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Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Korzybski comic

Serious Robert Anton Wilson fans know that he was influenced by the writings of Alfred Korzybski. Sure, you've read "Science and Sanity," but have you read the comic? Now you can. Underground comics artist Steve Bellitt has posted his "Korzybski Poetry Reading" comic. I followed a link from Bellitt's posting to an article by Donald Fagen (of Steely Dan fame) which discusses science fiction and Korzybski and name-checks Robert Anton Wilson as an example of a science fiction writer "influenced by General Semantics and/or A.E. Van Vogt."

While you're at it, check out Bellitt's "23" sketches.


michael said...

I had a blast reading the Fagen article. Choice sleuthing, T-Jack!

As a rock guitarist for 30-odd yrs I still listen in awe to various Steely Dan guitarists.

Fagen mentions Burroughs's study with Korzybski, and I guess he assumes everyone already knows where he and Becker got the name "Steely Dan."?

Hadn't thought about the JG Ballard/Wm Gibson via WSB via Korzybski line.

Eric Wagner said...

I remember driving Bob Wilson to the Phoenix airport in 1989. He had just begun reading Neuromancer by Gibson, and he planned to read it on the plane. I suspected the ending would blow him away, but we never discussed it.

I've never read Ballard. R. U. Sirius's Leary class at MLA included an article on Ballard by Iain Sinclair. I enjoy Sinclair's writing. He really influenced Moore and Campbell's From Hell.

michael said...

In CT3, ch. 18, RAW discusses his friendship with a gay man named Don, who died of AIDS. RAW sez Don called "several important writers" to his attention, incl. Wm Gibson. I haven't found any other RAW quotes on Gibson. I have not found any "evidence" that RAW was as enthusiastic about Gibson as Leary was. But maybe no one asked? My guess wd be that RAW thought Gibson was avery good writer, but the near-future cyberpunk vision of society a bit on the dystopian side?

8 yrs or so ago I had jury duty and found, among lots of unreadable books, Gibson's Pattern Recognition in the jury-pool-room shelves. I read that, marveling at his prose and how he SEEMed to have been infl by RAW in that book, but I have not seen Gibson cite RAW. Gibson got me to read Spinrad and Jayne Anne Phillips.

I haven't read Sinclair.

Eric Wagner said...

Have you read From Hell? I highly recommend it. Today's blog talks about footnotes. I had never seen extensive footnotes in a comic book until I read From Hell.

Synchronistically, on my first trip to London in 1985 I took a Dr. Johnson walking tour. On two subsequent trips to London I've taken Jack the Ripper walking tours, inspired by my love for the From Hell graphic novel. (Alan Moore loves RAW.)

Further coincindences: On my second trip to London I took a Dickens walking tour. I just watched the 1935 film of "A Tale of Two Cities," with its execution of prisoner 23. A while ago I watched the 1935 "David Copperfield," thinking of the chapter on Dickens and Joyce in Prometheus Rising. (I loved W. C. Fields in that film.)

michael said...

I haven't read From Hell. I tried to, but the book turned up stolen from the library...well, that means it didn't "turn up" at all, at all. Then I saw the library had a documentary on Alan Moore, so I started to watch it, but it was so scratched it wouldn't play. I will continue to try. I saw the film starring Johnny Depp. It made me want to grow my own opium.

Eric Wagner said...

I liked the film ok, but I loved the book. You can probably read it at a Borders or Barnes and Noble, although it may take a few visits. That book knocked me on my ass. I loved it.