Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Publishing news: Fly Agaric, Brenton Clutterbuck

Steve "Fly Agaric" Pratt has a new book of poetry out, Passport to Brexit (cover above.)

Here's a bit he Tweeted out:

....Analytica Octopus slime reaching
spies politicians, intelligence
big-data companies
let’s tie up the tentacles
contain it
before it crawls up

our leg
and like a deleted scene from Alien....

Meanwhile, Brenton Clutterbuck reports that the paperback of his Chasing Eris is available again.  And you can also buy the new ebook. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Review: John Higgs' 'Watling Street'

John Higgs' book about Britain's past and present, Watling Street, came out last year, and so I am late in talking about it, although in one sense I am right on time: The paperback and audiobook have just come out. In any event, it's a very good book. (It was not published in the U.S., but Americans can order it from websites such as and The Book Depository.)

Watling Street is a very old road that runs from the cliffs of Dover across the island into northern Wales, and Higgs travels down it, writing about the history of places along the road. Higgs goes back to some very old history but also discusses fairly recent events (there's a chapter on Bletchley Park, of World War II code-breaking fame, although disappointingly he doesn't mention Neal Stephenson), but it's not all about history. There's also meaty chapters about two writers that many RAW fans like, Alan Moore and Steve Moore.

Higgs gives a shout out to RAW fans by using the number 23 over and over again, but many of the topics he discusses (the arbitrariness of boundaries, how landowners got their land, the workings of privilege) show what I detect to be the influence of Wilson's thoughts on such matters, and Wilson is mentioned in Higgs' acknowledgements.

At one point in the book, Higgs mentions that cockfighting was outlawed in Britain in 1835. In Oklahoma, the state I lived in for most of my life, it was only outlawed in 2002. (John Monks, a Democratic state lawmaker from Muskogee, was famous for saying that the first things Communists do when they take over a country is outlaw cockfighting.) So if my math is correct, Oklahoma is 167 years behind Britain in terms of social consciousness. Many people in Oklahoma probably would have to admit that is about correct.

Monday, July 16, 2018

The next reading groups

The next online reading group discussion here will be Eric Wagner, leading us through a discussion of Joseph Kerman's book, The Beethoven Quartets.  Of course, we'll be listening to music, too. Eric plans to provide his first weekly piece on August 6, with the group starting work on August 13, and then running for 18 weeks through December 10.

It might be time to make sure you can get your hands on the book, and the ability to listen to all of the quartets; I have put the book on hold at my local library and I've been downloading recordings. If your local library has a music service such as Freegal or Hoopla, you should have no trouble listening to all of the quartets.

Perhaps it's also time to talk about reading groups beyond Eric's. It seems to be we ought to consider going through the Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, now that all three books have been republished by Hilaritas. This year is pretty much spoken for with Eric's discussion group, but how about if we go through those novels in 2019?

Sunday, July 15, 2018

'Chasing Eris' now an ebook

Brenton Clutterbuck's Chasing Eris, about his encounters with Discordians around the world, is now available as an ebook. I just bought my copy. It's in the Epub format, which can be read by a variety of apps on your phone, tablet, computer, etc. Access to the paperback version on Lulu has been taken down for a few days so Brenton can fix a couple of mistakes, but it will return soon. Don't forget that the book includes an introduction by John Higgs.

Brenton has composed a poem to celebrate publication of the ebook:

Chasing Eris is now live in Zeroes and Ones

You can fnord in the morning
You can fnord in the night
You can fnord when you want to fnord

You can fnord in the morning
You can fnord in the night
You can fnord on the Internet

Yes you can fnord on the Internet
Don't forget you can get
Without sadness or regret
Without getting all upset
Or pissing off your favourite pet
Or shooting down a fighter jet
Or stealing precious amulets

Saturday, July 14, 2018

What's next for Hilaritas?

With the release of the three "Historical Illuminatus Chronicles" books by Hilaritas Press, the publishing imprint of the Robert Anton Wilson Trust, I thought it might be interesting to take a quick look at how they've done so far, and what's up next.

Here is the list of planned publications on the publisher's home page:

1 ~ Cosmic Trigger I: The Final Secret of the Illuminati (1977)
2 ~ Prometheus Rising (1983)
3 ~ Quantum Psychology (1990)
4 ~ Email to the Universe (2005)
5 ~ Coincidance: A Head Test (1988)
6 ~ The Earth Will Shake (1982)
7 ~ The Widow’s Son (1985
8 ~ Nature’s God (1988)
9 ~ Cosmic Trigger II: Down to Earth (1992)
10 ~ Cosmic Trigger III: My Life After Death (1995)
11 ~ Sex, Drugs and Magick: A Journey Beyond Limits (1988)
12 ~ The New Inquisition (1986)
13 ~ Ishtar Rising (1989)
14 ~ Reality Is What You Can Get Away With (1992)
15 ~ Wilhelm Reich in Hell (1987)
16 ~ The Walls Came Tumbling Down (1997)
17 ~ TSOG: The Thing That Ate the Constitution (2002)
18 ~ Natural Law, or Don’t Put a Rubber on Your Willy (1987)
19 ~ Chaos and Beyond (1994

