Welcome to the June edition of Reader's Den at The New York Public Library!
This month we will discuss Rudy Rucker's Software (1982), the first book in the Ware Tetralogy science fiction series, which also includes Wetware (1988), Freeware (1997), and Realware (2000).
To participate, simply request a print copy through the NYPL Catalog or download a free, Creative Commons-licensed ebook (available in Kindle, Nook, and Sony eReader formats).
Software was the very first winner of the Philip K. Dick Award in 1983 and is considered a cyberpunk classic. While the melding of high-tech futurism and gritty counterculture may seem commonplace today, Rucker's novel marks a growing movement that did not yet include the influential Philip K. Dick adaptation Blade Runner (1982) or William Gibson's genre-defining Neuromancer (1984).
Below are some discussion questions to help us get started, but feel free to comment on other things you notice about the book as well!
- Rudy Rucker is often compared to Philip K. Dick. Do you see similarities between the two writers?
- Are you familiar with the term "cyberpunk" and have you come across other works (books, movies, video games, etc.) that fall under this genre?
- The author has stated that he took the title Software from a 1979 issue of Scientific American, but at the time it was not a widely-used term or concept. Does the technology in the novel still seem futuristic to you or, conversely, does it seem dated 30 years later?
This online book discussion is part of Sci-Fi Summer Reading 2011 and you can find even more science fiction-themed programming at bit.ly/scifisummer.