Friday, February 21, 2014


Press release from

Website to sponsor online group reading of 1970s cult literary work “Illuminatus!” starting on Feb. 24.

An online reading group plans to spend more than a year doing a page-by-page analysis of an unusual 1970s cult novel that has never gone out of print.

Illuminatus! by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, originally published as a series of three science fiction paperback originals, was  influenced by writers as diverse as James Joyce, William Burroughs and H.P. Lovecraft. The book reads at first like a thriller about a vast conspiracy, albeit one that uses an obscure theological term, “immanentize the Eschaton,” in the first sentence. But it also has elements of fantasy and the occult and spends many pages discussing political theory.

The ostensible subject of the book is the Illuminati, an alleged secret society that seeks to control the world and is still the subject of many conspiracy theories. Many of the book’s protagonists are either battling the Illuminati or struggling to figure out what is really going on.

The work makes liberal use of Discordianism, a tongue-in-cheek religion devoted to worship of the Greek goddess Eris, who was blamed for starting the Trojan War, and of the Kabbalah, an esoteric mystical system that began as part of Judaism. The text also reflects the authors’ strong interesting anarchism and libertarianism.

Readers of the website will participate in an online discussion of the book beginning on Feb. 24. The discussion will proceed at a pace of 10 pages a week, to give readers time to untangle many of the esoteric references and meanings in the text. The slow pace also will allow time for readers who missed the initial announcement to get caught up and participate. The standard paperback edition has 805 pages, so the discussion is expected to take well over a year. 

Each week, an entry on a 10-page section of the book will be posted on the website’s blog, and readers will be invited to weigh in using the comments.

The book began as a joke in a Chicago bar. The two authors, Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea, were editors at Playboy magazine in 1960s, responsible for the Playboy Forum, a section of letters from readers. Many of the letters dealt with speculation on who had killed the Kennedys and other conspiracy theories. 
The two editors, who were friends, had a habit of going to a bar every payday. One day, Shea jokingly suggested that the two collaborate on a novel that would take seriously every crazy conspiracy theory that had been sent in by a reader. The idea caught the pair’s imagination, and they began work on the book that became Iluminatus!

Issued beginning in late 1975 as three mass market paperbacks, The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, and Leviathan, Illuminatus!  was reissued beginning in 1984 as a one-volume trade paperback and has remained in print ever since. It also is available as an ebook and an audiobook. 

Illuminatus! received good reviews from publications such as the Village Voice but was generally ignored by major literary magazines, newspapers and book reviewers. It won only one literary award, the relatively obscure Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, in 1986. It has received less attention from major literary critics than two broadly similar works written at about the same time, Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon and Mumbo Jumbo by Ishmael Reed. It has nonetheless enjoyed a strong cult following from its initial publication and there are many websites on the Internet devoted to it or to one of its two authors. 

The two authors never collaborated on another book, although they remained close friends, but Illuminatus! helped them launch their literary careers. Wilson quit his job at Playboy and became a freelance writer. He eventually published more than 30 books, including novels and essay collections. He died in 2007. Shea continued to work for Playboy, but after he lost his job at the magazine, he began sending out proposals for novels and began a successful second career as a historical novelist. He died in 1994.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


RUSHKOFF says - "My DC comic series 'TESTAMENT is now available in a single, digital “omnibus” volume via ComiXology

In some ways, I think Testament is my most important work. Instead of merely talking *about* narrative, economics, sigil magic, and the Bible, I'm actually doing it. The purpose of Testament was to predict the world of crypto-currencies that we're entering right now, and show how this story has happened before. This moment is exactly what Torah was talking about - not in the sense of predicting the future, but in the sense that this is the perennial human story. 

I think having it all in one place at one time really makes the story SO much clearer. I always wanted this to be in one volume, so you can really feel the characters - especially the Gods, who live *between* the panels on page. 

I have written most of my books way too early. Testament is really about this exact moment. And it's also the oldest story we know."
 And I say great! I love this comic and was super psyched to get to participate in the small way of formatting it for digital release and designing the cover collage. I wish it a very happy and healthy digital life! - bc

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Time to Pull The Cosmic Trigger?

Time to Pull the Cosmic Trigger?
The Kazimier
4-5 Wolstenholme Sq. Liverpool, L1 4JJ.
Sunday, February 23rd, 4pm

Come and join the Discordians Heaven-bent on resurrecting the ideas of Robert Anton Wilson, co-author of Illuminatus!

Fresh dispatches from John Higgs, author of "The KLF - Chaos, Magic and the Band that Burned a Million Pounds", with his talk: "I Blame Liverpool".

Never-before-seen filmed interview with Alan Moore, discussing all matters RAW.

Daisy Eris Campbell brings us up-to-date on the synchronic forces aligning in her mission to stage Cosmic Trigger.  Includes scenes from the play, with music, magick, puppetry, projections - and acting.
If you want to help us pull the Cosmic Trigger, there is nowhere else to be.

You can reserve your place HERE and it's £5 on the door. It's a good idea to reserve, but please don't unless you really are coming, otherwise well, it will be chaos - and we wouldn't want that ;)

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Mr Burroughs arrived 100 years ago

William Burroughs remains someone who appears respected or disliked by a range of people,  with very little neutral ground.

Easy enough to use the "anti" adjectives and nouns, but you won't find them here.

Here's a wonderful extended piece about WSB on The Quietus:

The Third Man: William S. Burroughs At One Hundred

RAW liked his work enough to adopt at least some of the cut-up technique (evolved with Brion Gysin) in Illuminatus!  In fact, Burroughs appears in the book.
WSB also studied with Korzybski, and was way ahead of the game when it came to paranoia about Control, Belief Systems, Authoritarian States, and the manipulation of others.

William Burroughs at 100 - the official website

Life-Time also have a piece:

William S. Burroughs at 100: Rebel, Junkie, Exile, Genius

If you are in the US: have a look at The Burroughs Century

LISTEN TO MY LAST WORDS anywhere. Listen to my last words any world. Listen all you boards syndicates and governments of the earth. And you powers behind what filth deals consummated in what lavatory to take what is not yours. To sell the ground from unborn feet forever—
“Don’t let them see us. Don’t tell them what we are doing—”
Are these the words of the all-powerful boards and syndicates of the earth?
“For God’s sake don’t let that Coca-Cola thing out—”
“Not The Cancer Deal with The Venusians—”
“Not The Green Deal—Don’t show them that—”
“Not The Orgasm Death—”
“Not the ovens—”
Listen: I call you all. Show your cards all players. Pay it all pay it all pay it all back. Play it all pay it all play it all back. For all to see. In Times Square. In Piccadilly.
“Premature. Premature. Give us a little more time.”
Time for what? More lies? Premature? Premature for who? I say to all these words are not premature. These words may be too late. Minutes to go.
–William Burroughs, Nova Express  1964

Monday, February 03, 2014

Joyce's Birthday - and a funny letter he wrote

In celebration of James Joyce's birth date (yesterday) Brain Pickings published a funny letter  that he "wrote to Harriet Shaw Weaver on June 24, 1921, mere months before Ulysses was published by Sylvia Beach."

James Joyce’s Humorous Morphology of the Many Outrageous Myths about Him

How the celebrated author earned a reputation as a lazy coke-head movie mogul with a peculiar clock habit.

NB: Brain Pickings remains a delight, and worth subscribing to (or just exploring).

They also have here, a selection of etchings that Matisse did for a limited edition of Ulysses...

And here's another treat:


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