"Crap! I wish I hadn't seen Ricky on the sidewalk."

"You will be fine for 31 minutes. You will be dead in 32 minutes."

Saturday, August 10, 2013


The Illuninatus! trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson was originally published in 1975. Dell issued all three volumes as individual mass market paperbacks, starting with The Eye in the Pyramid in September. The Golden Apple was published in October and Leviathan followed in November. 

If you're interested in conspiracy theories, satire, mind control, drug culture, counterculture, science fiction, the term "fnord," or numerology, chances are you've already encountered the Illuminatus trilogy. Perhaps you have a copy under your bed, or beside the chemical toilet in your survivalist compound.

Fans of Breaking Bad will be tickled to know sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman shares a name with one of the main characters in the trilogy. 

Coincidence? Is such a thing possible?

The Eye in the Pyramid (Dell, September 1975)

From the back cover:

The Illuminati, an inside joke? The lunatic fringe? 

Or a hellish conspiracy of psychotic lost souls hidden for centuries, unleashing its evil on a naive, defenseless world?

It was Saul Goodman's lousy luck to smell the trail in some underground memos in a bombed-out office--the heavy case he'd always dreaded.

So it was one tired New York cop on a wild, weird, zany odyssey, searching out a secret society that spanned centuries, crossed continents, drugged generations, and stopped to any depth of degradation to self-destruct an entire world.

In the acerbic, black-humor tradition of Vonnegut, in the shining reflection of Castaneda, here is ILLUMINATUS, volume the first, irresistibly ridiculous theater of the absurd.

Or a bone-freezing blueprint of disaster to come?

The Golden Apple (Dell, October 1975)
From the back cover:
Was it Lucifer Saul Goodman was after? He was beginning to almost believe it was.

But Goodman was a New York cop; only juries believed in fairy tales.

And this crazy case that had fallen in his lap--the Illuminatus; did it really exist, a great and dreaded secret cult, counting kings as members over the centuries, a colossus of crime and occult conspiracy?

Witchcraft or world blackmail, it was Saul Goodman's baby now, and even the President saw it his way, holding back the National Guard to give Goodman time to track down the evil behind Illuminatus--before it unleashed the anthrax plague that threatened to destroy all the creatures great and small . . .

As weirdly wonderful as the best of Vonnegut, as suspensefully offbeat as Castadena, here comes Part II of ILLUMINATUS, a vulture's eye view of the dark side of human comedy.

Leviathan (Dell, November 1975)
From the back cover:

Psychedelic supermen?

A monstrous joke? Or was Illuminatus an awful truth--a hellishly powerful secret cult that had striven down ten thousand years to enslave the human race in a schizoid nightmare?

Tough cop Saul Goodman took over the case and the first clue cracked his hard-boiled core--the Mafia's most powerful don was Illuminatus' most willing tool.

Then Saul Goodman himself disappeared.

The Illuminati were way ahead of Freud. They brainwashed Saul Goodman and returned him to the world as their own creature. Or so they thought . . .

The shattering climax of ILLUMINATUS, the mind-exploding trilogy that has thrilled millions. Like the works of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., ILLUMINATUS is divinely dark comedy--or terrifying truth seen through a cunning kaleidoscope.

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