The Illuminatus! Trilogy: The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, and Leviathan

The Illuminatus! Trilogy: The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, and Leviathan


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780440539810
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/28/1983
Series: Illuminatus Series
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 816
Sales rank: 107,930
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.99(h) x 1.69(d)

About the Author

Robert Shea was the co-author of the Illuminatus! trilogy with Robert Anton Wilson and the author of six other novels including Shike, All Things Are Lights, The Saracen, and Shaman. He died in 1994.

Read an Excerpt


The First Trip, or Kether
From Dealey Plaza To Watergate...

The Purple Sage opened his mouth and moved his tongue and so spate to them and he said:

The Earth quakes and the Heavens raffle; the beasts of nature flock together and the nations of men flock apart; volcanoes usher up heat while elsewhere water becomes ice and melts; and then on other days it just rains.

Indeed do many things come to pass.

-Lord Omar Khayaam Ravenhurst, K.S.C.,
“The Book of Predications”. The Honest Book of Truth

It was the year when they finally immanentized the Eschaton. On April 1, the world's great powers came closer to nuclear war than ever before, all because of an obscure island named Fernando Poo. By the time international affairs returned to their normal cold-war level, some wits were calling it the most tasteless April Fool's joke in history. I happen to know all the details about what happened, but I have no idea how to recount them in a manner that will make sense to most readers. For instance, I am not even sure who I am, and my embarrassment on that matter mates me wonder if you will believe anything I reveal. Worse yet, I am at the moment very conscious of a squirrel-in Central Park, just off Sixty-eighth Street, in New York City-that is leaping from one tree to another, and I think that happens on the night of April 23 (or is it the morning of April 24?), but fitting the squirrel together with Fernando Poo is, for the present, beyond my powers. I beg your tolerance. There is nothing I can do to make things any easier for any of us, and you will have to accept being addressed by a disembodied voice just as I accept the compulsion to speak out even though I am painfully aware that I am talking to an invisible, perhaps nonexistent audience. 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? Then, say, for a while at least, that I have found an identity as ringmaster; but that crown sits uneasily on my head (if I have a head) and I must warn you that the troupe is small for a universe this size and many of us have to double or triple our stints, so you can expect me back in many other guises. Indeed do many things come to pass.

For instance, right now, I am not at all whimsical or humorous. I am angry. I am in Nairobi, Kenya, and my name is, if you will pardon me, Nkrumah Fubar. My skin is black (does that disturb you? it doesn't me), and I am, like most of you, midway between tribalism and technology; to be more blunt, as a Kikuyu shaman moderately adjusted to city life, I still believe in witchcraft-I haven't, yet, the folly to deny the evidence of my own senses. It is April 3 and Fernando Poo has ruined my sleep for several nights running, so I hope you will forgive me when I admit that my business at the moment is far from edifying and is nothing less than constructing dolls of the rulers of America, Russia, and China. You guessed it: I am going to stick pins in their heads every day for a month; if they won't let me sleep, I won't let them sleep. That is Justice, in a sense.

In fact, the President of the United States had several severe migraines during the following weeks; but the atheistic rulers of Moscow and Peking were less susceptible to magic. They never reported a twinge. But, wait, here is another performer in our circus, and one of the most intelligent and decent in the lot-his name is unpronounceable, but you can call him Howard and he happens to have been born a dolphin. He's swimming through the ruins of Atlantis and it's April 10 already-time is moving; I'm not sure what Howard sees but it bothers him, and he decides to tell Hagbard Celine all about it. Not that I know, at this point, who Hagbard Celine is. Never mind; watch the waves roll and be glad there isn't much pollution out here yet. Look at the way the golden sun lights each wave with a glint that, curiously, sparkles into a silver sheen; and watch, watch the waves as they roll, so that it is easy to cross five hours of time in one second and find ourselves amid trees and earth, with even a few falling leaves for a touch of poetry before the horror. Where are we? Five hours away, I told you-five hours due west, to be precise, so at the same instant that Howard turns a somersault in Atlantis, Sasparilla Godzilla, a tourist from simcoe, Ontario (she had the misfortune to be born a human being) turns a neat nosedive right here and lands unconscious on the ground. This is the outdoor extension of the Museum of Anthropology in Chapultepec Park, Mexico, D.F., and the other tourists are rather upset about the poor lady's collapse. She later said it was the heat. Much less sophisticated in important matters than Nkrumah Fubar, she didn't care to tell anybody, or even to remind herself, what had really knocked her over. Back in Simcoe, the folks always said Harry Godzilla got a sensible woman when he married Sasparilla, and it is sensible in Canada (or the United States) to hide certain truths. No, at this point I had better not call them truths. Let it stand that she either saw, or imagined she saw, a certain sinister kind of tight grin, or grimace, cross the face of the gigantic statue of Tlaloc, the rain god. Nobody from S'mcoe had ever seen anything like that before; indeed do many things come to pass.

