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The Book of the SubGenius

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  1,939 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
Sometimes a book goes too far. Sometimes is... now. First, there was The Gilgamesh. Then... the Bhagavad-Gita Then... the Torah, the New Testament, the Koran Then... the Book of Mormon, Dianetics, I'm OK You're OK. And now...The Book of the Subgenius (How to Prosper in the Coming Weird Times)
Paperback, 192 pages
Published May 15th 1987 by Touchstone
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Apr 01, 2008 Clackamas rated it it was ok
Recommended to Clackamas by: Ex's buddy John
I'd totally forgotten about this book.

Background: I was a student at a conservative Quaker college in 1998.

During mid-semester break in the fall, I went out to Enterprise, Oregon with my friend Chris, a copy of my college’s lifestyle agreement, and a sharpie. The Challenge issued me by Chris was to spend the weekend with old and new friends away from the school just being myself instead of the person I was trying to force myself to be. He, in turn would mark off each lifestyle agreement I viola
emily cress
Apr 18, 2007 emily cress rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: NO ONE! Its mine!
"Bob" wrote "The Book of the Subgenius" as a series of pamphlets during the '50's and '60's, exposing what he'd learned about the conspiracy "from the inside". He was a former high-level gov't intelligence and enforcement agent. After leaving this nefarious profession, he travelled extensively and learned many things from Native American elders and Oriental monks and Fundamental Baptists in Georgia.

BOB exposes many things which could have gotten him hung for treason in this no-holds barred tell
"pull the wool over your own eyes" p.5

Woah. So this is a huge, modernized zen koan with surreal pictures and organized like a propagandistic religious pamphlet mixed with a snake oil catalogue. It isn't all a joke though. As the Church claims its "a joke you can believe in".

In its more "serious" moments it espouses a sort of discordian daoism. The main goal of a SubGenius is to acquire Slack. Slack is pretty much Dao, amended for a chaotic universe and pathologically lazy, oppositional, or uncoo
Jul 22, 2007 Ben rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: children
Nice mid-20th-century line drawings of 'generic' handsome males smoking pipes collaged with Apocalyptic religious iconography. Contains references to many, if not most all, popular Conspiracy themes and alleged masterminds/shadowy groups. The authors seemed to have quite deftly absorbed and synthesized the consciousness of "Kookdom" to produce a 'bible' which cannot be comedy or farce because everything written in it is true. Strangely, terribly, true; yet all the while proclaiming it to be jus ...more
Apr 22, 2009 Jeffrey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor
What if the funniest people you know decided to start a religion that cynically but hilariously embraced the idea of an omnipotent huckster preaching the virtues of goofing off? And what if they developed a whole mythology and backstory for it, copiously illustrated with mutated advertising art from the 50s? Then you'd have this book.Okay, so this book isn't the uniquely bizarre and entertaining breath of fresh air it was when I first picked it up 15 years ago when "zines" still were cutting edg ...more
Dec 22, 2011 Barney rated it it was amazing
One of the most important books ever written. It's up there with Hobbes' Leviathan, Joyce's Ulysses, The Phantom Tollbooth and See Spot Run. It is even more important and timely than the latest book from the latest Republican or Democrat flavor of the month.

Pull the wool over your own eyes and learn to pay to know what you really think and read this book. Find the glorious power of "Bob" and become your hero and hers as well.

May 17, 2011 Mark rated it liked it
An incredibly juvenile parody of Scientology that nevertheless contains occasional nuggets of real wisdom and a few moments of laugh-out-loud hilarity. Graphically noisy, the pre-digital cut-and-paste chaos of each page adds to the mesmerizing ugliness of the book as a whole. The central emphasis on Slack as a religious doctrine will remain important long after the target of the book's satire is forgotten.
Feb 25, 2007 John rated it really liked it
Every now and then, when I get to feeling low I pull out my dog-eared copy of Dobbs and run through it again. It's a masterful book that does a brilliant job of disguising wisdom as bullshit -- tells us not to take ourselves so damned seriously.
Erin Betts
Mar 24, 2007 Erin Betts rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: MONGOLOIDS
Mar 25, 2007 Jessie rated it it was amazing
all sorts of awesome
Julie Decker
Jul 24, 2014 Julie Decker rated it really liked it
Eternal Salvation or Triple Your Money Back! Yes, that is an offer these folks make, and though most of the book is bizarre enough that you're convinced it's a joke, something about it makes you aware that they're Completely Serious . . . and YOU need to be a part of it. If you're a superior creature, that is. With loads of philosophy on how the norms have shunned us and how we should now embrace Slack and buy our salvation, this book is full of brain-blistering rants, odd characters and creatur ...more
Justin Day
Sep 03, 2012 Justin Day rated it it was amazing
A fun faux religious text that will keep you laughing as it lampoons religion, conspiracy theory, hive-mind cult thinking, UFO cults -- arranged as a collection of random pamphlets supposedly circulated. I imagine that some or all of this may have been circulated that way at some time. It has a cool "zine" hand made photocopied feel that I enjoy.

