- Paperback: 805 pages
- Publisher: Dell (December 1983)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0440539811
- ISBN-13: 978-0440539810
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (384 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Illuminatus! Trilogy: The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, Leviathan Paperback – December 1, 1983
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The ultimate conspiracy book ... the biggest Sci-Fi cult novel to come along since Dune. Village Voice An epic fantasy ... a devilishly funny work, loaded with humour, puns, up-level ironies that make you burst out laughing. New Age Journal --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From the Publisher
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
Well, the book has a surprise ending, that comes a couple months after you read the last page. I didn't want to ruin it for you, but here goes: ... Every twenty pages or so, Shea and Wilson try to win you over to a new belief system, only to tear it down a few pages later. If any of it makes you a true believer, then you weren't paying attention. Thinking for yourself has nothing to do with seeing fnords, finding erotic undertones in Catholic imagery, or getting yourself a Libertarian woman. It certainly has nothing to do with accepting the existence of a massive global conspiracy. Thinking for yourself is just that- maintaining a healthy skepticism, but keeping an open mind at the same time. You can decide what you want believe, but you must also remember that you will never have the complete picture.
Sure, this novel (trilogy) provides a taste of hallucinogenic mind-expansion on its most superficial level. But dig a little deeper and you'll find much more, not in the words of Shea and Wilson, but within (and possibly without) your own mind. The biggest mistake you can make is to assume that 'Illuminatus' is the end of your journey, when it is probably just the first step. This book is a tool for just that, the starter pistol that sets you on your own search (which, sadly, will probably not involve dolphins).
'Illuminatus' lays out a seemingly infinite number of red herrings for your perusal. It is your job, as a good little reader, to find them all (hint: there's nothing that isn't one).
This is the obligatory 5th paragraph. Superstition may not be useful, but it's fun.
It is, to put it one way, the Skeptic's Bible, and if that sounds like an oxymoron, good job for noticing. Illuminatus! is filled with contradictions and outright lies, although unlike certain books that claim to be historically and factually accurate but are really not, the trilogy goes out of its way to make the reader question what he/she is reading. There is, of course, a lot of true information scattered throughout the book, and it becomes obvious that Shea and Wilson put a great amount of research and insight into writing this, but for every true story there are at least two false leads, two red herrings. Truly it doesn't take long to get why—for about 15 years—Illuminatus! was the quintessential work of conspiracy fiction, and the best part is that the book has so much fun with the genre; nowadays we're used to reading conspiracy thrillers that take themselves too seriously, but Illuminatus! satirizes such novels before they even became as famous as they are now. Not only that, but the trilogy takes shots at too many groups, individuals, and ideologies to count, but here are some notable examples: conservatives, communists, socialists, libertarians, feminists, Christians, cops, politicians, hippies, racists, not-racists, Satanists, spies, drug dealers, drug takers, prudes, college professors, the book itself...
Illuminatus! is arguably one the greatest philosophical novels ever written; it has a stance, sure, but it pulls the reader in numerous directions by presenting different philosophies. It then has the audacity to ask the reader, "Do you believe that?" Governments and authority figures as a whole get criticized, sometimes vehemently, but Shea and Wilson clearly had a message they felt needed to get out there, and even though the trilogy was first published back in 1975, its anti-authoritarian message still holds up today. In the post-Patriot Act United States, some of what happens in this book is eerily prophetic, and many of the socio-political issues being faced today were going on over 40 years ago. History repeats? I suspect that the more whacked-out portions of the book are Wilson's writing, although the man himself said that it's hard to tell who wrote what for the most part. The fact that this was written by two authors with differing writing styles and backgrounds and yet feels surprisingly cohesive for such a long and unwieldy tome is something to be praised, I think. 800 pages and I still feel like there wasn't quite enough to take in; it felt like we could be stuck in this huge fun-house of a book for a few hundred more pages. Of course, there was much more material written than ultimately published—about 500 pages were cut from the final product—but I kinda wish we eventually get an unabridged edition of the trilogy. Probably never gonna happen, though. Hail Eris!
The Illuminatus! Trilogy is a combination of philosophy, science, occultism, and obscure ideas that is unlike anything I have read before. It's also a wonderful combination of fact and fiction, so the wise reader will enter with a skeptical but open mind. I say skeptical because they should not BELIEVE any of the novel, but they should be open to ideas because the novel will appall them otherwise. I guess you could actually say that being skeptical but open is the whole point of RAW's philosophy.
The review from Rolling Stone on the page of reviews on the first page describes the novel as a "shaggy dog joke," and you won't really understand how true that is until you read the book. The basic storyline is the storyline that has been repeated throughout mythology and history: "good versus evil." Of course, being a RAW novel, sides get flipped and everybody seems to be a secret agent working for twenty four different conspiracies. It can basically be described as very funny and blasphemous in the best possible sense. Your basic view of "reality" will probably not survive this book.
And, as a word to the wise (or the foolish), don't buy the paperback version of Illuminatus! that is available these days. Get a hardback copy; an 800 page paperback gets destroyed fairly easily, as I've come to find out.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Definitely on must read list for all that are seeking in books something more than simple way to pass the time..