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Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Books about RAW, some suggestions

I got an email recently from a fellow named Stefan Ciric, who reads the blog and who mentioned that he has had trouble finding books about Robert Anton Wilson, and did I have any suggestions. Here were my suggestions (lightly edited):

An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson, Eric Wagner, is a book of criticism and discussion by Eric Wagner, who knew RAW well. I keep a Kindle version of it on my phone for ready reference. If you buy it, be sure you buy the second edition, which is updated.

Beyond Chaos and Beyond edited by Scott Apel is a collection of RAW's writings for a newsletter RAW and Apel put out, but it also has a long biographical essay on RAW by Apel. I don't know if you are into ebooks or prefer paper, but the Kindle is not very expensive.

High Weirdness by Erik Davis is a three-part book, on Terence McKenna, Robert Anton Wilson and Philip K. Dick, focuses on weird experiences each of the three had in the 1970s. This is a really well done book.

The KLF by John Higgs is an offbeat book about a band that was heavily influenced by RAW, and it is the Higgs book which discusses RAW directly (RAW claimed to have never heard of the band, which is pretty odd.) If you read it,  you might want to read the updated hardcover that came out this year. 

Fly On The Tale Of The Tribe: A Rollercoaster Ride With Robert Anton Wilson by Steven Pratt focuses on the book that RAW outlined at the end of TSOG but apparently never actually wrote. Pratt knows a lot about both RAW and writers such as James Joyce. 

As far as upcoming books, Eric Wagner has completed and is revising Straight Outta Dublin, which focuses on James Joyce and RAW, but has not announced a publisher. I am hoping for some news in the near future. The Gabriel Kennedy biography of RAW, Chapel Perilous: The Life and Thought Crimes of Robert Anton Wilson, is scheduled to be issued in August by Strange Attractor Press. In a related vein, I am currently editing a collection of short pieces by Robert Shea, which I think will shed some light on Illuminatus!.

Since I wrote back to Stefan with the above, I have thought of a couple of other books not about RAW at all, but explore topics he was interested in. How the Hippies Saved Physics is all about the physicist friends RAW mentions in Cosmic Trigger, such as Nick Herbert. Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph by Jan Swafford is a good biography that pays attention to Beethoven's connections to the Illuminati. Any biography of Timothy Leary would provide information about a key influence. Inventor of the Future by Alec Nevala-Lee is the definitive biography of Buckminster Fuller, another influence on RAW.  If you read James Joyce you will notice how Joyce influenced RAW. 

For most of these, I have not given a link; you can Google the titles, and also search the website, as I wrote about most of these. 

What have I forgotten? RAW obviously had a lot of interests. [UPDATE: See Spookah's comment, below, for books by Adam Gorightly and Timothy Leary that I have blogged about here but forgot to mention.]

I asked Stefan to tell me a little about himself, he wrote (in part), "I'm a 30 something year old man, interested in many things, and for some years I've been also interested in reading, mostly about philosophy, psychology, religion or spirituality and things of that kind. I can't remember where exactly Wilson came under the radar, but I know I was hooked on his work pretty much immediately, his humor, humility, general style and attitude really got me."


Eric Wagner said...

Thank you for the plug.

Bobby Campbell said...

I just today finished a re-read of An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson, very highly recommended :)))

Spookah said...

Tom Jackson, you could have also mentioned something written by Tim Leary, such as for example The Game of Life, in parts written by/together with RAW, especially since it's about the 8C model which Bob was fond of.

And perhaps a book from Adam Gorightly, in particular Historia Discordia, or The Prankster and the Conspiracy.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

@Spookah, those are great suggestions for books I forgot. Of course, I have read all three of those books and have blogged about them here.

Eric Wagner said...

Thank you, Bob. Another great Wilson resource: Bob Campbell’s book of Wilson inspired art.

Van Scott said...

My favorite would have to be Znore’s Death Sweat of the Cluster. Also deals
With Pound, Blake, Dick, etc.