In Meme-orium: Robert Anton Wilson


Here’s to you, Bob…

I had an interest in the occult at a very young age. But picking up a book called “Cosmic Trigger” kicked it into high gear. So many of us were influenced by this man. So, let do our best to keep the lasagna flying!


“According to reliable sources, I died on February 22, 1994 — George Washington’s birthday. I felt nothing special or shocking at the time, and believed that I still sat at my word processor working on a novel called Bride of Illuminatus. At lunch-time, however, when I checked my voice mail, I found that Tim Leary and a dozen other friends had already called to ask to speak to me, or — if they still believed in Reliable Sources — to offer support and condolences to my grieving family. I quickly gathered that news of my tragic end had appeared on Internet, one of the most popular computer networks, in the form of an obituary from the Los Angeles Times:

“Noted science-fiction author Robert Anton Wilson was found dead in his home yesterday, apparently the victim of a heart attack. Mr. Wilson, 63, was discovered by his wife, Arlen. “Mr Wilson was the author of numerous books….He was noted for his libertarian viewpoints, love of technology and off the wall humor. Mr Wilson is survived by his wife and two children.”

This L.A. Times obit originally got on the net via somebody in Cambridge, Mass. I thought immediately of the pranksters at M.I.T. — the Gremlins of Cyberspace, as somebody called them. I admired the artistic versimilitude of the Gremlin who forged that obit. He mis-identified my ouvre. (Only 6 of my 28 books could possibly get classified as science-fiction, and perhaps 3 more as science-faction.) He also, more clumsily, stated my age wrong by one year and the number of my surviving children wrong by one child. Little touches of incompetence and ignorance like that helped create the impression of a real, honest-to-Jesus LA Times article — just as creeking chairs, background coughs, overlapping dialogue, scrupulously “bad” sound quality etc. make the bogus newsreels in Orson Welles’s two greatest movies, Citizen Kane and F For Fake, seem “just like the real thing.” The forged LA. Times obituary may not rank with Welles’s most monumental hoaxes — e.g. his prematurely Deconstructionist “war of the worlds” radio show, where bland music and increasingly ominous newsbreaks thoroughly confused a mass audience about the borderline between “art” and “reality.” But the Times forgery, if not of Wellesian heft, certainly contained a Wellesian blend of art and magic: in retrospect, it even reminds me, a little, of the 1923 Surrealist art show, in which the audience first encountered a taxi-cab in the garden — a cab which had rain falling inside but not outside — and then confronted a sign telling them gnomically:”


(more excerpts from Cosmic Trigger III- My Life After Death)

(RAW’s main site)


  1. We couldn’t ask for anything more, unless of course we did.

  2. Sorely missed.

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