A few years ago, David Hartwell and I and our kids had lunch at Rudy Rucker’s house in Los Gatos, California. Given his mellow counter-culture mathematician persona, I remember being surprised at how tidy and well-organized his house was—even his office. The other thing especially notable about the house was that it was filled with rather good art mostly done by various members of the Rucker family.
In Rudy’s office hung a number of his paintings of scenes from his books. Apparently sometimes he paints the scenes before he writes them. Painting is part of his transrealist writing process.
So when I was looking at his blog today, I was pleased to read that he has a painting site. He’s apparently had it for a while but has just been upgrading it. It includes one of my favorites I remember from his office, a scene from Frek and the Elixir (2004), entitled “Stun City.”
On his Painting Notes page he says
This image illustrates the second chapter of my far future SF novel Frek and the Elixir. It’s a biotech world in which the buildings are grown. Next to Frek are his faithful dog Arf and his “grulloo” friend Gibby. They've just arrived at a town called Stun City.
Just for fun, I painted in a bunch of Virgins of Guadalupe into the picture as well, even though they don’t figure in the novel. I’ve always thought these religious icons look somehow science-fictional: a little figure floating in a spiky glowing ball. Here’s a description of the scene from my book.
* * *
“Just as the sun went down, they topped one last rise and the town finally lay spread out before them, a lush parkland of house-trees and aircorals, with its famous central cluster of enormous, odd-shaped buildings. The huge NuBioCom puffball had just turned on its lights; sending bright beams out across Stun City, as if reaching for its citizens. Frek studied the porthole-like windows for a minute, imagining the inner structures. The windows were aligned one above the other, forming ribbons like the stripes on a gourd. A bit closer than the puffball glowed the Kritterworks cube, set close to the banks of the River Jaya. Four sides of the cube were solid, and the two end-walls were cored out with great and small tunnels. Frek could see a big central gallery and at least eight smaller galleries running the length of the cube. The Stun City structure that interested Frek the most of all was the legendary Toonsmithy—this was where the very best toons were crafted. The Toonsmithy was a giant beanstalk, trained into the shape of a corkscrew that spiraled up into the sky.”