Monday, May 25, 2020

[Roll Your Own Life] The Books That Hooked Me (Part 3)


THE ILLUMINATUS! TRILOGY - ROBERT SHEA & ROBERT ANTON WILSON

I owe the owner of the local comic shop a lot when it comes to recommendations of great comics. He was the reason I started reading The Crow, Bone, Hellboy, and so many more. However, he's always been great at recommending other media too. Without his recommendations I would never have watched the TV series Misfits. So when he recommends something, I listen.

One of his earlier recommendations, when I confessed I loved things like The X-Files and David Lynch, was that I should read The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. He said it would open my mind.

I know this sounds like some weird literary version of drug deal, and I guess it kinda was. From his recommendation I got it out of the library, and started...

Before I go on, I have to say, I've only read it once - and it was so, very, weird. I remember starting to rereading a few years ago, but there are so many books and so little time to read them in.

Anyway - The Illuminatus! Trilogy is a bit like The DaVinci Code, but many, many years before it. And if Dan Brown was experiencing dimensions not usually seen in our reality. Following a couple of detectives - jeez, how did I forget that one of the characters is called Saul Goodman? - looking into a conspiracy behind the bombing of a magazine, you discover the theories of the Illuminatus and are introduced to Hagbard Celine, head of the Discordians, who are trying to stop the Illuminati - the secret organisation that controls the world. Hagbard, a modern Captain Nemo, aboard his golden submarine, is hoping to stop the Leviathan, hibernating Nazis, Yog-Sothoth... and it all switches from third- to first- person and changes viewpoints of characters mid-paragraph and...

Well, it's all a bit weird.

But I really enjoyed it. It was a bit of a gateway-drug though, and I followed it up with the Masks of the Illuminti, and the excellent Schrödinger's Cat Trilogy. But the next in the recommendations was Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum - a similar tale of uncovering conspiracies throughout history, which I particularly enjoyed as well. Though, being by Umberto Eco, I felt like a lot of it was about a bazillion times smarter than I could actually comprehend.

It did lead down a bit of a rabbit hole though...

Yes, I read the DaVinci Code - well, I did it as an audio book while I was travelling a lot on the train. The audio book was good though, mostly as the guy doing the reading did some excellent accents for the characters - slipping almost into Monty Python at times.

But it did lead to some non-fiction as well, including Everything in Under Control (which was great when I was writing Conspiracy X), and a totally mind-blowing screenplay called Reality is What You can get away with.

It is a great exploration into changing your reality tunnel. Almost like a self-help book, if you don't like the world around you, or your situation, you can change the way you perceive the world by changing your reality tunnel.

Hell, maybe I should give that one another read now...

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