Automotive Holiday Deals Books Gift Guide Books Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Black Friday egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Grocery Gifts Under $50 Shop now Amazon Gift Card Offer bf15 bf15 bf15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $15 Off All-New Fire Kindle Black Friday Deals Black Friday Video Game Deals Outdoor Deals on Tikes
Sex and Rockets: The Occult World of Jack Parsons and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The dust jacket is clean but shows some wear, pages have normal wear. All shipping handled by Amazon. Prime eligible when you buy from us!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Sex and Rockets: The Occult World of Jack Parsons Hardcover – July 5, 2000

59 customer reviews

See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$52.89 $7.53

Alfred Wegener: Science, Exploration, and the Theory of Continental Drift by Mott T. Greene
"Alfred Wegener" by Mott T. Greene
Explore this featured release in scientist biographies. Learn more | See related books

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more | Shop now

Editorial Reviews Review

Scientist, poet, and self-proclaimed Antichrist, Jack Parsons was a bizarre genius whose life reads like an implausible yet irresistible science fiction novel. Sex and Rockets looks at his short life and dual career as cofounder of Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and leader of the Agape Lodge of Aleister Crowley's Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO). Author John Carter scours primary documents and interviews surviving friends and contemporaries to deliver an intriguing portrait of a dreamy, driven man equally interested in rocketry and magick. From his early childhood and deep attachment to his mother (who killed herself hours after he died) through his nonacademic research and brilliant innovations in solid fuels to his mysterious 1952 demise in a garage-laboratory explosion at the age of 37, the reader gets the impression of a man whose obsession with explosives and propellants was nearly single-minded. Yet this same man found spiritual fulfillment through Crowley's Law of Thelema, conducted magickal operations with L. Ron Hubbard, and signed an oath asserting himself to be the Antichrist--clearly Parsons wasn't a boring guy in a white coat. Carter pulls off the difficult task of integrating Parsons's disparate drives into one compelling story; though there are some rough spots and awkward transitions, one gets the sense that this illuminates the man's life better than a smooth, flawless work would. Robert Anton Wilson's introduction is smart and funny as always, initiating the uninformed into the basics of Crowleyanity while placing Parsons in the context of his times. While it might not be possible to read universal themes into Parsons's life, Sex and Rockets is an excellent study of a passionate life fully lived. --Rob Lightner

Hero Quick Promo
Holiday Deals in Kindle Books
Save up to 85% on more than 1,000 Kindle Books. These deals are valid until November 30, 2015. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 229 pages
  • Publisher: Feral House (July 5, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0922915563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0922915569
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,081,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 77 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
_Sex and Rockets_, a new book from Feral House about Jack Parsons, is rich with previously undocumented biographical information about this fascinating and talented genius, whose scientific career is no less interesting than his career as an occult initiate. This literal "son of Captain Marvel" (Marvel H. Parsons) was himself given the name Marvel at birth. Later his mother began calling him John, and he came to be known as Jack by his friends. In general Carter's book seems pretty well-researched. I appreciate the fact that _Sex and Rockets_ focuses more on the subject of Jack and his life than earlier literary efforts which have exploited the mythos surrounding Jack and his infamous Babalon Working to propagate highly speculative, only vaguely and loosely associated fringe agendas on the part of various writers. Carter has done a good job sticking to the subject.
The research in _Sex and Rockets_ focuses primarily on Jack's scientific career and secondarily on the Babalon Working itself. Of the former, the author traces a clear path detailing, validating and celebrating Parsons' contributions to the field of rocket fuel technology. Carter succeeds in his mission to carefully excavate and restore the previously almost-buried name and contributions of this scientist to their rightful stature in history. Of the latter, the author draws a clear juxtaposition between Cameron's view of the Babalon Working and Jack's own understanding.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
35 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Dean James on February 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Formulated by British humorist Stephen Potter circa 1950, thedoctrine of one-upmanship states quite simply that it is the businessof every intelligent man, no matter what situation he finds himself in, to be "one up" on the other chap. It is a philosophy that Jack Parsons, who died some two years later, would have benefited immensely by adopting. For a brilliant scientist Parsons was capable of remarkable naivete and as Gerald Suster delicately puts it, often had ideas "in excess of his ability to deal with them." In addition to being a rotten judge of character he wasn't conspicuously overburdened with common sense and had a knack amounting almost to genius for placing himself "one down" in relation to what Aleister Crowley called "our Brethren in California." Chief among these "Brethren in California" was of course Scientology founder Lafayette Ron Hubbard, who bamboozled Parsons with a series of "inspired" messages relating to the incarnation of Babalon, which he claimed to receive straight from the horse's mouth. Nowadays most sensible people associate Hubbard with the other end of the horse, but in the early Forties he was still an unknown quantity and seemingly had no trouble in swindling Parsons out of his money, his wife and his credibility in Crowley's eyes. ("It is the ordinary confidence trick.") Parsons was a potent but wildly erratic writer whose surviving material veers from elegiac beauty to surpassing daftness. If any constant can be traced through his work, good, bad or indifferent, it is that of schoolboy rebellion against "all authority not based on courage and manhood." Among other qualities, he shared with Crowley a conviction that "the key of joy is disobedience," and "conjured up" Marjorie Cameron to help him live it to the full.Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Bill Wallace on August 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
What a frustrating book . . . . An incredibly fascinating set of locales, ideas and characters: magick, rockets, early sci fi utopian dreamers, and a writing style that manages to make it all about as interesting as a history of, say, the ball-bearing industry. The book truly comes across as someone's notes for a book they never quite got around to writing. NOTHING comes to life in it; there is no vitality in any of the descriptions, no attempt to make any kind of meaning out of the details of Parsons' life. R.A. Wilson's lively intro only makes you realize how flat and colorless the rest of the book is. Still, for a glimpse into a world that begs for better documentation, this is worthwhile reading. Where else can you get a straightforward account of L. Ron Hubbard as a wife-stealing conman? Sex-magick Crowleyites in 1940s suburbia? Frontiers of science, magick, and social experimentation, all happening at the same time and the same place?
Worthwhile as a map, but not much fun as a journey . . ..
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
31 of 39 people found the following review helpful By SuperElectric on March 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
I saw this book in a bookstore, and bought it because I mistook it for another book about John Parsons that I had read a glowing review of: "Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons" by George Pendle. I haven't found any non-amazon reviews of "Sex and Rockets", and having read the book, I see why.

The author, himself an occultist, botches what would seem like unbotchably juicy source material by spending pages upon pages on his own hobby by detailing inane minutiae about occult groups. Rank hierarchies, group branchings, not-so-famous members unrelated to Parsons, and other starchy details are enumerated over many pages. As for biographical information about Parsons himself, the author drops the ball on factual rigor. He often ends paragraphs of conjecture not with evidence but with unsubstantiated guesses. These are made even more frustrating by the fact that they usually seem pretty verifiable either through the public record or interviews. For example, there are many guesses about how Parsons "may have" talked "extensively" with this or that still-living figure. What's wrong, was that person not in the local phonebook?

"Sex and Rockets" was a disappointment, and as impossible as it seems, I've been put off from reading about eccentric occultist rocket scientists for a while. I'll probably get around to reading the other Parsons bio ("Strange Angel") eventually; it can only be better.
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Want to discover more products? Check out these pages to see more: biography books, isaac newton biography