Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Ticket That Exploded (The Nova Trilogy #2)” as Want to Read:
The Ticket That Exploded (The Nova Trilogy #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Ticket That Exploded (The Nova Trilogy #2)

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  1,845 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
In The Ticket That Exploded, William S. Burroughs’s grand “cut-up” trilogy that starts with The Soft Machine and continues through Nova Express reaches its climax as inspector Lee and the Nova Police engage the Nova Mob in a decisive battle for the planet. Only Burroughs could make such a nightmare vision of scientists and combat troops, of ad men and con men whose deceitf ...more
Paperback, 217 pages
Published January 12th 1994 by Grove Press (first published 1962)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Ticket That Exploded, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

TJ Not necessarily since the structure of the book is nothing like a standard novel. I'd highly recommend it though since a lot of themes carry over.
Kilburn Adam 1 The Soft Machine
2 The Ticket That Exploded
3 Nova Express

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Feb 18, 2011 Jason rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
But if you're reading this then you probably expect a challenge anyway. What it means. Smell of rancid tide flat--police drama strangely flickers in and out, much channels are playing. picture. The unnerving documentary on parasitic Machine, however this strangely analogous to Doctor. Imagine that without proper documentation. Channel-change static bursts to foil religious mind-control Now imagine what, and poisonous insects of the amazon--a sci-fi cable box. Doctor Benway less noticeably playin ...more
Jun 05, 2016 Rhys rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read this all the way through I can state confidently that I had absolutely no idea what was going on. And yet, at the same time, I sort of did. My understanding was somehow behind the story rather than in the story itself. The book seems to be about how the human visual imagination is really an invasion of alien messages, so the moment you 'see' something in your mind's eye you are actually submitting to outside control.

To combat this in a book, a text can't have a narrative that present
David Corvine
Mar 23, 2015 David Corvine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This work needs to be approached as a piece of conceptual art or an occult manual... those seeking storytime may find it somewhat hard going.
Melancton Hawks
Mar 12, 2013 Melancton Hawks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you don't like the idea of reading paragraph after paragraph about catapulting streams of jism, then maybe this book is not for you. But the Ticket That Exploded is about so much more than torrential ejaculations... it's about melting your head right down to your shoulders. There is a kind of zen state that becomes necessary to read Burroughs sometimes, you have to really let the sickness flood over you and understand that it is not the author that is sick, but instead you, you with your fear ...more
Burroughs' 2nd cut-up novel (if I have the chronology right) & the beginining of what's, for me, his strongest period. After writing my quickie 'review' of "Naked Lunch" in wch I mentioned Balch's "Towers Open Fire", I moved onto this one & 'randomly' opened to page 110 to read:

""This way - To the Towers" - Ali pointed to an office building that dominated the square - Kiki ran toward the building covered now by tower fire - Hands pulled him into a doorway - On the roof of the building w
Mar 23, 2008 Jennpants rated it liked it
I read this right after reading Bukowski, so I was a little apprehensive. I really didnt want another masturbatory ode to losers and the women they convice to take care of them.

I really liked this book. It was so stream-of-conciousness that after awhile it became a game to figure out any kind of story line underneath it all. (There is) It was actually quite disorienting: a straighforward paragraph, a paragragh or two disecting the first paragraphy, five or six paragraghs dissecting the previous
Mel Bossa
Sep 26, 2014 Mel Bossa rated it liked it
Shelves: 0006-lgbtq
I was going to do this whole review in Burroughs' cut up technique, but I'm too lazy. This was a tough read for me. I loved Junky, Queer, and of course, Naked Lunch, and maybe I expected something along those lines. The story seems to be about mind and body control through orgasms and splicing of tapes and I have to say Burroughs has a fucking dirty dirty dirty mind and I'm not sure what he was on at the time, but whatever the drug was, I'd congratulate his dealer. Good job.

