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Thread: Naked Lunch 50th anniversary edition!

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    swords's Avatar
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    Naked Lunch 50th anniversary edition!

    I haven't been in a bookshop in a while but today I stumbled into Borders and found a cool "new" release, it's the 50th anniversary edition of William S Burroughs' Naked Lunch. It was one of the last books put on trial to be banned in the United States.

    This edition is a restored, newly edited version of the text, in a hardcover with the original calligraphic cover art by surrealist Brion Gysin with textured black end pages, black gilt page edges and a hard shell slipcase.






    Like a weird movie, it's one of those books you just have to experience a few times to get.
    A few of the aspects explored are:
    Noir detective novel
    mind control
    torture
    capital punishment
    medical, religious and political bureaucracies
    bizarre sci-fi elements
    drug addict subculture
    and much more

    None of the topics are dealt with in a direct way of course, being twisted into a textural Mobius strip of dark, post-apocalyptic visions that are great fun to read. Not a boring chapter in the book having each page filled with beautiful weirdness.


    Note: This is definitely not to be confused with Edgar Rice Burroughs, the guy who wrote Tarzan... lol!

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    BigBella's Avatar
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    I recall reading Huxley, Burroughs, and a number of others back in my college days and thinking -- even then -- that not everything written by a counter-culture celebrity under the influence of either alcohol, mescaline, or heroin was necessarily profound. Perhaps, if I were under the same influences while reading, I would have appreciated it more.

    I found the equally drug-addled Phillip K. **** far more entertaining, though he couldn't quite compete with Burroughs' playing a homicidal game of William Tell with his then- wife . . .

    Cool book design though . . .


    P.S. I cannot believe that this forum will not allow me to write out an author's proper name, spelled D-I-C-K . . .
    “Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo . . ."

    -- Galileo "Biff" Galilei

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    swords's Avatar
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    I didn't ever say it was "profound" did I? Just great fun to read. Whatever I would think is profound would certainly not apply to anyone else and vice-versa. I enjoy almost everything written/recorded by Burroughs, though I do admit to jumping a bit during the extended cut-up sections of Nova Express (gasp) my excuse is that cut ups tend to be repetitive and boring. His last trilogy of novels is definitely his most accomplished but nothing seems to compare to the raw exuberance in Naked Lunch. The movie called Naked Lunch by David Cronenberg has almost no bearing on the novel at all minus the title.

    So he accidentally shot his wife at a drunken party with a room full of witnesses, that sucks but accidents do happen. Drinking & guns have never made anyone smarter. I don't know what people want when they keep mentioning that he accidentally shot his wife. Does that discredit the next fifty years of life and writing? Do they want him to come back from the dead and admit his remorse about it over and over again? He did write about the incident in the preface to Queer. D!ck Cheney on the other hand made the guy he shot in the face apologize to him on TV! lol

    Phil D!ck was definitely a paranoid schitzo by the end thanks to all the speed but he did write pretty good, realistic dialogue compared to most sci-fi I've read.

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    rattler's Avatar
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    swords you read some weird stuff.................
    cervid serial killer
    Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety
    I didn't get stimulated but he kept his promise on change, that's about all I got left!
    http://www.wolfpointherald.com/--http://www.safety-brite.net/

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    BigBella's Avatar
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    I only mention the William Tell incident (who hasn't fatally plugged his wife in the head at one time?), in connection with the classic "crazy writer's reputation" -- Burrough's rampant drug use, Huxley's anything he could swallow, Phillip K. D-i-c-k's speed and mescaline cocktails, Poes' love of newly-discovered morphine, and Faulkner being ripped on booze his entire active writing career.

    As an aside, what does the former vice president have to do with anything? Crazy behavior is ubiquitous?
    “Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo . . ."

    -- Galileo "Biff" Galilei

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    swords's Avatar
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    I tend to get bored by the bestseller authors with their safe topics and generic writing styles. I'll admit I've tried to read Stephen King, Anne Rice and a number of those people in the past (high school) but I'm just bored by them. I want to be surprised & inspired by an authors creativity from the beginning when I read and weird fiction authors are the one's who inspire me. I don't care what substances a writer uses or doesn't use so long as their work "does it" for me.

    The Warhammer 40000 novels I read are more in the"mainstream" SF or Fantasy series vein. Though they are particular to the Warhammer subculture. I prefer the SF ones though with Space Marines, Adeptus Mechanicus, Inquisitors and so on more than sword and sorcery.


    I do enjoy Poe as well as Philip K D!ck but Huxley was kinda boring to me. We had to read something of his in school what I don't recall. Seems like any fiction they made us read in school was insufferable. All the boring "classics" lol!

    As far as Cheney - just cos he shot the guy in the face!

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    rattler's Avatar
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    i never got much into science fiction other than the, lets call it "half plausible" stuff by authors like Michael Crichton, James Rollins and those....the way out there stuff never interested me much....
    cervid serial killer
    Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety
    I didn't get stimulated but he kept his promise on change, that's about all I got left!
    http://www.wolfpointherald.com/--http://www.safety-brite.net/

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    swords's Avatar
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    "Speculative" or "what if" Fiction I think is what you refer to.

    There is much speculation in Burroughs and D!cks work it's just a bit more obscured in wild imagery. Part of what I like about it is that you can delve into it and think about the real world parallels or you just coast on the crazy text imagery and enjoy the ride. Another thing with Naked Lunch is that you are never told how to interpret anything. Thus, I think everyone reads a different book when they read Naked Lunch based on their past life experiences.

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