Rank Burroughs' Works (from favorite to least)

This is the place to talk about everything Burroughs.

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edward_de_vere
Posts: 607
Joined: Mon Sep 11, 2006 6:16 pm

Re: Rank Burroughs' Works (from favorite to least)

Post by edward_de_vere » Sun Jul 03, 2016 6:54 pm

BansheeYage wrote:Having drudged through Ticket only a couple months ago, I'd say it would have to be much later for me haha.

You felt like Soft Machine was more sexual than Ticket? I don't recall the sex scenes in SM leaving too much of an impression on me as they did in Ticket. And don't get me wrong, I think there are some scenes from Ticket that are stunning and beautifully imaginative, such as the ones you listed and the scenes in Outer Space on Uranus with K9 and the aliens, but out of the trilogy it was the one I derived the least from.

Presently though, I must say I am loving the heck out of The Place of Dead Roads.
I probably should give Ticket that Exploded another try sometime as well. I remember disliking The Soft Machine at first reading but enjoying most of it the second time around, apart from two chapters where every other sentence is some permutation of "flick fluck" (e.g. "I flick fluck you...you flick fluck me...we flick fluck each other...for about 10 pages). I found Nova Express to be the most engaging and approachable of the cut-ups, I was surprised to read in The Job that WSB called it a "less than successful novel" (presumably in comparison to the two other cut-ups).

When reading the more sexual material in Burroughs' books or anything else, my judgment of the merit/quality is not whether the material is graphic or offensive, but whether the sex scenes have something to say apart from being just self-indulgent masturbation fantasy for the writer. When reading Naked Lunch, I never got the impression that "Hassan's Rumpus Room" was written to titillate either Burroughs or his imagined reader, while the sex scenes in many of his later works seemed like obvious personal masturbation fantasy (this seemed to be the case for about 90% of the book in the case of The Wild Boys).

torsrthidesen
Posts: 147
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:36 am
Name a Burroughs book: junky

Re: Rank Burroughs' Works (from favorite to least)

Post by torsrthidesen » Mon Jul 04, 2016 2:07 pm

I'm glad someone else appreciates Queer. I came to the book quite late, but it was well worth the wait. If there was a fire in the Burroughs library, and I only had time for two, I'd save Junky and Queer. They're all good, but those two really brings forth a quality in Burroughs often overlooked in the sensationalist notion of Old Bull. Like K's Town and the City. Or Bellow, only actually engaging and fanciful (maybe that's not the right word...)

BansheeYage
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:22 pm
Name a Burroughs book: Junky

Re: Rank Burroughs' Works (from favorite to least)

Post by BansheeYage » Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:40 am

edward_de_vere wrote:
BansheeYage wrote:Having drudged through Ticket only a couple months ago, I'd say it would have to be much later for me haha.

You felt like Soft Machine was more sexual than Ticket? I don't recall the sex scenes in SM leaving too much of an impression on me as they did in Ticket. And don't get me wrong, I think there are some scenes from Ticket that are stunning and beautifully imaginative, such as the ones you listed and the scenes in Outer Space on Uranus with K9 and the aliens, but out of the trilogy it was the one I derived the least from.

Presently though, I must say I am loving the heck out of The Place of Dead Roads.
I probably should give Ticket that Exploded another try sometime as well. I remember disliking The Soft Machine at first reading but enjoying most of it the second time around, apart from two chapters where every other sentence is some permutation of "flick fluck" (e.g. "I flick fluck you...you flick fluck me...we flick fluck each other...for about 10 pages). I found Nova Express to be the most engaging and approachable of the cut-ups, I was surprised to read in The Job that WSB called it a "less than successful novel" (presumably in comparison to the two other cut-ups).

When reading the more sexual material in Burroughs' books or anything else, my judgment of the merit/quality is not whether the material is graphic or offensive, but whether the sex scenes have something to say apart from being just self-indulgent masturbation fantasy for the writer. When reading Naked Lunch, I never got the impression that "Hassan's Rumpus Room" was written to titillate either Burroughs or his imagined reader, while the sex scenes in many of his later works seemed like obvious personal masturbation fantasy (this seemed to be the case for about 90% of the book in the case of The Wild Boys).
I very much agree, and while I'd say that you are for the most part accurate in saying that a lot of the Wild Boys was self-gratifying I wouldn't go as far to say 90%. In Wising Up The Marks, Timothy S. Murphy gave an interesting interpretation of the Wild Boys parthenogenetic reproductive method in assisting to the rebellious theme conveyed in the story. There are most certainly parts that are largely gratuitous and non-essential to delivering that message but some do complement the narrative as a whole.
"I have a thousand faces and a thousand names. I am nobody I am everybody. I am me I am you. I am here there forward back in out. I stay everywhere I stay nowhere. I stay present I stay absent."

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