I've boldfaced the books that have come out so far, and as you can see, Rasa is making good progress. I'm excited to see that Cosmic Trigger II:  Down to Earth is coming up next, as it's a particular favorite of mine. As you can see, definitive editions of some quite interesting books will be out soon.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Find the others in Pittsburgh the last weekend of July

Time to find the others? Here's an update on Confluence, the science fiction convention in Pittsburgh at the end of July, where I can guarantee you'll meet at least three hardcore RAW fans: Bobby Campbell, Greg Arnott and myself. Confluence (July 27-29) [link] is a well-run science fiction convention that has been around for years; the main writer guest of honor, Catherynne Valente, is considered a major figure. I just finished the audiobook of her interesting and unusual novel, Radiance.

I asked the convention if we could have a panel discussion devoted to Robert Anton Wilson, and a few hours in one of the rooms for some RAW programming. My panel request ultimately was rejected. The only official time the convention offered was a slot at 3 p.m. Sunday.

So here are how things are shaking out at this point; much of the RAW programming will be unconnected to the convention, which means that anyone who makes their way to Pittsburgh can take part, without having to buy a convention membership:

Bobby Campbell will have an art show at the convention of his interior illustrations for the new Hilaritas Press editions of the Historical Illuminatus books. It's the only place this year to see the art in North America (please see the flyer below). You will have to have a convention membership to see it and to attend his Sunday talk. 

At 4 p.m. Friday, I will interview Prop Anon via Skype about his new biography of Robert Anton Wilson. I'll probably do this from my hotel room, figuring out some way to let people know the room number via Twitter direct message or text message once I find out. Friday night, Greg and I will likely get together for dinner and drinks at some convivial location, and any other RAW fans in town are invited to join us.

I have reserved space from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Anchor and Anvil Coffee Bar in Coraopolis (the same town in Pennsylvania where the convention is being held); I plan to give a presentation on Robert Shea, and Bobby Campbell has a couple of presentations he can offer, one on his adventures illustrating "Historical Illuminatus" and one on the Kenneth Noid-Dominos Pizza incident.

Saturday night there will be another gathering, probably in a hotel room, and Greg will give a couple of talks, one on RAW as a magician, and one on how RAW's views on marijuana prophesied the wave of legalization sweeping the country. Sunday will feature Bobby's talk.

There should be other opportunities to get together for coffee, meals, etc. I do plan to attend some convention programming, as time permits. 

I had a Skype conference call with Bobby and Greg and they both said lots of interesting things. More than an hour flew by before I had to leave to do my chores (my cat was biting me to remind me it's time for his snack). They've both promised to save some of their best thoughts for Pittsburgh, so if you don't show up, you're fucked.

Flyer for Bobby's art show, exclusive (in this hemisphere) to Confluence. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Supergee on 'The Earth Will Shake'

[Continuing the gala celebration over the publication of the Hilaritas Press editions of The Historical Illuminatus books, here's Arthur Hlavaty's review of The Earth Will Shake from "New Libertarian" Volume 4, Number 13 from April 1985. Thank you to Martin Wagner for sharing it with me. and to Mr. Hlavaty for giving me the go-ahead to share this with you. -- The Mgt.]

New Illuminatus! book!

The Earth Will Shake by Robert Anton Wilson 

Reviewed by Arthur D. Hlavaty

It has been said that the writings of Robert Anton Wilson encourage paranoia. That's at best an oversimplification, but those who believe it are not entirely mistaken, for two reasons:

1 Wilson's writings encourage new ways of looking at the world, seeing patterns which are not obvious to others, and while this sort of thinking can lead to scientific breakthroughs and brilliant new literary approaches, it is also found in paranoids. 

2 The publication history of Wilson's writings, from the five-year delay of Illuminatus! to the present, is enough to raise the possibility of Sinister Forces trying to keep the words from the eyes of the public. (On the other hand, those writings also remind us that we should be wary of blaming on conspiracy that which can more simply and convincingly be attributed to incompetence.)

The work at hand continues that lamentable tradition. The Earth Will Shake was published in hardcover, late in 1982, by J.P. Tarcher. At least, they said they published it. I suspect they released it on a need-to-know basis. Living in a university town, with several good bookstores besides the college bookstore, I never saw a copy for sale and had to go up to New York to purchase it. People all over the country reported similar difficulties. But now, a few months after the announced publication date (of course), there is a paperback edition available. I've seen it.

Is it worth the wait? You bet. Like all of Wilson's prior fiction, alone and in collaboration, it offers the interest of complex ideas, entertainingly worked out. More than that, it represents a major improvement in literary merit. It opens with a stunning scene of a murder at High Mass, in which the images of Transubstantiation and Mystical Presence mix with the physical fact of sudden and violent death. The characters, though similar to those in earlier Wilson books, are more fully developed and rounded than ever before. The scene -- 18th-century Italy, with its complex mazes of theological and Enlightenment speculation, revolutionary movements and conspiracies -- is richly delineated.