And, if you think the poor lady was an unusual case, you should examine the records of psychiatrists, both institutional and private, for the rest of the month. Reports of unusual anxieties and religious manias among schizophrenics in mental hospitals skyrocketed; and ordinary men and women walked in off the street to complain about eyes watching them, hooded beings passing through locked rooms, crowned figures giving unintelligible commands, voices that claimed to be God or the Devil, a real witch's brew for sure. But the sane verdict was to attribute all this to the aftermath of the Fernando Poo tragedy.

The phone rang at 2:30 A.M. the morning of April 24. Numbly, dumbly, mopingly, gropingly, out of the dark, I find and identify a body, a self, a task. "Goodman," I say into the receiver, propped up on one arm, still coming a long way back.

"Bombing and homicide," he electrically eunuchoid voice in the transmitter tells me. I sleep naked (sorry about that), and Fm putting on my drawers and trousers as I copy the address. East Sixty-eighth Street, near the Council on Foreign Relations. "Moving," I say, hanging up.

"What? Is?" Rebecca mumbles from the bed. She's naked, too, and that recalls very pleasant memories of a few hours earlier. I suppose some of you will be shocked when I tell you I'm past sixty and she's only twenty-five. It doesn't make it any better that we're married, I know.

This isn't a bad body, for its age, and seeing Rebecca, most of the sheets thrown aside, reminds me just how good it is. In fact, at this point I don't even remember having been the ringmaster, or what echo I retain is confused with sleep and dream. I kiss her neck, unselfconsciously, for she is my wife and I am her husband, and even if I am an inspector on the Homicide Squad-Homicide North, to be exact-any notions about being a stranger in this body have vanished with my dreams into air. Into thin air.

"What?" Rebecca repeats, still more asleep than awake,

"Damned fool radicals again," I say, pulling on my shirt, knowing any answer is as good as another in her half-conscious state.

"Um," she says, satisfied, and turns over into deep sleep again.

I washed my face somewhat, tired old man watching me from the mirror, and ran a brush through my hair. Just time enough to think that retirement was only a few years away and to remember a certain hypodermic needle and a day in the Catskills with my first wife, Sandra, back when they at least had clean air up there . . . socks, shoes, tie, fedora . . . and you never stop mourning, as much as I loved Rebecca I never stopped mourning Sandra. Bombing and homicide. What a meshuganah world. Do you remember when you could at least drive in New York at three in the morning without traffic jams? Those days were gone; the trucks that were banned in the daytime were all making their deliveries now. Everybody was supposed to pretend the pollution went away before dawn. Papa used to say, "Saul, Saul, they did it to the Indians and now they're doing it to themselves. Goyische narrs." He left Russia to escape the pogrom of 1905, but I guess he saw a lot before he got out. He seemed like a cynical old man to me then, and I seem like a cynical old man to others now. Is there any pattern or sense in any of it?

The scene of the blast was one of those old office buildings with Gothic-and-gingerbread styling all over the lobby floor. In the dim light of the hour, it reminded me of the shadowy atmosphere of Charlie Chan in the Wax Museum. And a smell hit my nostrils as soon as I walked in.

A patrolman lounging inside the door snapped to attention when he recognized me. "Took out the seventeenth floor and part of the eighteenth," he said. "Also a pet shop here on the ground level. Some freak of dynamics. Nothing else is damaged down here, but every fish tank went. That's the smell."

Barney Muldoon, an old friend with the look and mannerisms of a Hollywood cop, appeared out of the shadows. A tough man, and nowhere as dumb as he liked to pretend, which was why he was head of the Bomb Squad.

"Your baby, Barney?" I asked casually.

"Looks that way. Nobody killed. The call went out to you because a clothier's dummy was burned on the eighteenth floor and the first car here thought it was a human body."

(Wait: George Dorn is screaming ....)

