Consisting of Book One:The Universe Next Door, Book One:The Trick Top Hat, and Book One:The Homing Pigeons, the trilogy (copyright 1979) is a follow-up and companion piece to The Illuminatus! Trilogy. A dizzying ride through quantum physics and politics, a manifold of images taken from the late seventies. Robert Anton Wilson obviously was taking a lot of hallucinogens when writing TI!T with Robert Shea. For Schroedinger's Cat he ditches his co-author, and appears to have spent a little more time with cocaine. Different decade, different drug, same ethic -- "It's an ill wind that blows no minds."

Structurally, this book is a glimpse though the multiverse, several different takes on the world as seen through the eyes of several of the players from TI!T.

Although not a linear sequel, SCT does follow the themes of metaprogramming, mental circuits, and the ideas of Timothy Leary. When recommending these books to people, I always say, "Illuminatus will blow your mind. Schrodinger will show you how to blow everybody else's."
In my copy, there is a notation on the first page, in neatly lettered black ink. It says "Happy Jack". I believe I was on LSD when I made the note. I wish I knew what it means. It seems that if I could understand what a lesser-know Who song has to do with the universe next door, I would understand Everything.

When the Illuminatus! trilogy is mentioned, it is usually attached to the name of Robert Anton Wilson, and not to the name of Robert Shea. The conventional wisdom on the matter might be that Wilson's job was to come up with the mind blowing concepts, while Shea's job was the relatively more tame job of turning them into a novel.

Reading the Schrödinger's Cat trilogy pretty much supports the conventional wisdom on this point. While the Illuminatus! presents a rapid fire combination of concepts, characters and overblown plot twists, it manages to also be a well written thriller and mystery novel. The Schrödinger's Cat trilogy, on the other hand, comes across as Robert Anton Wilson's soapbox on his views on mind, society, government and a host of the other usual suspects. The books are written as a series of 1 to 4 page chapters, each a vignette with a short twist or lesson, but without much realistic dialog or character development. The Illuminatus! had some actual character development, while the characters in Schrödinger's Cat are purely farcial or mouthpieces for Wilson's beliefs.

Along with this making the work shallow in a literary sense, the beliefs that Wilson is espousing seem quaint at this point. At first, when Wilson speaks of domesticated primates and neurological metaprogramming, it is entertaining, but soon it comes across as pedantic, heavy-handed and self-righteous. References to quantum physics have not aged well, and neither have the sex scenes, which were perhaps titillating in their day, but now would probably not even be accepted on Literotica. In other words, this book doesn't come off as mind-blowing, at least to me. It comes off as a member of a sub-culture lecturing in a forced style about his beliefs, at great length and with great repetition.

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