Like a Möbius strip, that mathematical curiosity in which one surface is produced by twisting judiciously then joining two ends of a ribbon, Rucker's new hard SF satire tweaks the dot-com Y2K subculture into a hilarious tribute to Edwin Abbott's Flatland (1884). Kencom techie Joe Cube fatally miscalculates how his increasingly dissatisfied, yuppie, dingbat wife, Jena, really wants to celebrate the millennial New Year's Eve. Joe should have remembered that Jena likes sex even better than he does. Instead he brings her two Dungeness crabs, a bottle of Dom Perignon and some "really cool electronics," an experimental three-dimensional TV. This indigestible combination fizzles Joe's stab at romance, but the electronics sizzle, hurling Jena into the arms of Joe's skuzzy engineer pal, Spazz, and propelling Momo, a siren-voiced denizen of the fourth dimension, into Joe's life. For her own nefarious purposes, Momo cons Joe into helping her people, the Kluppers, against their mortal enemies, the Dronners. Only Joe's three-dimensional reality, Spaceland, separates the two warring races. Combining valid mathematical speculation with wicked send-ups of Silicon Valley and its often otherworldly tribespeople, Rucker achieves a rare fictional world, a belly-laugh-funny commentary on the Faustian dilemma facing a lumpish 21st-century tech-addicted everyman: What is the real price in human relationships, in love and friendship and compassion, of those cutesy little user-friendly gadgets that happen to materialize so innocently on our desks? (June 3)
Forecast:A two-time Philip K. Dick Award winner, Rucker should benefit from the recent reissue of Flatland in a deluxe annotated edition. He is also the author of two nonfiction books on higher space, The Fourth Dimension and Geometry, Relativity and the Fourth Dimension.
Release date: 06/01/2002