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Nova Express (Nova Trilogy) [Paperback]

William Burroughs
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: £12.99
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Book Description

11 Nov 1999 Nova Trilogy
The Soft Machine introduced us to the conditions of a universe where endemic lusts of the mind and body pray upon men, hook them, and turn them into beasts. Nova Express takes William S. Burroughs's nightmarish futuristic tale one step further. The diabolical Nova Criminals--Sammy The Butcher, Green Tony, Iron Claws, The Brown Artist, Jacky Blue Note, Izzy The Push, to name only a few--have gained control and plan on wreaking untold destruction. It's up to Inspector Lee of the Nova Police to attack and dismantle the word and imagery machine of these "control addicts" before it's too late. This surrealist novel is part sci-fi, part Swiftian parody, and always pure Burroughs.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press; 1st Evergreen Ed edition (11 Nov 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802133304
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802133304
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 13.6 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 376,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Burroughs was born in St Louis, Missouri in 1914. Immensely influential among the Beat writers of the 1950s - notably Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg - he already had an underground reputation before the appearance of his first important book, 'Naked Lunch'. Originally published by the daring and influential Olympia Press (the original publishers of Henry Miller) in France in 1959, it aroused great controversy on publication and was not available in the US until 1962 and in the UK until 1964. The book was adapted for film by David Cronenberg in 1991.

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Review

"A sermon blast of language. . . . Burroughs is the Martin Luther of hipsterism, welding his decree on the silicon doors of the solar system."--"Newsweek""Hypnotic . . . outrageous. [Burroughs] can think of the wildest parodies of erotic exuberance and invent the weirdest places for demonstrating them." --"Harper's""Burroughs is first and foremost a poet. His attunement to contemporary language is probably unequalled in American writing. Anyone with a feeling for English phrase at its most balanced, concise, and arresting, cannot fail to see this excellence."--Terry Southern"Burroughs writes with a beauty and efficiency unmatched by any living writer."--"Chicago Sun-Times""Macabre, funny, reverberant, grotesque."--"The New York Review of Books" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

