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Thread: Conspiracies in literature

  1. #1
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    Default Conspiracies in literature

    I love conspiracy theories, I love intrigue and double-crossing and I love secret societies - the older, weirder and more sinister the better. Robert Rankin is a great one for this, and I quite liked Iain Banks's The Business, about a clandestine company that dates from the days of the Roman republic. Then you've got Lovecraft's various cults and secret societies, and I have to say I enjoyed this aspect of The da Vinci Code (it's just a shame about the one-dimensional characterisation, clunky prose, gratuitous technical descriptions, appallingly cliched posh-bumbling-English-twit-who-turns-out-to-be-the-baddie and cop-out ending).

    Can anyone point me towards some more half-decent fiction of this sort?
    Last edited by Mr. Tea; 01-11-2012 at 11:29 PM.
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    Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco is kinda in the right area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich View Post
    Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco is kinda in the right area.
    I've heard good things about that book, I suppose it's on my eventual to-read list.
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    Robert Anton Wilson's Illuminatus trilogy is probably the grandaddy of a lot of this stuff. Very tied to the hippy era it was written in tho.

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    I'd second Foucault's Pendulum and Illuminatus.

    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson might be worth a look. I'm not a massive fan of it, but it's fun, and has some quite good geekery in it.

    The Crying of Lot 49 and Gravity's Rainbow both have some element of conspiracy, too. And they're well worth reading in their own right.

    They're not really about conspircies in the same sense, but I think good spy novels would probably hit the same buttons - try John Le Carre's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, for instance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by john eden View Post
    Robert Anton Wilson's Illuminatus trilogy is probably the grandaddy of a lot of this stuff. Very tied to the hippy era it was written in tho.
    Yeah, I read that - wait a sec, no I didn't, I read the Schrodinger' Cat trilogy (by R.A.W. and some other guy also named Robert, I think). Which I found frequently enjoyable, but far too all-over-the-place and, well, pretentious not to be quite annoying. Is Illuminatus! in the same sort of vein? (if you've read SC or can compare I! to my description of it...)

    Edit: Cryptonomicon is fantastic - read it a few years ago and I think it's probably one of my favourite books.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Tea View Post
    Is Illuminatus! in the same sort of vein? (if you've read SC or can compare I! to my description of it...)
    Not read the other one, but yes, probably.

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    you might try snow crash as well then, though it probably has more RAW in it

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    you might try snow crash as well then, though it probably has more RAW in it
    I mean to get round to reading some of Stephenson's (future-set) sci-fi, but at the moment I'm reading* Quicksilver, from his 'Baroque' cycle. Which is great too, in case anyone is wondering.

    *or rather, will resume once I've finished Austerlitz
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    the writing about conspiracy theories, fourierism, and all that in The Arcades Project sort of trumps everything i've read in novels. with the exception of pynchon who just approaches it all differently anyway...

    how can you really top Indiana Jones and The Last Crusades? =)

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    Quote Originally Posted by adruu View Post
    how can you really top Indiana Jones and The Last Crusades? =)
    Who ever said you can?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Tea View Post
    Is Illuminatus! in the same sort of vein? (if you've read SC or can compare I! to my description of it...)
    Nah, Illuminatus is essential. Very funny. Being all over the place is kind of the point of Schrodinger's Cat Trilogy and it makes it's point well but it's no where near as entertaining.

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    Cool. Cheers for the recommendations everyone, I'll check out Pendulum and Illuminatus! in the near future.

    Keep the thread rolling if this has got anyone interested, by the way...
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    I never read/watched The Da Vinci Code but I did read The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail when it came out and from what I understand of the former they do seem awfully similar in content.

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    "I never read/watched The Da Vinci Code but I did read The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail when it came out and from what I understand of the former they do seem awfully similar in content."
    Well, they deal with the same legend don't they? HB&HG purports to have discovered the truth (their work since discredited) and DVC gives an entirely fictional (and admittedly so) treatment of that truth. So does Foucault's Pendulum for that matter sort of.

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