Book And Literature Review: September 1991


Amok Fourth Dispatch


For those of you who don’t like book catalogs, along comes the Amok Fourth Dispatch.

Listing books available from Los Angeles’ AMOK bookstore, Fourth Dispatch encompasses subject matter from Neuropolitics to Mayhem, Pulps to Exotica, and Satan to Orgone, among others. But other than simple dry listings, Fourth Dispatch includes illustrations, photos (including some repulsive trauma and post-mortem pictures) and extensive quotes from authors like George Bataille, the University Hierarchy (the cranks behind the Unarius belief system), William S. Burroughs and Timothy Leary


In addition, Fourth Dispatch should be invaluable to anyone interested in Gnosis, subversion (featuring a section bigger than that of Loompanics), conspiracies, U.F.O’s, porno, sleaze, the occult or anything weird in general.


Even those without proclivities in these areas may find the catalog useful. At around 360 pages, the sheer diversity of subjects encompassed is amazing. However, more than a brief glance at the entire material is probably not recommended after purchase. While the listings are fascinating, a diligent reading can be overwhelming. As a matter-of-fact, the book laid around a few days, read a little bit at a time, before your humble author was completely through digesting.

The book is a bit pricey at $8.95, but it’s money well spent, considering the hours of amusement and mind expansion Fourth Dispatch will provide. If you’re interested in ordering, you’re advised to send a check or money order for $8.95 plus $2.00 for shipping and handling to AMOK, P.O Box 861867, Terminal Annex, Los Angeles, CA 90086-1867. Happily, the Fifth Dispatch should be out before the end of the year.


Twin Peaks: The Secret Diary and The Autobiography


Yes, Twin Peaks is off the air, having failed because viewers with taste and intelligence are hard to find. That said, there’s still a lot of Twin Peaks merchandise to help ease the pain for addicted viewers, including “The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer and The Autobiography of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (My Life, My Tapes).


The Secret Diary, written by Peaks co-creator David Lynch’s daughter Jennifer, reveals the hidden details of Laura Palmer, the murdered prom queen whose death set off the events in the series.


Covering a period of Laura’s life from her 14th birthday in 1984 through her sordid later life in 1989, the book is actually a fascinating look at how an innocent young woman is seduced and abused by drugs, sex and evil forces. Surprisingly, the book could probably be read and enjoyed by those who never watched the series for this reason. But if you did follow Twin Peaks, then The Secret Diary is invaluable. Each little detail disclosed adds that much more to the show’s mood and ambiance expanding and enriching the experience. For example, the rounded portrait of Bobby Briggs (whose behavior and attitude become much more easily justified if not tolerated) and revelations about Benjamin Horne (the details on his obsession with Laura leave one that much more eager to find out just what makes him tick) that emerge will make viewers of the series think about their conceptions of the events that occurred. Plus, the previously-unknown character, Laura Palmer, finally gets her spotlight.


The reading is a bit grim, but The Secret Diary should captivate Twin Peaks fans. Likewise, The Autobiography is a compelling look at an integral part of the series: Special Agent Dale Cooper of the FBI.


While Cooper could arguably be called the most popular aspect of Peaks, many details of his life and beliefs were unanswered by the series. But The Autobiography answers just about any questions the viewer could have conceived about Cooper’s life.


Written by Scott Frost (yes, he’s related to other Twin Peaks co-creator, Mark Frost), this book is probably the most entertaining spin-off product from the series.


Cooper’s life from 1967 (when he was 13. A curious coincidence occurs from the fact that he and Laura Palmer were similar ages when they began to put their thoughts down) to 1989, when he was assigned to the investigation of Palmer’s murder, is depicted in glorious detail. Frost shows a startling affinity for characterization in depicting Cooper’s brief descriptions of his experiences. 


