Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea. Blog, Internet resources, online reading groups, articles and interviews, Illuminatus! info.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Jacob Sullum working on 'guns and dope' book

When Robert Anton Wilson ran for governor of California in 2003, the central conceit was that most of the people who oppose restrictions on guns are right wingers, and most of the people who oppose the "war on some drugs" are on the left. So by opposing gun laws AND drug laws, a libertarian coalition could be formed.

Jacob Sullum, a writer for Reason magazine, is a writer I read often because of his reliably accurate news and commentary on the war on drugs. He also writes a lot about gun issues, although I am less interested  in that issue and read those pieces less often.

In the course of a Twitter/X thread to promote Reason's current fund-raising webathon, Sullum reveals that he's working on a "guns and dope" book: "After 3 decades of covering drug & gun policies for@reason, I am writing a book that explores these themes, showing that left-leaning critics of the drug war and right-leaning critics of gun control, despite their ideological differences, share many of the same concerns."

It should be an interesting book.

Here is Jesse Walker promoting the webathon.


Saturday, December 2, 2023

Warren Ellis on work for hire and 'F For Fake'


Warren Ellis signing autographs in 2012. (Creative Commons photo). 

The prominent British comics writer Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan, Global Frequency, Red, etc.) has an essay up about one of Robert Anton Wilson's favorite movies, "F For Fake." 

"Work for Hire and Orson Welles" discusses work for hire in the comics industry, e.g. "when one is hired to work on characters owned by the hiring company," established characters such as Batman, and the job Orson Welles originally took in as film editor for a documentary about the forger Elmyr, which Welles was able to transform into a project of his own.

"F FOR FAKE is in fact one of my favourite Welles films. It’s warm, clever, mischievous and relaxed. He shoots footage of his own crew. Whole scenes are set around a dinner table as Welles holds court and contextualises the material. It’s as close to having dinner with a happy and garrulous Welles as we’ll ever get. It’s also full of Welles’ interests, obsessions, and personal mythology," Ellis writes.

More here. 

Thank you to Rob Pugh for bringing this to my attention. 

Friday, December 1, 2023

Dr. Who and Finnegans Wake

This is something I apparently missed a few months ago: An episode of The Lost Doctor that paid tribute to Finnegans Wake. From hotpress.com:

"The latest edition of an alternative Dr Who audio adventure will be played outside Barney Kiernan’s old pub on Little Britain Street as part of 2023’s Bloomsday celebrations in Dublin.

"‘Lost in the Wake’ written by Lee Ravitz, is the latest part of the audio series The Lost Doctor – which conjures a wholly imaginary other trajectory for Dr. Who, on the premise that the UK theatre maverick Ken Campbell was chosen for the role, rather than the original BBC's Dr. Who, Sylvester McCoy. An experimental actor, writer and director, Ken Campbell has been described as a "one-man dynamo of British theatre." He starred in the 1980s sitcom In Sickness and in Health, and an episode of Fawlty Towers, as well as movies like The Tempest, Breaking Glass, Letter to Brezhnev, A Fish Called Wanda and Creep (2004). He died on August 31st, 2008.

"The 'Lost in the Wake' episode of The Lost Doctor features the characters of James Joyce (played by Roddy McDevitt), William Blake, and Aleister Crowley among others, in what's been described as a "dreamlike" homage to Joyce's complicated meisterwerk, Finnegans Wake,. The episode will officially premiere upstairs at The Stags Head, Dublin, on Thursday, June 15th.

"As those familiar with Joyce's most iconic and influential book will know, Barney Kiernan’s pub plays a key role in the ‘Cyclops’ chapter, in Joyce’s Ulysses – but the building has been dormant for several years now. Producer Tommy Calderbank is hoping to build a campaign to save the literary landmark."

More here. 

I may be late on this, but note that you can still listen to the Wake episode and other episodes. 

Thursday, November 30, 2023

KLF Kare has arrived, or has it?

The KLF is a 23-minute performance in 1997. Creative Commons photo, source. 

The KLF -- the pop group inspired by the Illuminatus! trilogy -- has announced "KLF Kare," a move into the nursing home business that apparently may or may not be a serious announcement. 

"The KLF care home: happy housing for old ravers – or just another prank?" is the headline in the Guardian's article, which quotes this statement, “KLF Kare is a multinational franchise that provides branding solutions for independently owned care homes.”

What little is known about this is apparently in the Guardian's article, which in music news reports that the duo have just released a new track, a remix of Harry Nilsson’s 1969 hit 'Everybody’s Talkin’."

