Friday, March 31, 2017

Friday links


Nice promotional graphic for the Cosmic Trigger play. 

Many of these are worth a separate blog post, but things are kind of busy lately:

Greg Hill's confuse yourself in five words contest. From Adam Gorightly's Historia Discordia site. I'm hoping for book news from Adam soon.

Speaking of the Rule of Five. (Via Philosopher of Eris on Twitter.)

Alan Moore's top five mystics and magicians. Some names you will recognize if you read Robert Anton Wilson.

Music featuring Alan Moore released. ("Mandrillifesto")

Trump wants to change libel laws. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Prometheus Award finalists announced



The Libertarian Futurist Society has announced the five finalists for the Prometheus Award; I'm pleased to report that I nominated two of them, the Shriver and the Sinisalo. The L. Neil Smith is one of his better books, IMHO, and there's a reference to Illuminatus! in it. Here is the official press release. — The Management. 

The Libertarian Futurist Society has announced five finalists for the Best Novel category of the 37th annual Prometheus Awards:
* The Corporation Wars: Dissidence by Ken MacLeod (Orbit)
* The Corporation Wars: Insurgence, by Ken MacLeod (Orbit)
* The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047 by Lionel Shriver (HarperCollins)
* The Core of the Sun, by Johanna Sinisalo (translated by Lola Rogers) (Grove Press/Black Cat)
* Blade of p’Na, by L. Neil Smith (Phoenix Pick)

The 2017 awards will be presented during the 75th annual World Science Fiction Convention Aug. 9-13, 2017 in Helsinki, Finland. The winner will receive a plaque and one-ounce gold coin.

Sixteen novels published in 2016 were nominated for this year’s award, among the largest slates of nominees in the past two decades.

The other Best Novel nominees: Morning Star: Book III of The Red Rising Trilogy, by Pierce Brown (Del Rey); Speculator, by Doug Casey and John Hunt (HighGround Books); Dark Age, by Felix Hartmann (Hartmann Publishing); Kill Process, by William Hertling (Liquididea Press); Through Fire, by Sarah Hoyt (Baen Books); Too Like the Lightning, by Ada Palmer (TOR Books); Written in Fire, by Marcus Sakey (Thomas & Mercer); Arkwright, by Allen Steele (TOR Books); On to the Asteroid, by Travis S. Taylor and Les Johnson (Baen Books); Necessity, by Jo Walton (TOR Books); and Angeleyes by Michael Z. Williamson (Baen Books)

Here is a description of the finalists, which were chosen by a 10-member LFS judging committee:

* The Corporation Wars: Dissidence – Robots attain self-awareness and develop a pro-freedom philosophy while dead humans are revived in digital form to fight an interstellar virtual-reality war against the robot rebellion in the first novel in MacLeod’s projected trilogy, which raises intriguing questions about autonomy and free will.

* The Corporation Wars: Insurgence – A ghost soldier and several new characters are introduced in the action-oriented second novel in MacLeod’s trilogy, which dramatizes a more complicated three-sided war between the freedom-fighting robots and two groups of humans.

* The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047 – Shriver’s cautionary dystopian drama, informed by an understanding of free-market economics and how coercive government can undermine civilization itself, is set in a 2029 debt-driven apocalypse in which a once-rich family and a once-powerful America have gone bust but the family’s least-successful members prove the most resilient in the face of disaster.

* The Core of the Sun – This dystopian novel, written by well-known Finnish writer Sinisalo and translated by Rogers, is both libertarian and feminist in depicting an alternate eugenics-dominated Finland where the heroine battles an oppressive, manipulative and male-dominated regime that makes women subservient housewives and mothers and bans alcohol, mind-altering drugs, caffeine and hot peppers.

* Blade of p’Na – A wide variety of intelligent alien creatures co-exist in a free and free-wheeling society on an alternative version of Earth – including a sapient dog and his human tracking down a missing bridegroom while investigating mysteries and trying to prevent an interdimensional invasion – in this action-adventure-oriented prequel to Smith’s Prometheus-winning The Forge of the Elders.

The Prometheus Award, sponsored by the Libertarian Futurist Society (LFS), was established in 1979, making it one of the most enduring awards after the Nebula and Hugo awards, and one of the oldest fan-based awards currently in sf. Presented annually since 1982 at the World Science Fiction Convention, the Prometheus Awards include a gold coin and plaque for the winners.

For more than three decades, the Prometheus Awards have recognized outstanding works of science fiction and fantasy that dramatize the perennial conflict between Liberty and Power, expose the abuses and excesses of coercive government, critique or satirize authoritarian ideas, or champion individual rights and freedoms as the mutually respectful foundation for civilization, cooperation, peace, prosperity, progress and justice.

For a full list of past Prometheus Award winners in all categories, visit www.lfs.org. Membership in the Libertarian Futurist Society is open to any science fiction fan interested in how fiction can promote an appreciation of the value of liberty.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Paperback release of 'Email to the Universe' announced


Not quite St. Francis preaching to the birds, but still interesting: Rasa presenting the new edition of Email to the Universe to California deer. 

Hilaritas Press and the Robert Anton Wilson Trust have officially announced the release of Robert Anton Wilson's Email to the Universe.

