by James Campbell / The Guardian

Naked Lunch is a savage satire on "control" in various forms, from sexual censorship to McCarthyite anti-communism to the worldwide spread of narcotics.

Half a century ago, Burroughs created Islam Inc, issuing from the Mecca Chamber of Commerce, a fundamentalist racket that sends out “nationalist martyrs with grenades up the ass” to mingle with rank and file Muslims “and suddenly explode, occasioning heavy casualties”. Part of the action takes place in Freeland, a sterile Scandinavian utopia where the urgencies of instinct and hunger are removed. Scientists work to isolate the “human virus”. When eventually they succeed, as they are bound to, homo sapiens can be perfected and messy old life brought to an end. Freeland is an ideal police state, in which “there is no need for police”, since every citizen is under constant surveillance by every other.  Read the full article