Lost Books – Software by Rudy Rucker

“I think you should kill him and eat his brain,” Mr. Frostee said quickly.

That’s not the answer to every problem in interpersonal relations,” Cobb said, hopping out.

― Rudy Rucker, Software

Lost books. These are the ones that got away. Usually I have a good memory for things I have read, but occasionally I find that while I remember a story, or even a fragment, I can no longer recall the author or the title. These are my lost books, but fortunately with the wonders of the Internet they are not lost forever.

In the case in point I was prompted by the book I am currently reading, The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov, to recall something I read a long time ago. The Naked Sun has many of same themes as the Asimov classic, I Robot, including the positronic brain and the Three Laws of Robotics. Thinking about this stuff brought to mind a novel I had read when I was at University which dealt with some related ideas but I couldn’t remember either the author or the name of the book. Eventually I managed to dredge up part of quote, something about killing someone and eating his brain. A bit of selective googling and I had it.

When I was studying Psychology I took a course on artificial intelligence, the point being that if you want to understand something, i.e. Intelligence, then thinking about how you could recreate it really helps. This was in 1989 and most of the stuff we take for granted now, the Internet, smart phones, etc., belonged firmly in the realms of Science Fiction. A friend of mine leant me his copy of Software by Rudy Rucker with the recommendation that I read it as part of the course. “This guy’s an actual computer scientist” he said. “He knows his stuff”

I thought it was great. I had read Neuromancer some time previously and Software felt like it was right in the same vein. These days you would say they’re both part of the Cyberpunk genre, but I never heard the word until much later. It’s a strange but compelling read, full of dead beat characters and dark humour. 
Anyway I read it, liked it, and gave it back. Never found out it was part of a trilogy until this week when I started looking for it again. Now I’ve found it I intend to read it again and then the rest of the trilogy.
Looking back at that period of time I realise that I had just started my first serious attempt at writing a book, a time travelling dystopian SF novel. I never finished it and it would be twenty three years before I tried writing again. 


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