Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea. Blog, Internet resources, online reading groups, articles and interviews, Illuminatus! info.

Saturday, July 13, 2024

Kickstarter begins for Richard Metzger's 'Magick Show' documentary

Trailer for Magick Show 

A Kickstarter has begun for Richard Metzger's Magick Show, a documentary billed as "A sprawling documentary project made BY occultists FOR occultists!"

You can donate any amount to help the cause; rewards start at $99. If you kick in $10,000, "Grant Morrison will personally cast a spell for you! Includes live consultation with Morrison to define your personal goal, after which he will create and charge an original, one-of-a-kind sigil artwork and ship it to you," plus you are named an executive producer and you get various other goodies.  (More from Grant Morrison here.)

Friday, July 12, 2024

More 'Tales of Illuminatus' news


As we get closer to Maybe Day, July 23, Bobby Campbell is releasing more Tales of Illuminatus news, in the form of a brand-new newsletter. You can read the "secret history" of how Bobby met Robert Anton Wilson (if  you didn't read it when you bought the Hilaritas Press edition of The Walls Came Tumbling Down), which all of y'all should buy and read),  get some free life advice from RAW, get some music news and more. (The life advice is aimed at young people, but maybe it's useful to everyone). 


Thursday, July 11, 2024

Prometheus Awards announced

 


(Press release on the latest awards. Illuminatus! won the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award in 1986, the only literary award that I know of given to the work -- The Management.)

The Libertarian Futurist Society, a nonprofit all-volunteer international organization of freedom-loving science fiction fans, has announced Prometheus Award Best Novel and Best Classic Fiction winners.

The 44th annual Prometheus Awards will be presented online, most likely on a Saturday afternoon in mid- to-late August, in a Zoom awards ceremony with three-time Best Novel winner Victor Koman as a speaker and presenter.

The Prometheus Award for Best Novel

Critical Mass, by Daniel Suarez (Dutton) has won the 2024 Prometheus Award for Best Novel for novels published in 2023.

Set in the inner solar system, this fast-paced science fiction thriller follows engineer-entrepreneurs striving against the odds to use space-mined materials to build infrastructure in space for commercial development.

Heroic characters risk their lives in an audacious mission to complete a space station, allowing construction of a nuclear-powered spaceship and rescue of stranded crew members on the distant asteroid Ryugu. The resourceful band must achieve their goals amid shortsighted opposition, censorship, shifting alliances and international tensions of Earth governments.

Unusually realistic in depicting the perils of living and working in space, Suarez achieves a high level of plausible engineering speculation. Government is shown as the problem and cooperation through free enterprise as part of a space-based solution to problems on Earth.

Included is a plausible depiction of the creation of a functional, private, decentralized currency beyond the reach of Earth, relevant in this era of inflationary government fiat money.

Visit the Prometheus Blog for an in-depth review of Critical Mass  that illuminates how this novel fits the distinctive dual focus of the Prometheus Award on quality and liberty. 

The other 2023 Best Novel finalists were Theft of Fire, by Devon Eriksen (Devon Eriksen LLC); Swim Among the People,  by Karl K. Gallagher (Kelt Haven Press); God’s Girlfriend, by Dr. Insensitive Jerk (AKA Gordon Hanka) (Amazon); and Lord of a Shattered Land,  by Howard Andrew Jones (Baen Books).

 The Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction

The Truth, a 2000 novel by Terry Pratchett (HarperCollins), won the 2024 Best Classic Fiction award and will be inducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame.

First nominated for the Prometheus Award for Best Novel in 2001, when it became a finalist, The Truth is part of Pratchett’s humorous but historically informed Discworld series.

This story revolves around the incidental founding by a struggling scribe of the Discworld’s first newspaper, using the newly invented printing press in the city of Ankh-Morpork. Amidst cutthroat competition, shadowy opponents, a political crisis and threats to a free and independent press, the newspaper evolves in the free market – just as real newspapers did historically.

All too timely in its focus on misinformation and its affirmation of the value of freedom of speech and the press as a bedrock principle sustaining free societies while serving as a vital check on criminality and corrupt government, the novel portrays how journalists find and report the facts (or not) and strive to communicate "the truth.”

Smart and sly, hilarious but serious, The Truth ultimately offers an inspirational tale of underdogs fighting for the truth against formidable opposition.

Visit the Prometheus Blog for an in-depth review of The Truth  that illuminates how it fits the distinctive dual focus of the Prometheus Award on quality and liberty.

The other Prometheus Hall of Fame finalists were Orion Shall Rise, a 1983 novel (Timescape) by Poul Anderson; "The Trees," a 1978 song by the Canadian rock group Rush; and Between the Rivers, a 1998 novel (TOR) by Harry Turtledove

Prometheus Awards History

The Prometheus Awards, sponsored by the Libertarian Futurist Society (LFS), was first presented 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.

For more than four decades, the Prometheus Awards have recognized outstanding works of science fiction and fantasy that dramatize the perennial conflict between liberty and power, favor voluntary cooperation over institutionalized coercion, expose the abuses and excesses of coercive government, and/or critique or satirize authoritarian systems, ideologies and assumptions.

Above all, the Prometheus Awards strive to recognize speculative fiction that champions individual rights, based on the moral/legal principle of non-aggression as the ethical and practical foundation for peace, prosperity, progress, justice, tolerance, mutual respect, civility and civilization itself.

All LFS members have the right to nominate eligible works for all categories of the Prometheus Awards, while publishers and authors are welcome to submit potentially eligible works for consideration using the form linked from the LFS website’s main page.

