Cyberpunk Information Database
Science Fiction
Picture: Burroughs in a post stamp

William S. Burroughs


William Seward Burroughs II was born 5 February 1914 in Saint Louis, Missouri, United States. He died on Saturday 2 August 1997.

Burroughs' sensory-overload style of writing has influenced a whole new generation of authors, among them William Gibson and the cyberpunk other scene. Full of seminal imagination, Burroughs' work has redefined the novel in the late 20th century.

Beat, Hippie, Punk (cyber or otherwise), Radical Crazy Mutant... every real advance in American writing is rooted in his work, or graced by the spectral gray image of his presence, Buster Keaton in banker's drag, dessicated junky prophet. Burroughs' writing is based on oral 'routines', satiric or surreal monologues which later grow, expand, implode and fold in on themselves to produce the finished books.
-- Semiotext(e) SF 14 , 1989)

Burroughs is a beat legend, played guru, or teacher, to Kerouac and Ginsberg, has played with drugs, pistols, human life, human consciousness, a quicksilver daredevil with an extra-high IQ. Says of his work: 'I write about what is in front of my senses at the moment of writing. I do not presume to impose story or plot or continuity.' His underground novel Naked Lunch is a quick-shifting pinwheel of the modern scene; has mad biting humor and sections of technological horror that out-Orwell Orwell"
-- Seymour Krim (in The Beats , 1960)


Junkie: Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict (1953)
Pulp fiction novel. Originally published under the pseudonym William Lee.

The Naked Lunch (1959)
Postmodern novel.

The Soft Machine (1961)
Science fiction novel. Book 1 of trilogy.

The Ticket That Exploded (1962)
Science fiction novel. Book 2 of trilogy.

Dead Fingers Talk (1963)

Nova Express (1964)
Science fiction novel. Book 3 of trilogy.

Valentines Day Reading (1965)

"Roosevelt After the Inauguration" (1965)
A small mimeographed booklet containing this 'routine' which was cut from The Yage Letters.

Time (1965)

"Apo-33" (1965)
Non-fiction pamphlet. Controversial heroin cure.

The Dead Star (1969)

The Last Words of Dutch Schultz (1970)

The Electronic Revolution (1970)

Ali's Smile (1971)

The Wild Boys: A Book of the Dead (1971)

Exterminator! (1973)
Collection of short stories.

White Subway (1973)

Mayfair Academy Series More or Less (1973)

Port of Saints (1973)

"The Book of Breathing" (1974)

Snack (1975)

Cobblestone Gardens (1976)

The Retreat Diaries (1976)

Letters to Allen Ginsberg (1976)
Non-fiction, correspondence.

Junky (1977)
Pulp fiction novel. Same as Junkie , but re-edited, with censored passages restored.

Naked Scientology (1978)
Non-fiction essay.

Blade Runner: A Movie (1979)
Science fiction screenplay.

Dr Benway (1979)

Ah Pook Is Here and Other Texts (1979)
Short fiction, non-fiction, collection.

Streets of Chance (1981)

Early Routines (1981)
Short fiction.

Cities of the Red Night (1981)
Novel, detective, slipstream. Book 1 'Western Lands' trilogy.

Sinki's Sauna (1982)

A William Burroughs Reader (1982)
Short stories.

The Place of Dead Roads (1983)
Novel, western, slipstream. Book 2 'Western Lands' trilogy.

Ruski (1984)

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1984)
Speech transcript.

The Burroughs File (1984)
Short stories, articles, collection.

The Adding Machine: Selected Writings (1985)
Short stories, essays.

Queer (1985)
Novel, pulp fiction.

The Western Lands (1987)
Novel, slipstream. Book 3 'Western Lands' trilogy.

The Whole Tamale (198?)

Apocalypse (1988)

Interzone (1989)
Short stories, notes, journals, autobiographical sketches. Early manuscripts which later became the novel The Naked Lunch. Edited by James Grauerholz.

Tornado Alley (1989)
Illustrated. Drawings by S.Clay Wilson.

Ghost of Chance (1991)

Seaven Deadly Sins (1992)

My Education: A Book of Dreams (1995)
Non-fiction, personal recollections.

Word Virus: The William S. Burroughs Reader (August 1998)
Short stories, collection.

Links & References

William S. Burroughs: Biography
More comprehensive biography.

The William S. Burroughs Files
Collaborative unofficial source of electronic Burroughs info since 1991. By Malcolm Humes.



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