It is eventually hinted that Rudy is an immortal soviet bigshot of some sort, but I've never been enough of a history buff enough to figure out just which one he is supposed to be. I've asked Greg Bear this personally, and he plays coy (he's allowed to do that, your stuff is excellent Greg). Does anyone have any idea who it is supposed to be?

For those unfamiliar with the story, many of the pre-1950s soviets have gained access to technology that makes them indefinitely immortal. They find Joseph Stalin still alive trapped in the cliche science fiction glass container filled with fluid. I'd ask what those things are called, but that's another question I did end up asking eventually.


Several people have asked Greg Bear directly who Rudy Banning is, with the concensus of opinion being that he was some sort of Soviet or Nazi bigwig who benefited from some distinctly shady medical research.

Greg seems unwilling (or possibly unable) to give a straight answer which leads me to believe that Banning isn't based on any true historical figure but is simply a composite villain

John Oyler Date: 02/27/2008

Who is Rudy Banning? Am I misremembering the book, or do you hint that he really was someone historic? With the anti-semitism, potentially lengthened lifespan and so forth, it can only seem that he might have been a nazi......

...From: Greg Bear Date: 03/03/2008

Ah, Rudy is a puzzler. Why assume he's a Nazi? There's plenty of that sort of bigotry among both Soviet Communists and Nazis. He's certainly not Herr H himself. It's obvious, however, that part of his eccentricity is rooted in a possible longevity treatment he received way back when...


From: Max Haptonstahl Date: 09/19/2007

Dear Greg, I sure would like to know more about what happened with Rudy Banning!

From: Greg Bear Date: 09/19/2007

Last I heard from Rudy, he was running an organic grocery in Petaluma, California--shipping dates and dried fruit all over the world!

Whether these exchanges shed any light on the subject is certainly debatable

  • You might notice the name of the person who asked on the first quote, there. ;) – John O Jan 19 '14 at 21:46
  • Tee hee. I guess that the author telling you to sod off is as close as you're ever going to get to Word of God on this one; tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WordOfGod – Valorum Jan 19 '14 at 21:55

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