I really liked the di
Kirk Johnson
Jun 16, 2015 Kirk Johnson rated it liked it
well that was disappointing. i love experimental fiction, but this is experimental fiction gone wrong. this is, by some arguments, burroughs' last cut-up method book, and it's where you realize he's come to believe all the crazy stuff he's been saying. usually this just results in a certain electricity in how it all comes out, but in this book he gets too literal and things stops feeling weird and starts feeling crazy and tedious, because he's detailing for you how you're gonna change the world ...more
Dec 27, 2015 Texasshole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What happens in this book? Why, the cock flipped out and up rectal musk of KY jelly slides the green fingers of the fish boy into autoerotic tape manipulation causes an overlay of the physical forms in St. Louis, joe. Less a story and more a set of junkie koans to meditate upon in your search for the transformative power of the Word. Because in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, twisted in Burrough's thin, gnarled fingers into a vicious demiurge plumbing the darkest desires and de ...more
Aug 15, 2015 Nick rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Strange thing happened while reading. For the first time I felt genuine empathy for a book, not the words in the book but the actual tree the book was made of. Not that Burroughs is bad. He is innovative and funny and when he's in a good mood he moves his cut-up experiments toward poignancy. I will read more. But the significant enjoyment I got from this was outweighed by the perhaps false but nonetheless overwhelming impression that I was wasting my time.
Chris Campanioni
Jan 25, 2014 Chris Campanioni rated it really liked it
The Ticket That Exploded is Burroughs' best (and longest) book in his cut-up trilogy. It also is the most experimental and philosophical (if you are interested in the cut-up theory he adopted, this is the book for you). Moreover, it includes art and even writing by longtime friend and collaborator, Brion Gysin, who turned WSB on to the cut-up method. This is a must-read.
Aug 22, 2007 Phillip rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
My favorite of the cut-up novels (includes Wild Boys, Nova Express, The Soft Machine)...lyrical, loopy, confused, witty, as usual: funny as can be, and (perhaps?) an important contribution to the evolution of literary form.
Apr 18, 2014 Shane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
-Another desperate cry from the cursed Burroughs- with desperation, he unloads a blight of his haunted visions- his many hells- upon us, the reader’s mind, in an attempt to meld us to his pathos… as though he could shed his terrors and now they are ours to keep…

-He creates a perverse world, galaxy, universe, where everyone- from the viruses to the newt-boys, both the prisoners and the guards ( in the G.O.D., Garden of Delights), from the humans to the aliens (especially those Venusian sex creat
Dane Cobain
Jul 01, 2013 Dane Cobain rated it liked it
This is one of William Burroughs' more experimental works, and that says a lot - he's not exactly a mainstream writer of literary fiction, more like a crazy old wordsmith who forged books by bashing words together.

The Ticket That Exploded is typically chaotic, with plenty of mentions of penises and rectums, and while I had no idea what was actually happening, with Burroughs you don't really need to. Besides, as the second book in Burroughs' 'Nova trilogy', it was written using the cut-up method
B. Jay
Feb 24, 2010 B. Jay rated it liked it
This is the first book in the Nova series that makes even any sense at all, or at least has portions I found I could explain to others. This book is notable for a much heavier and intentional inclusion of actual science fiction (as opposed to things that were most likely simply drug-fueled delusions). Burroughs fascination with film splicing and the use of tape recorders also marks the era of his writing but opens a door on more of his prophetic visions of how technology would be used in the fut ...more
Ed Smiley
Dec 29, 2009 Ed Smiley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-re-read, favorites
Deliberately disjointed, hallucinatory, wacky, disturbing and inventive. Burroughs employs a collage technique where different narratives are cut up and thrown together like a salad. I originally read it in the English edition, which differs from the American. Read long time ago.

This is definitely my favorite of the works of this talented madman. It may be his oddest. I was gratified to see this posting on RealityStudio (