Jimmy Cauty is 66 and Bill Drummond is 70, the article says. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

More on 'Maybe Night'

Bobby Campbell, who has organized the big Maybe Day celebration held every July 23, revealed in my recent interview with him that he was putting together a "a small spin off event that I'm developing for the end of the year, MAYBE NIGHT, on December 21st.

"(Joseph Campbell claimed that the dream that comprises James Joyce's Finnegans Wake takes place on December 21st, and that also coincides with Terence McKenna's proposed Novelty Wave singularity, that may or may not have occured on 12/21/2012, making the winter solstice very fertile ground for maybe logical workings!)."

Bobby has now posted a link with more information and produced artwork, above, to celebrate Maybe Night. 

Bobby invites people "to make things and send me links," see his contact info in that section of the interview, where I say, "You kind of slipped in a scoop." 

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Brief pause

I have to pause blogging for a day, we've had a death in the family. Will resume soon. 

Monday, November 27, 2023

Timothy Leary's 'The Game of Life'

Seeking some fun reading that would be apart from the my current "homework" reading (I'm busy reading a stack of books as part of my duties as a Prometheus Award judge), I read Timothy Leary's The Game of Life. The book includes contributions from Robert Anton Wilson, although the third edition from New Falcon for Kindle makes it hard to pick out the RAW bits. 

And it was a lot of fun, with a great deal about the Eight Circuit Model, and how Leary thinks it relates to Tarot cards and to DNA. Not science, really, but visionary and interesting. 

 Here are some of the passages I highlighted in the book:

This neural stage assures that by saying the right word, by performing the rote ritual -- survival will be attained. Thus the reliance on rules and accustomed ways of doing things. Most modern human beings never progress beyond this passive stage of symbol manipulation. The True Believer, the docile repeater of religious, political or racial slogans.

The Book of Ezekial is the classical biblical description of the descent of extra-terrestrial beings to Earth. The astounding technical detail and UFO specificity of the Ezekiel vision has led many to believe in the visitation of Earth by galactic astronauts.

Religion has always been the neuro-technology of pessimistic losers -- fabricating a reality in which stupidity, docility and ugliness is rewarded. Beauty, individualism, change, originality is heresy.

Every living creature, from a bacterium to an astronaut, is a robot -- designed, constructed, and programmed by DNA to perform specific functions in the evolving web of life.

The text also a book recommendation, for a Robert Heinlein book I haven't yet read, that Leary sees as pointing to the SMI2LE formula:

Robert Heinlein in the classic book Methusaleh's Children introduces us to Lazarus Long, patriarch of an elite kinship of humans who have been bred for longevity. Since they live longer the elites become increasingly more intelligent. Because their superiority infuriates "mortal" humans they face persecution and genocide. Until they figure out the obvious solution. They high-jack an enormous Star Ship and escape from the womb planet. In this profound novel Heinlein accurately (if naively) writes the scenario for the inevitable next stages of evolution off this planet. 

One thing that puzzled me was wondering if anyone is really "minding the store" for the Timothy Leary estate. I had purchased the New Falcon ebook, which I perceived to be the authorized edition (and which has the witty Bobby Campbell cover, above.) Yet when you search on Amazon, the first title that comes up is a 99 cent version from another publisher. The New Falcon ebook is still there, but it's harder to find. I also noted that copies of the book can be downloaded for free from the Internet Archive. I wrote to two people with connections to Leary and got no reply. I also pointed out the various copies of the ebook to New Falcon, and got a one-sentence reply, "Thank you for alerting us we will send a takedown notice."

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Amazon Kindle Cyber Monday sale

I like ebooks as a cheap way to expand my library without adding to the clutter in my house, and when I shopped the Cyber Monday sale for Amazon Kindle books I noticed a bunch of books to interest me and maybe some RAW fans. (Note: I don't get any money for linking to Amazon sites. I just like ebooks and like to write about them sometimes, and I make a point of supporting other bookstores besides Amazon.)

Anyway, these ebooks caught my eye, with prices rounded off a penny for simplicity: Cities in Flight, James Blish, $3 (I just finished reading Timothy Leary's The Game of Life and was surprised to see Blish quoted in the text); The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, $3Enochian Vision Magick: A Practical Guide to the Magick of Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelley by Lon Milo Duquette, $3, (Listen to the Hilaritas podcast with the author)Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, George Lakoff, $3 (might interest some of you who read the new Brian Dean book.)  There were other interesting bargains, too, and I enjoyed going through the whole list. 


