Tag: Fiction and Literature

Review: Nature’s God, by Robert Anton Wilson

By Psyche | October 15, 2004 | Leave a comment

Nature’s God: The History of the Early Illuminati (The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, Volume III), by Robert Anton Wilson
New Falcon Publications, 1561841641, 225 pp., 1991, 2004

In Nature’s God, the third book of Wilson’s Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, it is 1776, and our dear Sigismundo Celine has done a runner and made for America. Here he meets up with Seamus Muadhen, now James Moon, who also left the old world after not killing his sworn enemy. They chat, briefly but insightfully, over alcohol before parting ways, Sigismundo further drowning himself: ‘Those of happy histories can ask what lies behind the surface of things. Those of us who know what lies behind the surface always choose to enjoy every illusion as long as possible. The color of a perfect English rose in my brain, not in the flower, but I would prefer to enjoy the color than to think dull thoughts like that. Leave philosophy to the innocent. We veterans of infernos and abysses prefer the roses, the sunsets, and the beautiful meaningless music’. Shortly after, James joins revolutionary army of George Washington and Lafayette.

After leaving a few false leads in his wake, Sigismundo flees to the wilderness where he build himself a cabin, and sit in meditation ‘seeking the solitude to make his mind an empty mirror at the age of twenty-six. That was the result of being involved with conspirators and magicians since he was fourteen’. However he is occasionally interrupted by the adorably named Miskasquamish of the Maheema, a shaman of a fictional Native North American tribe.

Meanwhile, back in England, Maria is initiated into a surviving witch cult in England and begins spreading feminist propaganda under a false name, while her husband advances in Freemasonry and turns to the drink and boys.

This is an immensely quotable book, perhaps even more so than the previous volumes, despite its smaller size. don’t think this will be the last book in the chronicles, it seems decidedly unfinished, with the possibility of a fourth in the future.

Wilson has packed a lot of excellent material into this work – where else are you going to read an in depth piece on God’s Willy? Highly recommended in addition to the previous two.


Review: The Widow’s Son, by Robert Anton Wilson

By Psyche | September 29, 2004 | Leave a comment

The Widow’s Son Volume: The History of the Early Illuminati (The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, Volume II), by Robert Anton Wilson
New Falcon Publications, 1561841633, 343 pp., 1985, 2004

The second volume in Wilson’s Historical Illuminatus Chronicles begins in Paris, 1772 and, once again, our hero, Sigismundo Celine, is under siege by unseen conspirators. As he says, ‘Some want me dead, and some are satisfied if I am just buried alive, and you represent the nice, friendly crowd that merely wants to overthrow every government on the planet and make me the Universal Emperor.’ And it’s does appear that ‘being Sigismundo was a dangerous business…People were always trying to kill Sigismundo, or drive him mad, or generally vex him’.

This volume introduces a few new characters, the Irish fisherman Seamus Muadhen, who moves to England in the spirit of revenge and becomes John Moon, only to discover he cannot fulfill his purpose, and instead immigrates elsewhere; as well as a loose band of politically-minded assassins and thieves, among others.

With enough footnotes to rival Weisbecker’s Cosmic Banditos, Wilson annotates with his usual clever tongue in cheek wit, though they tend to leave me somewhat bewildered at times. For example, while I understand that Brian O`Nolan is Myles na gCopaleen, who is also Flann O`Brien; I’m having difficultly with the fact that de Selby may be La Fournier, but is most certainly not La Tournier – or even that he may not have existed at all in the first place, and in fact may bet a part of a conspiracy invented by Brian O`Nolan and Robert Anton Wilson. Then again, for all I know Wilson could be O`Nolan (who is Myles na gCopaleen, Flann O`Brien and possibly de Selby and La Fournier). It can seem a little confusing at times, and much more so at others.

Wilson has a special talent for depicting things exactly as they are shown in a manner which serves only to complicate matters further; it is one of his greatest gifts, and has produced yet another brilliantly fascinating and engaging volume in this chronicle. Highly recommended.


