Gary Lachman’s book is bringing back such fond memories of Colin. When I told him I was writing a book about my own explorations into consciousness, he offered, sight unseen, to write a preface. (I was to find that this kind of generous impulse was typical of the man.) When he had finished reading the manuscript of Muddy Tracks, he sent me an email saying that the last paragraph had him blushing.
Well, let’s assume that “blushing” was exaggeration. Still, clearly he was pleased.
This last paragraph was part of an appendix called “Mapmakers.” In it I listed “People you ought to know, and why. These are all authors unless otherwise noted. I count them as friends I never met—except that in a few cases, I have met them. These personal favorites of mine will lead you on to others, by their own reference and with a little help from your friends Upstairs.” Last on the (alphabetical) list:
Colin Wilson: novels and nonfiction. Colin Wilson can’t seem to write an unreadable sentence or a dull page. His lively mind moves from here to there and carries you with him. He lives in a wider world than most, which is a continual breath of fresh air. He has written eighty or so books, and I doubt there’s a used bookstore or a public library in an English-speaking country that doesn’t have at least one, and usually more. His newer books can be found in any bookstore of reasonable size. The Outsider is a classic, and a renewed delight whenever I reread it. Among my favorites of his novels are The Philosopher’s Stone, The Mind Parasites, and Necessary Doubt. But you can hardly go wrong anywhere.