Bluejay Books, 1984
The word is out that Michel Gondry’s next film will be an adaptation of Rudy Rucker’s 1984 novel “Master of Space and Time” and that it will star Jack Black. I had never heard of Rucker up to this point, as I don’t really follow sci-fi (trying to read “Ringworld” back when I was 15 put me off the sort of high-technology based sci-fi). Apparently, though, he’s one of the fathers of cyberpunk along with Gibson, and if Gondry likes him, I better check him out.
So I did. By a pure stroke of luck, our local library had only this novel and “The Hacker and the Ants” on their shelves, and the former is now completely out of print. (Jon, who is now interested in reading the book too, found that there’s only two copies in the entire L.A. County library system, and one is reference.)
Well, now, I haven’t read a book so fast. Less than 24-hours later I was returning the book back to the library. One thing I know–it’ll be a hoot of a film. In fact, the first chapter is pure Gondry, in which our hero Joe is briefly sent into a time loop and wind up surrounded by ever decreasing and increasing copies of his body. This is due to his friend and crazy inventor Harry (I assume the Jack Black role) who has come back from the future to tell Joe he’s mastered time and space. How? Joe will tell him tomorrow, he is told. And off we go.
Rucker plays with the paradoxes of time travel and indulges in some parallel reality play, but in essence this is a three-wishes story, with each of the three main characters (the third being Joe’s wife Nancy) getting a chance at changing the world. Gondry has always expressed admiration for the pop physics of “Back to the Future,” and so this will be his take on it, I suppose.
There’s a little bit of dated elements here–the slight homophobia and the caricatured Vietnamese bloke grate a bit–but the story is so fun it doesn’t matter.
If you can find a copy you won’t be disappointed.
There’s aRudy Rucker web site for more info.
Bluejay Books, 1984