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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 14 March 2017
I want to like it, but it's just a bit all other the place and I am finding it hard to keep up with the various story lines. I understand people saying they enjoyed re-reading it, because I think you probably have to! Unfortunately I don't have the time to invest in re-reading trilogies, lots of other books on the shelf to get through
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on 31 May 2017
Mind blowing book truly amazing. The time skipping is so overdone though that it makes the book very hard to read the first time, it is worth it if you stick to it long enough to connect the dots though.
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on 7 June 2016
Hoping to fathom it all out
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on 3 May 2017
Still a classic, despite the outdated sad and outdated attitude towards women. An updated version is desperately needed; complete with MK Ultra mind control, Project Chaos and the CIA's distribution of LSD, cultic abuse, and the employment of the UFO narrative as a distraction / obfuscation technique.
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on 26 October 2014
Everything in these books are true, except for the lies, which are also true. Or not.

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on 6 November 2010
A book that can go from being absolutely brilliant to boring and back to brilliant again in the space of one page.With better editing and a slightly more coherent narrative structure this could have been one of the all-time greats. As it stands it seems to be attempting more than it can grasp. The story is at once a detective yarn, a Lovecraftian doomsday scenario, a science fiction adventure, a conspiracy theory, a horror story and a bit of porn for good measure.

I have no doubt in my mind that Robert Anton Wilson was a complete genius and perhaps this book just isn't entirely for me. I read his historical Illuminatus chronicles and absolutely loved them, perhaps because the narrative was more straight-forward and didn't feel like a barely coherent, Americanized Ulysses on bad acid.

There are parts of this book that are hilarious too, I laughed out loud on public transport more than once reading this. There are some sections that are quite horrific and moving too. A great book that could have been brilliant...maybe. I'd recommend reading Prometheus Rising first.

Fans of American 1960's drug culture, Burroughs, Dylan, Hunter S Thompson, Alan Ginsberg, Ken Kesey, HP Lovecraft, Alleister Crowley, philosophy and the occult will all find something to like somewhere in this gargantuan tome. Sort of like Lou Reid's discography, you won't find many people who enjoy it all as a whole.
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on 12 February 1997
The Illuminatus Trilogy bombards your conscious mind with conspiritorial, illuminating, and downright perplexing theories of the Universe in order to break on through to the sub-conscious. Every page causes you to question everything, including what you have just read. If you don't look at Reality in a new light after reading this book, then your just not trying hard enough!
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on 28 May 1998
Illuminatus! is more than a novel; it's a head trip, a philosophy course, a mirror, a funhouse; a work that should be read at least five times, because every journey through is a different trip. Equal parts mock conspiracy story, detective novel, science fiction epic and hidden treatise, what you get out of it tells you more about yourself than about the authors. On top of all that, it's just plain old damn funny. Keep your eyes open for the parodies of James Joyce, Ayn Rand and Edgar Rice Burroughs, and avoid the fnords at all costs.
Whether you're nostalgic for the 60s or lost in the compassless haze of the 90s, you need to read this book, and get to know the philosophies of its authors. There's more education between these covers than between the start and finish of any university, but it's all achieved painlessly and, by the end, you'll look at the world and yourself in a different way.
Finally, this is one of those rare books that has become less satire and more prediction in the twenty-three years since its publication. What was once cynical wit is now sad documentary, and authors Wilson and Shea have nailed it. Approach with an open mind, abandon all preconceptions ye who enter here -- and then read it again and be surprised all over as you realize it's a different book the second time around. And the third. And the fourth. And the... well, you know...
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on 27 January 2012
This really is a classic.

Yeah, im another one who heard about the book through the KLF, but i also knew what the book was more or less about after hearing so much about it. I think i first read it 12 years ago, and again very recently.

The book is hilarious, Hagbard is the king of one liners, with an ace up his sleeve, i wont give the game away. The plot jumps around like crazy, often mid sentence, forwards and backwards in time, space, heads. It is a complex book and you do begin to wonder who all these people are, like Aleister Crowley, and John Dillinger, all real people, and real events, all tied in with believably wonderful conspiracy theories.

I do remember the first time i read it, i was a bit annoyed with the ending, but seeing as i knew the ending the last time i read it, i enjoyed it much more and the ending actually made sense to me, why not end it like that? Utter genius!

My last reading of it was done entirely in the bath, from beginning to end, which took a fair while i will admit, but the book is just so witty and clever that it is hard to put down, even if its been read before.

This is in my top 12 books of all time, just to let you know =o)
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on 9 March 2017
in some sense, true
in some sense false
in some sense meaningless!
i also arrived here on the back of the k.l.f., john higgs, and the principia discordia (of which i'd say would be a great help, read before commencing this book), and as illuminating as the journey turned out to be, i was completely knocked on my eris, flat out battered into wonderment! i'll be coming back here often, as it has the feel of a place where all the relevant action is - you don't want to miss a minute or you'll be forever lost, or worse, subject to a greyface downer!
the 'conspiricy' content is endlessly fascinating, and perfectly well covered in other reviews, so i'll go on the things that struck me the most. and the first must be how fresh and un-dated the book is - the 'real' characters of the time being the only giveaway, otherwise it's timeless and could have been written yesterday. the second thing was a notion of w.s.burroughs influence, which increased the more mentions he received, in fact i'd say that his 'hauser and o'brien' routines were a major factor in the 'gumshoe' set-up with goodman and muldoon, as a base line anyway! but the greatest thing is the total (operation) mindf*** as things unfold (or don't!), possibilities and credibility are stretched to the point where belief is suspended - 'nothing is true, all is permissable' - and your head is scrambled! direct hit then? easy to see why this book has the reputation it has, playing with folk's minds like that!
as a card carrying 'pope' (isn't everyone?), i stand behind this book, or mibbe, in front of it, to the side, on top of it, i don't know, just as long as it's there! seriously, this has shot into my top ten books ever - get yourself down to mad dog, texas, and join in mr hagbard's wild ride! hail eris!
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