Monday, March 27, 2017

RAW memorabilia auction adds more items

Book of selected letters of Philip K. Dick, signed by Robert Anton Wilson 

As expected, the auction of RAW memorabilia on Ebay has added more items, and the auction is supposed to go on for awhile longer with additional things being offered.

I'm not going to keep doing blog posting after blog posting about this, but I did want to make another attempt to make sure people know about the auction. Obviously, when these items are gone, they're gone.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

I'm not letting Trump ruin my life

Robert Anton Wilson used to write a lot about how your level of happiness and productivity depended a lot upon you, and not outside events. For example, see this post in which he talks about choosing the novel you live in

Now, obviously, you don't have much of a choice of novels unless you are reasonably healthy and have a decent standard of living. But there are also plenty of people who manage to ruin their lives for no apparent reason.

Val, the Butterfly Language writer, has a post from back in December that I relate to. 

I do know, however, that if you go into 2017 believing that things will be shit and awful and etc., the Universe will kindly oblige you on that notion. And unfortunately, this seems to be the mass zeitgeist at the moment—and many people will help manifest that energy into reality, regardless of whether they ever consciously wanted to.

I really dislike Donald Trump. His budget, which seeks to increase defense spending by $54 billion by slashing domestic programs, many of them actually useful, seems absurd to me. You don't have to remind me that he says a lot of dumb or terrible things.

But I've told my wife that I don't have to hear about every dumb thing Trump has ever said. Who would have enough time for that? More to the point, I want to write, read, listen to music, cook food, travel, and do other things I enjoy, without having to focus all of the time on what Sean Spicer said earlier today. I'm doing my bit to publicize the bad things Trump is doing, through my journalism and social media activity, and I joined groups such as the ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation this year as a direct reaction to Trump. But I'm not going to allow Trump to control my life.  

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Robert Anton Wilson in the Los Angeles Times

One of my favorite writers and pundits, Jesse Walker, has succeeded in putting a quote from Robert Anton Wilson into the Los Angeles Times.

Jesse's op-ed piece, "Is the Trump-Russia story an octopus or spaghetti?," attempts to make sense of the current furor over Russia's alleged manipulation of the U.S. election and Russia's alleged ties to officials in the Trump administration. Some good sentences: "It’s not just evidence that’s driving the belief in a Trump-Putin plot. A lot of people really, really want such stories to be true. If you’re one of them, you probably belong to at least one of two groups: people who strongly dislike Trump, and Russia hawks. Conversely, if there comes a point where the evidence of collusion is overwhelming but you’re still strenuously denying it, then you’re probably a Trump supporter and/or a Russia dove."

The piece would rate a mention here because it's about conspiracy theories, a big topic for RAW and for Jesse, the author of the book The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory. 

But there's also this paragraph (after a paragraph arguing that conspiracies are "like a bowl of spaghetti"):

"I stole that pasta metaphor from Robert Anton Wilson, a novelist who alternated between espousing and satirizing conspiracy theories. Like spaghetti, he wrote, conspiracies 'contain endless entanglements and overlaps; but to mistake the spaghetti for a coherent and intelligent organism is like mistaking the debris and flotsam on the beach for the outline of an invading army.' It’s relatively easy to find connections, harder to determine whether they’re innocent or shady, harder still to figure out if they add up to a larger master plot."

I didn't recognize the Wilson quote. Jesse explains:

"It's in "The Spaghetti Theory of Conspiracy," his intro to Donald Holmes' THE ILLUMINATI CONSPIRACY: THE SAPIENS SYSTEM. It isn't on the Web -- well, it sort of is, but the person who posted it cut it off midway through, so a great deal of it is missing:

Friday, March 24, 2017

Cosmic Trigger warning! Get your tickets now!

Michelle Olley has checked in to remind everyone, in an email newsletter, that tickets for the Cosmic Trigger play in London (May 4-27 at the Cockpit) will be going up in price soon. She writes:

COSMIC TRIGGER WARNING! If you've not got around to booking your seats for the play yet, the Early Bird tickets are taking flight in fourteen days' time (not 7 yet - apols for earlier math SNAFU).
Grab one (or 23) for the crazy-reasonable price of £15 - before they go up to £22 on Thursday April 6th.

