Robert Anton Wilson (1932-2007) was an author of 58 mindbending books, including The Illuminatus! Trilogy
(with Robert Shea), The Schrödinger's Cat Trilogy
, Cosmic Trigger
, the stage play Wilhelm Reich in Hell
, and many more.
His books contain examples of:
- Ancient Conspiracy
- Arc Number: Five, seventeen, and twenty-three. Ties in with the Discordian themes.
- Arc Words: The words "No wife, no horse, no mustache" echo in several of his novels.
- As Himself: Wilson is a major character in Philip K. Dick's VALIS. Dick and Wilson were friends in Real Life until Dick's paranoia got the better of him.
- Author Avatar: A character named Hans Zoesser appears in the Historical Illuminatus series; in the Cosmic Trigger series, Wilson mentions at one point being told that he is a reincarnation of one Hans Zoesser (Cosmic Trigger was written first).
- There is a character called Robert Anton Wilson in Schroedinger's Cat-trilogy, but judging from his demeanour and profession (a professional big game hunter in Africa), he is not supposed to be an Author Avatar.
- Author Existence Failure: Only three of the planned five books in the Historical Illuminatus Chronicles series were published before his death (although, since the third book came out more than 15 years before his death, it's possible he never really intended to finish it anyway).
- Author Tract
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy
- Belief Makes You Stupid: Bob's personal philosophy was "I don't believe in anything, but I have many suspicions." His novels often repeat the mantra: "Only the madman is absolutely sure." (Or "It isn't real unless it makes you laugh".)
- Bury Your Gays
- Many gay and transsexual characters do end up receiving happy endings as well, however.
- Brown Note
- Character Filibuster:
- Cool Boat
- Fair for Its Day: Wilson's opposition to environmentalism makes a certain amount of sense given his age and upbringing, but looks rather naive by modern standards.
- Footnote Fever: Most prominently in the second volume of The Historical Illuminatus Chronciles.
- Gender Bender: In Schroedinger's Cat-trilogy some recurring characters' genders vary depending on the universe. One major character is also a male-to-female transsexual who causes outrage by having her former, impressive sexual organs stuffed and displayed prominently over the mantle.
- The Hecate Sisters
- Historical In-Joke
- Lampshade Hanging: Almost constantly in his novels.
- Magic Music
- Mind Screw
- No Fourth Wall
- Prison Rape
- Properly Paranoid
- Punny Name
- Reference Overdosed
- Satire/Parody/Pastiche (all three)
- Unusual Chapter Numbers
- Unusual Euphemism: In his sexually explicit Schrodinger's Cat Trilogy, Wilson used the names of prominent real-world Moral Guardians for sex acts and organs. The rationale for this was that some of these people claimed that the words were inherently offensive. Wilson reasoned that if it was the words, and not the acts, which were offensive, these same people could hardly find their own names offensive. Interestingly, his replacements include roughly equal numbers of conservative Supreme Court Justices and prominent feminists (who at the time had campaigned against pornography).