Interzone (book)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Interzone is a collection of short stories and other early works by William S. Burroughs. The collection was first published by Viking Penguin in 1989, although several of the stories had already been printed elsewhere, including an earlier publication entitled Early Routines. The title Interzone is inspired by the International Zone in Tangiers, Morocco, where Burroughs lived for a time and by which he was greatly influenced.

A notable inclusion is "Twilight's Last Gleamings", written in 1938 in collaboration with childhood friend Kells Elvins, and widely thought to be Burroughs' first attempt at fiction. The villain of the piece, one Doctor Benway, was to play a pivotal role in Burroughs' Naked Lunch. (This story differs from another Burroughs piece titled "Twilight's Last Gleamings," which was published in the 1970s collection, Exterminator!.)

Interzone features many characters and concepts that would manifest themselves in such better known books as Naked Lunch, Nova Express and others. In fact, the title Interzone was at one point considered for Naked Lunch. Moreover, the concluding section entitled "WORD" was part of the original Naked Lunch manuscript but was cut during the editing process (this according to an introduction by the editor of this book, James Grauerholz). Interzone represents a transitional phase in between the first-person traditional narrative style of the earlier "Junky" and "Queer" and Burroughs' later, more experimental work.

Several of the short pieces in Interzone were adapted into other media. Burroughs recorded versions of the stories "The Junky's Christmas" and "Spare Ass Annie" which were set to music and released on his album Spare Ass Annie and Other Tales. "Junky's Christmas" was also adapted as an acclaimed animated film in the 1990s.

It has been cited as the inspiration for the Klaxons song "Atlantis to Interzone".

It has also been the inspiration for a live happening in London called 'Interzone' by art collective "Guerrilla Zoo" which combined live art, live music and performance art. The event had installed an Orgone Accumulator designed by Wilhelm Reich and several Dreamachines, both mentioned by Burroughs repetitively in many of his books and inverviews.



The book is divided into three sections:

Part 1: Stories

  1. Twilight's Last Gleamings (a different piece from the one in the earlier collection, Exterminator!)
  2. The Finger
  3. Driving Lesson
  4. The Junky's Christmas
  5. Lee and the Boys
  6. In the Cafe Central
  7. Dream of the Penal Colony
  8. International Zone

Part 2: Lee's Journals

  1. Lee's Journals
  2. An Advertising Short for Television
  3. Antonio the Portuguese Mooch
  4. Displaced Fuzz
  5. Spare Ass Annie
  6. The Dream Cops
  7. The Conspiracy
  8. Iron Wrack Dream
  9. Ginsberg Notes (a reference to Allen Ginsberg)

Part 3: WORD

As noted above, this is a novella-length story that was originally part of the Naked Lunch manuscript when it was entitled Interzone. The band Joy Division have a song titled "Interzone" on the album "Unknown Pleasures".

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Interzone (book)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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