Cyberpunk OGs, Rudy Rucker and Bruce Sterling, reading their collection, Transreal Cyberpunk #cyberpunk

Later on in this series, I’m going to be doing a piece on the various subgenres and deriviatives that spun off from cyberpunk: freewave, ribofunk, steampunk, splatterpunk, etc. And transrealism.

I decided to go ahead and post this piece related to transrealism after author, Rudy Rucker, posted a link to his Facebook page of him and fellow cyberpunk OG, Bruce Sterling, reading from their 2016 short story collection, Transreal Cyberpunk.

If you’ve been following along with this series, you already should have a good idea of what cyberpunk is. But what in blue blazes is transrealism? This excerpt from Rob Latham’s introduction to Transreal Cyberpunk might help:

For those unfamiliar with the concept, “transrealism” is a term of Rucker’s coinage designed to refer to a combination of science-fictional inspiration and quotidian, if not memoiristic authenticity. Or, as Sterling puts it at one point, a “mix of the visionary and the mundane.” Influences range from Burroughs to Hunter S. Thompson to Philip K. Dick, the effect being of an everyday world shot through with veins of hallucinatory wonder, fissured with portals into strange dimensions. Rucker’s early novels, Software and Spacetime Donuts, are classics of the form.

Transrealism is perhaps more succinctly summarized in Rudy’s adage: “Write like yourself, only more so.” So, basically, transrealist cyberpunk is weird-ass autobiographically-inspired surrealism in the cyberpunk style.

But here, judge for yourself. Here is Herr Rucker and Chairman Bruce reading the nine stories collected in the book. Rudy recommends starting with “our little-known crowning masterpiece, Kraken and Sage!”

And here is the inimitable Bruce Sterling describing the series in a video that was done when the collection was Kickstarted:

Image: Inset from Rudy Rucker’s recent “pandemic triptych” paintings


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