What that amounts to is you can buy it on Amazon and be assured  you'll be getting the new and improved Hilaritas Press edition, with new material by Michael Johnson and Paul Krassner, improved graphics and careful editing.

Excerpt from the announcement:

Dear friends of Bob,
The new Email to the Universe Print Edition is now available! This Hilaritas Press edition features a new introduction by R. Michael Johnson, a new Afterword by Paul Krassner, and intrepid assistance with editing and proofreading from Gary Acord and Tom Jackson. Amoeba's Fearless Scott McPherson has created another wonderful cover, and through the wonder of a good print job, for the first time the paperback of Email to the Universe has graphics that don't make the illustrator cringe. I know that for a fact because I was the illustrator (Rasa). The first printing in 2005 was disappointing, to say the least. I was thrilled to see the first proof of this new edition. After comparing the old with the new, I felt compelled to make an illustrative graphic.





We're really excited about this new edition for all of the above reasons, but also because it's just a fantastic read. The chapters, Left And Right: A Non-Euclidean Perspective and The Relativity Of “Reality” seem urgently relevant in our current socio-political maelstrom. And before all the pasta-elevating ideas begin to congeal, you get to the only fictional essay in the book (or is it?), The Horror On Howth Hill, and suddenly nothing is an absolute reality, all is permitted . . .

Thanks so much for all your love and support! 

Lots of love and lasagna to you all!

Rasa, Christina and Olga


Full announcement here. Note the new video and an announcement from the Cosmic Trigger Play folks

Here is the Cosmic Trigger play announcement:

Help Cosmic Trigger Play: Send a Message to RAW from the Future...

Have you ever wished you could tell Robert Anton Wilson something? Maybe what his writings and thoughts have meant to you? Or something like 'thanks for that thing about ePrime' or even just 'thanks' or 'we love you, Bob'? If so, Daisy Campbell would really appreciate your help! Robert Anton Wilson's Cosmic Trigger, the play, is currently in pre-production. The team are beavering away, gearing up for their 23-date run in London in May. They want to hear - literally - from anyone who has something they would've liked to say to Bob. The message will be used as a vocal overlay on a scene where (spoiler alert!) an elderly RAW is in need of help with his medical bills and the love is pouring in through his letterbox in the shape of $23 checks. If you are up for helping to create this audio Bob Lovebomb, please leave a short message ...

Go to this link for the phone number and information about getting your tickets for the play, which will be in May in London.

One more important note: While you can buy the book from Amazon now, you will provide a higher royalty for Robert Anton Wilson's heirs if you buy the book from the CreateSpace link. The price is exactly the same at both locations, $15.23.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

What's going on? Three possible answers



One of the things I loved about Illuminatus! was the sense that all of the characters were trying to figure out what the hell is going on.

I generally feel I don't quite know what's going on, either. I try to stay open to ideas and new information. There's a limit to my open-mindedness to be sure — I'm not likely to sit down and read a book by a Marxist-Leninist, or someone on the alt-right — but I also try to listen to a variety of voices.

Three new books have recently gotten my attention:

Tyler Cowen has a new book out, The Complacent Class. Cowen, one of the few writers who can persuade me to read any book of his that has just been released, apparently argues that complacency, in the sense of an unwillingness to take risks, is one of the biggest problems in the U.S. right now. I have it on my Kindle, and as soon as I finish the next couple of books I feel I must read, I'll read Cowen's book.

Butterfly Language's Val recently reviewed Gordon White's new book, The Chaos Protocols, and recommended it:

I am deep in my second reading of The Chaos Protocols, the 2016 book written by Rune Soup’s Gordon White. It is, quite frankly, the best contemporary book I have found so far to give practical advice and perceptive forecasting on the strange newish world we are quickly finding ourselves immersed in—the world I have given a brief overview in my post “The Road to 2020.”

The Chaos Protocols is a book about finance. It is a book about futurology. It is a “self-help” book of the “career and success” genre. And it is a book about chaos magic.

I've bought it and put it on my Kindle, so we'll see!

Gordon White is interested in RAW; I wrote last year about a podcast he did with Cat Vincent.

Tyler Cowen's blog recently pointed me to a blog post by Ryan Avent, which argues that the main effect of automation is not to leave people unemployed, but to leave them worse off.  “Given the structure of our social safety net, automation tends to increase poverty and inequality rather than unemployment.”  This sounds like an argument for a UBI.

I did not know who Ryan Avent is, but reading his piece convinced me I should get to know him. It turns out he has a book out, The Wealth of Humans: Work, Power, and Status in the Twenty-first Century. I didn't buy it, but I have it on hold at the library.

Robert Anton Wilson, by the way, was very interested in the effects of automation, and I suspect he would be interested in Avent's work.

Monday, March 27, 2017

RAW memorabilia auction adds more items


Book of selected letters of Philip K. Dick, signed by Robert Anton Wilson 

As expected, the auction of RAW memorabilia on Ebay has added more items, and the auction is supposed to go on for awhile longer with additional things being offered.

I'm not going to keep doing blog posting after blog posting about this, but I did want to make another attempt to make sure people know about the auction. Obviously, when these items are gone, they're gone.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

I'm not letting Trump ruin my life



Robert Anton Wilson used to write a lot about how your level of happiness and productivity depended a lot upon you, and not outside events. For example, see this post in which he talks about choosing the novel you live in

Now, obviously, you don't have much of a choice of novels unless you are reasonably healthy and have a decent standard of living. But there are also plenty of people who manage to ruin their lives for no apparent reason.

