Junky by William.S.Burroughs (1 Viewer)

anyone read this? i finished it yesterday and i liked it a lot. unlike bukowski, there is hardly any description of the narrator in JUNKY. its all very detatched. but the alienation is the same.

burroughs doesnt seem to be too keen on making a big deal about his doings early in the book, his writing is very matter of fact. there is a scene at the bar where a guy gets stabbed but it is described in a somewhat detatched way.

i found the novel more interesting once burroughs goes to the rio grande valley and starts to grow cotton. that and his time in mexico is more interesting than his life as a junky in the U.S. i like JUNKY enough to try out more of burroughs work.
Yeah, I enjoyed it but it was quite a long time ago now. I wonder it the detachment is a metaphor for the drug experience itself. I still haven't gotten around to reading Naked Lunch yet as it sounds very disjointed from the descriptions I've heard.
junky is a great book. Queer is even better. it was written in the same style as junky. i couldnt get into any of burroughs other shit. naked lunch made me sleepy. i hated the cutup shit. exterminator was decent, sorta. i have tried his other shit yet.but seriously, if liked junky, read queer.
i found the novel more interesting once burroughs goes to the rio grande valley and starts to grow cotton. that and his time in mexico is more interesting than his life as a junky in the U.S. i like JUNKY enough to try out more of burroughs work.

In that case you should read his letters from that time in, "The Letters Of William S. Burroughs 1945-59", edited by Oliver Harris.

junky is a great book. Queer is even better.

Yes, Junky is a great book, but I found Queer to be a bit boring and certainly not as good as Junky. Different folks, different strokes, I guess.
"Interzone", is straight narrative too. It consists of short stories and journals, such as a short story about how Burroughs lost the tip of his pinky ("The Finger"), and one called, "The Junky's Christmas", which was later made into an animated short film (which I believe you can watch on the net. It's also for sale on Amazon).
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That's great! There's some good short stories in it.
You've got a huge backlog of books to finish? Welcome in the club!
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Thanks a lot, Hooch! I did'nt know Burroughs had done a reading of the whole book.
I would'nt mind having it on a CD.
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Actually he read an abridgement of Junky on 3 CDs, so I guess it comes in at around 90-100min. (I have it somewhere.) Don't get wigged out by the intro music, it is without music except for a handful of interludes. It was recorded late in life so there is this disjuncture between this old man (80s) reading about a young (30s) addict. But he sounds like a voice from another era, his accent really strong. I dug "greeeazzy" for "greasy". Listen for a moment in the reading when he describes opening a whole box of morphine ampoules after getting a medical licence in Mexico City. His voice just dissolves in pleasure as he savours the memory (and remember WSB was hooked to the end of his life and was on methadone for his last 15 or 20 years).
If Junky is your kick then I recommend Queer, Interzone, Yage Letters, Collected Letters. "Spare Ass Annie and other tales" is WSB plus music, some funny and gruesome classic routines (c.1991/2). My favourite is "A Junky's Christmas", the story of a kid searching for a fix on a day when all the pharmacies and clinics are closed.
Thanks, Joseph K.! So, it's an abridgement? The reading at the link must be an abridgement because those 36 parts does'nt add up to 90-100 min., I think, although I have'nt counted the minutes. I'll look around for the 3-CD set.
I've got Interzone, Queer, Collected Letters 1945-59, Naked Lunch, Junky, and a book about Burroughs called Gentleman Junkie, by Graham Caveney. I did'nt care much for Queer though. I thought it was a bit boring, but Junky and Interzone are great, and parts of Naked Lunch are very funny, I think. I've got the 'Spare Ass Annie', and 'Dead City Radio' CD's too, and his reading of 'The Junky's Chrismas' is great. I've seen 'The Junky's Christmas' as a cartoon too. It was animated using clay dolls, I believe. It used to be on either Youtube or Google Video, and maybe it's still there. It's on DVD too.
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Thanks, Bukfan. I'll have to search out that animation. I think the link must be the full 36 tracks from the 3 CDs - but it is an abridgement because I tried reading along with the recording once and noticed whole sections were missing. Even if the reading adds up to 120-140min that is still only part of the text.
Yage Letters Redux is a new version of letters WSB sent to Ginsberg about his search for telepathic hallucinogen. You'll find some of these letters are in Collected Letters but Yage contains extra material.
Letters vol. 2 is coming up. It won't be as fascinating as the first volume because WSB was more involved with Scientotology and in his cut-up period then but even so, it should be a decent read.
Here's the link to the animated version of "The Junky's Christmas". It's 21 min. long, and it's on Youtube:


