BOOK RADAR: “Until the Last Dog Dies” by Robert Guffey

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.

Guffey

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.

Signal Boost: Chameleo by Robert Guffey

I’ve known Robert Guffey for almost 20 years. We met at the Clarion West Writers Workshop in Seattle. His fiction playfully explores issues of paranoia, conspiracy theories, secret societies and subcultures. His work, full of vast and somewhat offbeat scholarship, is also imbued with a Southern Californian sensibility that reminds one both of the trippy work of Philip K. Dick and the Sunshine State Noir of Tarantino (circa Pulp Fiction). His writing is emotionally warmer, and he has a deep affection for his oddball characters.

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I’ve started his latest work, Chameleo, a nonfiction account of governmental conspiracy (with elements of memoir), but it reads like a novel. I could see the director Paul Thomas Anderson adapting it for the screen.

Here’s the blurb:

A mesmerizing mix of Charles Bukowski, Hunter S. Thompson, and Philip K. Dick, Chameleo is a true account of what happened in a seedy Southern California town when an enthusiastic and unrepentant heroin addict named Dion Fuller sheltered a U.S. Marine who’d stolen night vision goggles and perhaps a few top secret files from a nearby military base.

Robert Guffey’s website: http://cryptoscatology.blogspot.com