Saul's face showed no reaction to the answer-but poker players at the Fraternal Order of Police had long ago given up trying to read that inscrutible Talmudic countenance. As Barney Muldoon, I knew how I would feel if I had the chance to drop this case on another department and hurry home to a beautiful bride like Rebecca Goodman. I smiled down at Saul-his height would keep him from appointment to the Force now, but the rules were different when he was young-and I added quietly, 'There might be something in it for you, though."

The fedora ducked as Saul took out his pipe and started to fill it. All be said was, "Oh?"

"Right now," I went on, "we're just notifying Missing Persons, but if what I'm afraid of is right, it'll end up on your desk after all."

He struck a match and started puffing. "Somebody missing at this hour ... might be found among the living in the morning," he said between drags. The match went out, and shadows moved where nobody stirred.

"And he might not, in this case," Muldoon said. "He's been gone three days now."

"An Irishman your size can't be any more subtle than an elephant," Saul said wearily. "Stop tantalizing me. What have you got?"

"The office that was hit," Muldoon explained, obviously happy to share the misery, "was a magazine tailed Confrontation. It's kind of left-of-center, so this was probably a right-wing job and not a left-wing one. But the interesting thing is that we couldn't reach the editor, Joseph Malik, at his home, and when we called one of the associate editors, what do you think he told us? Malik disappeared three days ago. His landlord confirms it. He's been trying to get hold of Malik himself because there's a no pets rule there and the other tenants are complaining about his dogs. So, if a man drops out of sight and then his office gets bombed, I kind of think the matter might come to the attention of the Homicide Department eventually, don't you?"

Saul grunted. "Might and might not," he said. "I'm going home. I'll check with Missing Persons in the morning, to see what they've got."

The patrolman spoke up. "You know what bothers me most about this? The Egyptian mouth-breeders."

"The what?" Saul asked.

"That pet shop," the patrolman explained, pointing to the other end of the lobby. "I looked over the damage, and they had one of the best collections of rare tropical fish in New York City. Even Egyptian mouth-breeders," He noticed the expressions on the faces of the two detectives and added lamely, "If you don't collect fish, you wouldn't understand. But, believe me, an Egyptian mouth-breeder is pretty hard to get these days, and they're all dead in there."

"Mouth-breeder?" Muldoon asked incredulously.

"Yes, you see they keep their young in their mouths for a couple days after birth and they never, never swallow then'. That's one of the great things about collecting fish: you get to appreciate the wonders of nature."

Muldoon and Saul looked at each other. "It's inspiring," Muldoon said finally, "to have so many college graduates on the Force these days."

The elevator door opened, and Dan Pricefixer, a redheaded young detective on Muldoon's staff, emerged, carrying a metal box.

"I think this is important, Barney," he began immediately, with just a nod to Saul. "Damned important. I found it in the rubble, and it bad been blown partly open, so I looked inside."

"And?" Muldoon prompted.

"It's the freakiest bunch of interoffice memos I ever set eyes on. Weird as fits on a bishop."

This is going to be a long night, Saul thought suddenly, with a sinking feeling. A long night, and a heavy case.

"Want to peek?" Muldoon asked him maliciously.

"You better find a place to sit down," Pricefixer volunteered. "It'll take you awhile to go through them."

"Let's use the cafeteria," Saul suggested.

"You just have no idea," the patrolman repeated. "The value of an Egyptian mouth-breeder."

"It's rough for all nationalities, man or fish," Muldoon said in one of his rare attempts to emulate Saul's mode of speech. He and Saul turned to the cafeteria, leaving the patrolman looking vaguely distressed.

His name is James Patrick Hennessy and he's been on the Force three years. He doesn't come back into this story at all. He had a five-year-old retarded son whom he loved helplessly; you see a thousand faces like his on the street every day and never guess how well they are carrying their tragedies and George Darn, who once wanted to shoot him, is still screaming . . . . But Barney and Saul are in the cafeteria. Look around. The transition from the Gothic lobby to this room of laminated functional and glittering plastic colors is, one might say, trippy. Never mind the smell; we're closer to the pet shop here.

