Ghost of Chance

Ghost of Chance

by William S. Burroughs

Burroughs is the author of Junky, Naked Lunch and The Soft Machine and many other contemporary classics.

A major figure of 20th century American literature, Burroughs died in 1997.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Fiction
  • Rating: 3.59
  • Pages: 58
  • Publish Date: September 12th 2002 by Serpent's Tail
  • Isbn10: 1852424575
  • Isbn13: 9781852424572

What People Think about "Ghost of Chance"

Reading Ghost of Chance, author William S. He alerts readers that on the island of Madagascar the human population is growing out of control (as of today, nearly thirty years after the authors warning, the human population is twenty-five million strong). Ghost of Chance, a novella of less than sixty pages published in 1991 as part of the High Risk Books/Serpents Tail series, is a tale of adventure set in the Madagascar jungle. But dont look too hard, for the authors artistry isn't so much in linear narrative as in well-tuned observations on the plight of modern homo no so sapiens expressed in tough, hardline Burroughs-ese. This being the case, here are six direct quotes, six Benzedrine Bill tabs, along with my comments in the hope that you get hooked enough to read this short work from the master of Naked Lunch and The Soft Machine: The Lemur People are older than Homo Sap, much older. They date back one hundred sixty million years, to the time when Madagascar split off from the mainland of Africa. Captain Mission, the tales protagonist, possesses a strong affinity with the lemurs of Madagascar. Indeed, many the time reading Ghost of Chance I linked the insights of Burroughs with the world of Shamanism. A terrible gloating feeling comes from knowing youve got it!" ---------- The author detects Homo Saps rage and resentment at having being cast out of the present by the sickness of time. Homo Sap with his weapons, his time, his insatiable greed, and ignorance so hideous it can never see its own face. ---------- In a footnote William Burroughs asks if Homo Sap thinks other animals were there just for him to eat. Burroughs, age 76, reading Ghost of Chance

With this in mind, i want you all to know that I'm giving this 5 stars because of the importance of Burroughs' message in this book. While there are elements of that in Ghost of Chance as well, this is more of an 'essay' on ecological destruction at the hands of mankind which Burroughs (and Brian Gyson) call an 'ugly animal'. Man IS an ugly animal seen through the eyes of other creatures on this planet, Mankind is 'threat number one' and the blame for the destruction of the planet and the near-extinction of species like the lemur in Madagascar, where this 'story' is set, can be placed at our door. The story of Ghost of Chance is loosely based around Captain Mission or Mison (nobody knows his first name) - a Provencal pirate who ended up founding a society called Libertatia on the island of Madagascar, a settlement which laid down certain practical, tolerant and non-interfering articles in its 'constitution' such as the freedom of religion, sexuality, no capital punishment etc. Now in this book we see mankind as a kind of 'virus' or certain ideas that he espouses (like the Christ sickness) as viruses which can threaten the well-being of the planet.

Soon as something gets alive, there is something there waiting to disease it. Not a tumor, mind you, just a big prick and it keeps getting bigger." Once again, I'm stimulated to return to Burroughs & to read everything I can by him.

Nel suo Critica della democrazia occidentale , lantropologo anarchico David Graeber ricorda che le comunità dei pirati atlantici nel XVIII secolo furono per certi versi una formulazione precoce di quelle che oggi ci piace definire, a volte solo formalmente, come democrazie occidentali: Era lo spazio perfetto per un esperimento interculturale. Non sorprende quindi che un libertario autorevole e consapevole come William Burroughs si sia ispirato alla vicenda, peraltro storica e accuratamente ricostruita nella nota biografica conclusiva, del pirata filosofo Mission, fondatore in Madagascar della libera colonia di Libertatia. Ci sono brani bellissimi sulla grande isola rossa: Quando era attaccato al continente africano, il Madagascar sporgeva come un tumore disordinato, percorso da una spaccatura, il contorno dellisola futura, simile a una grande incisione, alla fessura che divide il corpo umano. In The Cat Inside (ovvero Il gatto in noi , pubblicato sempre da Adelphi) Burroughs descrive il gatto, creatura delicata, misteriosa e magica, come suo compagno psichico, di cui si considera Guardiano: creatore e custode di unibridazione tra umano, animale e un che di ancora inimmaginabile. Ed è forse il caso di ricordare a questo punto che il titolo originale è Ghost of Chance, che nella sua indeterminatezza potrebbe significare spettro della sorte ma anche (l) ombra di (un) opportunità (la febbre del ragno rosso nel libro cè ma è secondaria, e credo sia stata scelta principalmente perché ad Adelphi torna comodo avere un colore nel titolo). Faccio un parallelo tra questa fessura che divide le due parti del corpo umano e la spaccatura che ha separato il Madagascar dal continente africano. E daltro canto non cè, semplicemente, un altro scrittore che sappia illustrare con altrettanta efficacia gli effetti delle droghe, lo spostamento di prospettiva (come se i suoi occhi si muovessero su cardini diversi) e il turbine di immagini dotate di una propria logica. La narrazione a volte sembra prendere direzioni del tutto inattese, come nelle pagine bellissime, esilaranti e profondamente vere, sullipocrisia di Gesù; il punto è che, come credo di aver dimostrato, questo è un libro che va citato più che recensito, perché le mie parole non saranno mai efficaci quanto le immagini evocate dallautore.

More a hardback chapbook than the short novel as advertised, Ghost of Chance is above all a good introduction to what Burroughs is all about.

There were passages that made me sigh they were so beautiful, and that surprised me because I didn't expect that kind of lyricism from Burroughs.

William Seward Burroughs II, (also known by his pen name William Lee; February 5, 1914 August 2, 1997) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, painter, and spoken word performer. In 1943 while living in New York City, he befriended Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, the mutually influential foundation of what became the countercultural movement of the Beat Generation. Much of Burroughs's work is semi-autobiographical, primarily drawn from his experiences as a heroin addict, as he lived throughout Mexico City, London, Paris, Berlin, the South American Amazon and Tangier in Morocco. Ballard considered Burroughs to be "the most important writer to emerge since the Second World War", while Norman Mailer declared him "the only American writer who may be conceivably possessed by genius".