While the Best Novel category is limited to novels published in English for the first time during the previous calendar year, Hall of Fame nominees — which must have been published, performed, broadcast or released at least 20 years ago — may be in any narrative or dramatic form, including novels, novellas, stories, films, television series or episodes, plays, musicals, graphic novels, song lyrics, or verse.

The Best Novel winner receives a plaque with a one-ounce gold coin, and the Hall of Fame winner a plaque with a smaller gold coin.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

American edition of Higgs' 'KLF' book now on sale


John Higgs announces that the U.S. edition of The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds has been released. This link provides a place to order the book, the ebook and the audiobook (which is narrated by John.) This is a weird, wonderful book with quite a bit about Robert Anton Wilson and I recommend it, even if you are not a particular fan of the KLF. 

Here's a new interview with John about the book. 



Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Grant Morrison to aid Richard Metzger's 'Magick Show' documentary



Grant Morrison (Creative Commons photo, details).

 Announcement via the reviving Dangerous Minds website:

"Grant Morrison is to offer three individuals a 'personal magick spell cast just for them' as part of a new crowdfunding scheme on Kickstarter to fund the post-production of Magick Show. A documentary described as a 'masterclass in the occult' and created by Richard Metzger of Dangerous Minds and Disinformation, and produced by media theorist Douglas Rushkoff.

" 'I'm thrilled to be part of this momentous occasion,' said Grant Morrison. 'Quite simply it's the best show about magic ever made! The best, least sensationalized, most informed presentation of what contemporary magic is and how it works that I've ever seen onscreen.' Morrison looks forward to becoming part of the Magick Show community. 'It is time to call together the next generation of occultists, expose them to their lineage, and initiate them into the larger culture of practising magicians'."

Monday, July 8, 2024

Jesse Walker on a new book about Charles Fort

 


A new book has just been released on  Charles  Fort, Think to New Worlds: The Cultural History of Charles Fort and His Followers by Joshua Blu Buhs. The book came out on July 3, but Jesse Walker must have gotten his hands on an early review copy, because Jesse's review already has posted at Reason

Jesse writes that Buhs has produced an "engaging study," and says, "Joshua Blu Buhs makes a strong case in Think to New Worlds: The Cultural History of Charles Fort and His Followers that the eccentric writer cast a long shadow, leaving a mark not only on the world of Bigfoot hunters and UFO buffs but also in literature, where his fans stretched from the modernist avant garde to the science fiction pulps.

More at the link. 

Sunday, July 7, 2024

Substack would have been great for RAW


On Twitter, one of my favorite accounts, Joshua Ryman, posts this bit: "I think Bob would have loved X/Twitter," as an intro to the graphic, above. 

Yes, Robert Anton Wilson would have been good on Twitter, he had many pithy thoughts; in a recent post, Jim O'Shaughnessy shares this RAW quote, ""The sad man lives in a sad world; the happy man lives in a happy world; the angry man lives in an angry world—at the end of the valley of decision, there's always a choice." 

But given his money woes, what I really wish is that Substack, or something like it, had come along earlier. Many writers are able to make a living sharing their thoughts on the platform, and I think RAW would have had a good following and would not have had to worry as much about making a living. 

Saturday, July 6, 2024

RAW's 'Everything Is Under Control' still a cheap Kindle

 


I have a habit of checking the Kindle monthly sale of books under $4,  and I was surprised to see that for July, Everything Is Under Control: Conspiracies, Cults, and Cover-ups by Robert Anton Wilson is on sale again, for about $4. Not quite as cheap as the about $3 I spent when it was on sale in May, but still pretty cheap.

Before I made it a point to crusade on the Internet on behalf of RAW, I had a website devoted to George Alec Effinger, another writer I regard as underrated. (It doesn't exist anymore after Google withdraw support for the site; I have to try reconstitute it). When Gravity Fails, one of his better-known novels, currently is just $2 for Kindle. 

Friday, July 5, 2024

'Tales of Illuminatus' update: Todd Purse, Steve Fly


Bobby Campbell has already issued another Tales of Illuminatus newsletter (sign up for your own copies), and in the new issue he highlights contributions to the project from two of his collaborators, Todd Purse and Steve "Fly" Pratt.

Purse, an artist, has been sending Bobby artwork. "Much like how the magic of the original Illuminatus! Trilogy was found in the collaboration between Bob Wilson & Bob Shea, I'm hoping mine & Todd’s team work will indeed make the dream work :)))" Bobby writes.

Steve Fly will release a new LP, The First Trip, on Maybe Day., i.e. July 23, as Bobby releases a new installment of Tales. He has released a flurry of new albums recently at his Bandcamp site.  See his newsletter for music updates. 

More on Tales of Illuminatus. 


Thursday, July 4, 2024

RAW movie club: All That Jazz

 

Image by Bobby Campbell 

Continuing the project of watching films from Robert Anton Wilson's list of his 100 favorite movies, I have chosen All That Jazz from 1979. for the next film. I wanted something more modern after the two previous old back and white films. And the movie is free on Tubi. I am attempting to pick movies that everyone can watch for free. I'll watch it in the next couple of weeks and do a post.

Previously featured as "RAW movie club" films: The Maltese Falcon and Intolerance. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

New 'Tales of Illuminatus' newsletter launches



Tales of Illuminatus is the new graphic novel adaptation of the Illuminatus! trilogy that is being published in sections on the Internet and which later will be issued in paper form. You can read an introductory bit, with more to be published on July 23 later this month, Maybe Day. And you can read my interview with Bobby Campbell about his project. 

Bobby has now launched a new Tales of Illuminatus newsletter on Substack. Please go here to sign up for future issues so you'll be caught up with the project. 

The first issue has some nuggets of new information about the project. The credits have been updated: "Created by Bobby Campbell w/ Nick Helweg-Larsen & Todd Purse, along with musical accompaniment by Steve Fly & Dan Robinson, and a rapidly growing cast of luminous creative visionaries, TBA in due time!"

