Saturday, June 19, 2010

New Edition of "NATURE'S GOD" by Robert Anton Wilson


Available from New Falcon Publications and

I was actually reading this for my own enjoyment when I got the call to work on the new edition. It was awesome to work on this book as I was reading it. The game got real in Philadelphia!

This was the last book of fiction that RAW wrote, and it totally rules, I hope I did it justice.

"oh, bejesus, Seamus thought, General Washington has been knock-knock-knocking again."

I'm finishing up artwork for "The Earth Will Shake" & "The Widow's Son" this weekend.(Volumes 1 & 2 of the Historical Illuminatus Chronicles) The lasagna remains airborne, Go Phils!

Thursday, June 17, 2010



(Stoop) if you are abcedminded, to this claybook, what curios
of signs (please stoop), in this allaphbed! Can you rede (since
We and Thou had it out already) its world? --James Joyce, Finnegans Wake, pg. 18.

Mark Pesce recently released 'the book' version 1.0, of 'share this book': an on-going project (share this course) that a group of web entities and "I" participated in over the last 6 months.

I have taken the liberty here of reproducing and sharing a small part of his text, reproduced from a presentation he made at University Sydney titled 'whatever happened to the book' and a part of particular interest to me, as a budding 'Joycephile' and student of 'maybelogic: the many lives and ideas of Robert Anton Wilson.

I applied a sprinkling of 'hyperlinks' to those already added by Mark, mosbunal link to 'wikipedia' others connect to external sources and 'Joycean' articles, web pages, and some other works by Mark Pesce, thanks, steve: (

Part Three: Finnegans Wiki.

So what of Aristotle? What does this mean for the narrative?
It is easy to conceive of a world where non-fiction texts simply
dissolve into the universal sea of texts. But what about
stories? From time out of mind we have listened to stories
told by the campfire. The Illiad, The Mahabharata, and
Beowolf held listeners spellbound as the storyteller wove the
tale. For hours at a time we maintained our attention and
focus as the stories that told us who we are and our place in
the world traveled down the generations.
Will we lose all of this? Can narratives stand up against the
centrifugal forces of hypertext? Authors and publishers both
seem assured that whatever happens to non-fiction texts, the
literary text will remain pure and untouched, even as it
becomes a wholly electronic form. The lure of the literary text
is that it takes you on a singular journey, from beginning to
distractions, no interruptions, unless the author has expressly
put them there in order to add tension to the plot. A wellwritten
literary text – and even a poorly-written but wellplotted
‘page-turner’ – has the capacity to hold the reader
tight within the momentum of linearity. Something is a ‘pageturner’
precisely because its forward momentum effectively
blocks the centrifugal force. We occasionally stay up all night
reading a book that we ‘couldn’t put down’, precisely because
of this momentum. It is easy to imagine that every literary
text which doesn’t meet this higher standard of seduction will
simply fail as an electronic book, unable to counter the
overwhelming lure of the medium.

This is something we never encountered with printed books:
until the mid-20th century, the only competition for printed
books was other printed books. Now the entire Web – already
quite alluring and only growing more so – offers itself up in
competition for attention, along with television and films and
podcasts and Facebook and Twitter and everything else that
has so suddenly become a regular feature of our media diet.
How can any text hope to stand against that?

And yet, some do. Children unplugged to read each of the
increasingly-lengthy Harry Potter novels, as teenagers did for
the Twilight series. Adults regularly buy the latest novel by
Dan Brown in numbers that boggle the imagination. None of
this is high literature, but it is literature capable of resisting
all our alluring distractions. This is one path that the book
will follow, one way it will stay true to Aristotle and the
requirements of the narrative arc. We will not lose our
stories, but it may be that, like blockbuster films, they will
become more self-consciously hollow, manipulative, and
broad. That is one direction, a direction literary publishers
will pursue, because that’s where the money lies.

There are two other paths open for literature, nearly
diametrically opposed. The first was taken by JRR Tolkien in
The Lord of the Rings. Although hugely popular, the threebook
series has never been described as a ‘page-turner’, being
too digressive and leisurely, yet, for all that, entirely
captivating. Tolkien imagined a new universe – or rather,
retrieved one from the fragments of Northern European
mythology – and placed his readers squarely within it. And
although readers do finish the book, in a very real sense they
do not leave that universe. The fantasy genre, which Tolkien
single-handedly invented with The Lord of the Rings, sells
tens of millions of books every year, and the universe of
Middle-Earth, the archetypal fantasy world, has become the
playground for millions who want to explore their own
imaginations. Tolkien’s magnum opus lends itself to
hypertext; it is one of the few literary works to come complete
with a set of appendices to deepen the experience of the
universe of the books. Online, the fans of Middle-Earth have
created seemingly endless resources to explore, explain, and
maintain the fantasy. Middle-Earth launches off the page,
driven by its own centrifugal force, its own drive to unpack
itself into a much broader space, both within the reader’s
mind and online, in the collective space of all of the work’s
readers. This is another direction for the book. While every
author will not be a Tolkien, a few authors will work hard to
create a universe so potent and broad that readers will be
tempted to inhabit it. (Some argue that this is the secret of JK
Rowling’s success.)

Finally, there is another path open for the literary text, one
which refuses to ignore the medium that constitutes it, which
embraces all of the ambiguity and multiplicity and liminality
of hypertext. There have been numerous attempts at
hypertext fiction’; nearly all of them have been unreadable
failures. But there is one text which stands apart, both
because it anticipated our current predicament, and because
it chose to embrace its contradictions and dilemmas. The
book was written and published before the digital computer
had been invented, yet even features an innovation which is
Finnegans Wake, and it was Joyce’s deliberate effort to make
each word choice a layered exploration of meaning that gives
the text such power. It should be gibberish, but anyone who
has read Finnegans Wake knows it is precisely the opposite.
The text is overloaded with meaning, so much so that the
mind can’t take it all in. Hypertext has been a help; there are
a few wikis which attempt to make linkages between the text
and its various derived meanings (the maunderings of four
generations of graduate students and Joycephiles), and it may
even be that – in another twenty years or so – the wikis will
begin to encompass much of what Joyce meant. But there is
another possibility. In so fundamentally overloading the text,
implicitly creating a link from every single word to something
else, Joyce wanted to point to where we were headed. In this,
Finnegans Wake could be seen as a type of science fiction, not
a dystopian critique like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World,
nor the transhumanist apotheosis of Olaf Stapleton’s
Starmaker (both near-contemporary works) but rather a text
that pointed the way to what all texts would become,
performance by example. As texts become electronic, as they
melt and dissolve and link together densely, meaning
multiplies exponentially. Every sentence, and every word in
every sentence, can send you flying in almost any direction.
The tension within this text (there will be only one text) will
make reading an exciting, exhilarating, dizzying experience –
as it is for those who dedicate themselves to Finnegans Wake.

It has been said that all of human culture could be
reconstituted from Finnegans Wake. As our texts become
one, as they become one hyperconnected mass of human
expression, that new thing will become synonymous with
culture. Everything will be there, all strung together. And
that’s what happened to the book.



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