This reminds me a lot of Principia Discordia, the Discordian texts. Not sure which one came first, but if you dig this, you'll like that or vice-versa.
Dec 24, 2015 Dan rated it liked it
A satire on post-war American commercialism disguised as the bible of an outrageous religion...or the bible of an outrageous religion disguised as a satire on post-war American commercialism.

The Book of the Subgenius first appeared in 1983, and was probably pretty edgy stuff for its time, but in 2016, for me at least, it seems somewhat dated--perhaps even more so in that much of the humor of the book seems to rely on the dated-ness of the 1950s advertising imagery included with the text, which i
Jan 31, 2008 Darkness rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any cynic ot perspective mainstream religious student
Recommended to Darkness by: well Bob himself, who else?
Bob is the culmination of years of conspiracy, cynical anti-religion and fringe culture wrapped into one well dressed pipe smoking persona of the '50's perfect man. The church never takes itself seriously, and expects no-one to do anything less.
While I myself am ordained, I support the 'movement' only for its basic philosophy and credence; "Fuck em if they can't take a joke".

The sacred teachings is a fantastic pulp fiction read, but has the convenient structure to serve as more then effective (a
Jun 26, 2008 Ned rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who remembers what slack was
Recommended to Ned by: the crazy man at the soupkitchen
One of the best catch-all self-help panaceas I could find at the time it came out I guess. Now I type while my left hand tries to pick off the aliens sucking on my VERY FLESH!!!!!
Looking back now this article of faith seems rather prescient. Only operate this vehicle under extreme care and without the aid of trendy chemical amusements of any kind. Inoperable harm may result. If only there could return a time of say 15% oxygen in Earth's atmosphere, us puny humans may have a chance to survive and
Aug 19, 2013 Juan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una genuina locura escrita claramente por adolescentes con torrentes sanguíneos llenos de drogas psicotrópicas, queriendo romper con todos los valores familiares tradicionales, rectos, justos y verdaderos como los de la nueva y progresista Ley del Aborto de Gallardón. No se lleva 5 estrellas porque, a pesar de ser un libro de hace décadas, hemos sido bombardeados con tantas franquicias de esta misma temática de forma directa o tangencial que ya huele y, además, se hace un poco largo.

Sin embargo,
Evelyn Eve
Jul 21, 2015 Evelyn Eve rated it really liked it
Shelves: comedy
I'm in the second run-through of this sexy little number, and I must say it is one of my favorite go-to titles. It's packed with little nuggets and fantastic illustrations, some of which I missed the first time around. What's it about? Honestly, I am going to have to say it is one of those things you'd have to experience yourself. I could throw words around like "fun" and "hilarious" and perhaps even "disturbing" to describe it, but due to its psychedelic and surreal art a lot of it is up to the ...more
James Beach
Jan 17, 2016 James Beach rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantastic-worlds
The "Church of the Subgenius" is an organization that *appears* to be mostly the output of writer Ivan Stang and quite a few collaborators. It is either a religion disguised as a joke, or a joke disguised as a religion.

