A new Rudy Rucker story (or book) is cause for major celebration just by itself. But a new Rudy Rucker story, plus a whole site full of weird and inappropriate fiction edited by Rucker? Calls for, quite possibly, a naked body paint flashmob or something. Rucker has just posted the sixth issue of his ezine Flurb, which collects stories too weird, transgressive or genre-warping for regular magazines. I think I know what you're going to spend the rest of your afternoon/evening doing. The stories in Flurb #6 are generally pretty awesome. I especially love Madeline Ashby's "Fitting A New Suit," set in a future dystopian Japan that's at war with Korea, where thousands of people choose to stay in their tiny homes all the time, exercising on special machines to generate electricity for their neighbors. And Michael Blumlein's "The Big One" is a wonderfully poetic and unsettling look at male-bonding in the wilderness that goes somewhat askew when some unexpected wildlife shows up. There's also Bruce Sterling's wonderfully weird and postmodern look ahead, "Computer Entertainment 35 Years From Today." But my favorite story in the new Flurb is probably Rucker's own "Qlone," about a man who's stuck in gloomy Rochester, New York. Zach-5 is the fourth quantum-duplicate, or "Qlone," of the original Zach, and the Zach-qlones are in demand as CEOs and business leaders. Unfortunately, Zach-5 gets the short end of the stick and has to run a startup called Qodoq, which markets "real-world search engines" via quantum computing, so you never lose your car keys or cellphone again. It's sort of the way objects get tagged in Rucker's brilliant novel Postsingular. It just gets weirder and weirder, as Rucker spins out more bizarre inventions and business ideas. I feel like I should add an obligatory disclaimer: Rucker has published a few of my own stories in past issues of Flurb, which may influence my judgement. But I don't think so. [Flurb]


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