There are three significant time periods during which the details of Cooper’s life are missing, but viewers shouldn’t expect to have everything revealed. The rest of the book’s information is so marvelously presented, in fact, that a fuller picture of Cooper emerges: from his first sexual experience to his obsession with the FBI to his involvement with Caroline and Windom Earle, as well as the various paranormal events that surround the entirety of Cooper’s existence. Besides, where else can one “see” the results of a character depriving himself of sleep for 48 hours and the effects of a large amount of fluid consumed for 10+ hours without urination?

Even if the rest of the material had been lousy, though, a reading of The Autobiography would have been justified by the revelation that Cooper wished he had been born an Apache named Ten Sticks.


But together, the two books complement the viewing of the series and should ease the pain until the movie is finished. 


Cosmic Trigger, Volume II: Down to Earth


Some 14 years after the publication of Cosmic Trigger: Final Secret of the Illuminati, Robert Anton Wilson has created a sequel of sorts, Cosmic Trigger: Down to Earth. Frankly, it was well worth the wait. 


CT2 was composed during the Kuwait-Iraq conflict and the hysteria that surrounded those events, which along with age, have apparently influenced Wilson’s return to his subject matter. Surprisingly, the book is also Wilson’s most accessible nonfiction work and demonstrates a previously un-glimpsed maturity.


Cosmic Trigger 2 is equal parts autobiography, anti-war asides, history lesson and mindfuck. All these elements are woven into a cohesive whole so entertaining that the book becomes a delightful experience, shifting from one topic to another with ease and drawing the reader along, ultimately, by challenging one’s inner beliefs.


But in addition, Wilson re-examines some subject matter from previous novels, including his apparent encounters with intelligence from Sirius. Never one to be satisfied with theories, Wilson dissects the entire events leading up to these experiences, offering possible explanations but leaving it to the reader to decide what’s what. Frankly, the honesty with which Wilson approaches his subject matter is a little startling and guaranteed to leave even the most self-assured dogmatist questioning everything. Under Wilson’s unflinching scrutiny, the entire process by which we as humans experience phenomena is dissected and questioned. After all, the sensory data each human processes is digested and filtered through an individual human mind. Who’s to say that the input might be correct but the organizing unit might be flawed?

Wilson admits to having undergone Reichian psychotherapy, and if his evident happiness and well-adjusted intellect are the results, then this method deserves serious consideration. The maturity with which he reveals, probes, philosophizes and criticizes lead one to believe that his entire history and experiences have been leading up to his work. 


Among these experiences are Wilson’s arrest for a sit-in at a segregated barber shop in the ‘60s, first hand discussion of the riots at the ‘68 Democratic Party National Convention in Chicago (which should shake the beliefs of anyone who thinks our political system is truly “democratic”), a near nervous breakdown after the death of his daughter and the reality of growing up in a lower class Irish suburb of New York during the Depression.


All of this personal history goes some way into explaining how and why Wilson thinks and feels the way he does. But rather than being morose or dour, these autobiographical glimpses lead the reader to self-examination of one’s own upbringing.


But along with questioning false “belief systems” and “reality tunnels,” bizarre current events like Ireland’s “Cahirciveen baby,” the Vatican bank/P2 scandal and recent development in the cyber-punk “dream” of “cyberspace” are discussed and demonstrate the tenuous nature of reality.

Besides any book that unravels the letters in George Herbert Walker Bush’s name to discover the sobering and synonymous true identity of our President “Huge Berserk Rebel Warthog” has to have some merit.

Any attempt to describe this book will fall short, so instead check out Cosmic Trigger 2 for yourself. The novel should probably be recommended for anybody interested in starting to shake loose the neurotic beliefs our society inflicts. The arguments for disbeliefs are so convincingly espoused that the reader can’t help but have at least a few closely-held beliefs challenged. Ultimately, that’s what CT2 is all about. One may not believe all that Wilson writes, but one will also be left questioning every little concept, and, hopefully, learn to think for one’s “self.”


For more from the SLUG Archives:

The World According To Clark: Murdered a Scorpion in your Sleeping Bag and Can’t Wait Till Cinco De Mayo
Protection Vs. Denial