Also, the Kickstarter for the first issue, "The Hidden Light," will make pre-orders available beginning July 23; no link yet, but when it becomes available I will let you know. "The first issue will debut at the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, MD, USA on Sept 14 & 15, and at a release party in the Crown Room at The Queen in Wilmington, DE, USA on Sept 18. (Ticket info, Bands, etc, TBA!"


Tuesday, July 2, 2024

RAW fans should take a look at the latest Oz Fritz blog post


Oz Fritz' latest blog post, "Joyce, RAW, Crowley and the Book of the Dead," explores the work of Robert Anton Wilson from several angles, including the influence of James Joyce on Wilson. It also looks at  the new Hilaritas version of Reality Is What You Can Get Away With, examining it as a journey through the Bardo, discusses contemporary books of the dead (such as Finnegans Wake) and asserts, "Bardo episodes appear in all of RAW's fiction in various forms: dreams, drug experiences, magick, meditation visions, etc." There's a lot here, and I thought it was one of Oz' best pieces.

And speaking of death and the Bardo, there is also this anecdote:

"Incredulity trigger warning for the forthcoming anecdote that relates to the experience of being dead and not knowing it. A shaman I once worked with whom I found credible, told me that after the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11/2001, he felt a calling to travel there in his body of light to tell the the spirits of the recently deceased what had happened. He claimed that they didn't know they were dead. They had no idea of what happened. He was providing a public service by telling them."

I don't know whether I "believe" that story, but it's a great anecdote!

I apologize to Oz for not noticing his blog post earlier; it has a similar title to his previous piece, and I didn't realize it was new. But judging from the comments he's drawn, other people also agree it was an especially good blog post. 

Monday, July 1, 2024

Maybe Day is coming soon!

 


I just wanted to remind everyone that Maybe Day 2024 will be later this month, July 23! 

July 15 is the deadline for sending your contributions or links to Bobby Campbell. Details here. 

Sunday, June 30, 2024

A look back at Mondo 2000

Via the Mindplex podcast, a video of covers, articles and covers from Mondo 2000, "including Deborah Harry, Reese Witherspoon, Todd Rundgren, David Byrne, Timothy Leary, Neil Young and William Gibson." I missed Reese, but isn't that David Byrne, and wasn't one of the articles by Robert Anton Wilson? Music by Mondo Vanilli.  More information here. 

Full podcast with R.U. Sirius. 

If this video makes the magazine seem interesting, see the archive at the Internet Archive. See also the Mondo 2000 History Project.   And here is an archive of bOING bOING magazine. 

Saturday, June 29, 2024

With RAW fans at the Phil Dick conference

The 3rd International Philip K. Dick Festival was held in Fort Morgan, Colorado from June 13 – 16, 2024. (As you'll recall if you read this blog, that's where Dick is buried.)

My friend Ted Hand writes (about two weeks ago), "As you may recall I've been looking into the PKD/RAW connection and had the privilege of interfacing with the fan-scholarly Dickhead community last weekend. By coincidence David Gill had his last online PKD class meeting the day we all arrived in Fort Morgan, CO, and I got to ask Tim Powers what he remembered of conversations surrounding Cosmic Trigger in Dick's circle in the late 70s. Unfortunately he didn't remember much other than that the book was around. Another Californian who was present remembered that Cosmic Trigger was often on someone's coffee table in counter-culture circles at the time, but Dick scholar Doug Mackey (who remembers reading PKD in 1957!) told me that he found CT pretty dubious at the time. Which helped me calibrate the relative weirdness of the early Dick audience... Also had a nice chat with a young lady from Mississippi who rocked a t-shirt with "I have seen the fnords." Was nice to confirm that the younger generation is still taking acid and reading Prometheus Rising (she was excited to learn that there is more Tarot stuff in Game of Life which she hadn't heard of)."

As for the conference, Ted reports, "The big insight related to PKD was that despite the importance of the Nag Hammadi 'gnostic' scriptures in Valis, there are only a couple of references to Nag Hammadi in the Exegesis (as reported by Gabriel McKee) although we still have another thousand pages or so left to transcribe in the Zebrapedia project."

Also, here is a thread by Ted on his Philip K. Dick project, and he explains, "I think the conclusion to my PKD project is that he can be situated in the Hermetic tradition. Starts out by wondering how to deal with PKD as a transmitter of the Yates take on Bruno's 'magical memory' to the Phildickian Gnostics in works like Valis and Cosmogony and Cosmology."

Also, above is the video of author Jonathem Lethem's keynote talk at the conference, about which Erik Davis says is a "great talk." From the YouTube posting: "His presentation was called 'Multiple Worlds Vying to Exist: Philip K. Dick and Palestine: A Journey by Way of Etienne Souriau's 'Different Modes of Existence,' David Lapoujade's 'World's Fall Apart,' and Cyril Kornbluth's 'The Marching Morons.' "...but us D*ckheads like to call it 'The Sermon on the Porch.' "

For RAW on Dick see two books: Chaos and Beyond and Beyond Chaos and Beyond.   RAW and PKD met at a science fiction convention in 1978 in Santa Rosa, California, here is one account and here is what D. Scott Apel remembers. 



Thursday, June 27, 2024

Joseph Matheny news update


Joseph Matheny (Creative Commons photo by  Setianson, details here)

 Joseph Matheny seems to be  busy these days, and recently issued a newsletter about what he's been up to, here's a quick summary:

-- He'll be making his first personal experience and book reading in 20 years at 7 p.m. Friday July 19 at Mother Foucault's Bookshop in Portland, Oregon.  He'll talk about Ong's Hat, probably his best known book, and related topics.

