The Hacker and the Ants

The Hacker and the AntsThis Cyberpunk Adventure From Philip K Dick Award Winner, Rudy Rucker, Reads Like A Ripped From Reddit Romp Of White Hat Hacking, Artificial Intelligence Run Amok, And An Unstoppable Electronic Bugs From A Two Time Winner Of The Philip K Dick Award, And One Of The Founding Fathers Of Cyberpunk Comes A Novel About A Very Modern Nightmare The Most Destructive Computer Virus Ever Has Been Traced To Your Machine Computer Programmer Jerzy Rugby Spends His Days Blissfully Hacking Away In Cyberspace Aiding The GoMotion Corporation In Its Noble Quest To Create Intelligent Robots Then An Electronic Ant Gets Into The Machinery Then Ants Then Millions And Millions Of The Nasty Viral Pests Appear Out Of Nowhere To Wreak Havoc Throughout The Net And Suddenly Jerzy Rugby Is Public Enemy Number One, Wanted For Sabotage, Computer Crime, And Treason A Patsy Who Must Now Get To The Bottom Of The Virtual Insectile Plague Rudy Rucker Warms The Cockles Of My Heart I Think Of Him As The Scarlet Pimpernel Of Science Fiction Philip Jose Farmer

Rudolf von Bitter Rucker is an American mathematician, computer scientist, science fiction author, and one of the founders of the cyberpunk genre He is best known for his Ware Tetralogy, the first two of which won Philip K Dick awards Presently, Rudy Rucker edits the science fiction webzine Flurb.

[PDF] ✪ The Hacker and the Ants By Rudy Rucker –
  • Paperback
  • 306 pages
  • The Hacker and the Ants
  • Rudy Rucker
  • English
  • 15 April 2019
  • 9781568582474

10 thoughts on “The Hacker and the Ants

  1. says:

    First Rudy Rucker novel I ve read, stumbled on it Glad I read it, and it was a pretty light read so not too time consuming Seems to be the same AI fears as today, only roll back two decades before smart phones Vaguely twisted but familiar perspectives on California at the time rounds out the entertainment a real estate agent conspiracy, for instance The characters are not always consistent the narrator is somewhat unpredictable the plot line takes some unlikely twists in order to achieve resolution But I enjoyed the narration and some of the development around AI.

  2. says:

