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
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. Schrödinger’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.