About the Project
Million MIle Road Trip is a novel. Rebellious, bitter, too-smart Zoe plays a trumpet toot that opens a wormhole to a parallel world, an endless flat expanse divided by ridges into planetary basins. Skipping high-school graduation, Zoe, her surfer friend Villy, and Villy's annoying teen brother leave California for an epic, million mile road trip---riding in Villy’s beat-up, purple surf-wagon, suitably enhanced with a dark-energy motor, graphene tires and quantum shocks. Their goal? To stop mind-eating flying saucers and an evil giant bagpipe from invading Earth. And, just maybe, to find love along the way.
I wrote and rewrote Million Mile Road Trip over the four-year period 2015 - 2018. Night Shade Books is publishing the novel in hardback and paperback on May 5, 2019. I'll be selling the ebook version of the book myself via Transreal Books. And I'm publishing the book-length Notes for Million Mile Road Trip.
I'm running a Kickstarter for Million Mile Road Trip to defray my living expenses, to promote the book, and to let my readers feel involved. Here's the cover of the Night Shade pb & hb editions, art by Bill Carman, design by Claudia Noble.
Below is my simple cover for the Transreal Books ebook edition, based on a painting of mine.
The creature in the painting is the novel's principal villain: a giant, living, alien bagpipe who spews out flying saucers. His name is Groon.
My project also includes a special limited-edition color-illustrated hardback, Notes for Million Mile Road Trip. A Collector's Set of the Novel and the Notes make up one of the rewards. Due to my fanatically thorough writng process, the Notes is in fact longer than the novel.
The full set of drawings and sketches that appear in the Notes will be available as one of the rewards. And eight of my paintings for the novel are available as rewards as well.
Advance Review of Million Mile Road Trip from Publishers Weekly
“Tipping his hat to Thomas Pynchon, Jack Kerouac, and Douglas Adams, Rucker immerses readers in a fantastical road trip adventure that’s a wild ride of unmitigated joy."
"Rucker populates this story with boldly surreal, humorous personalities and environments and moves it at a frenzied, ever-increasing pace."
"He ties everything together with internal consistency, playful use of language that keeps his ideas alien yet accessible, and a solid grounding in fourth-dimensional math."
"This wacky adventure is a geeky reader’s delight.”
About the Novel
I’ve always wanted to write an SF novel about a motley group of characters taking a long journey to visit a lot of planets, some of the travelers human, and some of them alien. To make it more fun, I wanted them to be riding in a car.
Why a car? Well, we already have plenty of SF novels about tourists in spaceliners, emigrants in generation starships, and troops in the space navy. In a car, there’s no captain, and you can ride with the windows open, and you stop wherever you like. And with the friendly aliens Pinchley and Yampa along.
Real-life road trips end before you want them to. You run into a coastline. The road stops. I wanted a road trip that goes on and on, with ever new adventures, and with opportunities to reach terrain never tread upon before. But how to do that in a car? Well, we hop to a parallel world, an endless flat expanse with large disks or basins tiled together, each basin like the surface of a different planet. A million mile road trip in this world runs across about a hundred of these disks. Million Mile Road Trip!
I often do paintings of scenes in my novels while I write them, or before I write them. Shown above is one of the novel's lesser villains, a shape-shifting creature called a Freeth.
The heroes of Million Mile Road Trip are three high-school kids with bad attitudes. And the aliens they encounter are, to say the least, flaky. Consider, for example, the alien dog attacking the pupating alien lady, as shown above. The kids are protecting the pupa with the power of rock and roll.
I love the classic gimmicks of SF in the same way that a guitarist loves power chords. The trick is to bring fresh life to the fab old tropes. Like...why not have a flying saucer be a flat cow?
The Million Mile Road Trip flying saucers aren't dull lmachines, no, they’re live beings made of meat. The aliens don’t ride in flying saucers, dude, they are flying saucers. And in some cases the humans and the saucers can mate...producing saucer people!
If you have flying saucers in an SF novel, you might as well have a full-on Attack of the Flying Saucers. And what better setting for such a scene than—a high school graduation in my home town of Los Gatos! A cosmic beatdown...with a happy ending.
Risks and challenges
This is my fifth Kickstarter project. The novel is already written, and ready to be published. I don't forsee any problems in getting the rewards into the readers hands by the end of May or early June, 2019.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (21 days)