am 5. Juni 2000
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).
am 8. Mai 2000
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.
am 19. August 1998
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.
am 25. Februar 1998
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.
am 6. Juni 2000
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.