Val, the Butterfly Language writer, has a post from back in December that I relate to. 

I do know, however, that if you go into 2017 believing that things will be shit and awful and etc., the Universe will kindly oblige you on that notion. And unfortunately, this seems to be the mass zeitgeist at the moment—and many people will help manifest that energy into reality, regardless of whether they ever consciously wanted to.


I really dislike Donald Trump. His budget, which seeks to increase defense spending by $54 billion by slashing domestic programs, many of them actually useful, seems absurd to me. You don't have to remind me that he says a lot of dumb or terrible things.

But I've told my wife that I don't have to hear about every dumb thing Trump has ever said. Who would have enough time for that? More to the point, I want to write, read, listen to music, cook food, travel, and do other things I enjoy, without having to focus all of the time on what Sean Spicer said earlier today. I'm doing my bit to publicize the bad things Trump is doing, through my journalism and social media activity, and I joined groups such as the ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation this year as a direct reaction to Trump. But I'm not going to allow Trump to control my life.  


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Robert Anton Wilson in the Los Angeles Times



One of my favorite writers and pundits, Jesse Walker, has succeeded in putting a quote from Robert Anton Wilson into the Los Angeles Times.

Jesse's op-ed piece, "Is the Trump-Russia story an octopus or spaghetti?," attempts to make sense of the current furor over Russia's alleged manipulation of the U.S. election and Russia's alleged ties to officials in the Trump administration. Some good sentences: "It’s not just evidence that’s driving the belief in a Trump-Putin plot. A lot of people really, really want such stories to be true. If you’re one of them, you probably belong to at least one of two groups: people who strongly dislike Trump, and Russia hawks. Conversely, if there comes a point where the evidence of collusion is overwhelming but you’re still strenuously denying it, then you’re probably a Trump supporter and/or a Russia dove."

The piece would rate a mention here because it's about conspiracy theories, a big topic for RAW and for Jesse, the author of the book The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory. 

But there's also this paragraph (after a paragraph arguing that conspiracies are "like a bowl of spaghetti"):

"I stole that pasta metaphor from Robert Anton Wilson, a novelist who alternated between espousing and satirizing conspiracy theories. Like spaghetti, he wrote, conspiracies 'contain endless entanglements and overlaps; but to mistake the spaghetti for a coherent and intelligent organism is like mistaking the debris and flotsam on the beach for the outline of an invading army.' It’s relatively easy to find connections, harder to determine whether they’re innocent or shady, harder still to figure out if they add up to a larger master plot."

I didn't recognize the Wilson quote. Jesse explains:

"It's in "The Spaghetti Theory of Conspiracy," his intro to Donald Holmes' THE ILLUMINATI CONSPIRACY: THE SAPIENS SYSTEM. It isn't on the Web -- well, it sort of is, but the person who posted it cut it off midway through, so a great deal of it is missing:

http://worldtradecenter911.blogspot.com/2002/01/spaghetti-theory-of-conspiracy.html


Friday, March 24, 2017

Cosmic Trigger warning! Get your tickets now!


Michelle Olley has checked in to remind everyone, in an email newsletter, that tickets for the Cosmic Trigger play in London (May 4-27 at the Cockpit) will be going up in price soon. She writes:

COSMIC TRIGGER WARNING! If you've not got around to booking your seats for the play yet, the Early Bird tickets are taking flight in fourteen days' time (not 7 yet - apols for earlier math SNAFU).
Grab one (or 23) for the crazy-reasonable price of £15 - before they go up to £22 on Thursday April 6th.

SUNDAY SALONS
The two Special Event Saturdays are sold out, but we still have some tickets left for our Sunday Salons on May 14th and 21st, hosted by the fine folks from Festival 23 and Breaking Convention respectively. More details on what cosmic goodies are on those days can be found HERE

Buy your tickets here. More information here. 


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Fiction notes



I recently finished up serving as a member of the judging committee for the Prometheus Award. Our committee is charged with coming up with a slate of nominees (after reading a pile of books). That will produce a list of finalists, akin to the finalists announced every year for the Hugo and Nebula awards, and then the general membership of the Libertarian Futurist Society will vote on those five (or so) nominees, and select a winner of the Prometheus.

I can't talk about our deliberations and I won't tell how I voted on the nominees, but  after reading a bunch of science fiction novels, I can recommend a few books without giving you a ranking:

The Core of the Sun, Johanna Sinisalo. An unusual dystopia about a totalitarian Finland which bans not only drugs and alcohol, but also hot peppers. The Worldcon is in Helsinki this year, and Sinisalo is the local star. You can read my interview with her. 

The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047, Lionel Shriver. Leftists got to see what a prominent mainstream novelist could do with science fiction with Margaret Atwood wrote The Handmaid's Tale. Now libertarians get to read an offering from prominent novelist Lionel Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin). Her fine novel depicts a family's struggle for survival after the collapse of the U.S. government.

Too Like the Lightning, Ada Palmer. I found the advocacy of censoring in Palmer's utopia problematic, but I liked some of her other ideas, and I thought this was one of the best SF novels I'd read in the past few months. Read my review. The sequel to this has just come out, and I plan to read it soon.

