Elizabeth Svoboda reviews The Lifebox, the Seashell and the Soul: What Gnarly Computation Taught Me About Ultimate Reality, the Meaning of Life and How to Be Happy by Rudy Rucker, in the San Francisco Chronicle:
Rudy Rucker thinks we’re all missing the point. If the affable computer scientist and sci-fi novelist had a mantra, it would be “Existence is computation.” Part technical treatise, part polemic, with a smattering of philosophy, Rucker’s magnum opus advances a red-hot firecracker of a thesis: Pretty much everything in the universe — Deep Blue, the human brain, the natural world and the way a soda can sprays when it’s cracked open — operates according to the same kinds of basic computational principles. He proposes that computation is everywhere in the same way pantheists assert that God is all around us.
Though Rucker defends this so-called “computational worldview” with all the zeal of a recent convert, his enthusiasm never becomes grating. His written demeanor is much more M. Scott Peck than Pat Robertson, and he is masterful at predicting and dispelling readers’ misgivings.