Saul removed his hat and ran a hand through his gray hair pensively, as Muldoon read the first two memos in One quick scan. When they were passed over, he put on his glasses and read more slowly, in his own methodical and thoughtful way. Hold onto your hats. This is what they said:

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Illuminatus! Trilogy: The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, and Leviathan 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read this book once a year for the last 10 years, & I still find deeper levels. If you're a bit iconoclastic & can't believe in any of the absurd organized religions, then THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If its false it is so well researched it must be the most amazing fake ever. I have done research on much of the theories, names, places, and events. The Roberts know their material, like their own faces. If it is true, I may start changing signs in the name of management everywhere. It probably is exactly what is states, inclusive or both, a majority or neither. Either way it should be a must read in schools. If Catcher in the Rye is a classic, this work needs a new category. Brilliant, pioneering, immense, and quite disturbing. Seek and ye shal find.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed realizing others think the same way as I do- to an extent-- If you're the kind of person who dives into the contemplation of life and what's really going on- you'll love this and wont be intimidated- if you feel irked- you can pull out of the morbid with the thought- what you don't know l i k e l y involves as much positive as negative-
endersreads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm a conspiracy nut. I love Alex Jones, Tex Marrs, Jim Marrs, David Icke, et cetera (I could go on for a bit). These people make society worth living in, and they fit perfectly into the idea of what a Discordian should offer society. I have some advice for all of you--never, never take this alleged reality too seriously. I will never forget this experience, as, as is with hallucinogens, it has left my perceptions permanently altered--for the better. I won't even begin to try to explain the plot--as one cannot explain such things, one must experience them. What seems to be a chaotic immersion in nearly every conspiracy theory known, and some not known, along with an indefinite timeline; at first one is awed and perplexed. One soon gets the gist of things, and starts experiencing synchronicity on a high level. I love that numerous other real works are mentioned--James Joyce, Hoover's "Masters of Deceit", the I Ching, Aleister Crowley, August Derleth, H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith--it goes on and on. The authors are quite intelligent and well read and steeped in the Occult. I hope after reading you will examine the Church of the Subgenius and Discordianism, as well as Satanism, Kabalism, Rastafarianism, Buddhism, Christianity--don't let yourself go stale... Fnord; and stay away from the sodium flouride, Aspartame, and CIA tainted ganja.
PghDragonMan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Read these ages ago and remember them as being hilariously funny. You will never look at Elmer Fudd and hear those famous words, "You wascawy wabbit", the same way again!
bragan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
How to describe this book? The only adjective that comes to mind is "trippy," but that doesn't remotely capture my feelings about it. It's more like... Well, it's like taking the concentrated essence of conspiracy theory, every brand of mysticism known to man, the turbulent politics of the '60s and '70s, H.P. Lovecraft, fractured fragments of history, bad puns and bits of Philip K. Dick's brain, spiking it with LSD, spiking it with more LSD, adding Viagra, putting it all into a blender, and turning it on without the lid in place so that it makes gooey, chaotic spatters of prose all over the walls of your kitchen. Except that that sounds kind of cool and fascinating. And maybe it is in concept. But in execution? Not so much. As I was reading, part of my brain kept thinking things like "Well, in theory what the authors are doing here is very interesting" and "You have to admire their audacity," while the rest was thinking, "Oh, god, how many more pages of this do I have to get through?!" By the end of the first volume, that second reaction had more or less won, though I kept going, anyway, because I'm stubborn like that.The thing is, I do get the sense that there's a very funny postmodernist joke at the core of this book. I just didn't feel that it was worth wading through 800 pages of gooey wall-splatterings in order to be able to say I was in on it. Ah, well. At least now when I come across references to this series, as I sometimes do, I'll be able to, well, not understand them, really, but at least recognize them. And reading this has given me a new appreciation for the game Illuminati, which I enjoyed playing back in college. Amusingly, the game really does have the exact same plot and structure as the books (in other words, none), though it's approximately 2,300 times more entertaining.
librarianbryan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
