Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Illuminatus! Trilogy - by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson

The Illuminatus! TrilogyThe Illuminatus! Trilogy is a compendium of the three books (The Eye In The Pyramid, The Golden Apple and Leviathan) in one volume.
The story begins with an investigation by a couple of New York City detectives into the bombing of a leftist magazine called Confrontation and the disappearance of its editor. The two discover that it was currently looking into the John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinations and, following a trail of memos that suggest the involvement of powerful secret societies, they become drawn into a web of conspiracy theories.

Who really shot the Kennedys? Why is there a pyramid on a one-dollar bill? Can dolphins really talk? All this and the mysteries of of the lost city of Atlantis are answered within.

Unfortunately, for all the back cover hype, this was perhaps the most disappointing book I've read in a long time. There were so many occasions that I thought about just giving up and reading no more but I persevered just in case something could resurrect my interest. Sadly it was not to be and I ended up finishing the book with no more satisfaction than I had after the first 100 pages.

The writing style is atrocious! There is literally no structure to the work. There are no chapters and sentences can run on from one to the next with no breaks or punctuation. What's even worse is the fact that, within a paragraph, you can be reading about one character's exploits and in the next sentence the focus switches completely and there's no indication that anything has changed at all until it dawns on you that something doesn't seem right.

How anyone can rate this as a "cult masterpiece" or a "devilishly funny work" I'm not sure. There's very little in the way of humour in it and most of the story is either just confusing or absolute waffle. Okay, they've seeded it with a few hard-core sex and drug scenes to appeal to the pulp-fiction junkies but even that gets a bit tedious after a while. Most of the main characters meandered through the story while high on drugs so I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the authors were in a similar condition when they wrote it.

If you want to retain your sanity, then give this one a miss!

Genre: Mystery, Science-Fiction
ISBN: 978-1-85487-574-7
My Rating: 3/10


Fred said...

Ahehehe. Just for the sake of curiosity, man , are you familiar with the work of William S.Burroughs? Thomas Pynchon? James Joyce?Jonathan Swift?

Allan Ogg said...

Fred - only a little and not enough to glean the exact relevence of your comment. Joyce and Swift were authors we were introduced to at school and painful reading it was if I rememebr correctly.

Fred said...

The exact relevence of my comment is, of course, zero. The point I tried to make is that if you don´t like big and confuse plots, "fractal narration", ocult theories,experiments with language and perception, there are little chances that you´ll find The Illuminatus! trilogy, Gravity´s Rainbow or Ulysses anything than bollocks.