Arkwright, Allen Steele. An old-fashioned SF novel about a science fiction writer from the Golden Age who leaves his estate to a foundation that pursues interstellar travel.

The relevance to this blog (other than the fact that readers of a blog about an American writer might want to hear about other books to read) is that the only literary award Robert Anton Wilson (and Robert Shea) ever received, as far as I know, was a Prometheus Hall of Fame Award for Illuminatus! The Libertarian Futurist Society welcomes new members; find out more here. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

RAW auction on Ebay continues







The Robert Anton Wilson auction on Ebay is continuing. As I write this (Wednesday morning), I see three items listed, two items of clothing and a pillowcase set, but many other items have been promised, so keep an eye on the space.

About some of the items listed: Christina Pearson says, "There are several things I have to locate but here are a few items going up soon:" One very cool thing coming soon – right out of Bobs wallet! His OTO card:

And Christina's short list . . .

1 - Bob’s favorite white twill jacket with his Amnesty Int’l button still attached

2 - Bob’s favorite brown jacket

3 - More Guayabera shirts

4 - A little resin buddha

5 - A swiss army knife

6 - My moms watch

7 - The Orson Wells masterworks vinyl collection of Julius Caesar copyright 1938 or so

8 - More teeshirts

9 - A bunch of random books

10 - Hand of God

11 - Odds and ends



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Email to the Universe paperback now out



The new Hilaritas Press paperback of Email to the Universe has now been published, making it available to those of you who want the paperback rather than the ebook.

Please note that it will take a couple of days or so for it to replace the New Falcon edition on Amazon's website. But if you want to order it right away, you can do so now at the Amazon CreateSpace link. 

And if you are planning to buy the book, even if not right away, you should probably go ahead and use the CreateSpace link, rather than buying it from Amazon's main website. Richard Rasa says, "The RAW Trust receives a much higher royalty for all sales through the CreateSpace store. No idea why. It certainly is not as fancy a page as the regular Amazon Sales Page, so maybe there’s a lower overhead? That’s one piece of pasta I can’t get a focus on."

RAW Trust royalties benefit RAW's heirs. The new edition is superior to the older New Falcon edition — it has new material by Michael Johnson and Paul Krassner and better illustrations — so you'll want to make a point of making sure that's the one you buy.

When the book becomes available at Amazon's main site and other locations, there will be an announcement and I'll note it here.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

RAW auction resumes on Ebay [UPDATED]


Robert Anton Wilson, wearing an Escher t-shirt currently being offered for sale on Ebay. 

The auction of Robert Anton Wilson's personal items has resumed on Ebay. As I write this, seven items are being offered, including clothing and other personal items.

UPDATE: More information from Rasa:

Christina gave me a short list and some photos of items. She says, "there are several things I have to locate but here are a few items going up soon:" One very cool thing coming soon – right out of Bobs wallet! His OTO card:

And Christina's short list . . .

1 - Bob’s favorite white twill jacket with his Amnesty Int’l button still attached

2 - Bob’s favorite brown jacket

3 - More Guayabera shirts

4 - A little resin buddha

5 - A swiss army knife

6 - My moms watch

7 - The Orson Wells masterworks vinyl collection of Julius Caesar copyright 1938 or so

8 - More teeshirts

9 - A bunch of random books

10 - Hand of God

11 - Odds and ends

   Many many thanks and may your lasagna fly high!

News from Steve "Fly" Pratt



Steve Fly, creator of the amazing RAW 360 tribute website, recently put up a new blog post that summarizes his RAW-related activities over the years. There's a lot to relate, as Fly is an active musician, a writer of books, a blogger, is musical director for the Cosmic Trigger play, traveled to the U.S. to interview RAW and has done other things I'm probably forgetting. I own two of his albums: Robert Anton Wilson meets Steve 'Fly Agaric' Pratt (his interview with RAW, set to music) and Occupy by Dr. Marshmallow Cubicle (e.g., one of Steve's bands.) I can't keep up with all of Steve's blogs, but I've added another one to the Sangha section.

See also the tracks Steve created with the NinjaJamm app. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Finnegans Wake, the movie



For St. Patrick's Day, Jesse Walker at Reason does a post pointing out that Finnegans Wake was once made into a movie, and then helpfully links to Passages from James Joyce's Finnegans Wake. 

Here is the take from UbuWeb: "A half-forgotten, half-legendary pioneer in American abstract and animated filmmaking, Mary Ellen Bute, late in her career as an artist, created this adaptation of James Joyce, her only feature. In the transformation from Joyce's polyglot prose to the necessarily concrete imagery of actors and sets, Passages discovers a truly oneiric film style, a weirdly post-New Wave rediscovery of Surrealism, and in her panoply of allusion - 1950s dance crazes, atomic weaponry, ICBMs, and television all make appearances - she finds a cinematic approximation of the novel's nearly impenetrable vertically compressed structure.

"With Passages from Finnegans Wake Bute was the first to adapt a work of James Joyce to film and was honored for this project at the Cannes Film Festival in 1965 as best debut."

Jesse also explores Joyce's interest in anarchism, which is something that Robert Anton Wilson also has written about.

Lots of other interesting stuff at Jesse's "Friday A/V Club" feature, including "Thomas Pynchon, Sitcom Star" and "USDA to Farmers: Be a Patriot! Grow Cannabis!"

