First (Two) Graf(s): The Universe Next Door

2010.07.30
By

THE TITLED BOOK IS PART of a trilogy, and it’s hard to say it’s the “first” part since Robert Anton Wilson wrote Schrodinger’s Cat such that the reader can open any of its constituents (The Universe Next Door, The Trick Top Hat and The Homing Pigeons) at any point and begin reading (as Charles Fort said, “One measures a circle beginning anywhere”). The text, in chapters of two- to four-page pastiches, follows (in part) a couple dozen compassionately well-drawn “everymen,” and the cumulative effect is three or four unique and intertwined storylines that play hob with the reader’s perceptions of reality and deliver a crash course in James Joyce, Wilhelm Reich, black-market economics, quantum physics, Jungian psychology, little-L libertarianism, Western mysticism, some fairly hot weird-science and a lot of sharply empathetic humor: “The story herein is set in a variety of parallel universes in which most of the politicians are thieves and most of the theologians are maniacs. These universes have nothing in common with our own world, of course. Of course.”

from The Universe Next Door

The majority of Terrans were six-legged. They had territorial squabbles and politics and wars and a caste system. They also had sufficient intelligence to survive on that barren boondocks planet for several billions of years.

We are not concerned here with the majority of Terrans. We are concerned with a tiny minority — the domesticated primates who built cities and wrote symphonies and invented things like tic-tac-toe and integral calculus. At the time of our story, these primates regarded themselves as the Terrans. The six-legged majority and other life-forms on that planet hardly entered into their thinking at all, most of the time.

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