Jason's Reviews > The Soft Machine

The Soft Machine by William S. Burroughs
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's review
Feb 15, 11

bookshelves: reviewed
Read on February 15, 2011

Imagine that the cable box has only 20 channels. Imagine that these channels are playing a variety of sex films, a documentary on parasitic and poisonous insects of the amazon, a sci-fi police drama strangely analogous to Dr. Who (no Daleks, sorry), and a film about junkies. Now imagine what all this would look like when the TV was set to jump randomly among channels every few seconds. This is the best description I can give to the text of The Soft Machine, however this belies the strange almost-coherence contained despite the channel-change static bursts I found myself imagining at every punctuation mark. A time traveling agent attempting to foil religious mind-control, regulate drug usage (among those without proper documentation). The strange religious sacrifices, capital punishment he could fall prey to flicker in and out of the picture. The unnerving presence of the Doctor Benway flickers in and out, much less noticably than in Naked Lunch, but there all the same. The fever dreams of the junk-sick flicker against sexual gratification, boys undressing, the smell of rancid tide flat/rectal mucous.

What it means, if anything; I don't know, nor do I really care. Searching for a blatant narrative in this book is a convoluted search indeed, but if you're reading this then you probably expect a challenge anyway. I liked it just the same.
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