    review of Rudy Rucker s The Hacker and the Ants by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE January 14, 2015 For the complete review go here I m glad I read this back to back w Rucker s Master of Space and Time from 10 yrs before Rucker s come a long way since then Master of Space and Time was fun but in a somewhat light weight kind of way The Hacker and the Ants is far immersed in computers much detail oriented AND it s still completely entertaining The Hacker and the Ants references Master of Space and Time He could even speed up and slow down time, or run time backward he was the master of space and time p 238 I started studying computers way back when in the days of flow charts the like in 1973 but back then I certainly didn t have access to a computer at home computers were most likely to be found in big businesses at universities Thru my neoist connection Boris Wanowich I at least got to see home computers in the mid 80s see his early computer animations here computers on an almost daily basis then, in late 1994 or early 1995, my friend Sarmad Brody sent me a Mac SE to use so I finally had my own In 1997, my friend John Berndt sent me an even recent Mac I was set Since then computers have become much familiar household items for me but in some respects I still don t know shit One might say that the amt of exercise I ve gotten since 1997 has diminished considerably as I ve sat in front of one I m sitting at one now in order to write this review The point of this blather being that anyone whose life has interfaced w computers to the extent that mine has is likely to read The Hacker and the Ants in the context of that timeline if only by comparing notes The Hacker and the Ants was copyrighted in 1994 1st published by AvoNova in 1995 nicely overlapping my 1st ownership of the primitive Mac SE If I d read it then I might ve found it very futuristic Reading it now, it just seems prescient of things that ve come to pass Rucker was aware of what was happening w computers, of what might happen w them in the near future he was teaching computer science In the novel it s the age of digital tv As I recall, the switchover to digital tv in the US began on Saturday, June 13, 2009 25 yrs after the novel s copyright date As a part of Ian Page s End of Television project, my group HiTEC Histrionic Thought Experiment Cooperative was broadcasting on analog tv right around the time of the changeover there s a short movie from the night here Rucker s character hates tv, something that I can always identify w even tho I ve been on tv a few times I don t watch it Everything on TV enraged me, because everything on TV was the same the ads, the news, the shows In my opinion, all TV was all part of the huge lying Spectacle that the government kept running to oppress us all Data compression had brought us a thousand channels, but they all sucked same as ever p 12 Have you ever sat in a motel rm flipping thru the channels just for the sheer novelty of accessing what you don t usually have access to or care to have access to The main thing amazing about it for me is the sheer quantity of same old, same old It s like having the ability to get a dump truck of junk mail empty itself into yr living rm every day instead of just the usual handful of paper waste Thinking of Hungary and the police made me wonder if our own USA would ever be free Would we ever get rid of the earth raping, drug warring social oppressors who d made the public treasury their own latrine and hog wallow Well, the Hungarians had gotten rid of the Communists, hadn t they Some day the Revolution was going to come to America, too One of the secondary reasons why I worked on ants and robots was that I hoped they could help bring down the Pig Tonight the ants had ruined television There could be no important step in crippling the Pig I started grinning the GoMotion ants had done a good thing I was proud of them p 128 I was contacted by the SciFi channel way back in 1999 by someone who sd that they d heard that I was the guy whose work they wanted In other words, they wanted free samples After I sent the guy a perfumed letter telling him how glad I was to be finally reunited w my separated at birth conjoined twin or something like that sending him a DVD R of some brief snippets of work of mine telling him that I didn t really believe that I was the guy whose work they wanted I was, indeed, rejected Did I say something wrong Well, yes I did it deliberately but I knew there was no way they were interested in work that wasn t about outer space monsters threatening Earth w lots of CGI Over my walls and in the far background I would see whatever landscape I was currently hottest for in those days it was a swamp with simmies that looked like dinosaurs and pterodactyls It was called Roarworld I d gotten it off the Net p 9 I m reminded of Second Life, a user created online world, something in wide use today except by people like myself whose computers are too old to support the software or, again, people like me, who aren t computer savvy enuf to work around their computer s limitations When I toggled on the mighty Roarworld sound module, it was than awesome, GAH ROOOOONT p 9 Ha ha Over a decade ago, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History was seeking someone to design a dinosaur sound to scare the kids who wd do campovers there I submitted an outrageously long resum of my sound art experience claimed that I cd make a sound to scare the kids but that, of course, I didn t think that was what they really wanted There s GPS, not so named, too While I was driving 280 across town to East San Jose, I fished out the scrap of paper that Nga s cousin had given me 5778 White Road I flicked on the electronic map attached to my dash and told it Nga s address Intense green lines appeared, showing a diagram of San Jose, with a highlighted path indicating the best route from satellite calculated current location to Nga Vo s p 104 People take GPS for granted now but that was hardly the case in 1994 The 1st time I ever used it was when I was a passenger