous to me as it would seem that while progress has been made over the years from the Victorian era to now people, both men and women, still have a lot of sexist attitude and that is not likely to change in the future.

A lot of what Rucker has to say is just good story telling. He weaves together multiple plotlines and explores both the positive and negative sides of technological progress. What he has in common with many other cyberpunk writers is his seemingly endless pessimism about our species in general and a boundless optimism about individuals in particular. This dichotomy of vision serves the novel well in as much as there is a dichotomy in all of the characters over the value and meaning of life in the various forms presented in the work.Whether it is the enslaved Asimov computers or the free Boppers on the moon, merge junkies and hypergrowth meatbots none are portrayed without some measure of empathy.

If nothing else Rudy Rucker has the ability to tell a good story at a fast clip while managing to get you to pull for each side as he presents their point of view. It reminds one of the Talented Mr. Ripley's contention that none of us believe we are doing wrong at the time we do something. Such is the sincerity and belief of each character in their own actions - humans to defend themselves from robots, robots efforts to integrate fully into human society - that the reader easily finds themselves shifting allegiances as they the story progresses.

Wetware is a good, solid read and Rucker deserves you attention.

Denis Bernicky

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