Friday, March 17, 2017


Creative Commons photo via Wikipedia

Check out the new Odditorium podcast that has an interesting interview of Alan Moore by John Higgs.

Mr. Moore makes the case for his big new novel, Jerusalem (which I hope to tackle soon) and talks about his preference for unfashionable forms of art. Comics are now "in," so Moore says he'd like to tackle poetry, which seems unloved these days.

For more on science fiction as a subversive, unloved genre, see this excellent Roz Kaveney essay on science fictions struggle to be respectable. Via the Supergee blog, a good place for keeping up with science fiction news.

Could this be a clue to the subversive charm of Illuminatus? After all, it was published as "only" a science fiction mass market paperback original.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Jesse Walker on Trump the conspiracy theorist


Jesse Walker (self portrait from Facebook.) If you think the article is interesting, hunt up a copy of his book, The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory, which has information about Robert Anton Wilson and Discordianism. 

I have already gotten sick of reading about Donald Trump. I have attempted to instruct my wife that I don't actually need to hear about every stupid Tweet that President Trump sends out, or to have repeated to me every dumb thing he has said. I prefer to pay attention to people I actually like and respect.

But if you think you can read nothing new about Trump at this point, check out Jesse Walker's piece on Trump in The New Republic, "All the President's Phantoms."

After explaining that it's really nothing new for U.S. presidents to believe in conspiracy theories, Jesse explains what is new about Trump: "Trump seems poised to transform presidential paranoia into something new, thanks to two of his most distinguishing qualities: his shamelessness and his cynicism."

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Patriots still guard America against Communism, just like in Illuminatus!



If you've read Illuminatus!, you may remember these passages from the first book of the trilogy, in a conversation between Joe Malik and John Dillinger:

"Thanks," Dillinger said modestly. "Actually, the Illuminati own the companies that put out most of the rock. We started Laughing Buddha Jesus Phallus to counterattack. We were ignoring that front until they got the MC-5 to cut a disc called 'Kick Out The Jams' just to taunt us with old, bitter memories. So we came back with our own releases, and the next thing I knew I was making bales of money from it. We've also fed information, through third parties, to Christian Crusade in Tulsa, Oklahoma, so they could expose some of what the Illuminati are doing in the rock field. You've seen the Christian Crusade publications—Rhythm, Riots and Revolution, and Communism, Hypnotism and the Beatles, and so forth?"

"Yes," Joe said absently. "I thought it was nut literature. It's so hard," he added, "to grasp the whole picture."

The Christian Crusade and its publications may sound like satire, but Shea and Wilson didn't make them up. I grew up in Tulsa, and visited the church once, as a field trip for my comparative religion class at All Souls Unitarian Church. The church's theology included a vigorous opposition to Communism. The church declined rapidly after accusations against its leader, the Rev. Billy James Hargis.  Back in 1974, to demonstrate that life can be weirder than fiction,  a man and a woman discovered on their wedding night that both of them had lost their virginity to Hargis. I wonder if RAW ever heard about that incident?

Anyway, I recently ran across a new book, The Hypnotic Communist: The Satanic Seduction of America, by W. Calvin Fields III. You can order it from Amazon.

A book by an author named W.C. Fields which inveighs against Hitler as a Fascist Communist sounds like an elaborate joke, but it appears the author is a real person, or at least as real as someone from Texas can be,  with apologies to my friend Gary Acord.

If you can't afford the book just yet, you can pick up some information from the author's blog, where I learned that the Russians did not hack the Democratic Party because, if you think about it, "Why would Moscow need to intervene at all when in reality, they have had one of their own agents running the business of the executive branch for the past eight years?"

I also discovered that the Democratic Party is "the front group for the Communist Party in America." Mr. Fields helpfully provides a citation from his own book to back up this assertion.




Monday, March 13, 2017

New 'Email' paperback almost ready


Proud of the fine cover for the new edition of Email to the Universe by Scott McPherson and how the Guns and Dope Party graphics inside the book now look (much sharper than the New Falcon edition), Rasa has been touting the book to everyone he knows, and even to passing wildlife. He's holding up a paperback proof. The new paperback edition will be out very soon, to complement the already-out ebook.

Richard Rasa's version of events: "I took the print edition in the back yard to take a photo, and Walter showed up. I showed him the book, and I imagine in this photo he is reading the back cover. He probably imagines I’m an idiot."

Saturday, March 11, 2017

John Crowley on Expanding Mind



Do the rest of you guys suffer from "book guilt"? I have meant for awhile to try author John Crowley's novels (such as Little, Big) and I just haven't gotten around to it yet. I try to be as well read as I can, but there are gaps. I'm pretty sure other people have this problem. I once asked a person if that person had read Don DeLillo. "No," the person answered, "and don't tell anyone."

While I have not yet read John Crowley, I have at least finally listened to the podcast interview of him on Erik Davis' Expanding Mind podcast. Here is the site's description: "The award-winning novelist John Crowley talks about fantastic literature, alchemy, and his new translation of the 17th century hermetic classic, The Chemical Wedding by Christian Rosenkreutz (Small Beer Press)." I found it very interesting, and I noticed Crowley is strongly influenced by the books of historian Frances Yates, also a big influence on Robert Anton Wilson.