Perhaps one of Burroughs’ least a
Dec 31, 2007 Tedopon rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: you
Shelves: fiction
Up until I read McCarthy's The Road, this was King of the Hill for over a decade. The book Uncle Bill wrote right dead center at the transition between the raw cut up style of the Nova trilogy and the later books where he "attained mastery".
Bottom line-it's his best book. Burroughs will always be my favorite writer, there is no one comes close to his sheer artistic power, and no one can hold a candle to his deadpan cynicism that fluctuates between hate and love of all things human.
This is the o
You have to be in the right (or wrong) frame of mind to read Burrough's classic 'cut up' technique of literature which is really just a series of disjointed paragraphs, little punctuation and pages of streams of consciousness. If you can get your head around all the word vomit, you'll find a strange, sci-fi ish storyline which is depraved, crazy, and utterly random with some downright bizarre characters. Like The Soft Machine it's a tough one to read, but there are some awesome choice quotes and ...more
Aaron Rogge
Mar 14, 2011 Aaron Rogge rated it really liked it
Softly wavering between scattered cut ups and visceral marches through post-taboo imagery, The Ticket That Exploded is collage art, profane satire, and deep subconscious phantasmagoria wrapped into a swirling colony of bite sized insanity. There is absolutely no way to describe what the nova trilogy is to people that read mass-market novels or enjoy light reading. This is for closing ones eyes and reading, so to speak, removing one's self from pace and falling through the delusions of junk sick ...more
Jul 07, 2010 Jenn rated it really liked it
William S. Burroughs is alive and well and seems to be currently writing for the BBC.

I was amazed when I caught a NOVA episode about the cuttlefish's ability to dazzle prey by triggering its skin cells to rapidly change color like a Pink Floyd light show, just like the fishboys. No one can come up with disturbing, half-ancestrally remembered creatures like Bill Lee.
Leonard Makin
Dec 24, 2016 Leonard Makin rated it it was amazing
Difficult, clearly, but rewards careful reading. For me, Burroughs is by far the most interesting post-war writer. When I think of the London Literary Mafia, with their circle of fawning literary editors, their cosy review system, and their snobbish exclusion of writers who explore the dark corners of our existence - what am I trying to say ? - Burroughs was a literary genius and his work condemned the London Literary Mafia to their wishy-washy mediocrity.
Victor Barros
Jan 16, 2016 Victor Barros rated it really liked it
Hypnotizing. By the fact of Mr. Lee creating an entire universe for the purpose of presenting the cut up method not only to the reader but to the whole universe as a manual and as a combat manifesto against the powers that be. Utterly fascinating are also the step-by-step experiments of splicing tapes and breaking down the association patterns constructed over our entire time in this planet. Loved it. Are there any Brion Gysin or Ian Sommerville books out there? Gotta find out.
Jan 29, 2011 T4ncr3d1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
L'"Altra Metà" è la parola. L'"Altra Metà" è un organismo. La parola è un organismo.

Il biglietto che esplose, pannello centrale della Trilogia Nova, è probabilmente il più ostico dei libri di Burroughs, o almeno, il più difficile che io abbia finora incontrato.
Come nei romanzi precedenti, anche in questo i due pilastri sono inevitabilmente il corpo ed il linguaggio. Destrutturati e riassemblati una dieci e mille volte. Quel corpo che veniva visto come una macchina morbida, intossicata dall'Io-ne
☭ Danny
Huge step down from The Soft Machine, which I'd easily consider to be a literary or even in a sense magickal masterpiece. The methodology here [rendering something much more narrative and less vital] seems fundamentally different from TSM [the latter being imo something like a prose equivalent to Vertov's MWaMC (1929), or perhaps Resnais' LYaM (1961)].

That said, there are still of course the usual Burroughsian concepts ["two parasites" (pg. 112)], amusing or occasionally interesting passages ["B
Apr 12, 2015 Scot rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, avant-garde
This is the second book in the "trilogy" that I read and not really a trilogy as we normally conceive of them as they can be read in any order. Whereas "The Soft Machine" introduced the concept of the cut-up novel to the world, "The Ticket That Exploded" took it to a whole new level adding in more popular music, explaining how Burroughs thought we could subvert the ruling oligarchy with these techniques, and integrating a much more SciFi feel than the previous novel. As with "The Soft Machine" t ...more
La Stamberga dei Lettori
Jun 11, 2011 La Stamberga dei Lettori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tancredi
Il biglietto che esplose, pannello centrale della Trilogia Nova, è probabilmente il più ostico dei libri di Burroughs, o almeno, il più difficile che io abbia finora incontrato.
Come nei romanzi precedenti, anche in questo i due pilastri sono inevitabilmente il corpo ed il linguaggio. Destrutturati e riassemblati una dieci e mille volte. Quel corpo che veniva visto come una macchina morbida, intossicata dall'Io-nevrosi e dal virus della droga, adesso viene letto come una prigione. L'uomo è prigi
David Allison
I've not done the beats in a while but I’m enough of a cliche to have their assumptions spliced into my own. This didn’t entice and mystify me like it might once have, I’m too aware of the Burroughs myth, too tired of his techniques… and yet, there’s still something to it, the sense that you’re watching a mind trying to find approaches to dealing with the outside world (sci-fi tropes, carny patter) that can protect his internal world from its worse effects.

