A short novella, Ghost of Chance is on the surface the story of Captain Mission, a supposedly historical figure turned pirate, with a unique vision for a utopian society on the island of Madagascar. His colony, dubbed `Libertatia', has no capital punishment, no slavery, and no influence on religion or sexuality. The one, rather strange, commandment is that all inhabitants respect the native lemurs. From this unusual but relatively straightforward starting point, Burroughs quickly abandons his linear narrative to indulge in the addressing of some familiar concerns, namely paranoia, drug use and the irrevocable human stain. Embodied by "The Board", a mysterious and sinister group propagating the "Big Lie", the human race, with its Cartesian belief in the lack of an animal soul, threatens the safety of the settlement and the population of the ghost lemurs, to whom Mission has pledged protection.
Touching a variety of philosophical bases and delivering a broadside on the viral nature of Christianity, yet with some oddly over-wrought footnotes, Burroughs' lectures are all the more apt for their prescience in a time of global ecological uncertainty, and his own chaotic illustrations add an extra dimension of impending doom.
Challenging, yet evocative, Burroughs haunts the imagination.