Friday, January 19, 2007

Aaron's Book of the Week :: The Eye in the Pyramid by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson

The Eye in the PyramidThe Book of the Week is the 1975 first printing, paperback original edition of The Eye in the Pyramid by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, the first volume in the Illuminatus! trilogy. We're putting off Dianetics for a week to honor Robert Anton Wilson, who passed away last week at the age of 74.

Gonzo writer, futurist, and conspiracy theorist Robert Anton Wilson enjoyed a large cult following. He authored over thirty books, including some cowritten with counterculture icon Timothy Leary. Probably Wilson's best known books are the Illuminatus! series, closely followed by the Schrödinger's Cat trilogy. The Illuminatus! novels, beginning with the Book of the Week, presume the existence of a secret society of Illuminati that has dominated the history of mankind. The premise of the books is that this society is directly or indirectly behind pretty much every conspiracy theory you've ever heard, not to mention many pop culture references (hence the yellow submarine on the cover). The assumption that all conspiracy theories are true makes for some amusing results. For example, when the novel revisits the assassination of President Kennedy, we find out there were enough different gunmen in various locations for them to have formed a union.

No doubt the Illuminati were also behind the creation of Scientology and Dianetics, whose first appearance in print we will see next week.

(Note from Amy, the webmaster: The Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club read this book nearly five years ago. Aaron had some things to say about The Eye in the Pyramid back then, too)

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