I meet Robert Guffey over 20 years ago at the Clarion West Workshop in Seattle. His fiction is…. Take a little Pynchon, a pinch of Vonnegut, add a dash or two of Hunter S. Thompson, filter it through the aesthetic of surrealist painter Dali…and you have a Guffey story. Guffey was Bizarro before Bizarro was a thing.
His new absurdist novel, UNTIL THE LAST DOG DIES is out today. He probably wrote by hand, in his impeccable script.
From the cover copy:
A young stand-up comedian must adapt to an apocalyptic virus affecting people’s sense of humor in this darkly satirical debut novel.
What happens when all humor is wiped off the face of the Earth?
Around the world, an unusual viral plague is striking the population. The virus attacks only one particular section of the brain. It isn’t fatal, but it results in the victim’s sense of humor being obliterated. No one is immune.
Elliot Greeley, a young stand-up comedian starving his way through alternative comedy clubs in Los Angeles, isn’t even certain the virus is real at first. But as the pandemic begins to eat away at the very heart of civilization itself, the virus affects Elliot and his close knit group of comedian friends in increasingly personal ways. What would you consider the end of the world?
Until the Last Dog Dies is a sharp, cutting satire, both a clever twist on apocalyptic fiction and a poignant look at the things that make us human.