excerpts from: Cleveland Okie’s Interview with Mike Shea, son of Robert Shea, science fiction author and co-author of the Illuminatus! trilogy.

The appendix to “Illuminatus” says that eight appendices were “censored.” Are they still around, and are there any plans to publish them?

I’ve never heard of them. The whole thing was written long before computers so it’s not likely they’re still around. If I could get ahold of them, I’d publish them in a second.

The appendix refers to a sequel, “The Homing Pigeons.” Was there any work actually done on an ILLUMINATUS sequel?

There was a joint work on a book called “Bride of Illuminatus” that was due to be released. Unfortunately the publishers didn’t think it would do very well since Wilson had already written a bunch of post-Illuminatus books that didn’t do very well (Gods bless the publishing industry…). I don’t know if there’s an outline or a copy of the work anywhere. My father died before they could get started. I remember the first scene started with a sex scene between two gods.

Your web site says that Shea and his friend and collaborator, Robert Anton Wilson, had “philosophical and political disagreements” and that these disagreements enriched ILLUMINATUS! Can you give me a couple of examples of their disagreements?

A lot of the words on my site came from other sources on the net. I’ve never written much myself about my dad. That’s one of the reasons I’m so happy for this opportunity. Honestly I don’t know much about the philosophical differences and neither does my mom. I’d say the only differences I knew about came after I was born and my dad moved to more mainstream fiction.

As I mentioned in my blog posting, the synopses in the second and third ILLUMINATUS! books are not reprinted in the omnibus edition. Are there any plans to reprint them, perhaps on the Internet?

I just put down a bid for the three original Illuminatus covers. I’ll get them and, assuming they aren’t too long and I can find the time, I’ll retype them and publish them on my website. I might get in a little trouble for it, but I tend to doubt it. I’ll just do it and see what happens. I currently own the rights to all of my father’s original work but that doesn’t include ILLUMINATUS. That one still belongs to myself and Wilson’s heirs, so we’d have to get together todecide if publishing the whole work is ok or not. For synposes written in 1980, though, I can’t imagine I’ll get any heat for that.

I’ll make it happen.

Supposedly the idea for ILLUMINATUS! came from when your father and Robert Anton Wilson were sitting in a bar after work in Chicago, and your father suggested that it would be funny to write a novel that took seriously all the various crackpot conspiracy theories that were sent in to the Playboy Forum, which your father edited. Did your father ever give you his version of this story?

Yep, a lot of the themes in ILLUMINATUS came from when RAW and he worked at Playboy on the adviser. All of the crazy conspiracy theories gave them the idea to write a book that tied them all together. He never gave me his side of the story, really, but he didn’t believe in all the conspiracy theories. He was pretty practical. He never trusted the government, however (who can blame him?), so he wouldn’t put something past them like the Kennedy assassination, but he never really got too bent about it all. He was very scientific in his thought and believed in Occam’s razor: the simplest explanation is likely the right one.