Lots of other interesting things to listen to if you scroll through Davis' podcast archives. The latest episode is titled "Cognitive Liberty."  I'm going to listen to it, too. Description: "Criminologist and law lecturer Charlotte Walsh talks about freedom of thought, neurotechnologies, religious exceptions, and how the role human rights might play in the decriminalization of psychedelics."


Friday, March 10, 2017

Canadian newspaper column mentions RAW


Cartoon reposted from Geoff Olson's website. 

Robert Anton Wilson has just received a mention in a Canadian newspaper.

The Vancouver Courier, a community paper, has just run a piece, "A world haunted by collective nouns," by Geoff Olson, a Canadian writer and editorial cartoonist.

The first three paragraphs:

I make a partial living by trafficking in words. So I’m well aware how often copywriters, publicists, policymakers, politicians, bloggers and trolls weaponize words against the public.

The problem is bigger than the decline of journalism in the digital age. It’s bigger than a dumbed-down Empire that spat forth a former reality TV star as a winning presidential contender. Think of how one simple word, “freedom,” has been used for decades as a semantic bludgeon for imperial goals. Too often, we’re led to mistake rubbery terms for hard-core reality, according to the late American writer Robert Anton Wilson.

“In other words, because we can say ‘the Jews,’ or ‘the New World Order,’ or ‘the patriarchy,’ we can believe, or almost believe, that these grammatical abstractions have the same kind of reality as basketballs, barking dogs, and baked beans. Individuals, with all their hair and fingernails and ideals and delusions and funky smells, disappear, as it were, and the world becomes haunted by collective nouns,” the author wrote in his 1998 book Everything Is Under Control.


Later in the column, Olson reminds us that the map should not be mistaken for the territory. 

You can also read Olson's obituary tribute to RAW. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Where are we going? Where have we been?


Butterfly Language author Val D'Orazio. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license © Luigi Novi / Wikimedia Commons.

A couple of RAW fans look at the current situation, talking about how we got here and where we are going.

At the Supergee blog, Arthur Hlavaty argues that prejudice against women was a factor in Hillary Clinton's defeat. "Together with voter suppression and FBI & Russian meddling, that cost them the election," he suggests.

I wouldn't claim to be an expert on politics, but it seems to me a big factor also in last year's odd election, as Tyler Cowen has suggested, is that social media has undermined the power of elites in the two major political parties to direct events.

On the Democratic side, the establishment candidate almost lost to an old socialist. It's hard to remember now, but initially in the primary season, Bernie Sanders was seen as a "safe" challenger who was sure to lose but would keep leftists occupied until they fell in line behind Clinton.

Republican party leaders would have preferred any candidate to the Twitter president.

You can argue that Sanders would have been better than Clinton, but I definitely have to side with the elites in the Republican Party.

Meanwhile, at Butterfly Language, Val D’Orazio mentions that she has "a set of rather strong intuitions and convictions as to how the world is going to be within the next 3-8 years." 

"The masses aren’t prepared for the immense magnitude of cultural, financial, and political shifts that will take place when emerging technologies like advanced AI, genetic engineering, and outer space mining/colonization become commonplace. This will all happen faster than the average person on the street (or browsing the internet) could ever possibly conceive of."

She also forecasts radical financial collapse, AI replacing many humans in jobs and many "Earth changes." Read the whole thing. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

'At all, at all'


[Thought I'd share something interesting Richard Rasa posted on Facebook, including the meme, above. -- The Management.]

RAW liked to use the phrase "at all, at all," at the end of a sentence. I always wondered about this, and assumed that RAW borrowed the usage from living in Ireland, but I wondered further if the phrase had a deeper meaning for him based on some quantum variable, or some magikal process, or some Sirius connection, or was it his love of the unpredictable nature of Irish-English? Anyone brighter than me have a thought on this?

In Email to the Universe Bob writes, "The rest of us speak dry prose, the Irish speak playful poetry,"

and,

"I would prefer to describe all-other-English as belonging to what Neurolinguistic therapist Dr. Richard Bandler calls the meta-model (statements we can logically judge as true or false), and Irish English as belonging to the Milton-model (statements not containable in true-false logic but capable of seducing us into sudden new perceptions)."

Was Bob's use of "at all, at all" just his love of the Irish thought process, or did it also fit into some other part of his philosophy?

Some examples . . .
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
All through this “education” we find ourselves bombarded by organized religion. Most religions, in this part of the world also teach us “one correct answer,” which we should accept with blind faith; worse, they attempt to terrorize us with threats of post-mortem roasting, toasting, boiling, broiling, charbroiling and freedomfrying if we ever dare to think at all, at all. - Email to the Universe
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Actually, it started with two old codgers named O’Brian and Nolan discussing the weather. “Terrible rain and wind for this time of year,” O’Brian ventured. “Ah, faith,” Nolan replied, “I do not believe it is this time of year at all, at all.” - Email to the Universe
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"We may be approaching this matter from the wrong angle entirely. 'Bob’ is treating Kong as a creature in biology, which is emphatically what the Big fellow is not at all, at all. Kong is a creature in mythology, in um ah er the collective unconscious." - Email to the Universe
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Look at the Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. They never do any Scientific Investigation at all, at all. Why? My guess is that, like the Inquisitors who refused to look through Galileo’s telescope, they have a deep fear that such research might upset their dogmas. - Email to the Universe
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The number of universes perceived by human beings does not equal the population of the planet, but several times the population of the planet. It thus appears some sort of miracle that we sometimes find it possible to communicate with each other at all, at all. - Quantum Psychology
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Scientists have used quantum theory for 90 years in some form or other, for 70 years in its (allegedly) complete form, and have not found any evidence for Hidden Variables at all, at all. - Quantum Psychology

