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Sex And Rockets: The Occult World Of Jack Parsons

Carter, John

785 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0922915563 / ISBN 13: 9780922915569
Published by Feral House, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., 1999
Condition: Very Good Hardcover
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Small tears and edgewear to pictorial dust jacket which is now in protective mylar. 229pp. Bookseller Inventory # 030943

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Sex And Rockets: The Occult World Of Jack ...

Publisher: Feral House, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Good

Edition: First Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

Jack Parsons was a brilliant scientist whose innovations in solid rocket fuel were responsible for Allied air victories in WWII as well as early advances in space flight. A cofounder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology, he was honored by NASA for his accomplishments when they named a moon crater after him. But outside the laboratory, Parsons immersed himself in a shadowy world unknown to his professional colleagues -- a world where Parsons practiced occult rituals with his mentor, Aleister Crowley, a self-professed Antichrist. When Parsons befriended L. Ron Hubbard, who later ran off with Parsons's money and his wife, his life became even more peculiar. Ultimately, his increasingly obsessive experiments -- he aimed to create a creature with magical powers -- sparked a chemical explosion that killed him.

Review:

Scientist, poet, and self-proclaimed Antichrist, Jack Parsons was a bizarre genius whose life reads like an implausible yet irresistible science fiction novel. Sex and Rockets looks at his short life and dual career as cofounder of Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and leader of the Agape Lodge of Aleister Crowley's Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO). Author John Carter scours primary documents and interviews surviving friends and contemporaries to deliver an intriguing portrait of a dreamy, driven man equally interested in rocketry and magick. From his early childhood and deep attachment to his mother (who killed herself hours after he died) through his nonacademic research and brilliant innovations in solid fuels to his mysterious 1952 demise in a garage-laboratory explosion at the age of 37, the reader gets the impression of a man whose obsession with explosives and propellants was nearly single-minded. Yet this same man found spiritual fulfillment through Crowley's Law of Thelema, conducted magickal operations with L. Ron Hubbard, and signed an oath asserting himself to be the Antichrist--clearly Parsons wasn't a boring guy in a white coat. Carter pulls off the difficult task of integrating Parsons's disparate drives into one compelling story; though there are some rough spots and awkward transitions, one gets the sense that this illuminates the man's life better than a smooth, flawless work would. Robert Anton Wilson's introduction is smart and funny as always, initiating the uninformed into the basics of Crowleyanity while placing Parsons in the context of his times. While it might not be possible to read universal themes into Parsons's life, Sex and Rockets is an excellent study of a passionate life fully lived. --Rob Lightner

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