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White Light

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  653 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Felix Rayman spends the day teaching indifferent students, pondering his theories on infinity, and daydreaming. When his dreams finally separate him from his physical body, Felix plunges headfirst into a multidimensional universe beyond the limits of space and time -- the place of White Light.
Paperback, 269 pages
Published May 7th 2001 by Four Walls Eight Windows (first published 1980)
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3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  653 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Ben Loory
a really fun book, less science fiction than a kind of mathemagical fantasia on the concept of infinity, probably closer to Alice in Wonderland than anything else. extremely wild and free-wheeling, though somewhat detached; doesn't carry a lot of (or any, really) emotional weight, but is definitely mind-expanding and a hell of a ride.

(my favorite part is when franx the beetle refers to gravity as "the seriousness.")
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps I should say why I have read this book in the first place: Rudy Rucker is a mathematician, a set theorist to be precise, and this book, his opera prima, was written around a central theme: infinity. To write fiction trying to convey Cantor's theory of transfinite numbers is no minor feat, and that alone is worth 5 stars.

The plot is, in my opinion, a bit too dream-like, sometimes is not too sharp: a Lewis Carroll in C flat.But, tthat said, there are some serious fireworks here and there,
Mia Morrison
Mar 25, 2016 rated it liked it
A psychedelic trip into heaven and hell via the Cimon. Felix is a mathematics professor trying to grasp eternity, and when he takes up an interest in astral travel trouble insues. After leaving his body unattended Felix finds himself set on a mission by Jesus to protect and guide a single soul to the Absolute One which is God. Thus begins his trip through the Spirit Realms in a quest to find the center of Infinity.

Though at times the mathematics leaves the reader feeling more than a bit inadequa
Jan 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: math, sf
This is the earliest of the Rucker bks I've read & probably my favorite. The simple premise of a math professor who has out-of-body experiences when he naps is expanded to a wild ride that's part hallucinogenic daydream, part semi-serious attempt to address notions of how to demonstrate that there aren't one-to-one mappings of specific infinities. The result was completely engrossing & entertaining for me & is proof 'positive' that Rucker's one heckuva imaginative guy. Thank the holy ...more
Vivian Sophia
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Absorbing, silly, amusing. Some people think it's deep but it's not.
Andrea Feucht
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Super weird and yet awesome

Found this via boingboing and gave it a shot. Math, dreams, death, aether, mountains, bloogs, professors and it just holds together.
Jun 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, surreal

_White Light_ reads like nothing so much as an LSD trip report written by a mathematician working on set theory and the mathematics of infinity. Given that Rucker was indeed a mathematician who would've been in his 20s in the '70s, and given that he wrote a nonfiction book called _Infinity and the Mind_ at around the same time as he wrote _White Light_, it all starts to seem suspiciously like this might actually be the case.

Nonetheless, it's an interesting read. Rucker deals with a large portio
Ashley Lambert-Maberly
This is a very strange novel that won't be to everyone's taste, but I found it mostly fascinating. It's one of those 1970s-ish (published in 1980, but presumably written prior!) which feel free to picaresquely gambol through plot, characters, etc, in a non-neat-and-tidy way, a la some John Barthes, Jack Vance, and also reminded me (though I liked this much better) of the very strange Autumn Angels, in terms of the extreme powers expressed here.

Also a nice introduction to the concept of multiple
Nicolas Gomez
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It’s a fun, beatnik-romp around themes of infinity/altered sense of space-time. This is light fare but Rucker puts a lot of interesting ideas to fun use. HIGHLY Recommend. Fans of PKD would love how psychdelic this book is!
Jul 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
Many years ago (as a student of mathematics) I was told I would love this book. Many years later I do not. It isn't easy to mix theoretical math and fiction!
Andrew MacPherson
Apr 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having had some previous exposure to Rucker’s work (, before starting this book, I had some idea of what to expect: bizzarro-nerdpunk surreal fiction. Or something, I dunno, I’m not great with labels. And that’s basically what I got.

White Light tells the story of Felix Rayman, a math professor at the fictional equivalent of an upstate SUNY campus and his journey to Cimön, which is infinitely distant in normal spac
Oct 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
Math nerd takes LSD in the '70s, finds god, writes book imagining he's as clever as Lewis Carroll. He is not.

Pleasantly loopy at times, but not much to care about in here. And though infinity is referenced endlessly (ha), Rucker doesn't really have anything to say about it, which I found disappointing. This is nerdy in the names and topics it drops, but not nerdy in terms of depth of thought.
Michael Hamilton
Jan 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
I've been going through and reading/rereading Rudy Rucker's books since I realized that an acquaintance of mine was Rudy's daughter. People reading Rucker because he's "Cyberpunk" probably aren't going to get this, but this is a really creative book. A blatantly silly sense of humor, a lot less self-consciouses "hipness" than you usually associate with cyberpunk, and a firm foundation in theoretical math (Rucker is a math professor) put this hallucinatory narrative in a category of it's own.
Little Icelander
Rudy Rucker è, oltre che uno scrittore di fantascienza, un matematico che ha scritto libri di divulgazione in materia. Questo Luce bianca vorrebbe essere un esercizio in stile Flatlandia sull'infinito matematicamente inteso. Lo stile è leggero e gradevole, sono le parti esemplificative sui diversi tipi di infinito che non mi sembrano granché!
Daniel Swensen
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: weird, scifi
It's probably cliche to compare a book to taking hallucinogens, but that's how White Light reads. Surreal, inventive, and a touch aimless, White Light is full of wild invention and mind-bending meditations on the nature of infinity. Another reviewer called it "refreshingly insane," and I tend to agree. I may seek out more Rudy Rucker in the future.
Apr 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
A great companion to his non-fictional Infinity and the Mind Penguin Science.
Michael Hirsch
Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It definitely helps to be a math graduate student, as I was, when you read this book. It had some great insights into the difference between different orders of infinity. And a nice in-context descriptions of "Hilbert's hotel".
Nov 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
sort of a mathematical philosophical hallucinogenic fiction, but a casual, enjoyable read for the interested layman. i think the author does actually have professional background in metaphysics/mathematics but im not sure.
Tim Heywood
Jun 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
both funny and serous, explaining interesting higher level mathc concepts in an interactive manner. dialogues and story intentionally very disjointed in places, adding to the mystique and mysteriousness of the story.
Nov 18, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Совсем не ужасно, не не понравилось. Какая-то эзотерическая тягомотина с ощущением близости к Кафке местами, оправдывающаяся бесконечным повторением слова "бесконечность".
Финал порадовал.
Может проблема в переводе? В английских комментариях пишут, что им было весело местами.
Dec 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
One of the best science-fiction books I've read. Reads like the astro-meta version of I had trouble in getting to solla sollew
Peter Tillman
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Good early Rucker: sets, drugs, rock & roll

My 1998 review:
Sep 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all
Shelves: adventure
White Light is one of those whoa books. You've never read anything like it, you have no idea where it's going, and when you get there you feel like a new person.
Maria Susana
Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A true delight for math lovers!!!
Nov 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
refreshingly insane
Feb 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
I never knew how many kinds of infinity there were!
Jun 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A story about infinity
Mar 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Crazy funny mix of math humor and potent dystopian visuals.
Mark H
Jul 30, 2008 rated it did not like it
severely incomprehensible
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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.
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