The tricks don’t work. But am I worse o
Mar 07, 2013 Thomas rated it did not like it
To begin with I felt guilty for hardly absorbing any of the book as the grammar made it hard to read. When I researched it a little and realised the writing style was purposely nonsensical I felt a bit better, but looked forward to the point where it started to make sense. It didn’t. As the text doesn’t make coherent sense for more than about a page at a time, it feels like gibberish and is very, very difficult to concentrate on. Like with some Jack Kerouac and JG Ballard, I took it as a mission ...more
Dan  Ray
Dec 07, 2015 Dan Ray rated it did not like it
Shelves: sci-fi, 60s I'd love to rate a two or even three out of respect. I grudgingly admire what Burroughs was trying to do here. It's the boldest example of practice what you preach sci-if experimentalism I've probably ever read. That being said, the experiment itself was a tremendous failure. Experimenting with the technology of the day, he really had a unique take on things. But sadly it doesn't stand up to the test of time. Too much of the "freak out" shock style, too incomprehensible 90% of the t ...more
I really loved The Soft Machine, but for some reason this second book of the "cut-up trilogy" never fully clicked with me. There are occasionally some brilliant passages, but the cut-up bits felt too disjointed and nonsensical to me here. He ups the ante in terms of weird aliens and explicit sex acts (for better or worse), but outside of a select few scenes I wasn't able to put together anything resembling a plot.

I definitely recommend The Soft Machine over this one. I'll probably still check ou
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
W.S. Burroughs, a bearer of truth, a prophet. 2 5 Apr 04, 2015 09:21AM  
  • William S. Burroughs, Throbbing Gristle, Brion Gysin
  • Period
  • Genoa: A Telling of Wonders
  • Indian Journals
  • The Atrocity Exhibition
  • Take It or Leave It
  • The Cannibal
  • Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down
  • Visions of Cody
  • Empire of the Senseless
  • Call Me Burroughs: A Life
  • Entering Fire
  • Literary Outlaw: The Life and Times of William S. Burroughs
  • The Rifles
  • Gentleman Junkie: The Life and Legacy of William S. Burroughs
  • City Come a-Walkin'
  • Dr. Adder
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. A primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author, he is considered to be "one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th century ...more
More about William S. Burroughs...

Other Books in the Series

The Nova Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Soft Machine (The Nova Trilogy #1)
  • Nova Express (The Nova Trilogy #3)

Share This Book

“The 'Other Half' is the word. The 'Other Half' is an organism. Word is an organism. The presence of the 'Other Half' is a separate organism attached to your nervous system on an air line of words can now be demonstrated experimentally. One of the most common 'hallucinations' of subject during sense withdrawal is the feeling of another body sprawled through the subject's body at an angle...yes quite an angle it is the 'Other Half' worked quite some years on a symbiotic basis. From symbiosis to parasitism is a short step. The word is now a virus. The flu virus may have once been a healthy lung cell. It is now a parasitic organism that invades and damages the central nervous system. Modern man has lost the option of silence. Try halting sub-vocal speech. Try to achieve even ten seconds of inner silence. You will encounter a resisting organism that forces you to talk. That organism is the word.” 23 likes
“The word is now a virus. The flu virus may have once been a healthy lung cell. It is now a parasitic organism that invades and damages the central nervous system. Modern man has lost the option of silence. Try halting sub-vocal speech. Try to achieve even ten seconds of inner silence. You will encounter a resisting organism that forces you to talk. That organism is the word.” 2 likes
More quotes…