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Thursday, August 26, 2010

RAW says, "Thanks for the award"

As I mentioned earlier, the only literary award Robert Anton Wilson received in his lifetime, at least that I am aware of, was a Prometheus Hall of Fame award, which ILLUMINATUS! received in 1986. The award was presented at Confederation, the 1986 World Science Fiction Convention in Atlanta, on Sept. 1, 1986.

The Fall 1986 issue of "Prometheus," (Vol. 4, No. 4) includes Robert Shea's acceptance speech and Robert Anton Wilson's letter from Ireland, thanking the LFS for the award. Here is the text of Wilson's letter, which was not dated upon publication but must have been written in fall 1986, shortly after the presentation of the award:

I want to thank the entire Prometheus group for the Hall of Fame Award, and I want to thank you for your wonderful letter of 5 September.

John O'Hara admits somewhere that he cried when he received the National Book Award. Well, I wasn't that excessive, but I was deeply moved indeed by the Prometheus Award. Writing can be a discouraging and depressing way to make a living, and at times it is hard not wonder if I wouldn't have done better plucking chickens in a butcher shop. This award certainly gives me renewed hope and means a lot more to me than the monetary value of the gold coin.

I am sincerely and eternally grateful.

Robert Anton Wilson
Dublin, Ireland

The Prometheus Awards are given by the Libertarian Futurist Society, which welcomes new members who lean libertarian, as Bob did, and who like to read science fiction.


michael said...

Thanks for posting this, Tom. I had never seen this letter.

In the past I have commiserated with a couple of other RAWphiles over his lack of recognition; we jointly agreed that in a saner society he would've won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Or at least nominated.

Oz Fritz said...

RAW should have won a Nobel for Schrodinger's Cat, imo, though I suspect the nominating committee wouldn't grasp the multiple levels he was writing on. Probably the same reason Finnegans Wake didn't win. The literary establishment just didn't get it.

Eric Wagner said...

I wonder if Pynchon will win a Nobel before he dies (if he ever dies). I've heard rumbles that he has a shot. I would celebrate that award.

(An appendix to Pound's _From Confucius to cummings_ suggests not paying attention to any awards, including the Nobel. I can see some merit in that notion, but I still pay attention to awards.)