Tag Archives: gutter surrealism

Ten Questions for five writers

James Newman

James Newman, writer of Bangkok Express

Fellow writer, James Newman is currently doing a little project in conjunction with writer and publisher, Tom Vater of Crime Wave Press. The idea is do a chain interview with five other writers working in the East. I’ve been asked to participate.

What is the title of your book?

Blubber Island.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A comedic slasher, post modern, metaphysical mind fuck.

What genre does your book fall under?

It fits into the trashy and realty bending genre of “Gutter Surrealism.” Newman has called it “Splatter Punk,” I’d go with that too.

 Where did the idea come from for the book?

I was sick of the virtually absolute grip the US Government’s propaganda has over people. That’s how the idea of “mind stealing” came to me. I wanted to write something that showed how precious our minds are because people seem so willing to surrender it. Dadaism was an anti-art, art movement that ridiculed modern art as the domesticated pet of those behind World War II. Blubber Island follows in the Dadaist spirit as an anti-literature novel.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

It took a little over a month. I hardly left the house during that time.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The book was written for my sister who was going through some very hard times. I wanted to tell her to never submit even under crushing oppression. My brother inspired me with his declaration, “I AM NOT A CORPORATE ROBOT!”

As for books, Stephen King’s On Writing put the fire under my ass to finally write a book. Blubber Island is my work. Since moving to Japan, I’ve been reading more Japanese writers such as Haruki Murakami, Yukio Mishima, and Banana Yoshimoto. I tired to incorporate a non-western feeling. And lastly, there is Wyoming lawyer and writer, Gerry Spence. His views on neo-slavery are profound.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

100% self published.

What other works would you compare this book to within your genre?

Alejandro Jodorowsky’s film The Holy Mountain. His film is nontraditional and subversive. It attacks the psyche on multiple fronts with the intention to bring about enlightenment.

John Davies’s film Hobo With a Shotgun, directed by Jason Eisener, is the ultimate underdog film. It lays on the gore with a cheesy style in a fairy tale context.

Again and again my readers have compared my book with the works of William S. Burroughs. To be honest I’ve never finished any of his books.

I tried to make Blubber Island as original as possible. If it started sounding like somebody I’ve read, I changed it.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a
movie rendition?

They’d all be “nobodies.”

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

As offensive as this book is, the primary message is spiritual salvation and a return to harmony.

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“Hard boiled wonderland and the end of the world” Japanese cyberpunk with a noir twist

Prepare to trip balls.

Murakami Haruki’s Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is imagination dynamite. The story opens up with a sci-fi, noir attitude told from a Japanese perspective. My immediate impression was, “This is gonna cool,” and it was. Haruki throws a bit of everything into the pot: surrealism, mystery, metaphysics, magical realism, to name a few. The story itself is one of the most strangely unique I have ever read. I think Haruki enjoys messing with our heads. He’s aware of the tired-out clichés and sets you up to believe you know exactly where the book is heading, then busts your bubble and blows your mind. For a book that was written back in 1985, it reads like a bestseller hot off the press. If Franz Kafka was into cyberpunk, occasionally took hard drugs, and reincarnated as a Japanese man, he’d probably write something like this.

The story is such a bizarre odyssey that I wouldn’t dare spoil any of it for you. I can’t even tell you the general plot–it’ll ruin the surprise. I’ve read some reviews of this book, and all I can say is that I’m glad I read the book first and avoided the spoilers. It does have some hardcore cyberpunk elements and Johnny Mnemonic did come to mind–but was much more than that. The book has an amazing sense of duality. When you first come across this, you’ll wonder what the hell is going on. As the story progresses, Murakami weaves a dangerously magical world that breaks the spine of traditional modern writing. It’s a gritty fairy tale that you’ll fall into like a deep well. His use of Gutter Surrealism is masterful. This review is vague, and I apologize. But once you begin Hard boiled Wonderland and the End of the Word, you will see my intentions were sincere. Murakami drives his imagination like a stolen car in this book. I suggest you get in and enjoy the ride.

The end of this book stunned me. It was the type of conclusion that sort of breaks your heart and leaves you with the feeling that a longtime friend and lover had disappeared from the planet. I’ve taken reconciliation in the fact that Murakami’s other works contain the same magical nature I was introduced to in Hard Boiled Wonderland. I loved this book and I hope this review inspires you to read it too. Despite Murakami’s international acclaim, he remains largely unknown to American readers. This I cannot accept. Magic Realism of this caliber should be shared to everyone. Let’s all trip out together.

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Blubber Island lives

Blubber Island Book Cover FINAL-page-001

Blubber Island by Guillermo Galvan


Welcome to the official Blubber Island blog. I’ve struggled to create a new genre I call “gutter surrealism,” which resulted in a five-year project called Blubber Island.

This book was a lot of fun to write at first. I let my imagination off its dog chain, and it ran free through the avenues of my mind. I knew I had to go far out because I wanted to free everyone imaginations. These were huge ambitions. I’m eternally grateful that I was naive enough to believe I could do it. All that mattered was driving full speed ahead without regard to the casualties of grammar and basic storytelling. I was too busy being rock and roll. The result was a train wreck. Readers tore up my book in reviews. They accused me of being a lazy bastard that released sloppy work.

I was offended because they were right.

However, there were many readers who generously read through my bad writing and discovered the beating heart that drove me to see this story to the end. These people were kind and encouraging enough to convince me there was something inside this bizarre story worth sharing. I stopped sales and fell off the radar for five years. During this time I filled up on books covering the nuts and bolts of writing. I’ve developed a deep love and respect for the craft. A well-constructed sentence can carry the weight of the world.

Life changes and health reasons prevented me from finishing the revision sooner. Sometimes I would google my book and be surprised what those few sold copies managed to inspire. A grad student presented my book alongside other “real” writers in a presentation of Latino Dystopia, a professor used a quote for his syllabus on literature and drug abuse, and several artists created illustrations. On forums and my Facebook page people asked where they could obtain a copy as the years passed. I found copy going for $300 through a private seller. That made me laugh.

So many times I was tempted to either release the current version or delete it and be done with the idea. The manuscript haunted me. Luckily, my life had recently stabilized enough to commit over 50 hours into the editing job. My wife would arrive in the afternoon to find me at the computer with a five o’clock shadow and reddened eyes. She’d ask if I’ve left the house at all that day. I’d think about it for a moment and then answer, “No.” Once the manuscript was finished, I started on a new cover.

So now it’s finally done. The beast has been slayed and I sleep a little easier at night. Some of the original version did not survive the revision. Mostly the cuts were senseless violence that did not push the story forward. Don’t worry there’s plenty Splatterpunk left in there.

I hope you give my book a try and trip out on Blubber Island.

Best regards.

Blubber Island is available in paper and ebook through Amazon