The two Special Event Saturdays are sold out, but we still have some tickets left for our Sunday Salons on May 14th and 21st, hosted by the fine folks from Festival 23 and Breaking Convention respectively. More details on what cosmic goodies are on those days can be found HERE

Buy your tickets here. More information here. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Fiction notes

I recently finished up serving as a member of the judging committee for the Prometheus Award. Our committee is charged with coming up with a slate of nominees (after reading a pile of books). That will produce a list of finalists, akin to the finalists announced every year for the Hugo and Nebula awards, and then the general membership of the Libertarian Futurist Society will vote on those five (or so) nominees, and select a winner of the Prometheus.

I can't talk about our deliberations and I won't tell how I voted on the nominees, but  after reading a bunch of science fiction novels, I can recommend a few books without giving you a ranking:

The Core of the Sun, Johanna Sinisalo. An unusual dystopia about a totalitarian Finland which bans not only drugs and alcohol, but also hot peppers. The Worldcon is in Helsinki this year, and Sinisalo is the local star. You can read my interview with her. 

The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047, Lionel Shriver. Leftists got to see what a prominent mainstream novelist could do with science fiction with Margaret Atwood wrote The Handmaid's Tale. Now libertarians get to read an offering from prominent novelist Lionel Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin). Her fine novel depicts a family's struggle for survival after the collapse of the U.S. government.

Too Like the Lightning, Ada Palmer. I found the advocacy of censoring in Palmer's utopia problematic, but I liked some of her other ideas, and I thought this was one of the best SF novels I'd read in the past few months. Read my review. The sequel to this has just come out, and I plan to read it soon.

Arkwright, Allen Steele. An old-fashioned SF novel about a science fiction writer from the Golden Age who leaves his estate to a foundation that pursues interstellar travel.

The relevance to this blog (other than the fact that readers of a blog about an American writer might want to hear about other books to read) is that the only literary award Robert Anton Wilson (and Robert Shea) ever received, as far as I know, was a Prometheus Hall of Fame Award for Illuminatus! The Libertarian Futurist Society welcomes new members; find out more here. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

RAW auction on Ebay continues

The Robert Anton Wilson auction on Ebay is continuing. As I write this (Wednesday morning), I see three items listed, two items of clothing and a pillowcase set, but many other items have been promised, so keep an eye on the space.

About some of the items listed: Christina Pearson says, "There are several things I have to locate but here are a few items going up soon:" One very cool thing coming soon – right out of Bobs wallet! His OTO card:

And Christina's short list . . .

1 - Bob’s favorite white twill jacket with his Amnesty Int’l button still attached

2 - Bob’s favorite brown jacket

3 - More Guayabera shirts

4 - A little resin buddha

5 - A swiss army knife

6 - My moms watch

7 - The Orson Wells masterworks vinyl collection of Julius Caesar copyright 1938 or so

8 - More teeshirts

9 - A bunch of random books

10 - Hand of God

11 - Odds and ends

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Email to the Universe paperback now out

The new Hilaritas Press paperback of Email to the Universe has now been published, making it available to those of you who want the paperback rather than the ebook.

Please note that it will take a couple of days or so for it to replace the New Falcon edition on Amazon's website. But if you want to order it right away, you can do so now at the Amazon CreateSpace link. 

And if you are planning to buy the book, even if not right away, you should probably go ahead and use the CreateSpace link, rather than buying it from Amazon's main website. Richard Rasa says, "The RAW Trust receives a much higher royalty for all sales through the CreateSpace store. No idea why. It certainly is not as fancy a page as the regular Amazon Sales Page, so maybe there’s a lower overhead? That’s one piece of pasta I can’t get a focus on."

RAW Trust royalties benefit RAW's heirs. The new edition is superior to the older New Falcon edition — it has new material by Michael Johnson and Paul Krassner and better illustrations — so you'll want to make a point of making sure that's the one you buy.

When the book becomes available at Amazon's main site and other locations, there will be an announcement and I'll note it here.