-- Speaking of Ong's Hat, "James Lewis and I updated Ong’s Hat: The Beginning Audible audiobook to reflect the latest version of the material. Even though it now contains more material, we've kept it reasonably priced."

-- Work is continuing on Ong's Hat: Compleat, the definitive and comprehensive Ong's Hat book, and it should be done by next year. 

Other projects are in the works that will be revealed later, and see the link to the newsletter for recent podcast appearances you may have missed. 

More here.  

Also, see the official website for more interesting stuff. Also, I bought the spoken word album Robert Anton Wilson: The Lost Studio Session, which Matheny produced, when it came out and enjoyed it; you can get it free now at the Internet Archive

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

RAW biography will now be self-published


Following the news that Chapel Perilous, the new Robert Anton Wilson biography, will not be published by Strange Attractor Press after all, Prop Anon/Gabriel Kennedy has a now announced that he will publish it himself. Here is the entire text of the announcement:

"For the Record: I ASKED to be released from my book contract with Strange Attractor because of the way they were handling the book's release!!!

"That said, I'm putting the book out myself!!!!

#chapelperilous #DIYtilIdie" 

He also said, "Honestly, its for the best tho. They were moving ass backwards and I can't go for that."


Tuesday, June 25, 2024

English band History of Guns draws inspiration from RAW

"No Longer Earthbound" is a single from the latest album from History of Guns. 

A recurring theme of this blog is the influence of Robert Anton Wilson on musicians, and here is another example (spotted by Nick Helweg-Larsen): Wilson apparently provided inspiration for the latest album by the British band History of Guns.

The new album is called Half Light, and here is a passage from the side-line.com article about the new album: "The starting point for this album lays in Robert Anton Wilson’s words 'The future is up for grabs; it belongs to any and all who will take the risk and accept the responsibility of consciously creating the future they want'.” 

Here is the official page for the band's new album. The digital download is priced at "name your price." And the band itself has an official site. 


Monday, June 24, 2024

Talk radio host Zo Williams talks about RAW

 


Zo Williams is a talk radio host on KBLA-AM in Los Angeles; his show also is available as a podcast and I assume on radio apps. He is also a big Robert Anton Wilson fan, apparently. Here is the blurb for the show from his radio station, which is aimed at a Black audience: "Fans have dubbed Zo Williams 'Tupac meets Deepak' or 'The Hip Hop Dr. Phil.' Zo brings a thoughtful and unique perspective to relationships, religion, spirituality, social systems and more."  

A recent show is entitled, "Maybe Logic": "You can't BS the BS-er! A deeper look at limitations on certainty and Robert Anton Wilson's thoughts on the illusion of Is-ness," a show title which of course puns on RAW's discussions about "belief systems." Show available here and also likely on your favorite podcasting app. 

During the show, Mr. Williams plays clips of RAW and other people, talks to his audience and takes calls from fans across the country. Most of the callers appear to be unfamiliar with RAW but Williams persists, explaining the concept of "reality tunnels" again and again. Williams also mentions that he's particularly a fan of Prometheus Rising and Quantum Psychology. 

Just guessing, but I think RAW would have been fascinated by this adaptation of his philosophy.

Zo Williams also writes books about dealing with relationship issues. 

Hat tip, Nick Helweg-Larsen.

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Hilaritas podcast interviews Denny Sargent

 The Hilaritas Press podcast released today is an interview with Denny Sargent.

"In this episode, Mike Gathers chats with Seattle writer, artist and university instructor Denny Sargent about Tantra, animism and much more."

Here's a link to his books. 


Saturday, June 22, 2024

'Dangerous Minds' announces it's coming back


At Dangerous Minds, Richard Metzger explains that the site ceased posting new material because he was upset at the state of the Internet ("Now it's all just garbage") and then announces he is reviving the online publication:

"So Dangerous Minds is evolving into something new. We’re going to do something different. Something that’s not been filtered or Facetuned or to be found anywhere in this cultural wasteland full of regurgitated garbage. Something with actual experts who know what they’re talking about and can speak intelligently for longer than a minute. Something that will make you smarter.

"We’ll announce what this new venture is in the coming days, so keep watching this space, where all will be revealed…"

Dangerous Minds ran plenty of material on Robert Anton Wilson in its day. 

More here. 

Friday, June 21, 2024

'The Magician' is a silent film

Interesting addendum to the recent discussion of The Magician, W. Somerset Maugham's fictional portrayal of Aleister Crowley: You can watch a 1926 silent film adaptation of the novel.

Here is the Wikipedia article, which has spoilers (some changes are made in the plot.)

I haven't watched it yet, but Richard Newsome, who read the book with me, reports, "I found the 1926 silent movie of The Magician on YouTube! Watched the whole thing. It takes many liberties with the story but it is quite watchable. Enjoyed it. Remarkable that people made this movie a hundred years ago."

Thursday, June 20, 2024

John Higgs and William Blake's cottage


 In his latest newsletter, John Higgs visits William Blake's cottage and gets involved in efforts to save it: 

"I fulfilled a long-standing ambition this month - I got to go inside William Blake’s cottage in Felpham, on the Sussex coast. It’s a building that holds a very special place in the Blake story, as it was here he started to write what became the hymn "Jerusalem" and here that he defined England as ‘that green and pleasant land’.

"It was a day of mixed emotions. I knew before I went that the cottage was in dire need of repair, but seeing first hand the state it was in brought home how urgently work is needed, before the next winter storm. It is propped up inside by supports and - most urgently - desperately needs a new roof."