in Lizard s RV driving cross country to my 1st last Burning man in 1999 Even though I typed in thin air, it felt as though I was touching something, for my gloves had tactile feedback Woven in with the Spandex were special piezoplastic touchpads that could swell up and press against my hand The touchpads on my fingertips pulsed each time I pushed down on a virtual key pp 9 10 When I read about Virtual Reality think about the technical limitations of my own home set up I have to be honest realize that if I were a little ambitious in this direction I cd have something like this going to for very little money I remember when video artist Alan Price made a VR headset in a very clever efficient way in the early 1990s for something like less than 150 out of commonly available parts That s the way to go Is this a pioneering Cyberpunkspace novel Weeelllllll. not as much so as William Gibson s Neuromancer 1984 or G C Edmondson C M, Kotlan s The Cunningham Equations 1986 or Bruce Sterling s Islands in the Net 1988 to name a few I ve read but I found its technical explications accessible maybe just b c the lingo is actual in use lingo Since Rucker won the Philip K Dick prize twice since he s based in California as Dick was since the writing s very readable as was Dick s fluid pulp, it s inevitable that Rucker be compared to him What I find comparable is the dysfunctionality of Rucker s characters love lives Dick was married 5 times Rucker s primary character is going thru a divorce gets involved in 2 other problematic relationships Rucker s description of women, like those of writers like Raymond Chandler before him, is of the variety of women can fuck you up The phone rang Hello, Mr Rugby A woman s brisk, aggressive voice Yes This is Louise Calder from Welsh Tayke realty Do you mind if I bring a client by in half an hour They re quite interested in the property I m very busy today I don t want to show the house The voice was instantly, unforgivingly venomous I ll pass that along to the owner, Mr Rugby Good bye p 6 There s much to the Dick connection than just that we liked to test it in a full size simmie house that we called Our American Home We had simmies of a family who supposedly lived there clumsy Walt and Perky Pat Christensen, with son Dexter and daughter Baby Scooter p 17 While Rucker doesn t explicitly mention Dick this is clearly an homage to people who ve read Dick s The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch 1964 a personal favorite Perky Pat Layouts were the biggest thing going in the extra Terran colonies Entire artificial worlds for a miniature golden tressed doll and her muscular, artificial boyfriend beginning with landscapes, and complete to every detail down to topless bathing suits inside front cover blurb of the Book Club edition of The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch He was Walt He owned a Jaguar XXB sports ship with a flatboat velocity of 15,000 miles an hour His shirts came from Italy and his shoes were made in England It was always Saturday In the bathroom he splashed his face with water staring into the mirror at his familiar features, he saw a note tacked up, in his own hand THIS IS AN ILLUSION YOU ARE SAM REGAN, A COLONIST ON MARS MAKE USE OF YOUR TIME OF TRANSLATION, BUDDY BOY CALL UP PAT PRONTO back cover blurb of the Book Club edition of The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch It seems that many or most or ALL of the fictional bks I read like identify w have underdogs for protagonists I suppose that s a pretty clich trope but I still much prefer it to Lifestyles of the Rich Famous The Hacker and the Ants starts off w the beleaguered hero being harassed by real estate agents This is banal, sure, but these things pick away at a person s spirit Monday morning when I answered the door there were twenty one new real estate agents there, all in horrible polyester gold jackets They came swarming in and scattered to every corner of my great dry rotted California manse Several of them had video cameras What a thing to wake up to p1 Now this guy s hardly the underdog that he cd be, he s a middle class guy w a well paying job that he gets to do from home something certainly common now, thanks to computers, than it was when this was written Nonetheless, his life proceeds to go down the drain BIG TIME the resultant struggle is quite the engaging tale One of the most fun things about reading this for me was the didactic introducing of computer jargon slang I either knew most of it already or cd easily figure out its meaning b c the etymology is so transparent but to have it laid out in such a brisk entertaining fashion helped reinforce it all for me An exceedingly hostile or schizophrenic e mail message is called a flame Even though Russ and I were still exchanging scientific information, we were at the same time in the throes of a flame war p 172 The simulated objects of cyberspace were known as simmies My hand images were simmies, as was the virtual phone in my cyberspace office p 7 But what was cyberspace Where did it come from Cyberspace had oozed out of the world s computers like stage magic fog Cyberspace was an alternate reality, it was the huge interconnected computation that was being collectively run by planet Earth s computers around the clock Cyberspace was the information Net, but than the Net, cyberspace was a shared vision of the Net as a physical space p 8 How did I look Like most users, I owned a tailor made simmie of my cyberspace body Cyberspace users called their body simmies tuxedos p 14 The funny thing about the cyber prefix was that it had always meant bullshit Back in the 1940s, the story went, MIT doubledome Norbert Weiner had wanted a title for a book he d written about the electronic control of machines Claude Shannon, also known as The Father of Information Theory, told Weiner to call his book Cybernetics The academic justification for the word was that the cyber root came from the Greek word for rudder A kybernetes was a steersman or, by extension, a mechanical governor such as a weight and pulley feedback device