Why 'Email to the Universe' is so good
Robert Anton Wilson's last book, 2005's Email to the Universe, is a very strong collection of essays and short pieces. It's a great exit.
The quality of the work might count as a bit of a surprise. The last novel, Nature's God, has many fine passages but is not his best work of fiction, and the penultimate book, 2002's TSOG: The Thing That Ate the Constitution, likewise is a fun read but not at the level of, say, the Cosmic Trigger books. Wilson had serious health issues the last years of a life, and although he heroically kept writing, his best work came earlier.
It seems likely that one reason why Email to the Universe is strong is because it drew from rawilsonfans.com, the site put together by the efforts of Mike Gathers.
Gathers explains, “RMJon [R. Michael Johnson] and I always assumed that Wilson got many of the essays for _eMail_ from the fans website, but that's just speculation our parts - although it scores pretty high on my MaybeLogic scale... Over half of the essays in the book were ones that we had converted from print to digital and put up on the website, a couple were already posted on the MLA site, and a couple more were ones I found out in the remote corners of the internet and linked into the fans site.”
He adds, “I built the fan site based on the old FAQAFUQ that Marc ’elmyr’ Lutter developed in collaboration with the regulars at alt.fan.rawilson back around 1999. Using that as a base, I added the “A/V lounge” section with several tracks from _The Chocolate Biscuit Consipracy_ found on Napster. Alt.fan.rawilson regulars Clore, Wagner, RMJon, and BS have all contributed paper copies of essays and/or digitizing articles collected here and there, and I’ve received contributions from a wide variety of folks who found the site and wanted to add to the collection. In 2009, Alterati/Hukilau graciously began hosting the site and I’ve fallen seriously behind on updates, but one of these days I will refresh the links and someday even give it a makeover so it doesn’t look like such a relic from the early 90s.”