— Richard Rasa on Facebook


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Oops, no post

It's been one of those days, and for once, I wasn't able to make my daily publication schedule. Please check out the cool stuff under "Sangha" if you need something to read, and I'll see you tomorrow.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Adrian Reynolds on local places and international brands


Adrian Reynolds 

Adrian Reynolds, one of our British friends, has a new blog post up that is, as he says, " isn't directly RAW inspired but is within the ballpark."

I noticed that he talked about a book that other RAW fans seem to be interested in:

There's a book. Spirits of Place, edited by John Reppion. And it explores a whole variety of places, from Rajagiriya in Colombo, and the various places in Iceland where elves are discussed with more seriousness than they tend to be elsewhere, to the sea forts of Southend and the streets of Mexico City. It's a rich and rewarding collection of essays from a variety of contributors, the most celebrated being Alan Moore. Thanks to this book I'm now eager to explore more of the work of Vajra Chandrasekera, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Damien Williams and others. In very different ways, they all succeed in excavating the intertwined histories and mythologies of areas they have a connection with, and how those intricate stories affect the way people do what they do, irrespective of the ravenous ticktock of the branded world.

Look like another one for my ever-growing list of books I mean to get around to reading.

See also his earlier post, which talks about the KLF, Alan Moore, etc.  I don't want "Purple Rain" in a burger commercial, either, but if Prince's music is streamed soon, I tend to think that would be good. Adrian also mentions the Jefferson Airplane/Starship, bands I spend a bit too much time listening to in my youth.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Ebay auction of RAW items to resume



The recent announcement of a new ebook of Email to the Universe had a bit of other news that is worth a separate blog item: The auction of Robert Anton Wilson's personal items on eBay is not done yet, but in fact will resume this month.

Here is the word from the recent RAW Trust email with the book announcement:

"Certain arcane rules on eBay require the RAW eBay Auction to be split into two phases. Phase one was very successful, and phase two will start up in the first week of March. We'll send out an announcement with more details and the exact start date."

I don't have any more details but will post the news as it becomes available.


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Email to the Universe PSA



Toby Philpott, an excellent Welsh gentleman who is also known as Bogus Magus and Jabba the Hutt and who has an excellent Illuminatus! studies site, accidentally almost bought the old New Falcon edition of Email to the Universe the other day,  not realizing at first that it wasn't the new Hilaritas Press edition.

This raises an important point, so let me try to clarify the situation. The brand new Email to the  Universe edition is an ebook. A paperback will be announced soon, and when it is, I will post the news here.

Hilaritas Press, the publishing imprint of the Robert Anton Wilson trust, has issued definitive new versions of Cosmic Trigger, Prometheus Rising and Quantum Psychology, in both paperback and as ebooks. These versions have been freshly edited, sport new covers, have additional editorial goodies and you can be sure that all the proper royalties are going to Robert Anton Wilson's heirs.

These should be the preferred editions for RAW fans. The new version of Email to the Universe, for example, has a wonderful new preface by Michael Johnson giving the "hidden history" behind the book, and an afterword by Paul Krassner.

Here is the planned publication order for the new editions the estate controls, if you want to get an idea for how long you'll have to wait for the new version.

1 ~ Cosmic Trigger I: The Final Secret of the Illuminati (1977)
2 ~ Prometheus Rising (1983)
3 ~ Quantum Psychology (1990)
4 ~ Email to the Universe (2005)
5 ~ Coincidance: A Head Test (1988)
6 ~ The Earth Will Shake (1982)
7 ~ The Widow’s Son (1985
8 ~ Nature’s God (1988)
9 ~ Cosmic Trigger II: Down to Earth (1992)
10 ~ Cosmic Trigger III: My Life After Death (1995)
11 ~ Sex, Drugs and Magick: A Journey Beyond Limits (1988)
12 ~ The New Inquisition (1986)
13 ~ Ishtar Rising (1989)
14 ~ Reality Is What You Can Get Away With (1992)
15 ~ Wilhelm Reich in Hell (1987)
16 ~ The Walls Came Tumbling Down (1997)
17 ~ TSOG: The Thing That Ate the Constitution (2002)
18 ~ Natural Law, or Don’t Put a Rubber on Your Willy (1987)
19 ~ Chaos and Beyond (1994)

Incidentally, here is Toby's website, where you can read about his career as a street juggler, movie puppeteer, author, librarian and circus archivist.


Friday, March 3, 2017

Yellow Submarine bleg



Please look at this exchange on Twitter. 

I'm asking for help in answering three questions (1) I have always assumed, as John Higgs has, that the yellow submarine in Illuminatus! was a reference to the Beatles song, but did Wilson or Shea ever say anything about that? (2) Did Yellow Submarine influence the KLF? (3) Do  the 23s and apple throwing in the movie show a Discordian influence?

