Beatnik author William S. Burroughs’ “Cities of the Red Night” follows three non-linear dystopian storylines, one featuring pirates in the 18th century, one featuring a wandering young man and detective in the 20th century, and the last featuring the CIA and radioactive virus B-23 in the future. In all, many characters are possessed by the B-23 virus, and accompanying degeneration, drug addictions, and lustful desires. Burroughs’ story is quite a trip, and requires a mature and patient reader. Regardless, it is a work of opiate-fueled art, and reflects on the hardships and crippling reality of life with addiction and fatal disease.
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