Robert Anton Wilson’s Last Trilogy
Gets A Renaissance
The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles is back in print. I first read The Earth Will Shake (the first book of the Historical Illuminatus Chronicles) in 1992. It was great. It takes place in the 18th Century, and feature ancestors of the main characters of the Illuminatus Trilogy. We have Celines, Malatestas, Moons, as well as amazing cameos by Edmund Burke, George Washington, Tom Paine, and my favorite… de Selby. A fictional character who exists in another fictional world appears (in footnotes) in the second book of the trilogy, The Widow’s Son.
Robert Anton Wilson is a criminally underappreciated writer, in my opinion. I think one reason is that his books are spread throughout the entire bookstore/library. He has written fiction, sci fi, philosophy, literary criticism, plays, humor, treatises, books about sex, drugs, the occult… he’s all over the road. He was a friend and colleague of Timothy Leary, a scholar of James Joyce, Aleister Crowley, Buckminster Fuller, Richard Feyman… he was just as at home speaking of non-locality in quantum mechanics as he was about DMT vs LSD, or the number of mathematical puns are in Finnegan’s Wake.
He was also hilarious. He is a wonderful Hermetic gatekeeper to the realms of all the above. His Illuminatus Trilogy (written with Robert Shea in the late 60’s/early 70’s) contained every extant conspiracy theory of which Wilson was aware. It was Tom Robbins in hyperspace and it will change you forever if you read it, in a good way.
Here’s a nice taste of what Robert Anton Wilson (or Uncle Bob) has to offer.
Listen, I think your life will be enriched, profoundly, by reading some good old Robert Anton Wilson, and The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles are the smoothest entrance into his world I can imagine. Bob passed in 2005 but his daughter Christina has founded a publishing company, Hilaritas Press. This will be used to reissue Bob’s catalog. Getting these books will support the legacy of a great man. Give them a shot.