you might hook to your tiller to keep your sailboat aimed at some fixed angle into the wind The practical justification for the word was contained in Shannon s advice to Weiner Use the word cybernetics, Norbert, because nobody knows what it means This will put you at an advantage in arguments p 19 This is obviously a pet peeve for Rucker b c he also referred to it in Master of Space and Time 10 yrs before In my review of that I wrote Cybernetics That was a word Harry and I had always laughed about Nobody had any idea what it means, it s just some crazy term that Norbert Wiener made up p 13 Really Paul Pangaro has this to say What does the word cybernetics mean Cybernetics comes from a Greek word meaning the art of steering Cybernetics is about having a goal and taking action to achieve that goal Knowing whether you have reached your goal or at least are getting closer to it requires feedback , a concept that comes from cybernetics From the Greek, cybernetics evolved into Latin as governor Draw your own conclusions When did cybernetics begin Cybernetics as a process operating in nature has been around for a long time Cybernetics as a concept in society has been around at least since Plato used it to refer to government In modern times, the term became widespread because Norbert Wiener wrote a book called Cybernetics in 1948 His sub title was control and communication in the animal and machine This was important because it connects control a.k.a., actions taken in hope of achieving goals with communication a.k.a., connection and information flow between the actor and the environment So, Wiener is pointing out that effective action requires communication Wiener s sub title also states that both animals biological systems and machines non biological or artificial systems can operate according to cybernetic principles This was an explicit recognition that both living and non living systems can have purpose A scary idea in 1948 Note that in the The Hacker and the Ants incarnation of this pet peeve Rucker quotes a conversation between Shannon Weiner Really Was that somewhat incriminating conversation recorded in the 1940s I think not Rucker is putting forth someone s imagined version of a hypothetical conversation It may be very accurate but it s probably not an actual quote Naughty, naughty, Rudy Rucker seems to have other pet peeves In The Hacker and the Ants an annoying character is described thusly He was a lawn dwarf, five foot two with full beard, bald pate, and long greasy locks, he was I would soon learn a vegetarian, a pagan, a libertarian, anda deep thinker with a dozen crackpot opinions, all furiously held p 97 Now cf that to his description of Professor Baumgard I take Baumgard to be a parody of tree hugger since a German to English translation of this name might be Tree Guard The guy was a real square He had long, greasy gray hair and a beard A microcomputer in the pouch of his sweatshirt And ughBeatles music playing softly on his radio p 136 of Master of Space and Time In the Valley these days, phreaks were youths who cobbled together their own approximation of a decent cyberspace deck and used it for weird cyberspace pranks Cryps were phreaks who d turned professional and gone into the employ of companies involved in industrial espionage If you broke into someone s company machines often enough, they were likely to hire you as a cryp to break into other companies, or they might use you as a security consultant to keep out the other cryps It was a vicious circle the cryps security cracking escapades created a demand for the services they could provide p 90 When I see phreaks I think of phone phreaks I think of the magazine 2600 whose name references the frequency of the whistle used by phone phreak Captain Crunch to make free calls on pay phones Anyone interested in my own feeble connection to phone phreakery might enjoy this TESTES 3 movie from 1979 As I ve pointed out in at least one previous review, references that are of keen familiarity to the reader make sd reader identify w the bk If I read a reference to Jackson Mac Low or the music of Morton Feldman in an SF novel wch I m fairly sure I have before I feel right at home In this case, the reference is to SRL The man who actually built our physical robot models was called Ken Thumb Ken was a slim blue collar type soft spoken, brilliant, implacable Before signing on as GoMotion s machinist he d worked with the Survival Research Lab art robotics group putting together his big crazy machines out of parts he would find in abandoned factories and warehouses pp 21 22 Then there s a reference to an entomologist known to loved by all entomologists well, so it seems from my superficial entomology POV fitting our shapes to official E.O Wilson entomological data p 66 I 1st heard of Wilson from my friend Irene Moon, the entomologist noise performer I ve also read Wilson s novel Anthill see my review here Probably somewhat thanks to Wilson there s some nice entomology in here as well as computer nerdiness Biological anthills usually contain a wide range of the myrmecophilous or ant loving creatures who live in the colony as parasites, symbiotes, or as the ant pets collectively known as as myrmecoxenes or symphiles There is a certain small beetle, for instance, which is kept and fed by the ants simply because the ants enjoy licking tasty waxy secretions from the beetle s antennae p 72 Myrmidon snacks, anyone then there s the Church of the SubGenius That s too gnarly, Dirk Why can t you make the control be I looked over at the businessman figure with his pipe clenched between the teeth of his shit eating salesman grin I now recognized the figure as the old underground culture icon known as Bob Dobbs Give my clown a copy of the pipe of Bob Dobbs p 214 215 Now Rucker s not the 1st to reference SubGenii John Shirley s 1988 SF novel Black Hole of Carcosa has this passage Don t fuck with me, Bob, Stang snarled p 133 Of course, it all pales in comparison to real life then there s Robert Anton Wilson What s w all the Wilsons My mother s maiden name was Wilson.

