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The Illuminatus! Trilogy (1975)

by Robert Shea, Robert Anton Wilson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Illuminatus! Trilogy (Omnibus 1-3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,590532,488 (3.9)87
Filled with sex and violence--in and out of time and space--the three books of The Illuminatus are only partly works of the imagination. They tackle all the coverups of our time--from who really shot the Kennedys to why there's a pyramid on a one-dollar bill.
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  4. 20
    Principia Discordia by Malaclypse the Younger (princemuchao, sbuehrle)
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    The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (PghDragonMan)
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» See also 87 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
A classic bit of bogus balderdash wrapped up in sex, drugs and conspiracy theories. Writing style? Think James Joyce meets Ayn Rand and has a love child on acid. Fnord. What made it especially eerie this time around were the echos of today in yesterday. If you want to understand the zeitgeist of today's American politics, smoke this book from 50 years ago - it'll really get you out there. ( )
  dhaxton | Feb 6, 2024 |
Changed. My. Whole. World. ( )
  deliriumshelves | Jan 14, 2024 |
2 stars. Sometimes engaging, clever, and entertaining. More often nonsensical and indecipherable. Just not my kind of book. Satire I didn't always get. Endless avalanche of references I didn't have the interest to research and fully appreciate. Appendices may have tied it all together a bit, but it was hard enough getting through all 3 books. ( )
  iaross | Sep 21, 2021 |
This just isn't going to happen, not now.

Robert Anton Wilson's (and that other guy's) trilogy is one of those books that hovered around the edges of my awareness as a cult novel(s), and that alone was enough to prompt me to read it. I'm always in the mood for conspiracy theory, and odd-ball sensibilities are fine as long as there's a point. One hundred pages into this and I've realized, there isn't. Perhaps there will be at some point, and perhaps I'll return to this in the future, but for now, I'm done.

Look, you can make all kinds of statements about the rigidity of the novel's form, but random switching between speakers/POV without even the slightest convention to clue your reader in is risky, so there needs to be some payoff. You also risk alienating them before the payoff arrives. Well, I read one-eighth (yes, it's 800 pages) and there was no reward in sight, and in fact I found myself staying up later at night simply to avoid having to read this book. That's no way to feel about a novel. So, I'm done.

If anyone is reading this, feel free to read someone else's blurb to find out what this story is about, because I don't know. I can tell you want happened in my 100 pages (not much), but if you like the idea of interconnected conspiracy, I recommend Foucault's Pendulum, which has many qualities to recommend. Not least of them a plot.
  allan.nail | Jul 11, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (33 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shea, Robertprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wilson, Robert Antonmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Ochagavia, CarlosCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The Eye in the Pyramid
The history of the world is the history of the warfare between secret societies.
--Ishmael Reed, Mumbo-Jumbo
The Golden Apple
There is no god but man.

Man has the right to live by his own law -- to live in the way that he wills to do: to work as he will: to play as he will: to rest as he will: to die when and how he will.

Man has the right to eat what he will: to drink what he will: to dwell where he will: to move as he will on the face of the earth.

Man has the right to think what he will: to speak what he will: to write what he will: to draw, paint, carve, etch, mold, build as he will: to dress as he will.

Man has the right to love as he will.

Man has the right to kill those who thwart these rights.
--The Equinox: A Journal of Scientific Illuminism, 1922 (edited by Aleister Crowley)
Leviathan
The mutation from terrestrial to interstellar life must be made, because the womb planet itself is going to blow up within a few billion years ... Planet Earth is a stepping stone on our time-trip through the galaxy. Life has to get its seed-self off the planet to survive ...
There are also some among us who are bored with the amniotic level of mentation on this planet and look up in hopes of finding someone interesting to talk to.
--Timothy Leary, Ph.D., and L. Wayne Brenner, Terra II
Dedication
The Eye in the Pyramid
To Gregory Hill and Kerry Thornley
The Golden Apple
To Arlen and Yvonne
First words
The Eye in the Pyramid
It was the year when they finally immanentized the Eschaton.
The Golden Apple
April 25 began, for John Dillinger, with a quick skimming of the New York Times; he noticed more fnords than usual.
Leviathan
For over a week the musicians had been boarding planes and heading for Ingolstadt.
Quotations
Wise men have regarded the earth as a tragedy, a farce, even an illusionist's trick; but all, if they are truly wise and not merely intellectual rapists, recognize that it is certainly some kind of stage in which we all play roles, most of us being very poorly coached and totally unrehearsed before the curtain rises. Is it too much if I ask, tentatively, that we agree to look upon it as a circus, a touring carnival wandering about the sun for a record season of four billion years and producing new monsters and miracles, hoaxes and bloody mishaps, wonders and blunders, but never quite entertaining the customers well enough to prevent them from leaving, one by one, and returning to their homes for a long and bored winter's sleep under the dust?
The belief in coincidence is the prevalent superstition of the Age of Science.
Last words
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Canonical LCC
Filled with sex and violence--in and out of time and space--the three books of The Illuminatus are only partly works of the imagination. They tackle all the coverups of our time--from who really shot the Kennedys to why there's a pyramid on a one-dollar bill.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
Tons of drugs and sex.
Conspiracies up the ass.
An epic mind-fuck.
(Carnophile)

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