We all live in a yellow submarine. Get it?Kick out the JAMS! Get it?Kraftwerk are really the Illuminati! Get it?I didn't enjoy this book as much as I did when I read it in college. It's the first book I'll be taking off my all time favorite reading list after a reread, but I would still recommend it to anyone looking for a funny thought provoking urban fantasy / alternative history novel. I was concerned it didn't meet the criteria of the Experimental Literature Book Club but rereading I thought its mix of camp, satire, religion, philosophy, deliberate befuddlement of the reader, and sheer length definitely qualify it as an experimental text. It seemed at the beginning Wilson and Shea (both possibly under the influence of drugs) were mailing each other their contributions without collaborating, then after the fact they brought it all together. I'm convinced that the Mavis / Maris ambiguity was the result of a typo and they just decided to work it in as a plot point. If you didn't make it that far, by the last hundred pages it does all come together and all the layers of the glass onion are revealed. The moral the story in contemporary parlance: sometimes its best to just let Jesus take the wheel and not try to control everything. Though parody is part of the program, the corny cover probably scares readers away. The master of wrapping complex philosophical ideas in pulp fiction clunker prose was (either by necessity or design) Philip K. Dick. It's notable that all Dick's works are a fraction of the length of Illuminatus!, even his trilogies. Some of the ¿offensive¿ passages are necessary as one of the core ideas of the novel are that important ideas (or at least esoteric knowledge) is sometimes hidden in low culture for everyone to see.I remembered the book being apolitical, but reading it again it seemed very political in the sense it was explicitly pro-anarchist. We'll each have to determine for ourselves the legitimacy of the anarchist viewpoint, but its important to remember there was time in our country that saying you were an anarchist was the equivalent of saying you are a terrorist now. Ferdinando Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed largely due to their anarchist affiliations. Joe Hill was executed because of the his association with the Industrial Workers of the World, an organization which could be construed as an anarcho-syndicalist organization. Now that anarchism has been discredited in popular culture, authors can give a (quasi) hero an anarchist viewpoint albeit within a satirical faux epic. I see the same ideological neutralization occurring with communism. I see the images of Marx and Lenin slowly becoming pop icons divorced from their original meaning.The plot alludes that all religions are intrinsically false, or at least misunderstood, by most adherents. Yet most of the characters utilize the practices of yoga and meditation. The idea that yoga will somehow gift you with any number of psychic powers is one the find all too frequently in popular culture. That's just my pet peeve. It seems to me an intrinsic Western bias against other cultures. We're lazy thinkers so we just appropriate what we want without having to fully comprehend what that something is or what it entails. Yeah, I know its a deliberately over the top SF wünderfest and I should just let it go.All hail discordia.
mensenkinderen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This gem was published long before Dan Brown made conspiracy theories into mediocre bestsellers. "The Illuminatus! Trilogy" is a crazy, globe-spanning rollercoaster, incorporating and parodying elements from the sixties counterculture movement, age-old secret societies and mythology. I don't think this novel could have been written in any other era than the seventies.
keristars on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
During thirteen years of visiting Internet, especially the weird and shadowy geeky places, I came across references to the Illuminatus! trilogy all the time it seemed like. Eventually, the Wikipedia page wasn't cutting it, and I resolved to keep an eye out for the books when I was at the bookstore, so I could become familiar with it firsthand. Luck would have it that I found the omnibus version at Barnes & Noble before long, so I took it home.I regret doing that so much.This trilogy is frigging awful. It's practically unreadable, even allowing for the postmodern, jumbled style. I figure that for it to make any kind of sense to anyone - or to just be readable, I suppose - the reader must be high. Lord knows that the characters within the book are high all the time anyway.That's actually probably the worst part about the trilogy: every other sentence is about sex or drugs or murder and it's like two words without some expletive is two words too long. The conspiracy theories and weird philosophy stuff is actually pretty interesting and compelling, but the sex!drugs!murder! gets old real fast. I would turn the page and the point of view would shift again and, oh look, another sex scene. I don't think they're supposed to be titillating - I actually suspect that the sheer amount of sex and drugs in the book is supposed to be a desensitisation thing - but it doesn't have to be tedious and mind-numbingly boring, either.Anyway, I now have this enormous brick of a paperback book taking up precious shelf space, and I don't plan to go any further than the 1/5 or so I've managed. The Wikipedia descriptions of the book and everything therein are more than enough for me.
dkhiggin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Perhaps the most incoherent drivel I have ever read. I am convinced you have to be as stoned as the characters (and probably the authors) in order to actually enjoy this book.The blurb on the cover said it was "deliciously raunchy." In my opinion, it was disgustingly raunchy. Absolutely not worth my time. The truly mind-boggling thing is that they managed to find someone to publish *three* books full of this rambling nonsense.I would give it less than 1/2 star if I could.
glammonkey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first hundred pages or so were charmingly frenetic. The next hundred were less so. By the last hundred I couldn't wait to finish the damn thing. This is billed as the ultimate conspiracy book. Shea and Wilson throw in every conspiracy theory of the last century, tell it from a dozen points of view, and jump around in time. I admire their enthusiasm and willingness to try to take every cool thing they have ever heard and weave it into a grand tapestry. But at the same time, it's sort of like the 1970s distilled into book form. The drug stuff was just lame, but the treatment of women was revolting. Of the dozen characters the story is told through, only a few brief povs are from women. Most of the women show up merely to have sex with the male characters, often minutes after meeting them. In short, while the were good qualities to the book, mostly it just pissed me off. I doubt I'll read the rest of the trilogy. One star.
