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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Where is "Chaos"?

Devin Galaudet does a blog posting on "Inspirational Books to Live By" and includes CHAOS AND BEYOND, about which he writes "This odd collection of essays feels either out of date or far ahead of its time." He notes that the book is "long out of print," which raises a point that bothers me: Why is that so? Couldn't New Falcon or Original Falcon reprint it?


quackenbush said...

Chaos and Beyond was printed by Impermanent Press which is D. Scott Apel's outfit. Until recently, he had a website and you could order the book from there, which is how I got my copy. Buy I checked it about a month ago and the site is down, so I assume he has closed up shop.

I'm sure Apel could sell the rights to NF or OF. I doubt NF would print it, because it's just not that popular. The struggling OF might take it.

When Loompanics went under, I suggested to Tharcher (then at NF with Hyatt) that they pick up Natural Law and he said it was a great idea, but nothing ever materialized.

I understand there's a great deal of expense in carrying book inventory, so until print on demand becomes more accessible, I don't we will see the lesser known Wilson works surface again for some time.

quackenbush said...

pardon the typo's in that last post, I'm in a rush and got sloppy.

michael said...

I nevr say any typos in youp post, Quack.

This biz of books-that-are-great-to-US but fallen OP drove Ezra Pound, McLuhan, and RAW nutz. The cornucopia of examples from Pound alone re:OP NECESSARY books was a big part of the "crankiness" Ez had (aside from the xtreme egregiousness re: fascism/antisemitism) towards establishment printers/publishers/academics/popular intellectuals, and I think RAW shared in some of that. I think a lot of it came down to biosurvival anxiety of sombunall artists committed to their craft. But 'tis more complex than that, aye.

Chaos and Beyond has some really terrific stuff in it, and some of RAW's more ephemeral writing. It's fun to read, and there are contributions from Arlen, Leary, Peter Russell, and other friends in there...

OTOH, RAW thought he was at his best in non-fic when he was not just doing expository prose: he told Kurt Smith in a letter that he's at his best in The New Inquisition and Natural Law, where he takes on particular people and their ideas, and creates "dialectical sparks."

(This notion of RAW about his own writing seems not-popular among his audience, from what I can see so far from here.)

It's lamentable that some RAWphiles may not be able to read Natural Law Or: Don't Put a Rubber On Your Willy, 1987, Loompanics, 68 scintillating pages. RAW's virtuoso display of rhetorics seems to really outright EMBARRASS right-libertarians like Samuel Edward Konkin III, Murray Rothbard, LA Rollins, George H. Smith, and a few others...I think it was Bob Black, in a review of the book, who said it was like an adult Wilson lecturing to schoolboys (the above named right-libertarians). And Wilson was no admirer of Black, either!

Here is a prime example of Wilson using Korzybski (and Nietzsche and a few of the other usual suspects) to really clobber the notion of "natural law" in arguments that are about the social realm of thought and belief, ideologies, etc. The wit and clarity RAW brings to this basic trope within law is marvelous...The book also clarifies much of RAW's anti-foundationalist epistemology. What a shame it might fall into obscurity! I'm almost tempted to proffer a conspiracy here, but will yield the blog-floor to better minds.

Bobby Campbell said...

I do a lot of print on demand publishing w/ Amazon for my day job and their system seems "good enough" to me.

They print good looking books, place them in the amazon store same as any other, and can even prep for the kindle. The royalty share doesn't seem ideal to me, but when you get to publish w/ basically no overhead, I say let the lasagna fly!

I (or someone like me) could get these books back in print and available worldwide very easily.

My next freelance project after doing artwork for "What does WoMan Want?" consists of re-building the layout of Leary & RAW's "The Game of Life" for re-release. So I speak somewhat from experience.

quackenbush said...

Perhaps I should think more out of the box and we should petition (gently) the estate to send these books, which have just recently fallen out of print, to the print-on-demand market.

Eric Wagner said...

Fortunately one can find texts more easily today than ever before. I saw a bunch of copies of _Natural Law_ for under $5 on Amazon. I can see why internet helped Bob Wilson feel hopeful about the future.