Also, among other news, an update on the American edition finally coming out of the KLF book:

"It’s lovely to report that THE KLF: CHAOS, MAGIC, AND THE BAND WHO BURNED A MILLION POUNDS will be published in the US and Canada on 9th July. It’s a tense year in America and you have to wonder what sort of reaction a book like that will receive at this particular time. Only one way to find out, I guess! Pre-order the paperback, audiobook or ebook here, or from your favourite stockists."

More here. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Listomania

 

1. 10 Best Murder Mysteries That Need a Movie Adaptation.  The Illuminatus! trilogy is number one on the list. "The book was originally released as three separate entries in the mid-1970s and then compiled into an epic tome in 1984, which was probably not a coincidence. The story is creatively told through first and third-person accounts, often drifting into a stream of consciousness, but is entirely entertaining as it pulls together secret societies, religious dogma, and ancient mythology."

2. List of best books about conspiracies on Ranker. As I write this, Ong's Hat: The Beginning by Joseph Matheny is ranked number one. 

3. 10 Trippiest Sci-Fi Books of All Time: Journey Through Mind-Bending Universes.  Lots of Philip K. Dick here, but also  the Illuminatus! trilogy. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

RAW Movie Club: The Maltese Falcon

 


Thank you to Bobby Campbell for the illustration. 

The main thing I noticed when I watched "The Maltese Falcon"  (still available free on Tubi) was how fast moving it was, how everything seemed to be almost kind of abrupt. 

About 1:07 in, the captain of a boat comes staggering in to Sam Spade's office, carrying the Maltese falcon he apparently had promised to deliver. Humphrey Bogart's comment, "He couldn't have come far with those holes in him." It seems kind of absurd that someone shot several times would still make a delivery. But the movie has the quality, which I've  noticed in certain books, that things are moving so quickly you don't have time to think about whether the action makes sense. Lots of wisecracks and lots of unexpected twists and turns. 

The Wikipedia article on the film says that the movie originally was offered to George Raft, but it's difficult now to envision the movie without Bogart, who seems to be in pretty much every scene and dominates the film with his tough-but-decent persona. Mary Astor is a confused and confusing beautiful "bad girl." 

I'm a big fan of the 1942 movie "Casablanca," and it's interesting to see two of the actors from that movie (besides Bogart) show up in this one, Peter Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet; as with Bogie, their characters here don't seem wildly dissimilar to their "Casablanca" characters. 

I'll select another movie from RAW's list of his favorite 100 movies and announce it as the new "RAW movie club" movie for July. I'll try to find something else that's available to everyone for free. 

Monday, June 17, 2024

James Joyce video and other Joyce bits

 


Bloomsday was June 16, and various interesting things were posted or sent to me.

Above is a new short video by Bobby Campbell, "Walking Into Eternity," an animation of an excerpt from Joyce's Ulysses. If you want to see the passage Bobby is quoting, go here and search for the word "ineluctable." You are looking for the phrase, "Ineluctable modality of the visible:"

Here is the link to the dramatization of Ulysses by Ireland's national public radio station. 


Image sent to me by Eric Wagner. 



Sunday, June 16, 2024

RAW bio cancelled; new plans afoot to put it out [UPDATED]


Gabriel Kennedy (e.g., Prop Anon). 

UPDATE: Despite the comments from the publishers, Prop Anon now says, "They did not cancel it. I DID!" I told him I would update this post. I have changed the headline. Prop sent a screenshot of an email he sent to Strange Attractor on May 21, in which he wrote, "I'm thinking this is not meant to be between Strange Attractor and myself. So, I am politely asking you to  release me from my contract." 

Publication has been canceled of Chapel Perilous: The Life and Thought Crimes of Robert Anton Wilson by Gabriel Kennedy. 

The book was supposed to be out August 6. Instead, all mention of it disappeared from the websites of Strange Attractor and the MIT Press and from Amazon. 

Plans apparently are afoot to find another home for it. Prop Anon (e.g. Gabriel) plans to provide more information soon. 

"There are some good things happening behind the scenes right now. I cannot speak on it too much at the moment, but will make an announcement very soon," Prop told me.

Don't read too much into this until we get an announcement, but for what it's worth, on Saturday Prop posted on X, "My whole artistic career to this point has been D.I.Y.  I was raised to be a D.I.Y. Artist.  After reading some of the contracts Artists have to sign, I'm gonna stay D.I.Y.! 

#doityourself"

I had not kept up with the book but I got word Saturday and then reached out for comment to the co-founders of Strange Attractor, Mark Pilkington and Jamie Sutcliffe.

Mr. Sutcliffe told me, "We had to cancel that book unfortunately, we just couldn't find a viable version of it that both the author and ourselves were happy with despite several editorial revisions. 

"I believe Gabriel will likely publish it elsewhere in a form that works for him, so we wish him well with that, and it's likely you'll to get to read it soon, although I can't tell you when exactly."

Mr. Pilkinton said, "We've had to drop the book from our own schedule, but hopefully Garbiel can find a new home for it soon. We just couldn't find a way to make the book work as part of our list."

The book had been delayed a couple of times before the August 6 date was announced. The publishers had brought in an editor from outside to work with Prop on the book.

The book had originally been announced in 2016; it was to be published in 2017 by TarcherPenguin and was announced by Mitch Horowitz. I don't know what happened to that proposed iteration of the book, but I believe Horowitz may have left the editing post shortly thereafter. Strange Attractor was announced as the publisher in late 2020.  

The biography would be the first written about Robert Anton Wilson, although Eric Wagner's An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson, about Wilson's writings, has now come out in two editions. 

And while we wait for Prop's bio, there is biographical material available elsewhere. Wilson's three Cosmic Trigger books function as memoirs. Beyond Chaos and Beyond, a collection of Wilson's writings edited by D. Scott Apel, includes a long biographical essay about Wilson written by  Apel. 