My one caveat would be that the book is, as indicated on the cover, the first of a series, and thus is somewhat incomplete and openended. Other than that, I recommend the book unreservedly. -- ADH


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Bobby Campbell on the Historical Illuminatus books

The above is one of Bobby Campbell's arresting new illustrations from the new edition of The Widow's Son, one of the three "Historical Illuminatus" books that have just been published by Hilaritas Press, the publishing imprint of the Robert Anton Wilson Trust.

Bobby has now written a new article on how to came to do the new illustrations, and there is also new information in the piece that I've never seen anywhere else about Robert Anton Wilson's literary influences as he wrote he first novel in the trilogy.

Bobby notes that  the same week he was listening to an audiobook version of James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, he noticed a very similar scene from Wilson in The Earth Will Shake about "Sigismundo Celine being indoctrinated into the Catholic version of hell."

When Bobby raised the matter in a Maybe Logic Academy online course being taught by Wilson, Wilson wrote “No writer ever knows consciously all the influences on his work
but I did know the influence of Portrait of the Artist on Earth Will Shake & two others you didn’t mention: Huckleberry Finn by Twain and Intruder in the Dust by Faulkner. Replace religious bigotry with racism and you’ll see the Mississippi/Napoli parallel."

Wilson also wrote, "Huck Finn decides that even if hell exists, he’d rather go there than send Jim back to slavery, the most moving scene in American literature to me; I can’t even write this brief summary of it without tears coming. Siggy makes a similar choice I’m not as good a writer as Twain.”

Bobby's illustrations from the book will be displayed in the art show at Confluence, the SF convention being held in Pittsburgh July 27-29. Bobby will be at the convention, and so will Greg Arnott and myself. More on that soon.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

HIstorical Illuminatus books released!

The RAW Trust and Hilaritas Press have announced the release of all three of Robert Anton Wilson's "Historical Illuminatus!" books, in print and as ebooks: The Earth Will Shake, The Widow's Son and Nature's God. 

All three feature beautiful new covers by Scott McPherson and wonderful new illustrations by Bobby Campbell (about which more tomorrow). And the marketing features this quote:

"Against the epic backdrop of the French and American revolutions, the inimitable RAW lays bare the secret history of the Enlightenment, while almost casually re-inventing the historical novel in the process. The result is a heady, psychedelic brew of satire, intrigue, magic, high adventure and life-changing philosophy, seasoned with the wry, compassionate humanism which is Wilson's trademark. Astonishing and unforgettable."

Grant Morrison, New York Times best-selling author, Comics Legend,
Chaos Magician, creator of The Invisibles and other great graphic novels

Full announcement here.  I've linked the purchasing pages of the books to their titles above.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Dolphins and John Lilly

John Lilly

Days of the Dolphin: Cetaceans in Cold War Science and Science Fiction (Part One) by Michael Grasso does not get around to giving examples of dolphins in science fiction. We have to wait for the sequel, which Grasso promises to offer soon. But his summary of the research of John Lilly leaves little doubt in my mind that Lilly's writings helped inspire the character of Howard the dolphin in Illuminatus! Lilly and RAW were mutual admirers, so I was interested in Grasso's piece. 

Thanks to Jesse Walker for calling my attention to the piece. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

RAW's guided meditation and piece on Proudhon

Martin Wagner's Robert Anton Wilson Archives site has uncovered a guided meditation that RAW wrote. In the piece, published in The Witches‘ Almanac: Aries 1976 to Pisces 1977, Wilson suggests recording the piece and then playing it back while sitting "relaxed but alert." I'll record it and give it a try.

Martin also has uncovered an earlier piece, "Proudhon’s Economics: Socialism without Tyranny." Proudhon is mentioned in the appendix of Illuminatus! The firat paragraph:

Benjamin Tucker considered The General Idea of the Revolution in the 19th Century Proudhon’s best book—“the most wonderful of all the wonderful books of Proudhon”—and he may well have been right in that judgment. Like many of the greatest works of the last century this “most wonderful book” comes to us from a prison cell: a fact which is probably far from insignificant. It is not without cause that the letters of Bartolomeo Vanzetti, the Pisan Cantos of Ezra Pound, “The Ballad of Reading Gaol,” Nietzsche’s Antichrist, the best poems of Antonin Artaud, Van Gogh’s two or three greatest canvases, Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, and several other of the most significant cultural products of this age, were produced by men who were at the time unwilling “guests of the State.” Nor is it idle to note that some time has been served (unproductively, alas!) by Ford Madox Ford, Nijinsky, Seymour Krim, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Jim Peck, and almost everybody else worth a damn as a serious thinker or artist. It is getting to the point where, as Eustace Mullins noted in his biography of Ezra Pound, lack of a police or psychiatric record is looked on, by avante garde, as a sign that a man has sold out.

According to Martin, this was published in" Way Out" in September 1962. It must have been about the time Wilson was arrested and briefly jailed in a civil rights protest in Antioch, an incident he describes is Cosmic Trigger II.