Technoccult reader’s favorite books

Last week I linked to the results of a Disinfo readers poll on their favorite books. A few people commented that they’d like to see what Technoccult reader’s favorite books are. I wasn’t as disappointed with the results of the Disinfo survey as some people were, but my curiosity is sufficiently piqued.

This will be an informal survey, vote by commenting here. Vote for ONE fiction and ONE non-fiction.

Here are my favorites:

Let me preface by saying these are my favorites, not necessarily the books I think are actually “the best.”

dance dance dance

Fiction: Dance, Dance, Dance by Haruki Murakami. It wasn’t hard to decide that my favorite novel was something by Murakami. The hard part was deciding which one. I keep changing my mind, but I’m going to go with Dance, Dance, Dance for now. It was the last Murakami novel that I read (I’ve read them all, including Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball 1973), which seems fitting as it is the final in the quadrilogy of the Rat (though many consider it to be a separate novel from the trilogy of the rat). It feels like a fitting “end” point. I wouldn’t recommend anyone read it without at least reading Wild Sheep Chase first, so this isn’t exactly a recommendation. It’s just, y’know, my favorite.

everything is under control

Non-fiction: Everything is Under Control by Robert Anton Wilson. This was the first Wilson book I read, when I was 18 and just starting to get into “this stuff.” I’m pretty sure I read every word of it, but it’s non-linear, hypertextual structure makes it hard to be sure. In this book Wilson introduces Discordia, Hakim Bey and the TAZ, the Church of the Subgenius, Crowley, chaos magic, and more conspiracy theories than I can name and ties them all together through his obsessive cross-referencing. It was absolutely essential to my “initiation.”

19 Comments

  1. Best Fiction: A Confederacy of Dunces, O’Toole.

    Best Non-Fiction: The Lucifer Principle, Bloom.

  2. Can we do it run off style? I will anyway.

    Best Fiction: Finnegans Wake by Joyce
    2nd Best Fiction: Illuminatus! Triology by RAW and Shea
    3rd Best Fiction: Foucalt’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco

    Best Non-fiction: Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
    2nd Best Non-fiction: Of Grammatology by Jacques Derrida
    3rd Best Non-fiction: Tractatus-Logico Philosophicus by Wittgenstein

  3. Best Fiction: The Illuminatus! Trilogy, Robert Anton Wilson & Robert Shea

    Best Non-Fiction: Prometheus Rising, Robert Anton Wilson

  4. Agh! You’re killing me. Just one of each. Fair enough. Needless to say, these aren’t definitive choices but off the top of my head;
    Fiction: The Place of Dead Roads by William S. Burroughs

    Burroughs later novels, like this one and Cities of the Red Night, are his most accomplished and diverse in terms of execution and content, I feel. They’re expressions of his worldview in its maturity and are full of fascinating digressions, incidental details and the ubiquitous cut-up method deployed with more clarity of intent than in earlier works.

    Non-fiction; 1000 Plateaus by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari

    The greatest long-play concept album of all time, from the duo who brought you Schizoanalysis! Read the introduction and then start anywhere, you’ll either quit in disgust muttering about French academics who’ve lost track of their politics or you’ll be reading it for years. A philosophy work that invents it’s own concepts without disposing of the past.

    Honourable mentions go to short-list nominiees like R.A Wilson, Neal Stephenson, Gore Vidal and Anthony Burgess. And I left out comics, for whatever reason.

  5. One?! Sheesh…Since some of my choices are already mentioned, here goes:

    Fiction: Tie between “The Secrets of Dr Taverner”- Dion Fortune and “Good Omens”- Terry Pratchett/Neil Gaiman

    Non-Fiction: “Cosmic Trigger”- RAW

  6. Well, Finnegan’s Wake, Illuminatus!, and Hero With a Thousand Faces are already mentioned, so that means I get to push some other books! (Of course favorite all depends on mood and audience… damn this is hard)

    Currently, fiction- Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany, non-fiction- Temporary Autonomous Zone by Hakim Bey

  7. Okay, since no one said it and I totally and utterly love it.

    NonFiction:

    Disinformation’s Book of Lies. That was my introduction into the occult. I still have a fond embrace of it. Stephen Flowers! Anton LeVay! Aleister Crowley! It sent me into so many directions.

    As for Fiction, I will choose a book of poetry even though poetry is technically put under nonfiction: Charles Baudelaire’s “The Flowers of Evil”.

  8. Fiction: Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson (a story told in four volumes… Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars, The Martians)

    Nonfiction: Conjectures and Refutations by Sir Karl Popper.

  9. “Everything is Under Control” includes a link to 4-D Solutions, a Bucky Fuller-related Web site. The fellow behind that site was as EsoZone and will be at the next EsoZone. Someone you read about in a book you admire has admired your work as well.

  10. DHALGREN. Been trying to remember the name/author FOREVER. Thank you. I got 20 pages into it and had it stolen back in 98. Now, I’ll be re-united.

  11. Fiction
    The Western Lands by Burroughs, The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson, Stone Junction by Jim Dodge, Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson

    Non-fiction
    Nietzsche’s My Sister & I/Ecce Homo/Beyond Good & Evil, The Mumonkan & Hekiganroku by the Zen Patriarchs & Crowley’s Gems from the Equinox

  12. the book of lies (not the disinfo compilation)

    and the principia discordia

  13. Fiction:

    Hitchhiker’s Guide Series
    1984
    Dune
    The Book of Dun Cow

    NonFiction:

    Techgnosis

  14. Fiction: Do Android’s Dream of Electric Sheep? by PKD

    This was the first PKD book I read, and it’s stubborn refusal to even pretend to answer any question it raised blew my mind and made me a fan for life.

    Non-fiction: Looking Glass Universe by John C. Briggs and F. David Peat

    An excellent introduction to the reflexive/reflective nature of Man’s attempt to understand the world around him. Also, a good introduction the the Holographic Theory. Goes well with some study of Jung’s theories.

  15. Well, given that we’re talking favorites (rather than “best”), I’d have to say either Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon or Dictionary of the Khazars by Milorad Pavic for fiction. Non-fiction is even harder to pin down, but I’m awfully fond of The Dictionary of Occult, Hermetic, and Alchemical Sigils by Fred Gettings. Of course, this is a bit like asking what’s your favorite phoneme.

  16. Someone has to mention the Led Zeppelin lyrics they took inspiration from Lord of the Rings.

  17. Is poetry fiction or non-fiction? I’ll just name two and let you sort them out.

    Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman, has basically lived with me since 1996, when a beautiful girl read me “Song of the Open Road” on the Olympic Peninsula the night she got out of jail. I’ve been picking at it piece by piece ever since.

    The one that seems most relevant to me today is Turtle Island, by Gary Snyder.

  18. fiction:
    Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges
    His Master’s Voice by Stanislaw Lem

    non-fiction:
    Henry Corbin’s books
    QED by Feynman
    Probability Theory: The Logic of Science by ET Jaynes

  19. Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare by Michael Hoffman II

    Blood On The Altar by Craig Heimbichner

    Hammer of the Gods by Nietszche, trans.coll. Stephen Metcalf

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