Note: This blog post  has been updated twice after I received several emails from Prop Anon. 





Saturday, June 15, 2024

About those Illuminati

 


Today's posting will be brief as I am running late but I wanted to share the above from the Discordian archives. From Grouchoghandi KSP on X

Friday, June 14, 2024

Bobby Campbell illustrates the five stages of Illuminati history


Bobby Campbell 

Bobby Campbell has created a new gif, I think probably as part of his Tales of Illuminati project. I am having trouble saving the gif for some reason, but if you have an X account, please follow the link and look at it. 

Bobby's caption: "Rough draft of the five Discordian seasons or stages of society. I couldn't find pre-existing designs for this stuff, which surprised me, so I took a crack at it :)))"

In Appendix Gimmel of Illuminatus!, the five stages are given as the "Illuminati Theory of History." However, the "facts" on the origins of the theory given at the beginning of the piece refer to Adam Weishaupt reading the Necronomicon, "experimenting with a new strain of Alamount black," importing peyote from Mexico, etc., so the impression one gets is that the five stages emerged from the brain of one particular Discordian, Robert Anton Wilson. Does anyone have any background information on whether elements of the five stages came from anyone else? 

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Kate Alderton's latest project

 

Actors Kate Alderton and Greg Donaldson in "Constellations." 

Many of you will know the British actress Kate Alderton, who portrayed Arlen in Daisy Campbell's Cosmic Trigger play and who has been active in the British Discordian scene. Her new project sounds like something RAW would have enjoyed.

Alderton co-stars in a two-person performance of "Constellations," a play that begins Friday at New Venture Theatre in Brighton. A piece at Brighton.co.uk explains, "Originally premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in 2012, the play explores the complexities of human relationships and the enigmatic world of quantum mechanics. 

"It tells the story of Roland, a beekeeper, and Marianne, a physicist at the University of Sussex.

"After they meet at a barbeque the two become lovers. They marry – or do they? 

"Through a series of vignettes their relationship unfolds across multiple parallel universes – a multiverse - as the play explores the infinite possibilities of love and fate. Each universe offers a different outcome."

More here.  The play is by Nick Payne.

Here's Kate at IMDB, Kate is on X





Wednesday, June 12, 2024

W. Somerset Maugham's 'The Magician' is a fun read

 


An old friend of mine (and gafiated science fiction fan) Richard Newsome and I agreed to read The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham together and compare notes. Richard read a print edition and I read the Standard Ebooks edition (the cover art is above.) By the way, despite what Standard Ebooks says, their epubs work fine with Amazon Kindle.

First, I can report that The Magician is a fun, easy read; Richard and I both finished it in a few days. I have not read anything else by Maugham, and the book was more of a pulpy fantasy novel than I had expected. Richard commented that Chapter 8 (in which the villain, Oliver Haddo, takes a young woman on an occult "bad trip") "reads exactly like a story in Weird Tales," and remarking on another scene said, "And then Haddo has a laboratory in the attic full of giant glass retorts, test tubes and blazing furnaces, for his experiments. Perfect for Hugo Gernsback's Amazing Stories."

If you know anything about Aleister Crowley, it couldn't be more obvious that the character of Oliver Haddo is based upon Crowley. Much of it is quite accurate. Richard Kaczynski's biography of Crowley, Perdurabo, says that when Crowley read the book, he recognized many of Haddo's comments as things he had said to Maugham in Paris. Perdurabo says Crowley was "flattered." Maybe, but the book depicts Haddo as a thoroughly evil person, capable of doing terrible things that Crowley (as far as I know) never did. Richard and I were both amazed that Maugham assumed he could get away with that in putting an obviously real person in his novel.

Perdurabo also reports that Crowley recognized that the book incorporated large quotes from books on magick that Crowley had recommended to Maugham and also noticed that portions of the book were apparently indebted to modern writers. He wrote an expose for Vanity Fair about the matter.  Perdurabo says that Maugham was "good-humored" about the article when they met a few weeks after it appeared.

Richard actually tracked down Crowley's article. You can read it here.  


Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Mark Frauenfelder's book recommendation


In the latest issue of his newsletter, "The Magnet," Mark Frauenfelder provides a book recommendation, and I think you'll see why I'm quoting it here:

"I wrote about Scott Snibbe’s book in one of my other newsletters, "Book Freak." How to Train a Happy Mind: A Skeptic’s Path to Enlightenment, is about analytical meditation, which I didn’t know about. I’m more familiar with passive imagination, where you focus on breathing as a way to calm the mind. But analytical meditation is a way to change the mind. As my friend David (who is also reading Snibbe’s book) told me, the different meditations in the book remind him of exercises that Robert Anton Wilson might have shared in the books he wrote in the 1980s, like Prometheus Rising. I’ve only been doing them for a few weeks, but they have already helped me think about the world, and my own mind, in new ways." 

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Richard Bandler on Robert Anton Wilson

Richard Bandler, the founder of neuro-linguistic programmer, is asked in a new podcast episode, above, who he would have dinner with if he could choose anyone living or dead, and he says Robert Anton Wilson. (At about 40:15 in the video). "I miss him. He was one of the smartest men I ever knew," Bandler said. 'Robert seemed to know about everything ... I can always visit him in his writing."  Bandler goes on to talk about Wilson's memory for what he had read. 

Bandler has an official website.  And there's also a website for Owen Fitzpatrick, who does the podcast. 

Hat tip, Mike Gathers. 


Saturday, June 8, 2024

The original Sacred Chao

 


Grouchogandhi, K.S.P. continues to post interesting documents from the Discordian Archives on X, and I thought I would share one of them. Here is the caption:

"The Original Sacred Chao (OSC).

