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

Monday, July 22, 2024

My ten best books of the century (so far) list

From my list. 

The New York Times recently put out a list of the 100 best books of the century (e.g., the first quarter century, of course). And here is a list of "ten best" books by Stephen King and other authors.   Here is the list compiled from reader favorites. 

Here isTyler Cowen's ten best list

Here is Freddie Deboer on the Times' list. 

 I don't know that my list would necessarily be any worse than anyone else's, so here is my ten best list (in no particular order):

Email to the Universe, Robert Anton Wilson.

Anathem, Neal Stephenson.

Ha'Penny, Jo Walton.

Surface Detail, Iain Banks.

Somnium, Steve Moore.

Too Like the Lightning, Ada Palmer.

The Scythian Empire, Christopher Beckwith.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke.

The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds, John Higgs.

The United States of Paranoia, Jesse Walker. 

Bonus culture link: My new Substack piece on classical music on Hoopla. 

Sunday, July 21, 2024

'Magick Show' Kickstarter continues

The Kickstarter for Magick Show, the Richard Metzger "documentary collection," is continuing. See the website for updates. As of today, $27,757 was pledged toward the $65,000 goal, and there were 29 days to go.

Here is a profile of Grant Morrison from the Times (of London) that mentions Magick Show. ("Morrison has now offered to share his skills, agreeing to cast spells and create personalised magical symbols to donors to a Kickstarter fundraising appeal for Magick Show, a documentary on modern occultism created by Richard Metzger, the American broadcaster and author.")

The Dangerous Minds website has been doing daily "Magick Show Diary" pieces with various guests; scroll down for Douglas Rushkoff interviewing Metzger about the project. Sign up for a newsletter at the website.

Saturday, July 20, 2024

Steve 'Fly" Pratt paints the van to promote Illuminati Records Ltd.

Steve "Fly" Pratt has painted a van in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to publicize his launch of Illuminati Records Ltd., his music project to support Bobby Campbell's Tales of Illuminatus project.

In his latest Substack newsletter, Steve writes, "I recently found some spray paint on the street while biking and decided to use it to construct some art. I like the challenge of not choosing the colour scheme, using what I was gifted from some unknown painter who probably ditched the Montana Black aerosol after some street activity. 

"Over three days, and in all weather conditions I decorated the guest caravan at Green Tribe Amsterdam: a self-sustaining community of alternative culture, art, and agriculture based in Amsterdam."

Steve also posted images, of which the above is one. 

Maybe Day is Tuesday! 

Friday, July 19, 2024

New 'Tales of Illuminatus!' newsletter points to Maybe Day

Bobby Campbell issues a new Tales of Illuminatus newsletter, and the title of the newsletter, "Tuesday! Tuesday! Tuesday!," is a reminder that Tuesday is Maybe Day:

"So this Tuesday (7/23) is the big Maybe Day launch of the TALES OF ILLUMINATUS! overture :))) We’ll have the first 12 pages of issue #1 available for your bewilderment, along with a smorgasbord of other maybe logical novelties, and also the kickstarter pre-sale for the print & digital editions of our sense shattering first issue will open and run from July 23rd - August 23rd."

The Kickstarter page has been prepared and is ready for launch. 

More here. 

Thursday, July 18, 2024

Prop Anon update

Jaime Reynolds of the Klaxons 

Prop Anon has put out his latest newsletter. There's no announcement yet on the Robert Anton Wilson biiography; he writes:

"Some great things are in the works with my book Chapel Perilous: The Life and Thought Crimes of Robert Anton Wilson. I will have more news for you soon about that."

Also, the promotional website for the book has been revamped, Prop interviews Jaime Reynolds of the band The Klaxons  and Prop offers a RAW quote and some political thoughts. More here. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

New Hilaritas podcast will turn tables on Mike Gathers

The first episode of a Mike Gathers video series on the Eight Circuit Model of Consciousness, about 18 minutes long. 

Mike Gathers is usually the guy asking the questions when the Hilaritas Press podcast is released every month. But when Maybe Day is celebrated on July 23, next week, he'll be on the podcast answering questions.

"Our next podcast,  coming on Maybe Day July 23rd,  will feature Zach West interviewing Mike Gathers about the 8 Circuit Model," Rasa reports. "They had an amazingly good discussion on the subject."

Rasa also says he's been looking at videos on YouTube on the Eight Circuit Model of Consciousness, and says the ones by Mike are reliably good. Here is a playlist. 

As for the other videos, Rasa remarks, "Some are certainly better than others, but it’s interesting to see the differences." Here is one of the others. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

RAW and Lucretius on selective perception

Photo by Ochir-Erdene Oyunmedeg on Unsplash

Robert Anton Wilson asked, "Who is the master who makes the grass green?" He explained, "Our brain receives millions of signals. We select a small portion and call it reality. That's what a Reality Tunnel is!" 

I am reading an old book-length poem, On the Nature of Things by the Roman poet Lucretius, and I ran across a passage that makes the same point:

"Since images are tenuous, the mind cannot see them distinctly, other than the ones it makes an effort to perceive, and thus, except for these, they all perish, apart from those for which the mind itself has been organized by its own efforts. The mind, then, makes itself ready, hoping things will take place so that it can perceive what follows on from each particular thing." 

(From Book Four; I am quoting the Ian Johnston translation. I read a lot of books about Epicureanism). 


Monday, July 15, 2024

New book on brain change


The June issue of BookPage,  a free publication handed out in public libraries, has a review of a new book by a neurologist that purportedly offers brain hacks based on science for making changes in your life. Rewire: Break the Cycle, Alter Your Thoughts and Create Lasting Change is by Nicole Vignola. The review quotes her as saying, "The brain is your hardware, and the memories, thoughts, habits and behaviors within it are the software."

The official page for the book says that Vignola explains "The principles of neuroplasticity."

Sunday, July 14, 2024

New Brian Eno documentary

 Brian Eno. Creative Commons photo, details here. 

"This documentary about Brian Eno is never the same twice. Thanks to a software program, the length, structure and contents of the movie are reconfigured each time it's shown. It's the only way the musician would agree to the project."

Full article here.  Hat tip, Jesse Walker.

Compare with the "About Bob's Works" page on the official Robert Anton Wilson website.  It says, "Click here to reload the page and get a new About Bob's Works essay." 

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.