Saturday, November 25, 2023

New John Higgs book announced

Photo of John Higgs by Isaac Higgs, from official website. 

A new book by John Higgs is always good news, so I'm pleased to report that he's announced a new book about Dr. Who.

"John Higgs’ 'playful and profound' exploration of the Doctor Who character, Exterminate/ Regenerate, has been signed by Orion," says a report in The Bookseller. It will come out in spring 2025.

"Higgs said: 'The question of how something as joyous, absurd and mythic as Doctor Who came to exist is an endlessly fascinating one. Real life is stranger than fiction, but the real-life events that came together to create this fiction are the strangest of all. Doctor Who is the unholy marriage of extraordinary people seduced by wild imagination, and it’s a great pleasure to celebrate its ever evolving story'.” 

More here. 

Friday, November 24, 2023

New Hilaritas podcast: Wayne Saalman

 Yesterday was the 23rd, so another Hilaritas podcast dropped, Wayne Saalman:

"n this episode, Mike Gathers chats with novelist, poet, painter and song writer, Wayne Saalman, @waynensaalman, about aliens, UFOs, and more in his latest book, The Journey Across Forever."

RAW's introduction to Saalman's The Dream Illuminati is reprinted in Email to the Universe. Here are useful links and show notes. 

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving

Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

Happy Thanksgiving! I am grateful for this blog and the friends I have made by starting it years ago.

I also realized a few weeks ago that I feel rich, because I have access to a huge supply of free music, via the public library streaming services. I can remember when just wanting to listen to a single album cost time and money.

One of the reasons I got interested in Epicureanism a few years ago was that the philosophy emphasizes the power of gratitude. Here is a New York Times article on  the power of gratitude.  And here is another Times article of tips for practicing gratitude.  Also, Tyler Cowen reveals what he is grateful for. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Robert Shea quotes on Illuminatus!

Bob Shea with the manuscript of Shike

I sometimes think it's remarkable that anybody at all read ILLUMINATUS! When it first came out in 1975 the publisher decided to label it "Science Fiction," which meant that it would be put in an obscure corner of the bookstore where, as we all know, only a handful of weird people ever venture. On the other hand, the editors of all the science fiction magazines then extant refused to review ILLUMINATUS! on the grounds that it was not science fiction — by whatever definition they were using that year. So we were banished from the mainstream but also rejected by the ghetto. A novel without a home. The fact that ILLUMINATUS! survived this inauspicious start is proof that the weird people are even weirder than anybody gave them credit for.


[On Ken Campbell's Illuminatus! play]  I think it’s superb. I was thunderstruck at what a magnificent job they did in capturing the exact tone, the exact mixture of fantasy and reality in the book. It really does keep you guessing, which is what we intended. I’ve come round to the conclusion that this isn’t literature. It’s too late in the day for literature. This is magick!

Bob Wilson and I once had a bit of a run-in with Roger Ebert at a press party at the Biograph Theater promoting a book called Dillinger, Dead or Alive, which asserted that Dillinger had not been killed at the Biograph in 1934 but is, in fact, still living. Since this idea had also occurred to the authors of a Certain Trilogy, we showed up to express our support of the proposition that Dillinger lives. Ebert got the notion that we were making fun of his friend’s book. A contretemps ensued. Hail Eris! [Dillinger: Dead or Alive? By Jay Robert Nash and Ron Offen was published in 1970]. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Best nonfiction of the year?

Tyler Cowen has published his list of the best nonfiction of the year, while noting that he's still busy reading and will likely have a few more books to recommend before 2023 ends. Lots of books here I want to read, and it's a fun exercise to look at the list and guess what RAW might have been interested in reading. I'm going to suggest three books RAW might have read: Reviel Netz, A New History of Greek Mathematics; Norman Lebrecht, Why Beethoven: A Phenomenon in One Hundred Pieces, and Richard Cockett, Vienna: How the City of Ideas Created the Modern World.  It is amazing how Tyler finds time to read do many serious books.

You can see what I've read so far this year by looking at my Goodreads page.  Probably my favorite nonfiction books so far are Our Team: The Epic Story of Four Men and the World Series That Changed Baseball by Epplin, Luke; Living for Pleasure: An Epicurean Guide to Life by Emily Austin, and The Scythian Empire: Central Eurasia and the Birth of the Classical Age from Persia to China by Christopher Beckwith. I've linked to my reviews and articles.