So, it is the complete abridged version in those 36 tracks, same as on the 3-CD set, if one can use the word 'complete' about an abridged version.
A new version of the Yage Letters? What's the difference between the old and the new version?
I've got part of the Yage Letters, because they included 35 pages of the Yage Letters in the first Danish version of 'Junky' back in 1966, but it would be interesting to read them all.
I did'nt know Letters vol. 2 is coming up. I'll probably buy it, even if it is'nt quite as good as vol.1, which I think is really great. Funny, that an independent thinker like Burroughs was into Scientology for a while. He did'nt strike me as a person who would subscribe to any kind of system. Thank God, he later discarded their crazy philosophy. Any idea how long a time he was into Scientology?
I never liked his cut-up books. It was far out of him to think he could create meaningful books by combining random words and sentences. He realized that himself when he later said in a TV documentary 'cut-up was a dead end'.
Hopefully, Scientology and cut-up won't take up most of the letters in vol.2.
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I always thought that he was "into" Scientology as a curiosity bordering on conspiracy-theory paranoia as opposed to a believer....

he was interested in a lot of the ideas in scientology, but he was very critical of the religion - especially the way information is restricted according to what level you're at. he felt that it should all be put out there, but of course according to scientology, if you receive that information without being ready for it, you will get sick and die.
Thanks, guys! I'm glad to hear he wasn't a believer, but just interested in some of their ideas, while at the same time being very critical of the religion. I never could picture Burroughs the individualist as a true believer in any kind of philosophy or religion.
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WSB and Scientology is interesting. He always wanted ways to understand control structures and to free people from complexes and inhibitions (often himself). He later felt that Scientologists were not following through with their genuine discoveries and that it was a con and another control system. He wrote a very good and funny denunciation of Scientology in a long letter which was published in the 1970s. It was republished but I can't recall where exactly. WSB had a kind of scientific approach and a really eclectic outlook, hence his involvement with Freudian analysis, Reichian sexology, Scientology, Egyptian book of the dead, etc. And of course drugs.
The new version of Yage Letters includes some material that was cut and some textual corrections plus an intro and footnotes. If you like that preiod then it is definitely worth getting. Part of the yage business was to investigate if the drug had telepathic qualities, which links with Scientology and mind control.
There was another notebook that was published recently but that book (Everything Lost) was kind of screwed up in editing, hard to get and expensive. I haven't seen a copy myself.
Letters 2 is scheduled for February.
Remember that very early on Hubbard had a handful of serious adherents to his quackery. The more successful he became, the more outlandish Dianetics (and its successor Scientology) became. By a certain point he had lost all but his most brainwashed early adopters. Unfortunately there was plenty of new blood to take their places.

But in the beginning he attracted a lot of seekers, as many of the "new" religions, belief systems and cults do. Scientology on the whole though is diminishing. They claim tens of millions of followers, but the real numbers are closer to 250,000 or 300,000.

The story of Hubbard's life and the creation of his cult is really very interesting, and the whole thing would be fascinating and funny if it wasn't so tragic for so many people.
Letters 2 is scheduled for February.

Great! February it is then. Vol.1 is very interesting because you get a good impression of who Burroughs really was.

The story of Hubbard's life and the creation of his cult is really very interesting, and the whole thing would be fascinating and funny if it wasn't so tragic for so many people.

Indeed! It has left thousands of people ruined and in debt, not to mention psychologically devastated.
I remember that some of the people who had been interested in psychedelic drugs such as LSD, mushrooms and mescaline were suddenly attracted to Hubbard's theories. During the late sixties a lot of 'heads' wanted to get 'clear', and turned to Dianetics. They would walk around with eyes wide open and a permafrosted smile. It was very scary to look at, especially if you had a puff with those around.
They would walk around with eyes wide open and a permafrosted smile.

Right, and so did the Jesus and guru freaks, although I would rather be one of those than a Scientology nutter, who've been ruined by paying for Scientology 'enlightenment' courses. Now, where did I put my E-meter?
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So, the second volume of letters is out now? That's great. I liked reading the first volume, which I found pretty interesting, so I'll probably buy the second volume too.
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