The Book of the SubGenius
by the SubGenius Foundation

McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1979

Reviewed by Laura Bryannan

"Do people think you're strange? Do you? Then you may be on the right track!"

"Are you abnormal? Then you are probably better than most people! Yes! Your kind shall triumph!

"The world ends tomorrow and you may die! (Well, no, probably not...but whatever you do, just keep reading!)"

...And you will, once you get your jaw off of the floor! You have just had a brief close encounter with The Book of the SubGenius, an incredibly sly, cynical, offbeat, well-researched, and often hilarious book published in 1979 by the SubGenius Foundation.

What is the SubGenius Foundation? Well, The Book of the SubGenius is brought to us by those people I loosely call "the Discordian folks," that band of merry pranksters out in California who count Robert Anton Wilson and Antero Alli amongst their members. The Discordian Society has had its hand in varied projects--from The Illuminatus Trilogy and all its attendant material, to Zen Without Zen Masters, one of the most insightful presentations of Zen philosophy I have ever encountered.

The main theme of The Book of the SubGenius is individuality. The SubGenius is one who recognizes his or her unique personhood and strives to maintain it's integrity in the face of the immense societal pressures of "The Conspiracy." "Of course people think you're weird; thank God (or Bob Dobbs*) for that!" the book proclaims. "If they didn't it would probably mean you're just like them."

The book gives it's views on many aspects of life, from the mundane to the exalted. Here's an excerpt about marriage:

"...The War Between Men and Woman is an ongoing process that shall never end. But this doesn't mean you should stay single, screw anyone you can, and blow off all attachments. NAY! DON'T SUCCUMB TO HUMANIST THINKING! Go ahead and get married, and FIGHT TO THE DEATH! Heavy marital combat often results from the two partners being too alike in temperament. Your true Soul Partner, who does exist somewhere, is very different from you. If you were the same, you'd become more bovine; your Holy Differences irritate you each into learning, into seeing in new ways. You should expect to fight a lot with your spouse. HONE those skills of quarreling. You can apply them on the job! A reminder for 'unliberated' women specifically: BLOW OFF ALL LEAVE IT TO BEAVER MYTHS. There is practically no such thing as a 'good husband/dad' AND a 'good provider.' The Conspiracy doesn't pay him all that money to have a home life. Make up your mind whether you want him or the fancy goddamn appliances, because you won't get both..."

The art work is in true "ransom note" form, with so many tiny but meaningful details you can page through the book countless times and always find something new in it. For those of us who get nervous about showing the world our "true colors" for fear of ridicule and retribution, this book can be strengthening. It will also make you smile enough to not care what other people think anyway!

If you're interested in acquiring a copy of this great book, you'll probably have to have your local bookstore special order it for you. I've never seen in on the shelves anywhere. But if you are, or are trying to be, strong and sure in your own personal convictions (no matter how strange others think they are) you'll find The Book of the SubGenius a reliable friend.

*Who is Bob Dobbs? Hey, cut me some slack! I'll never tell!

Go to Laura's Home Page

Last Updated: 6 apr 99
Laura Bryannan