Early on in this book, the Church describes it's flavor of experience as "irritainment." I would say that's quite accurate. It's also very strange, extremely funny, and at times very insightful. Also every single page has so much going on, verbally conceptually and artistically, t
Dec 19, 2007 Owen rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone under 20
I would have been right there with all the rest of you pink-hating slack-seekers in giving this five stars if I had read it when I was 16, but I found out about it too late to turn it into a lifestyle, and like Dadaism and hacky sack my enthusiasm for it drops by about a star per decade as I get more curmudgeonly and less inclined to appreciate organized wackyness for it's own sake. Still, it's one of the most cleverly entertaining books ever and definitely worth a read if you haven't experience ...more
Ian Mathers
Sep 17, 2012 Ian Mathers rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
This one has some of the problems of the Illuminatus! book I reviewed, but it's made spottier from the fact that it's pieced together and more scattershot; so I'd read a couple of pages and think this was an amazing, searing, insightful (and funny) book, and then read a few more and hope devoutly that I never wind up caught in a conversation with these people. They'd say that's part of the point/I don't get it, I'm sure; but personally I'm pretty sure some Pinks infiltrated the writing process o ...more
Jan 24, 2008 Patch rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone with cash.
Recommended to Patch by: Gawd
Bow young bucks! Before the wicked wisdom widening weeping eyes! Pay props to "Bob" and know ye to be saved from the reptile underlords of the uber realm! Give us your money!
Fight along side The mighty Gee-whiz, Connie, Philo, "Bob" and Grandmaster flash in hot pusuit of the Ham Sandwich of Gawd! Give me liberty, or give me slack, or kill me!

Hours of fun AND education. Mountains of cocaine. Tons of cocaine! Find your soul mate, or at least get laid by paying for it! What more could you ask for?
Dan  Ray
Dec 27, 2012 Dan Ray rated it liked it
I had always wanted to read this book since it was built up so much by my punk rock idols in highschool but I put it off for too long. By the time I picked up the big book of Slack I was a jaded adult, so it seemed like short-sighted sixties anti-culture. Also pretty repetitive. I wish I had read it in snippets and pamphlets, as graffiti scrawled on bathroom walls, as pirate radio broadcasts in the wee hours. Catching it piecemeal over afew years, say from age 16-19, would have made this my pers ...more
Aug 14, 2008 Swankivy rated it really liked it
Shelves: favoritebooks
Another strange collection of readings . . . incomprehensible to the average "pink" boy, but not to me. All about learning your true identity as a Yeti-descended superior being, and how to make the normals pay for how they treat us. Despite the fact that the Xists have now left me, a SubGenius reverend, on this stinking planet since they were supposed to visit in 1998, I have not yet given up hope that "Bob" will prevail! (The jerk.) Um, yeah. Check it out.
Danny P
Apr 10, 2015 Danny P rated it it was amazing
A only book, possibly the only item you actually ever need. Within is contained all wisom, all ignorance, all things worthy and worthless, and the guide to differentiating between the two and the ultimate pointlessness of doing any sifting or fretting. This book will scare you into living the life you want to lead.
May 12, 2010 Eric rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Conspiracy and indie fans, art book lovers,
This is a few years old but a very funny long running joke. I remember seeing it in the 80's. The images are hilarious. I read it more than 10 years ago. It speaks to culture, media, propaganda, religion and art.

I keep thinking of the Enzyte commercials.

This was viral before the explosion of the Web.
Nick Wallace
Feb 28, 2009 Nick Wallace rated it liked it
In the sense that it's chock-full of insanity, I enjoy it. Once you realize that there's plenty of people who might actually believe some of the contents, you're conviction that people are wholly half-witted slaps you back to reality.
Jonathan Roper
Jul 14, 2016 Jonathan Roper rated it really liked it
This is a twisted work of satire and subterfuge. It has planted some memes deep within my psyche. read it many many moons ago as a young skate-punk, was big in the Zeitgeist at the time. Must revisit.
Sep 15, 2012 Fishface rated it liked it
The first sacred writings of one of the great joke religions. This book is just all over the place -- from the sublime to the ridiculous and then off into left field. I find parts of it very useful...and other parts are just ejectamenta as far as I'm concerned.
Stuart Dean
Apr 25, 2016 Stuart Dean rated it it was amazing
Do you want to be left behind when the Sex Goddesses from Planet X come to collect the Overmen? Of course you don't! The teachings of J.R."Bob" Dobbs collected here for your enlightenment. See you on X-Day, July 5.
Derek Baldwin
Jul 28, 2011 Derek Baldwin rated it really liked it
I don't advise reading more than a section or two of this at one sitting - the jokes begin to wear thin. Dipped into from time to time it can often be hilarious. But often not. Nevertheless, I bow before the mighty J R "Bob" Dobbs, our only true spiritual leader.
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subgenius 2 29 Mar 25, 2007 04:40PM  
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“YOU CAN BE WHAT YOU WON’T” —THE SECRETS OF SLACK “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is LONGSUFFERING to us ward, NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH, BUT THAT ALL SHOULD COME TO REPENTANCE” (II Peter 3:9). “My people are destroyed for a lack of Knowledge.” —Hosea 4:6” 0 likes
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