"Detail from Page 00003 of a letter from Kerry Thornley to Greg Hill proposing the Discordian Sacred Chao. Dated February 2, 1964.

"Courtesy of the Discordian Archives."

Link to the document in question.

From Illuminatus!

"The JAMs, however, had a symbol that anyone could understand, and, just as Harry Pierpont showed it to John Dillinger midway through a nutmeg high in Michigan City prison, Dr. Ignotius showed it to Joe midway through his first acid trip.

"This," he said dramatically, "is the Sacred Chao."

See page 279 of the original Dell paperback of The Eye in the Pyramid (price, $1.50) for a full explanation. 


Friday, June 7, 2024

A setback for psychedelic treatment


Ecstasy tablets which may contain MDMA. (Public domain photo). 

Given Robert Anton Wilson's interest in research into the beneficial use of psychedelics, I thought I would share some news: An FDA advisory panel has recommended against the use of MDMA for therapy in the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder. That came despite results that seemed to show it worked well. The full agency is expected to uphold the panel's recommendation.

Here is the account in the New York Times. and here is the report by the always-useful Jacob Sullum. 

UPDATE: Alex Tabarrok on why the decision was wrong. 

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Serious cryonics research is still taking place

Laura Deming (Twitter account photo)

Many of you have read the first Cosmic Trigger book, which ends tragically with the death of Robert Anton Wilson's daughter, Luna. Friends of Wilson who are members of the Bay Area Cryonics Society arrange to have Luna's brain frozen, in hopes that she might be revived someday. 

I don't see a lot of news coverage about the topic of cryonics, but the other day I did see a Bloomberg article, "Startup Brings New Hope to the Pursuit of Reviving Frozen Bodies."  

The article, written by prominent tech journalist and author Ashlee Vance, focuses on technology investor and scientist Laura Deming and her new company. 

"On Monday, Deming plans to unveil Cradle Healthcare Co., which she’s been running in secret for the past three years. The company’s focus is on trying to develop technology around reversible cryonics, placing people with illnesses into a frozen state and then reviving them at some stage in the future when cures for their ailments have arrived.

"Researchers and companies have pursued cryonics for decades, but the practice still requires numerous breakthroughs to have any hope of reaching mainstream use. Deming’s bet is that there’s much to discover around how cryonics and rewarming can work and that Cradle can turn the tech into a real thing."

More at the link. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Music video features image of RAW

The British band Rainyday Rainbow has made a video for the group's song, "Masters of the Cosmos" that includes a glimpse of an image of Robert Anton Wilson. 

Here is a quote from the video director, Jamie Panton: "One of the things I wanted to add to this music video was who are the Masters of the Cosmos, really? To me DNA is the Master, once it fully realises itself through the evolution of biology and consciousness. Somewhat early on in the video we get cameos from Aleister Crowley, Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson. Why these dudes? I’ll direct you to the Eight Circuit Model of Human Consciousness and leave you to work out the rest." 

More information here.




Tuesday, June 4, 2024

PQ on Walt Whitman's influence on James Joyce


Walt Whitman in 1862  (public domain photo by Matthew Brady).

 A new post from Peter Quadrino for those of you who are interested in James Joyce.

"Lately, I've been interested in Walt Whitman (1819-1892) and what impact he had on James Joyce (1882-1941), and this influence seems more significant than most commentators have tended to note."

More here. 

I don't remember RAW talking about Whitman, but I'm sure RAW read him, Whitman was such a major and influential American poet. 

Monday, June 3, 2024

Dr. Richard Waterloo's favorite book


On X, Dr. Richard Waterloo posts (a short thread of two messages)  "This book for curious 'heads ... Though I love talking about books, the question 'What's your favorite book?' is such a tough one. Prometheus Rising, I'd say, is my favorite because of its profound impact, but few people would really be interested in it so I don't recommend it to casual readers. Great for 'heads."

This raises a couple of interesting points. Is Robert Anton Wilson so "way out" that it's difficult to recommend his books to ordinary readers, or would many people be  interested in him if only he could become better known? I do think that Prometheus Rising is a favorite for many RAW readers. (See this posting about the new Prometheus Rising hardcover and how it is the best-selling book in the Hilaritas catalog). 

I would be hard-pressed to name one favorite book. If I had to name a favorite RAW book, I would have to go with Illuminatus!, which to me is a very rich reading experience that started it all for me as a RAW fan. But I also have a particular fondness for Cosmic Trigger 2: Down to Earth, which as the title suggests is aimed at everyday human concerns that apply to many of us, and perhaps more approachable for readers new to RAW. I plan to read it  yet again soon. 


Sunday, June 2, 2024

W. Somerset Maugham's 'The Magician'

 


Speaking of Standard Ebooks, as I was yesterday, the group also has issued an edition of The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham. I plan to read it this month and compare notes with a friend. Here is the description of the book at Standard Ebooks:

"In Paris, surgeon Arthur Burdon and his fiancé are introduced to Oliver Haddo, a wealthy Englishman from an old family who claims to be a magician trained in the occult. At first they are unconvinced and irritated by Haddo’s boasts; however he soon demonstrates his powers in more and more fateful ways.

"The character of Oliver Haddo is an unflattering caricature of the English occultist Alistair Crowley, whom Maugham had met while living in Paris. Crowley himself wrote a review in Vanity Fair in which he accused Maugham of plagiarizing various other novels, signing off as 'Oliver Haddo.' Most critics dismissed these allegations."

Does anyone know if Robert Anton Wilson read The Magician


Saturday, June 1, 2024

Standard Ebooks releases 'Ulysses'


Standard Ebooks has announced that it has released Ulysses by James Joyce as its 1000th book.

