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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

New edition of John Higgs' KLF book: Another sheep and more words

Cover for the new edition

 In his latest newsletter, John Higgs announces a new edition of The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds, which came out in 2013. It's the Higgs book of particular interest to Robert Anton Wilson fans. Here is something I wrote about the book in 2012:

"It's strange to say that a book about a British pop group is one of the best short introductions to the work of Robert Anton Wilson, but it's also true. JMR Higgs' KLF: Chaos Magic Music Money discusses the group but puts it in the context of the band's biggest influence, the Illuminatus! trilogy and Robert Anton Wilson.

"So it's a pop biography that has lucid explanations of reality tunnels, model agnosticism and Discordian philosophy. I also learned about the history of Ken Campbell's stage production of Illuminatus!"

You don't have to be a KLF fan to enjoy the book. 

Here is John's announcement about the new edition, only available in hardcover and coming out in July:

"The ‘new material’ mentioned on the cover is a 13,000 word author’s commentary, which takes the form of footnotes spread throughout the book. In these new footnotes I look back on the text after ten years to see what I make of it now. It’s kind of like a director’s commentary on a DVD, but in book form. Hence the second sheep on the book cover. The same big old sheep as before is still up there at the top of the page, unchanged, but there is now a new little lamb underneath, acting as a sheep represention of the footnotes.

"This new edition is a big handsome hardback. The book has gone from being a self-published ebook, to a paperback, to a hardback. It’s the life cycle of a typical book, but entirely the wrong way around. This seems somehow fitting, given the subject matter. One pleasing thing about it being a hardback is that the list price of the book is now… £23."

More at the link, including links to preorder. The new hardcover-only edition will only be published in Britain. (When I asked about this on Twitter, John replied, "Sorry Tom, US publishers still seem to think that the American public have no interest in a book about the KLF.") And note that "hardcover only" means just that: No cheaper ebook. 

Of course, books published in Britain can easily be ordered and shipped to the U.S. I've had good results with the Book Depository, an online British bookstore that has free shipping. 

My 2012 interview with John about the book is still interesting. 

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