My Tuesday posting on writers who are consistently good inspired a back-and-forth in the comments between Eric Wagner and myself. I like to think all of that was interesting, but I particularly liked Eric's last comment:
I started reading Robert Anton Wilson in 1982 and read all of his books I could get a hold of. When I attended the World Con in Baltimore in 1983 I felt disconnected from the science fiction world, and that feeling increased at the few conventions I attended after that. Bob Wilson replaced Robert Heinlein as my favorite author, and my worldview changed. The worldviews I encountered in the sf world didn't appeal to me as much. Wilson got me heavily into Pound, and that led me to change my college major from math to English. However, science fiction fandom reminds me of the IRA: Once in, never out. I have never fully entered the university English department worldviews because they tend to look down on the Heinlein/SF worldviews which have shaped me and still seem to me to have some validity.
I have think my tastes have evolved. I like to revisit science fiction worldviews from time to time.
I hope Eric can be coaxed into explaining what he means when he writes, "The worldviews I encountered in the sf world didn't appeal to me as much." I never noticed much of a contradiction between Robert Anton Wilson's technological optimism and the science fiction worldview, so perhaps Eric is referring to something else. I never felt disconnected going to SF conventions back in Oklahoma, because I always saw a bunch of old friends, but it can be an odd experience going to a convention if you don't know the attendees. I went to Penguicon in Michigan last year and didn't run into a single person I knew.
It's interesting that RAW replaced Robert Heinlein as Eric's favorite author. Arthur Hlavaty has written many times that his worldview was shaped by RAW and Heinlein. I read plenty of Heinlein as a teenager (my favorite was The Moon is a Harsh Mistress) but he was never my favorite, as he was for so many fans. (If I had to pick a favorite in those days, it probably would have been Isaac Asimov.)
Bonus bit: For anyone who is interested, Iain Banks' Culture novel, Surface Tension, is $1.99 today only as an Amazon Kindle. I liked it very much.