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Creator / Robert Anton Wilson

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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. He also wrote for a bewilderingly wide range of magazines, from Playboy to Fortean Times.

His books contain examples of:

  • 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.
    • Yet another character in the Schroedinger's Cat trilogy is a writer named Robert W. Anton, who provides the opportunity for a little authorial Self-Deprecation. (He's described as 'writing in a style as opulent as an Arabian palace', among other things.)
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  • 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).
  • 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".) He was also rather fond of abbreviating the words Belief System to their initials.
  • Bury Your Gays
    • Many gay and transsexual characters do end up receiving happy endings as well, however.
  • Generation Xerox: The Historical Illuminatus books revolve around ancestors of Hagbard Celine, George Dorn, Tim Moon, and many others.
  • Historical In-Joke: For instance his play on the Kennedy assassination, as a collision of five different conspiracies.
  • Just for Pun: Many of the character names in the Schroedinger's Cat trilogy, such as Bertha Van Ation, Juan Tootrego, Hugh Crane, etc.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Almost constantly in his novels.
  • Magic Music: The AMA's performance at the Ingolstadt music festival, designed to open a doorway to the Other and liberate a Nazi army held in a bio-mystical protective field in the lake.
  • Mind Screw: the concept of Operation Mind-Fuck (OM).
  • Prison Rape: which may or may not have happened to George Dorn.
  • Unusual Chapter Numbers: "chapters" have names rather than numbers, drawn from the Germanic philosophy of Discordianism.
  • 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).


Example of: