email to the universe, by Robert Anton Wilson
New Falcon Publications, 1561841943, 252 (+1) pp., 2006

In email to the universe we have a bit of everything: poetry, essays, former articles, and campaign posters featuring ostriches. Topics range from Celtic physics, injustice in the American legal institution, and even a favourable review of Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

Haikus preface each ‘chapter’, some featuring movies, many discussing dolphins and the weather. Many essays here were unpublished previously, maybe. Sometimes he can’t remember. Other essays have been out of print for a number of years, though several stories and themes will be well-known to long-time fans. There are some formatting errors with italics and typos that are somewhat distracting, but they do not detract from the bulk of the work.

My favourite conspiracy theory in this collection is found in ‘Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary’, which deals with a cursed church, Mary Magdalene, Dutch princes, the CIA, the Mafia, the Priory of Sion, the Committee to Protect the Rights and Privileges of Low-Cost Housing, and a host of other sinister characters. Wilson is clearly in his element here, and the essay is a lot of fun.

Before getting into his reasons for creating and heading the Guns & Dope Party, Wilson tackles another question that he’s often been pestered about in various ways; namely, whether he “really is” left-wing, or “really is” right wing in his politics. The essay “Left and Right” more or less firmly places him outside of either of those boxes, and therefore it is bound to annoy those searching for pigeon-holes.

In 2002 Wilson ran for Governor of California as leader of the Guns & Dope Party, which advocated, essentially “guns for those who want them, no guns forced on those who don’t want them”, and “drugs for those who want them, no drugs forced on those who don’t want them”. The tenets of his campaign are reproduced here, along with posters featuring ostriches in prominent positions, and cowgirls with weapons and joints. He notes that currently he supports “everybody for president”.

Some of the stories may be familiar to long-time readers of his works, but they never seem to lose their humour or poignancy the second, and even third, time around. This is classic Bob.