Review: Messiah’s Handbook, by Richard Bach

By Psyche | September 5, 2004 | Leave a comment

Messiah’s Handbook: Reminders for the Advanced Soul, by Richard Bach
Hampton Roads, 1571744215, 216 (unpaginated), 2004

I adored Richard Bach’s Illusions, so I was rather excited when notice came that a review copy of the Messiah’s Handbook was on its way. I’m not sure what I was expecting, perhaps an expansion on Illusions, or something more obviously related to it, however this is not the case.

Messiah’s Handbook is a tiny book of aphorisms and quotations taken from some of Bach’s other works, notably Illusions, One, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Out of My Mind, and The Ferret Chronicles.

It’s intended use follows the example of other bibliomancy tools of this type: ‘Hold a question in mind, please. Now close your eyes, open the handbook at random and pick left page or right’ (from the forward). The results tend to be more interesting than traditional books of this type, of course, being Richard Bach, they’re a little quirkier, and occasionally with some spice: ‘Spacetime is a fairly primitive school. But a lot of folks stay with the belief of it even when it’s boring, and they don’t want the lights turned on early.’

It’s small, it’s cute, and underneath the dustjacket the covers of the book are blue suede as in Illusions, but unless you’re already a big fan, at 12.95$US it’s an expensive countertop impulse buy at the giftshop


Review: The Earth Will Shake, by Robert Anton Wilson

By Psyche | April 30, 2004 | Leave a comment

The Earth Will Shake: The History of the Early Illuminati (The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, Volume I), by Robert Anton Wilson
New Falcon Publications, 1561841625, 369 pp., 1982, 1984, 2003

In Naples, Italy, 1764, fourteen year old Sigismundo Celine witnesses the murder of his Uncle Leonardo on Easter as he’s about to perform mass. Thus begins the coming of age story of young Sigismund, who, through his efforts to prove his manhood, discovers the world is far more sinister than he was lead to believe.

Sigismundo adventures into the world of music from unknown Johann Sebastian Bach, befriends the Monster, the wunderkid Wolfgang Mozart, he even meets the hermetically inclined Dr. Frankenstein – or one of them. All the while, everyone from the Freemasons, the Rossi, Alumbrados, the Carboni, and even the MAFIA want seem to want him to ‘learn their secret handgrips and join their very own special conspiracy’.

The characters are brilliantly entertaining, from Sigismundo himself who is ‘the most brilliant young musician in all Italy since Antonio Vivaldi, in the estimation of only the two people whose opinions mattered, himself and Uncle Pietro’, to clever Uncle Pietro who spares him time and time again, naive Maria whom Sigismundo is hopelessly in love with – and terrified of, to Sir John: ‘“Yes,” Sir John said wearily, with a strange, crooked grin. “I do not know what to believe. I have read too much and travelled too far. Certitude belongs to those who have only lived in a place where everybody believes the same thing”’.

The chapter headings loosely follow cards of the Tarot (the Fool, the Empress, the Magician, the Priestess, the World, the Hanged Man, the Devil), but out of order. Obviously influenced by Aleister Crowley, Masonic ritual and occult thought with Wilson’s characteristic ‘maybe logic’ philosophy evident even in this earlier work.

Any fan of the any branch of Illuminati or secret society lore will immediately find this book appealing. Brilliantly written, clever, funny, and with more than a hint of intrigue, what more could one possible look for in a great novel.


God’s Debris, by Scott Adams

By The Wizzard | July 1, 2003 | Leave a comment

God's Debris, by Scott Adams God’s Debris: A Thought Experiment, by Scott Adams
Andrews McMeel Publishing, 07407219089, 2001, 132 pp.

This is one of those books that attempts to make you think and to bring up ideas and ways of thought through the medium of a carefully crafted novel. It reminds me of such books as Illusions by Robert Bach or The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman which also lay down their ideas through the medium of a novel rather than directly addressing them in a traditional manner. Continue reading


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