  3. says:

    la storia di per se non sarebbe male, anche se alla fin fine ha un sapore di deja vu fortissimo diciamo che fa un po blockbuster americano con qualche deriva pi intelligente, pi la solita variante del mito del golem che si ribella ma troppi tentativi di spiegazioni tecniche che spezzano il ritmo magari necessarie nel 1994 in cui stato pubblicato ma spesso ridondanti in questo 2011 e un personaggio non esattamente campione di simpatia fanno naufragare il romanzo.

  4. says:

    Fairly entertaining story about a robotics programmer and artificial life Most of it reads like a James Bond story aimed at programming fans rather than spy fans The main character is overtly sexist realistic for the role , but the book is less so There are some fun tech references and the general Silicon Valley culture matches the stereotypes prevalent in the valley itself Usually it is fun to read a book in settings I am familiar with, but somehow I was a little bored, too.

  5. says:

    No lo pude terminar La idea daba para una historia con m s suspenso y acci n , pero el autor prefiri la opci n del drama personal , que no le a ad a nada a la historia de ciencia ficci n De un problema con inteligencias artificiales pasamos a una disputa laboral, las vida amorosa del protagonista le perd el rastro a todos los personajes Al final, el protagonista regresa con su mujer.

  6. says:

    The whole plot is driven by what an obnoxiously horny creep the narrator is Kind of a persistent Rudy Rucker problem.

  7. says:

    Very interesting and sometimes frightening story My only complaint is that the dialogue is a little out of date.

  8. says:

    The book tells the story of Jerzy Rugby all characters in the book have interesting names , a computer programmer in Silicon Valley Jerzy is working for a company called Go Motion His job is to use genetic algorithms to come up with the best possible AI for a robot the company wants to start selling to families in the very near future.Jerzy is a typical hacker interesting point all programming hacking is done in Virtual Reality and so it comes as no surprise that things aren t going so well in his personal life He is still trying to get over the separation from his wife and kids, and on top of that, a very persistent realtor is trying to make him leave the old family house.Then, one day, Jerzy notices a Virtual Reality ant crawling about on his computer.And things begin to go really bad really fast There are many reasons I found this book strange and entertaining The Hacker and the Ants is a sci fi book written in the nineties The world described in the book is definitely futuristic for that time, but so many of the technical accomplishments Rudy Rucker describes in the story have become an every day reality So the story almost reads as if it is taking place in real time Weird.There are tons of great references to computer science and mathematics woven throughout the story I just happen to love this kind of stuff I also liked his creative use of names as a means of describing people, companies, etc And finally, I really enjoyed the high level of good absurd present in the book.

  9. says:

    Rudy Rucker is smart and the consequence is that he always has a bunch of ideas to throw into the book and sometimes it s just too much and this book is a good example Given that original book was published somewhere around 93 author had a vision for a lot of things that came into mainstream only decades later, like good navigation, online games, virtual reality, ai, robots etc This book was in a way his attempt to describe how he saw the world with all this In addition to that main person is a hacker and hence we get a lot of descriptions of programming related moments.Taking into account all this a good portion of the book consists of descriptions of things mentioned that are sometime naive and sometimes so precise that it makes them really boring E.g at one moment author describes a toolbar of icons main hero sees, how they look like etc.The other not so good part is about characters in the book While some of them are or less well thought, others are not really consistent and change their behaviour character or slang throughout the book and are not complicated at all.Even with all that the general storyline is great IMO and again reflect concerns that are being raised years later see rather recent wave of fear of AI I have a feeling that Rudy Rucker could have done better, but it s still worth reading if you read his Software cycle and like it.

  10. says:

    This one is conflicting some great sci fi ideas and descriptions on cyberspace and robotics, but some lame pulpy writing and plot contrivances So let s call it 3.5 stars, shall weRead it like PK Dick which you are very much encouraged to realizing the plot and characters are only a bamboo framework to showcase bigger ideas about VR and robotics And how sad, a decade and a half after the writing, VR and robotics haven t come further than the author undoubtedly guest they would have by now Much of the setting is also rather cliche mid 90 s cyberpunk oh, the Californian hacker smokes pot, didn t see that coming But if the tone borrows a bit from Gibson Stephenson flash bang style games, Rucker seems to also maintain some tongue in cheek distance from it all and is having fun Sure, let the geek protagonist have some unrealistic sex scenes and duck away to Switzerland on a forged passport for a weekend, what the hell The title of this novel won t, or shouldn t, have anyone confusing it with art But it s a fun, quick fulfilling ride.

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