See studies by C. W. Kilmister, ed. (1987) and W. J. Moore (1989).
The one-volume edition currently in print is significantly shorter than the original three-volume edition.
The name Schrödinger's Cat comes from a famous thought experiment in quantum mechanics. This book series is not to be confused with In Search of Schrödinger's Cat, a popular science book about quantum theory.
In The Trick Top Hat, President Hubbard, a woman, promotes a scientific approach to the improvement of life, offering rewards to anyone who can design a robot to do their job or develop methods to prolong life. Eventually Unistat becomes a Utopia. She makes the whole law system into three different laws: victimless crimes, which have no punishment; monetary crimes or some such thing, which involve debt and payment; and serious crimes, such as murder, which result in being sent to Hell, a place like jail but not quite. It's encased in laser shielding and is like a primitive world all its own. It is, in fact, the State of Mississippi. The original Pocket Books edition of "The Trick Top Hat" contains many passages, some sexually explicit, that are not included in later editions, including the Dell softcover. Much of this material first appeared in Wilson's earlier novel, The Sex Magicians, published as porn by Sheffield House in 1973.
The third has President Kennedy, and is titled The Homing Pigeons. It has very little to do with the President, though at the end keeps switching universes, some of which contain President Kennedy, others which contain President Lousewort, and still others in which Hubbard is the president. Like "The Trick Top Hat," "The Homing Pigeons" also has material in the Pocket Books edition that is not in later editions. Unlike "The Trick Top Hat," however, the material that was cut out did not contain particularly sexually explicit content.
The main plots throughout these books are many. One follows Markoff Chaney, a midget, and his pranks played on the world that continuously screws him over. Most of his pranks are played on Dr. Dashwood, of Orgasm Research. However, the most important plot line follows the path of one Hugh Crane which may or may not be this Universe's Hagbard Celine; a character that is an obvious representation of Wilson himself.
Another follows an "Ithyphallic Eidolon", removed from a male-to-female transsexual named Epicene (or Mary Margaret) Wildebloode. She puts it on display on her mantelpiece, and it gets stolen. It passes through the vicinity of almost every character in the series at least once.
There are dozens of conspiracy theories, strange loops, satire and paranoia included within those pages. In addition, there are numerous references to other works and occasional outright appropriation of characters from them (including cameos by Captain Ahab and Lemuel Gulliver, among others). In addition, a great many of the character names are either puns (Bertha van Ation, Juan Tootrego) or references to historical personages (Blake Williams refers to the poet William Blake, Francis Dashwood's name refers to Sir Francis Dashwood).
The Tanstagi principle is meant to imply that the invisible hand of the free market applies to government as well. In other words, contrary to traditional ideas of laissez-faire capitalism, government interference in the free market is impossible, since governments are inextricably a part of the market as a whole. Thus, true laissez-faire conditions are impossible, since the government will always affect the market. An example of this is the defense industry: since the government is the single biggest customer of this industry, it logically follows that this sector of the free market is inextricably tied up with government interference.
While it was first introduced in a novel, people claiming to be members or know of chapters of the Invisible Hand Society have occasionally appeared in editorial pages and on the Internet.