Wilson and Shea's Illuminatus! trilogy to become TV series

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/12/11/wilson-and-sheas-illuminatus.html


For this one, I’m less asking “but why?” than I am “but how?”


Well there was an acclaimed stage adaptation once upon a fnord, so ground has been broken: https://sites.google.com/site/onlymaybe/illuminatus-trilogy/theatre-version


I would have had the same question as @gracchus a year ago for the subject matter, which sort of happened the second I read the title. But then Amazon released Garth Ennis’ The Boys, and now I no longer question their ability when it comes to the more shocking parts of the book. However fnord! The effect of the text is, in my opinion, is inseparable from the story. Moving the linguistic acrobatics to the newer streaming-style format of release that most seem to have fallen into…there is an ample amount of fnord doubt in my mind, but I’ll still excitedly hope that they pull it off.

Fingers crossed it’s wonderful so we maybe get a Schrödinger’s Cat Trilogy spinoff/sequel/prequel/whatever?


It’s not even a question of doing justice to the source material. It’s that I think that they can’t film anything that would resemble the source material.


Don’t forget, it was turned into a stage show as well, way back when. RAW mentioned that the show had “the greatest number of simulated blowjobs in this history of British theater” or something like that - I think it was done in Britain, at least. Who know, my memory may be shot by now.

Anyway, hoo boy! Time to kick out the jams, all hail Discordia, and throw out your hot dog buns!

Also, those are the exact covers of my books, though mine are rather more dog-eared and, in one case, held together by packing tape.


I like Schrödinger’s Cat even more, so yeah that would be fab!

As for timing, well, the preznit has been waging his own guerilla ontology, so maybe it’s time to fight fire with fire, so to speak.

He may or may not be very stupid - I tend to think yes - but whether or no, the stramaledetto stronzo knows how to use one of the most fundamental and powerful forms of magick (sometimes called “What I tell you three times is true”). Time to levitate the White House like we did the Pentagon back in the day?

EDIT: R.A. Wilson gets all the love, but let’s not forget Robert Shea - the good cop to Wilson’s bad. While Wilson went on to write trippier and trippier books, Shea went undercover and wrote some very nice novels for the mainstream market that imparted some of the same stuff in a way I’m sure most readers never detected. The Shike duology set in feudal Japan (cleverly released to ride on the coattails of the brand-new and hugely popular Shōgun miniseries), and All Things Are Lights set in Europe and North Africa during the Albigensian Crusade. Worth a read, all of them!

And foundational to the Assassin’s Creed universe, for all you gamers out there that thought that sh*t was new. :wink:


I’ve wondered before whether this day would come.

I’m not one of those people who thinks an adaptation can steal a book’s soul or something; it’ll be good or not in its own right, and the book will always be a separate thing, so it doesn’t matter. And I think there are lots of ways a loose adaptation could work well as a TV series.

The only thing is though, this kind of cult favorite is prone to over-reverent adaptations that just feel like a deluxe audiobook edition rather than a new work. I won’t name examples but you can probably think of some. So I hope they don’t do that.


I liked the first time they adapted it as a TV series.


Some of the comments here make me nervous in some way… like there’s something I’m not seeing but produces a mild state of anxiety. I wonder what it might be?


I am still disappointed by the lack of appearance by Jamie the Hamster


I fnord don’t fnord really fnord know.


D’you fnord know what fnord might make that fnord feeling fnord go away, fnord?

If you bought some of the lovely products in the BoingBoing store. Don’t they seem safe? Don’t they seem anxiety-reducing?


In the end, all you need to know is that the books are brimming with sex, and the adaptation is a foregone conclusion. (At this rate, someone’s going to try to remake Gor.)

On that note, what happened to the Strangers in a Strange Land adaptation? Haven’t heard about that in three years. Did common sense somehow prevail? Unthinkable!


I don’t know how I feel about this one.

It’s going to be an extremely difficult work to adapt for screen-- it’s not exactly a cohesive narrative. On the other hand, while I never saw Happy! or the Expanse (no cable) I know people who absolutely adored both shows. So hopefully the project’s in good hands and will turn out well. Heaven knows, we could use more happy chaos in the world right now.

Hail Eris!


I’m not sure the world is ready for a man enthusiastically fucking a giant golden apple or the lively adventures of Epicene Wildblood’s impersonal parts, but I await the attempt with interest.

Never whistle while you’re pissing!


it’s all Fnord, man


Ken Campbell, who was behind the theatrical version, also narrates the audobook version, which is an amazing performance.


No Spitting!