Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Arthur Hlavaty's recommended books [Updated]


Arthur Hlavaty says Catch-22 is "the ultimate Libertarian book."

A couple of months ago, I posted about Arthur Hlavaty's new zine, Archive I: Down by the Old Slipstream, a collection of his writings about fiction that he likes. I really liked it and told you all to read it.

Arthur has now assembled a second collection of his fiction recommendations, Archive II: Back to Live, and if anything, it is even better than the first zine. Here are the first two items, on Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, and on Illuminatus! 

Robert A. Heinlein Stranger in a Strange Land. 

The satire hit me first, then the sex, then the Eastern religion. Yes, I know that it’s flawed,  but the good stuff remains. Heinlein was a  Trickster, whose two desires were to make money  and make people think. He certainly succeeded  with the latter, as far as I am concerned. (And I bought all his books.)

Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson
Illuminatus!

I may still have been sane when I finished  Stranger, so I was ready for more, and in 1975  there appeared a trilogy about sex, dope, science  fiction, alternate metaphysics, conspiracy  theory, and libertarianism/anarchism. My tastes  have changed, but then I figured that if they’d mentioned pro football, they would have had everything.

 The book lived up to it: chaotic,  experimental. occasionally simplistic, but full 
of the three things I most read for: people,  ideas, and laughs. As with Stranger, I reread it every year, and I still haven’t worn it down to  the parts that annoy me and “I know that.” AND ALSO Shea went on to write good, solid  historical novels with a beginning, a middle, and  an end in that order, but also with fascinating  characters and small hints of metaphysical and other weirdness. I particularly liked Shike and  All Things Are Lights. Wilson’s novels were more  like Illuminatus!, centered on initiation.  Schr√∂dinger’s Cat was based on quantum theory, among other things. James Joyce, to whom there are many references in Wilson’s other fiction, showed up as a character in Masks of the Illuminati, which actually had a tight plot structure, along with the Wilsonian stuff.

The two archive zines and much else are available here. 

Arthur should consider assembling his book reviews into a book, perhaps an ebook, to reach the people who don't follow fanzines.

UPDATE: Fixed the formatting, which I did not have time to do yesterday, and see also my post on finding free ebooks of the Shea novels Arthur recommends.

1 comment:

supergee said...

Thanks for the plug. I may be moving towards that book thing.