A Common Mynah, hanging out on a tree.
(Prologue to The Golden Apple. If you don't have one of the Dell mass market paperbacks from back in the 1970s, you can read it here.)
When I was a teenager, I began buying science fiction magazines. The magazines would sometimes serialize a novel over two or three issues, and when they did so, they would run a synopsis in the later issues, to help out any readers who had missed the earlier part of the novel.
Dell originally published Illuminatus! as three separate mass market paperbacks, and so the second and third paperbacks had synopses for those who had missed the earlier books. These were omitted when Dell put out the one volume omnibus, which is the format that has kept Illuminatus! in print over the years.
This must have made sense to Dell's editors, but I enjoy the synopses every time I read them, and I noticed that the prologue for The Golden Apple is the only place that really tells the full story of the self-destructing mynah birds. I mentioned that to Robert Shea when I met him for the first and only time, at a worldcon in Boston, Noreascon 3 in 1989, and he said that he and RAW had been unable to convince Dell that the synopses were little literary works in and of themselves.
(Next week: Page 309, "There is no god but man," to page 323, "Do-da, do-da, do-da-do-da-DAY ..." )