David S. Wills

David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the ‘Weird Cult’ and High White Notes: The Rise and Fall of Gonzo Literature. He is also the editor of Beatdom Literary Journal.

“A Pleasure to Burn”: We Are Closer to Bradbury’s Dystopia Than Orwell’s or Huxley’s

“A Pleasure to Burn”: We Are Closer to Bradbury’s Dystopia Than Orwell’s or Huxley’s

For decades, it has been common to call authoritarian new laws, norms, or government actions “Orwellian.” In 1984, George Orwell so brilliantly portrayed a nightmarish future that his name became synonymous with almost anything one wishes to describe as oppressive. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, meanwhile, provided a rather

David S. Wills
David S. Wills
9 min read
Art and Culture
Cancelling the Beat Generation

Cancelling the Beat Generation

Almost from its inception, the Beat Generation seemed to be doomed to failure. In and around Columbia University, a ragtag group of bohemians coalesced based upon an odd array of mutual interests. Two of them were homosexuals, one bisexual, and all were interested in drugs and subversive literature. William S.

David S. Wills
David S. Wills
9 min read
Art and Culture
Huxley, Burroughs, and the Church of Scientology

Huxley, Burroughs, and the Church of Scientology

In the 21st century, Scientology has become a synonym for “cult.” Thanks to an array of investigative exposés and testimony from former members, few people in the Western world are unaware of at least some of the Church’s fantastical beliefs and more alarming behaviours. Sixty years ago, however, it

David S. Wills
David S. Wills
13 min read
Religion
Fifty Years of Fear and Loathing

Fifty Years of Fear and Loathing

On March 21st, 1971, Hunter S. Thompson and Oscar Zeta Acosta arrived in Las Vegas to cover the Mint 400 desert rally for Sports Illustrated. Asked to write a 500-word summary of the race to accompany a photograph, Thompson annoyed his editors when he turned in thousands of words about

David S. Wills
David S. Wills
13 min read
Books
Freak Power: The Ballot or the Bomb—A Review

Freak Power: The Ballot or the Bomb—A Review

Fifty years ago, in a small mountain town in Colorado, a young writer led a band of misfits against the establishment in a grassroots political movement they called “Freak Power.” That writer was Hunter S. Thompson, author of Hell’s Angels and creator of Gonzo Journalism. His revolutionary campaign would

David S. Wills
David S. Wills
7 min read
Top Stories
Decadence and Depravity in Louisville, Kentucky

Decadence and Depravity in Louisville, Kentucky

Fifty years ago today, Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman drunkenly negotiated the pitfalls of Louisville’s Churchill Downs, home of the world-famous Kentucky Derby. At the time, Thompson was a moderately successful writer who had published an acclaimed book a few years earlier about his time among the Hell’

David S. Wills
David S. Wills
15 min read
Books