“Golden Cyberpunk Memory,” an excerpt from Rudy Rucker’s Freeware #cyberpunk
Cyberpunk OG, Rudy Rucker, has posted an excerpt from his essential sci-fi novel, Freeware, on Medium.
Here’s one of my favorite scenes from my cyberpunk novel Freeware. You can read all four Wares novels online. Or just buy the ebook. This post is illustrated by various covers of the novels.
In this scene, my character Willy is running across a spaeeport field, wearing an imipolex “moldie” creature like a pair of pants and boots. Moldies are a mixture of imipolex plastic and network of fungus and mold. They’re as smart as we are. People wear them, and call them Happy Cloaks.
“If you’re going to be a long-term symbiote with me, I ought to have a name for you,” Willy says to the moldie.
“Call me Ulam,” said the Happy Cloak. “It’s an abbreviated form of a dead bopper’s name: Ulalume. Most of my imipolex used to be Ulalume’s flickercladding-Stahn had a couple of hoppers’ worth on his back. Ulalume was female, but I think of myself as a male. Be still while I move the plug-in, and then we can go.”
So here’s shirtless Willy under the star-spangled Florida sky with eighty pounds of moldie for his shoes and pants, scuffing across the cracked concrete of the JFK spaceport pad. The great concrete apron was broken up by a widely spaced grid of drainage ditches, and the spaceport buildings were dark. It occurred to Willy that he was very hungry.
There was a roar and blaze in the sky above. The Selena was coming down. Close, too close. The nearest ditch was so far he wouldn’t make it in time, Willy thought, but once he started running, Ulam kicked in and superamplified his strides, cushioning on the landing and flexing on the takeoff s. They sprinted a quarter of a mile in under twenty seconds and threw themselves into the coolness of the ditch, lowering down into the funky brackish water. The juddering yellow flame of the great ship’s ion beams reflected off the ripples around them. A hot wind of noise blasted loud and louder; then all was still.
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