- WILSON, Robert Anton
- (1932-)US writer who remains best known for the first Illuminatus! sequence - The Eye in the Pyramid (1975), The Golden Apple (1975) and Leviathan (1975), assembled as The Illuminatus Trilogy (omni 1984) - allwritten with Robert SHEA. Shea did not collaborate on Cosmic Trigger: The Final Secret of the Illuminati (1977), The Illuminati Papers (1980), Masksof the Illuminati (1981) or Right Where You Are Sitting Now: Further Tales of the Illuminati (coll 1982) - some of these volumes being presented as nonfiction - or on The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, set in the 18th century: The Earth Will Shake (1984), The Widow's Son (1985) and Nature's God (1991). Shea did, however, write continuations of his own (see hisentry). The series combines detective, FANTASY and sf components into the extremely complex tale of a vast conspiracy on the part of the Illuminati, historically a late-18th-century German association of freethinkers but here rendered into the gods of H.P. LOVECRAFT's Cthulhu Mythos, among other incarnations, so that mortals cohabit irretrievably with warring gods; throughout, the PARANOIA engendered by any and all attempts to understand immortal conspiracies, of which all the things of the world were emblems, reminded many readers of Thomas PYNCHON, but an unPynchonesque lightheartedness permeates the sequence. On the basis of their other works, this nihilistic gaiety derived in the main from RAW, and was clearly evident as well in The Sex Magician (1974), which was expanded and transformed into the ultimately opaque complexities of Schrodinger's Cat: The Universe Next Door (1979), II: The Trick Top Hat(1980) and III: The Homing Pigeons (1981), all 3 assembled as Schrodinger's Cat Trilogy (omni 1988), a sequence which transformed the worlds of subatomic physics into a pattern of ALTERNATE WORLDS. It might be thought that RAW, like many 1980s writers, would slip into VIRTUAL-REALITY venues when attempting to manipulate levels of perception;but ultimately he refused to supply comforts of that ilk, for in his work there is no centre to the labyrinth, no master waiting to reward the heroes of the quest.JCOther works: Semiotext(e) SF (anth 1990) with Rudy RUCKER and Robert Lamborn Wilson; Reality is What You Can Get Away With (1992), an sf spoof.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. Academic. 2011.