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I first read some of these stories decades ago, on The Church's website. I kid you not, I wished I had this book in physical form, mere minutes before I found it. Truly, A Sacred Text that should up there with The Book of The SubGenius, Revelation X, Psyclopedia Bobiogriphon (Eternally out-of-print), and INWO: SubGenius! Yes! I did include a cardgame about Conspiracy Theories as a Sacred Text!
I bought a copy of this book when it first came out in 1990, and _it never made it home with me_. I never saw a copy again until I thought to look online recently and found a copy. To my amazement, it arrived in good shape and lasted long enough for me to read it. Indeed, it still sits beside me, gazing balefully at me through the Dobbshead on the back cover.
For those who don't know, J.R. "Bob" Dobbs is the Salesman of Slack, the great profit and founder of the Church of the SubGenius. The Reverend Ivan Stang is the Sacred Scribe, and the authors represented in this book have all participated in the truth of Slack in some way.
There are some who ask, How can one continue to take seriously a religion that predicted the end of the world by the arrival of the Xists in 1998? To which I answer, first, that the Christian Church has predicted the imminent end of the world since it started, and people still take it seriously; and second, that _How do you know that the world DIDN'T end on X-Day, July 5, 1998?_
Well, anyway, this book collects a bunch of stories and ravings about (some of them very loosely about) "Bob." A couple of them only mention him. Selah. Some of them are a bit disjoint, others are about dat joint. Not that anyone smokes joints in these stories; like true SubGenii, they smoke 'Frop.
Fortunately, the longest stories tend to be the best and the jointiest. Rev. Stang's own "The Third Fist" is a three-fisted adventure indeed, in which the innocent Li Li-jing finds himself travelling through time with Dobbs himself to visit the "Bobs" of other eras and, hopefully, defeat the Slack-less Anti"Bob." Paul Mavrides presents selections from his (still unpublished) novel _World without Slack_, depicting the activities of "Bob"'s Church after the horrors of X-Day. Waves Forest presents "'Bob' and the Oxygen Wars," possibly the single best thing in the book despite that it consists almost completely of expository conversation.
Of the shorter pieces, well worth your time are "1996199719998" by John Shirley; "The Horrow on Howth Hill" by Robert Anton Wilson; and the strangely appealing "What I Know (Excerpts)" by Mark Mothersbaugh (yes, the guy from DEVO).
Only one or two of the very shortest pieces are absolute duds, and when I say shortest I mean two to four pages short, and so easily tolerated or skipped.
Why is this out of print? Only the Conspiracy knows............
Church members will find this book to be a delightful mental playground. Here, the saved can wallow in mind-bending literary decadence. It's a welcome break from the mental effort they may have foolishly expended in trying to comprehend the theological dogma in the Church's three official Holy Books. These well written stories are just for fun, and there are rollicking good times to be had here. When SubGenius authors delve into the genre of sky's-the-limit fiction, you can be assured of many outrageously wild trips. The pulpy paper on which the book is printed gives you a good indication of what you're in for.
Is there anything to learned about "Bob" and the Church here? Yes, but it will be learned by absorbing the spirit of the book, not by analyzing the stories. Whiff-read the book; that's how enlightenment will come.
It's truly sad that this book never caught on, even within the Church. Though most Pinks will regard it as worthlessly juvenile, SubGenii and their ilk will find it a treasure trove of delights. Though the Conspiracy drove it out of print, there are many used copies available here on Amazon at great bargain prices. So the Con's attempt to supress it backfired. "Bob's" funny that way.
This is a wonderful collection of humourous stories in the subgenius mythos. From big players such as the Rev. "Stang", to New Wave musician Mark Mothersbaugh (from DEVO), many authors have attempted to caputre the essence of SLACK provided by JHVH1 through his Earthly minion, BOB! Get your 'Frop here! (Watch out for the Stark Fist of Removal. Slack be Eternal!)