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23 February 2014 @ 11:11 am
I read Illuminatus!, a volume at a time, as soon as each appeared (1975). I was looking forward to it because I was a fan of Robert Anton Wilson's writings from The Realist, and I was not disappointed. It was a book about sex, drugs, rock & roll, metaphysics, gnosis, liberty, skepticism, conspiracy theories, and wiseass. As I said at the time, if they'd included pro football, they'd have it all.

I didn't agree with all of it. I had (and have) an attitude that goes along with the science fiction I grew up with: seeing the material world as a series of problems to be solved. Illuminatus! is a polyvocal work that doesn't give Right Answers, but my approach was more likely to be associated with the bad Illuminati, while the good guys were more likely to identify with the part of themselves they share with the material world. I thought about that, I learned from it, and I still don't agree with all of it.

The book programmed me in ways that were not obvious for months, even years, just as it had promised. I started something called the Illuminatus! Nut Cult because nobody else had. I joined fanzine fandom and corrupted as many of them as I could. I fell in love with a Lovecraftian, and remain with her. I met the authors, whom I liked, and I read and enjoyed later work by them. They admitted that the book was half bullshit, but they were never sure exactly which half. Me neither.

Tom Jackson has a site called RAWIllumination that will begin an online reread of the trilogy tomorrow. You are all invited.
Maia Cmaiac on February 23rd, 2014 05:01 pm (UTC)
I think you'll appreciate the third panel in today's UserFriendly.
et in Arcadia egoboo: Sacred Chaoapostle_of_eris on February 23rd, 2014 08:35 pm (UTC)
One of the less in-your-face things in Illuminatus! is the interplay of personal reality tunnels. I was really tickled that the aggressive, idiosyncratic introduction of chaos/discord by The Midget provides a critical turn of events.
The problem of The Real World pales in comparison to the problem of Everyone Else. The whole tzimmis is at least as bad as it was 40 years ago.
Come to think of it, in those senses, it isn't "science fictional". The Universe isn't a set of puzzles to solve. Iirc, the Bobs said they weren't writing science fiction.
browngirl on February 24th, 2014 02:55 am (UTC)
I really love it when you write posts like this. *reads and contemplates*
El Coyote Gordo: actualsupergee on February 24th, 2014 10:05 am (UTC)
Thank you. I will try to do more of them.
(no subject) - Tom Jackson on February 24th, 2014 02:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)