Illuminatus! Part II, from the original and genuine trilogy of conspiracies, is performed in all its unabridged brilliance by a full ensemble cast.
Packaged in a carnival bundle of timeless truths and Joycean high camp, The Golden Apple serves as a perennial instruction manual for life on Earth in which you'll be lucky enough to learn: the Guerrilla Ontology of Markoff Chaney; the secret history of Atlantis; why gorillas and dolphins don't ordinarily talk to humans; the conspiracy against sex; the origins of the Trojan War (starring Eris, the namesake of our solar system's newest planet); the startling truth about UFOs; and the final secret of the Illuminati. Consider yourself warned.
©1975 Robert J. Shea and Robert Anton Wilson; (P)2006 Deepleaf Productions Inc.
"What we have is a cross between a literary acid trip and a political tour de farce." (Playboy)
"One of the most amusing, most imaginative fantasies to come along in a while....Spaced out, erotic, funny, masterly...the nth degree of surrealism....Readers will love the whole psychedelic puzzle." (Publishers Weekly)
"After 300 [pages] I was having too much fun to quit, and by the end I was eager to believe every word: even if the only conspiracy at work here is Shea and Wilson's devilish exploitation of our need to made ordered sense out of everything under the sun....I loved it." (Greil Marcus, Rolling Stone)
The first book in the trilogy, The Eye in the Pyramid (I reviewed it favorably too), was performed by two actors (with some "walk ons," if I recall). In this second book, the gruff-voiced narrator has been replaced by a broader cast of performers. The multiple voices help to keep track of the many characters, which, with the sudden segues, can be a challenge.
The content of the book remains as over the top as ever. The conspiracies reach back thousand of years, but are only "reported" through the 1970's, considering the books were written then. Can't really fault the authors for a lack of omniscience. Regardless, it is only when plot elements of that time, J. Edgar Hoover, Nixon, the JFK assassination, are utilized that the books remind us when they were written. The fact that one wishes the authors had been able to see the future, or had written the books last year, confirms how well they played with history and conspiracy.
I don't want to discourage a potential listener. This isn't like reading outdated speculative literature where we have moved past anything the writers imagined and nothing of value remains. Wilson and Shea were true to their story, weaving a conspiracy myth that is only strengthened by the events since they published.
Google the trilogy and you will find that the K.L.F. (1980's "acid house band," per Google, but read about their own over the top history) and the Church of the Subgenius (still in business) grew from or were fundamentally influenced by the trilogy. The authors played with history and played it well. The story has legs.
This performance of Part 2 is great. Part 3 is due to be released this winter, a present for fans.
According to R.A.W's autobiography "The Cosmic Trigger", Illuminatus! was intended by the authors as a single work and artificially split into a trilogy by the publisher. Therefore, the three individual parts do not stand alone. If you liked "Eye in the Pyramid", you'll like this one. Heck, you'll need it.
This time around, Deepleaf gives the work much better production values and expands the cast in order to better bring the work to life. For the most part, the extra effort pays off. The addition of female voices and a special sound effect for Howard are especially welcome improvements.
That being said, I still miss Ken Campbell and Chris Fairbank, who do not appear anywhere on this one. They gave "Eye in the Pyramid" a specific mood that is missing here.
Good news - Leviathan (pt. III) is out and hopefully will be available here soon, and Ken Campbell returns to perform the Appendices, which all fans of this book know are good reading in their own right.
I have listened to many audio books and even some of the old radio programs that are now available, but this is without a doubt the most boring story I have ever listened to. To think I blew 2 credits on both books is amazing to me. I will definitely check more closely before using my credits again.
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