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Coincidance : A Head Test Paperback – January 1, 2008

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Wilson managed to reverse every mental polarity in me, as if I had been pulled through infinity. I was astonished and delighted." -- Philip K. Dick, author of Blade Runner

Readers with open minds will like his books." -- Psychological Perspectives

"The man's either a genius or Jesus." --Sounds (London)

About the Author

Robert Anton Wilson was the co-author (with Robert Shea), of the underground classic Illuminatus! Trilogy which won the 1986 Prometheus Hall of Fame Award. His other writings include the Schrodinger's Cat trilogy, called "the most scientific of all science fiction novels" by New Scientist, and many nonfiction works of Futurist psychology and guerrilla ontology. Wilson, who saw himself as a Futurist, author, and stand-up comic, regularly gave seminars at Esalan and other New Age centers. Wilson made both a comedy record (Secrets of Power), and a punk rock record (The Chocolate Biscuit Conspiracy), and his play, Wilhelm Reich in Hell, has been performed throughout the world. His novel Illuminatus! was adapted as a 10-hour science fiction rock epic and performed under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Great Britain's National Theatre, where Wilson appeared in a special cameo role. He was also a former editor at Playboy magazine.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 258 pages
  • Publisher: New Falcon Publications; Revised edition (January 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561840041
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561840045
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #813,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Many of Wilson's books have been accused of being mere fodder for his personal philosophy, incorporating the same jokes and the same sermons into a barely recognizable plot. That is not true, but much of what attracts people to his books is the way that he makes people see things in different perspectives.
This book has essays on physics, Sade, and Joyce. Both Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake are explained in ways that actually make a person want to read the books, while the Marquis de Sade is given his due as the master of disturbing literature.
What makes this book worthwhile for me is the essay on Tennessee Williams comparing him to Sade. I don't remember the play that he is discussing, nor does American Theatre for that matter, but what stands out is a praise for Williams as a true artist - "An artist must put out questions and let the audience figure it out for themselves. An artist is not there to provide the answers. Arthur Miller is not an artist because he spoonfeeds the answers to you. In every play Miller is running for elected office."
I am paraphrasing but in that one argument, I managed to crystalize and express all my doubts about political art - including agitprop, "identity art" and sermons disguised as plays. I knew that I hated these types of artistic expressions, but I always felt like I should like them especially when they agreed with my political philosophy. For that alone, this book is worth buying. You have a 90% chance of finding something in this work that states a constantly debated point so clearly that you wonder why it wasn't said this way to begin with.
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Format: Paperback
A caveat: while this book, like most of Wilson's works, rates a 10 (with me), this probably belongs in the advanced course, and might be beyond people who've never read Wilson before. If you don't know his style, his philosophies and his history, you might get lost in the muck. But, if you've at least made it through his "Illuminatus!" and "Prometheus Rising," then give it a shot. (Reading "Finnegan's Wake" also helps, but you won't have to in order to follow his analyses.)
Describable as one of Wilson's more straightforward exegises, "Coincidance" deals directly with concepts of quantum physics, Joycean symbolism and the "reality is what you can get away with" school of thought.
Bonus points, Wilson wrote this book entirely in "E-Prime," a variation of English with one subtle but significant difference. (In fact, I've written this entire review in "E-Prime" as well. The only exception appears in the quote above, a repeat of the title of one of Wilson's fictional works. Perhaps, if you figure out what makes "E-Prime" different, you might be ready to read "Coincidance" right now...)
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Format: Paperback
In Coincidance Wilson dissects Joyce, and intersects that with political, sociological, philosophical and theo/asophical essays. The entire book has rapier wit and style, but don't miss the Ode to the Divine Marquis De Sade. The entire books is worth just that.

This is what got me started on Wilson; I'll never regret it.
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