If you aren't familiar with the organization, Standard Ebooks is a volunteer driven group which releases what are meant as definitive editions of public domain books. 

"Ebook projects like Project Gutenberg transcribe ebooks and make them available for the widest number of reading devices. Standard Ebooks takes ebooks from sources like Project Gutenberg, formats and typesets them using a carefully designed and professional-grade style manual, fully proofreads and corrects them, and then builds them to create a new edition that takes advantage of state-of-the-art ereader and browser technology."

An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson by Eric Wagner says that RAW told him to read Ulysses 40 times. Eric writes that he has read it 12 times. I've only read it about three times. 


Friday, May 31, 2024

Bobby Campbell's 'Historical Iluminatus!' artworks


Bobby Campbell has published "The Secret History of Sigismundo" online, illustrations meant to convey some of the elements of the three "Historical Illuminatus" books by Robert Anton Wilson. As Sigismundo Celine is the ancestor of Hagbard Celine, the artworks (previously published as illustrations for the novels, and then in Bobby's RAW Art) are posted to lead into Bobby's new Tales of Illuminatus! project. 

Thursday, May 30, 2024

William Egginton's 'The Rigor of Angels'

 


The names suggested as an interview guest for the Hilaritas podcast in my recent blog post mostly are familiar to me, but the one offered by Lvx15 in the comments was a surprise: "William Egginton who’s most recent book hit on model agnosticism from several very RAW angles, quantum mechanics, literature and philosophy."

Since the name was new to me, I looked it up. Egginton is "is the Decker Professor in the Humanities, chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, and Director of the Alexander Grass Humanities Institute at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of multiple books, including How the World Became a Stage (2003), Perversity and Ethics (2006), A Wrinkle in History (2007), The Philosopher’s Desire (2007), The Theater of Truth (2010), In Defense of Religious Moderation (2011), The Man Who Invented Fiction: How Cervantes Ushered in the Modern World (2016), The Splintering of the American Mind (2018), and The Rigor of Angels (2023), which was named to several best of 2023 lists, including The New York Times and The New Yorker. He is co-author with David Castillo of Medialogies: Reading Reality in the Age of Inflationary Media (2017) and What Would Cervantes Do? Navigating Post-Truth with Spanish Baroque Literature (2022). His latest book, on the philosophical, psychoanalytic, and surrealist dimensions of the work of Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky, was published in January 2024."

That most recent book is called Alexander Jodorowsky: Filmmaker and Philosopher, although I suspect Lvx15 actually is referring to The Rigor of Angels: Borges, Heisenberg, Kant and the Ultimate Nature of Reality, released last year. Here is the publisher's page on the book.  And here is a bit from the New York Times book review by Jennifer Szalai: "The Rigor of Angels explores nothing less than 'the ultimate nature of reality' through the life and work of three figures: the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges; the German theoretical physicist and pioneer of quantum mechanics, Werner Heisenberg; and the 18th-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant. Egginton, a literary scholar at Johns Hopkins, brings these three very different men together in one book because they all shared something unusual. They resisted the temptation to presume that there was a reality, out there, that was completely independent of our attempts to know it."

The Wikipedia bio of Egginton has links to many of the pieces he has written for the popular press. He is on X.  And speaking of quotes that remind us of RAW, see this Tweet. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Our ally, Jim O'Shaughnessy


Jim O'Shaughnessy (from the O'Shaughnessy Ventures website)

Robert Anton Wilson fandom could use a few more people like Jim O'Shaughnessy, people with a big following who are trying to promote Wilson's work.

On May 26, O'Shaughnessy posted an excerpt from Natural Law, Or Don't Put A Rubber On Your Willy And Other Writings From A Natural Outlaw on X (e.g., Twitter). It's one of my favorite Hilaritas Press publications; much of the book  had not been anthologized before.

As of today, the post had 6,421 views and 13 retweets. O'Shaughnessy has about 177,000 followers. 

Compare with a May 24 posting on X from @RAWilson23, a must-follow for RAW fans. The posting publicized  the news about the new Tales of Illuminatus! comic book adaptation, the most recent big news concerning RAW. It has 409 views and 5 retweets. The account has about 6,100 followers -- quite good, but dwarfed by O'Shaughnessy.

The quote O'Shaughnessy, posted was this:

"I am not interested in Ideologies and don't give a damn about labels at all, at all. I am interested only in what makes the world a little more reasonable, a little less violent and somewhat more free and tolerant than it has been in the past. 

"What I am writing about, in fact, might better be called life-style than politics. As Tim Leary once said, the only intelligent way to discuss politics is on all fours, since it all comes down to territorial brawling in the end. The questions that I pose are basically matters of lifestyle and almost of taste: are we to be self-governors or are we to be ruled by ghostly abstractions from other worlds? Do we dare to trust our own judgments, fallible though they may be, or do we look for super-sensory Authority to decide hard cases for us? Are we willing to learn from others, and from the unique experience of each day, or do we have an abstract blueprint that we never revise? We all have brains which use rational programs to decide cases that can be decided that way, and which also use other circuits loosely called feeling and intuition and memory, and all of these, including reason, can be self-deceptive at times, but if we have a sense of humor and lack a sense of Papal Infallibility, we don't make too many gross errors (most of the time); will we use that bundle of cells in our skull, or will we mechanically look up the answer in the rule book? Are we going to be individualists eventually, or must we always rely on metaphysical abstractions that look suspiciously like theological tabus in disguise? 

"As I say, these are questions of attitude and life-style, not of party politics and Ideology. But they all resolve to the one basic question that separates the sheep from the goats in every generation: are we learning and growing every hour, or are we still enthralled by verbal abstraction, by Ideal Platonic Horseshit that never changes?"