William S. Burroughs was born on February 5, 1914 in St Louis. In work and in life Burroughs expressed a lifelong subversion of the morality, politics and economics of modern America. To escape those conditions, and in particular his treatment as a homosexual and a drug-user, Burroughs left the United States in 1950, and lived in Mexico City, Tangier, Paris and London. By the time of his death he was widely recognised as one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the twentieth century. His numerous books include Naked Lunch, Junky, and Queer. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Naked Lunch++ 25 Feb 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Society, consciousness, language--Religion, time space--Nova Express takes us for a ride through the very roots of these imposed structures.  For a more detailed description of what this book is all about I'll simply refer you here:
But be warned, this book is not a casual read, I found this book very difficult to penetrate.  One of the things I had to learn was to focus all my attention, and I mean ever scrap of mental energy, because there's no way of getting anything out of the book otherwise.  And then there's the slight matter of exterminating self imposed rational constraints.  But once I did this Nova Express was like stepping through Blake's doors of perception.   
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Yes and he means business. This sequel to the Soft Machine continues to aim at shooting holes in the phoney fabrications of our indoctrinated minds. Before pulling the trigger it chats away with us at random like the friendly policeman, but his sentences don't make sense in the normal way, they're like shreds of human tissue that fall on us like snow: somewhere there must have been an explosion. Before our fearfully closed eyes we see flashes of the fight between the invader and the protectors. But is what is defended worth to behold? The severed phrases turn slowly and with intervals into trancelike asymmetric symphonies of mindturning poetry. An abstract message is communicated. The gun that was pointing at you slips into your hand. A terrible truth.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
it's not an easy book, it's work of dark but extremely vivid imagination, a perfectly targeted description of counciousness-reality relation - a letter from the other side of language
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1 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If you fancy a headache read this 19 April 2005
Format:Paperback
I did not enjoy Nova Express. Naked Lunch (its predecessor) was hard to read but you could almost see a plot shining through which was its saving grace. I can appreciate the crazy fractured speech of Burroughs when he builds a solid foundation for it, but Nova Express was just crazy mumblings, sentences really making no sense whatsoever. Maybe im missing the point but you need at least some of the book to make sense. Read Junky, which is far better.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars thirty-six years old and still ahead of its time 5 Jun 2000
By Jeremy P. Bushnell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Oh, this book is superb; thrilling. Burroughs' critique of media/information culture has never been more relevant (he even predicts, in 1964, the emergence of something that sounds very much like the Web - "more and more images in less space pounded down under the sex acts and torture ever took place anywhere"). Great chunks of the book function practically as a Machiavellian instruction manual on how those in power might use a stream of words and images to generate fear, passivity, and conflict in a human population.
Some of Burroughs' incisiveness may derive from his usage of the famous cut-up and fold-in techniques (using passages plagiarized / "sampled" from other texts, including psychology journals, newspapers, pulp science fiction and true crime texts, and literary sources like T. S. Eliot and Rimbaud) - when he uses these, he gets at a radical (if illogical) analysis of the source texts. The illogical / nonlinear structure that results might throw some, but to my mind, this fits in perfectly with the book's overall critique - if you believe that certain forms of language (and thought) are politically corrupted, as Burroughs does, then the answer may be to compose a text that exists outside of those structures. The result feels vital and exciting - it is practically a new way of thinking on the page - and Burroughs' ideas on how to resist and defeat "the machine" and the nova process are similarly thought-provoking and unexpected (they bring to light a spiritual (monastic) side of Burroughs that I hadn't been previously familiar with).
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Word falling --- photo falling --- breakthrough in Grey Room 8 May 2000
By Kindle Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I read this book cover to cover when I was 17, something I felt to be an accomplishment. There's a narrative (sometimes) and striking, vivid language that you won't find anywhere else, but at times the fold-in method of writing, a technique designed to subvert the rational process of thought, yields paragraphs that are not merely irrational but garbled. They're just clumps of words pasted together at random (as far as I can tell). This is not a novel in any sense of the term, nor it is a story, but there are themes and images that perhaps could not be conveyed in a conventional framework.
Nova Express was extremely influential for me and has stayed with me for the last 30 years. I don't pretend to understand everything that Burroughs was trying to accomplish with this kind of writing, but if affected me in ways that are hard to explain.
If you are interested in experimental writing, surrealism, or non-linear narrative, you may want to give Burroughs a try. However if you're looking for a good, comfortable read, this isn't the place to get it.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Notes From The Grey Room 6 Jun 2000
By "jdubach" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This installation into the Nova series helps establish the reality of Interzone, first introduced in Naked Lunch. The Nova Police are the only thing keeping the Nova gangsters from harboring the monopoly on the universe's only source for Apomorphine. Burroughs appears in the novel as Agent Lee, the primary factor for the Nova Police. From incidious mass-poisonings to wild goose-chases across Interzone, Nova Express is an essential bridge between Naked Lunch and The Soft Machine. In my mind, one cant/shouldn't read either of the other two without having read Nova Express as well.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Give me that kimono!"-The Captain 4 Jan 2002
By S. R Robertson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I won't be as vivid and descriptive as an eel in hot pursuit over gravy, er, I won't be as evil and malignant as Cortez babies, er, want I....EGAD! Start over...
I won't be as descriptive and detailed (there we go) on this review as on THE Wild Boys. This too is a good book, but my least favorite of my collection. It also seems to be the shortest, and less memorable. Parts of it seem to be more preachy than other releases, opening with Agent Lee talking about how the mass media is controlled by psuedo-punk poseurs addicted to controlling the brainwashed populace. From what I remember, Burroughs seems to make fun of these individuals (who have such elaborate names as Jimmy The Butcher, Jackie Blue Note, etc.) who are portrayed as racist punks fooling everyone with actually being the enemy of true revolutionaries. The plans they hatch up to keep the world controlled are amusing.
Aside from this most coherent of writing, the rest is pure Burroughs insanity...classics include the section "Twilight's Last Gleeming", in which a ship is going down and all hell is breaking loose (the immortal line quoted above is said by the drag-wearing captain of that ship). This may come as a shock, but some of the sections actuall bored me...mainly the more scientific information packed parts like the relationship between parasites and hosts, other easily forgettable things. But look past this, and Burroughs knows what he's talking about.
As before, there are some downright beauties and truths around...this may have been from one of the other books since they all seem to flow together as a whole, but I remember a story about a house shifting over a dsert plain and the tenants trying to socialize with lonely lemurs hanging in a tree. There's a great peice of poetry existing right around there. about angry warriors waitng around with their arrows loking for someone to shoot. It just proves that WSB would've been good at straitforward poetry, possibly better than Allen Ginsburg. He actually tried it with Tom Waits on The Black Rider album, remind myself I gotta get that. Wancha all stripped down, all stripped down....wrong album. Point blank, this book is just as worthy/signifigant/brown propeller on a fasion moon as any of his others. Dig? Flat, baby. Flatfooted and pure goulash on my headset tonight. Burroughs, my man...you know it...you...
Fadeout in classic form.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Naked Lunch++ 25 Feb 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Society, consciousness, language--Religion, time space--Nova Express takes us for a ride through the very roots of these imposed structures.  For a more detailed description of what this book is all about I'll simply refer you here:
But be warned, this book is not a casual read, I found this book very difficult to penetrate.  One of the things I had to learn was to focus all my attention, and I mean ever scrap of mental energy, because there's no way of getting anything out of the book otherwise.  And then there's the slight matter of exterminating self imposed rational constraints.  But once I did this Nova Express was like stepping through Blake's doors of perception.   
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