JonathanGorman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Yes, the book is too long. Yes, they get a lot of facts wrong. Yes, it makes no sense. But you know, it's not supposed to really make that much sense. And for the love of god, don't sit down and try to read this whole thing in one sitting. Too much truth within untruths can make you sleepy and unable to focus.That being said, I love how the perspective changes in the beginning of this series. It drew me in. After that, it was the characters and the bizarre groups.Is it the equivalent of a literary scam? An attempt to reproduce utter psychosis and the mind of madmen by engaging in a free writing cyclic exercise and getting it published.Probably. Still means it's good.Now if you excuse me, I need to hang some posters stating that due to water rationing, employees are requested to only use fifteen seconds worth of hot water. I'm going to put it under the sign "Wash hands thoroughly before returning to work."
nkmunn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Humorous backgrounder to many things conspiracy theory related and other wackiness that may be more entertaining for male readers than female, but regardless of gender, if you are comfortable with the wacky and prefer to be entertained by the absurd with a twist of intelligence and a shaker full of crazies then this book's for you.
narwhaltortellini on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I picked this up from a used book sale attracted to the quotes calling it a hilariously funny cult scifi. I started out wondering if it would be anything like the Hitchhiker's Guide, and while it became pretty obvious fairly quickly that this novel was something different, I still found the first pages endearingly quirky.On the other hand, after I started reading on the thing just seemed like a vessel for an endless stream of (made up, I assume?) conspiracy theories, and I wasn't able to finish. The frequent and slightly jarring skipping around reminded me of Catch-22 and the attitude of Journey to the End of the Night, only instead of slowly becoming more coherent (awesome, and funny) like the former, it just seemed to keep going on in a mess of random blabbering and prose. It reads like something some conspiracy lover punched out for word count during NaNoWriMo. And, well, I never really did like Journey. I can't even say whether or not this is a bad book, but I definitely can say it's most thoroughly not my sort.
Gwendydd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The conspiracy theory to end all conspiracy theories. If Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum describes how warped one's mind gets when one gets interested in conspiracy theories, this book causes your mind to get warped. Really warped. The world will never look the same after reading this book. It is particularly hair-raising to read this book during Bush's presidency, to see how much of it is even more true now than it was when it was written. This is one of the most difficult books ever written: I don't think I know anyone who managed to get through it on the first try. But it's well worth the effort.
DanielZKlein on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of those books I gave up reading halfway through and didn't notice until a few months later. I normally read one or two books at the same time, sometimes more. It is quite natural that I gravitate back and forth between those books depending on my mood and how engrossed I am by the story. At some point I simply noticed that Illuminatus! had been passed by by about four other books and I kept putting it away again after a few pages.So what's the problem? Many people have commented on how chaotic and seemingly random the book is. I don't mind experiments, and I've been known to read post modern books where plot was nothing but a vague suggestion. I quite enjoyed Donald Barthelme's _The Dead Father_, for instance. I get what Illuminatus! is doing, the jumping back and forth between plot strands, and at first it was amusing and pleasantly confusing, but in the long run the most pronounced effect on me that this skittishness had was one of bored apathy. I don't care what's happening to any of these people because I've long since given up on keeping their stories apart or making sense of any of the shocking revelations. There are brilliant scenes all over the book and moments of truly entertaining and funny insight, but the story has failed me and so everything feels very pointless.I am pretty sure I will return to this book some day and hope I will change my mind, but at the moment I don't feel any strong motivation to open it and attempt to make sense of it again.
TimmyMac on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
To say this book changed my life would be an understatement. Were it not for reading this in ninth grade, I'd probably be a stockbroker right now. Instead, I'm kind of an underachieving bum, and I will be eternally grateful to Wilson and Shea.
johnthefireman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I suppose this would count as a conspiracy theory book, but it is wild and improbable enough also to be called science fiction or fantsay, to the extent that labels mean anything. It's long but not boring, with some fascinating twists.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A little confusing at first with all the back and fourth thru time, but the book was tremendously entertaining and though it is fiction the truth screams thru at you.
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