Note the 23 on the cover.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

When Tim Leary's ashes mingled with King Arthur's


Brian Barritt casts the ashes of Timothy Leary into the wind at Glastonbury Tor

British author John Higgs' limited-edition book, 2000 TC: Standing on the Verge of Getting It On, mentions in passing that Higgs and some of his friends had scattered the ashes of Timothy Leary at 
Glastonbury Tor, aka the "Isle of Avalon," a place in England closely associated both with centuries of British history and with British legends such as that of King Arthur. 

In recent weeks, this incident mentioned only briefly by Higgs began to work more and more upon my mind. How was it that Leary's ashes came to be scattered at a place that I long to visit? And how did Higgs become the vessel? I wrote to Mr. Higgs begging for information, and he wrote back and told me the story, not neglecting to also tell me how Alan Moore acquired a relic of Leary. My sincere thanks to Mr. Higgs, and now I share the tale with you. The Management.

John Higgs: As for Leary's ashes - that was after I wrote I Have America Surrounded.* Not too long after that book was published, I unexpectedly received a little parcel from America containing a little baggy of Tim. It was from Denis Berry, who was in charge of Tim's estate after Rosemary died. His ashes had been mixed with gold dust — to make it sparkle in the sunshine when thrown — and given out to all his friends. They may still have some left, I'm not sure. It would be a worthwhile research project for someone to track down what happened to all those ashes, incidentally. From what I've heard, some famously went into space, some were scattered in the Ganges, some were in Tony Scott's bathroom in Hollywood, some were scattered at a Mexican pyramid, and so on. [I attempted inquiries. From Denis Berry: "Susan Sarandon scattered some at Burning Man a couple of years ago. There was press on it." -- Tom] 

I knew I didn't want to keep them — when you write a biography, you're only borrowing a story while you retell it. It is important you don't try and cling on and claim ownership of it afterwards. That never ends well. So, seeing as the other ashes had gone to symbolically significant global places, and as I might have had the only ashes in Britain, then it was clear that they needed to be scattered at the heart of Albion, so to speak. And as it happened, Lee Harris — who ran for Mayor of London last year — was organizing an event called Alchemy in Avalon at Glastonbury Assembly Rooms. Raja Ram from Shpongle DJ'd, if I remember right. Me and some friends went along and put the word out that we would be scattering Tim's ashes at noon the following day on the top of Glastonbury Tor, and anyone who wanted to come along would be most welcome.

A few dozen people turned up, including a piper and some druids. The druids took me to one side and asked if they could have some of the ashes to perform their own ceremony afterwards, at a rock that served as a modern druid altar in the vicinity, so I gave them about a third of the ashes. The rest I gave to Brian Barritt — he had been closest to Tim of all the people present, so it seemed right that he should do the casting — see attached photo.

After that a bunch of us made our way down the hill following this druid to this secret altar, and the druids held their ceremony. I confess I've never been one for organized religions but I found that ceremony extraordinarily moving. And I'll never forget the way that, when we were leaving, a pair of young hippies descended on the rock — in my memory they seemed to appear out of the bushes but I'm sure that wasn't the case — to desperately scrape what ash they could into a cigarette paper to smoke. That was really funny.

There's one other thing to note, while I'm on the subject. In the ashes there was a tiny little piece of bone. Before going to Glastonbury I put that aside under the belief that it would be needed for something someday. Years later, I came to the conclusion that what I kept that bone for was to give it to Alan Moore (or more specifically, to donate it to the Moon & Serpent Grand Egyptian Theatre of Marvels, aka Steve Moore and Alan Moore — and Leary meant more to Alan than it did Steve). So the first time I met Alan I found myself giving him a tiny fragment of Tim Leary in a jeweled box, which everyone present agreed was entirely reasonably behaviour. It now sits on Alan's personal altar at home.

I mention this because Alan's talked about it interviews recently and got a few details wrong — nothing major, just minor details. One of these was the notion that the flake of bone was from Leary's shin, which was a notion I had unquestioned in my head, but of course I have no way of knowing what bone it was from. Already I've seen this story grow, as such stories are wont to do, so you may hear some folk say that Alan has Leary's shinbone. I was tempted to keep quiet and see what the story evolved into, but seeing as you asked I guess that's reason enough to put the story straight.

* (Mr. Higgs' biography of Timothy Leary, which anyone interested in Leary or Robert Anton Wilson should read.)


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Cosmic Trigger play news


Daisy Eris Campbell

1. Don't forget that tickets are on sale for the Cosmic Trigger play run in London, England, May 4 to May 27. Buy now to get £15 tickets. 

2. Daisy Eris Campbell and company are putting out a one-off fanzine to coincide with the play.
From Daisy's announcement:

We are on the hunt for treasure from across our mycelium network — the call is already out to the Wizards of Hebden Bridge, Popes of Liverpool, Cows of Newcastle and Mandrills of Northampton and Brighton.

Do YOU have any articles, favourite pithy quotes, RAW aphorisms, bits of weird art/cut 'n' paste, or anything YOU would want to see in such a beast?  

We'll be assembling it in an old-school cut and paste workshop (y'know, with glue and scalpels), so if you could send in your submissions by Monday 13th March to Aleister Crowley (aka Tom Baker) at fanzine@cosmictriggerplay.com — that would be magick.