Polyester Plays Host To Snake Jaw
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Polyester Plays Host To Snake Jaw

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Everyone in Melbourne knows that if you have an appetite for consuming books of a weird and quirky nature, or you’ve got a penchant for some obscure cult fiction, then PolyEster Books is where you’ll find it.

Everyone in Melbourne knows that if you have an appetite for consuming books of a weird and quirky nature, or you’ve got a penchant for some obscure cult fiction, then PolyEster Books is where you’ll find it. This coming December 3, the much-loved shop will play host to the book launch of Andrew Gallacher’s debut novella, Snake Jaw , which will be an event with drinks, a book-signing and passage from the book read by a friend of the author.

“Basically it’s an illustrated novella,” says Melbourne-based Gallacher. “Content-wise, it’s kind of like a ‘80s video nasty in book form; like that’s what I was sort of going for – something really grungy and short and a bit awful.”

Snake Jaw is centred on the story of three missing persons and Detective Gill who’s trying to find them. Amongst the missing persons is a girl, found dead with a dog wedged in her surgically enlarged throat. Then there’s Vanessa, the drug addict who has been missing for weeks, and along with her baby daughter. Enter Dr. Gerald Phalanx, a surgeon with a penchant for performing ‘unnecessary’ surgeries, which usually involves tweaking the body against nature’s course.

“It’s about a doctor who has an obsession with body modification and he kidnaps this woman and her baby, and a detective who’s trying to find her,” explains Gallacher, drawing back memories of the infamous Human Centipede film.

Snake Jaw is published through LegumeMan Books, an independent publisher renowned for its extremely unusual and underground fiction. Prior to this, Gallacher had only ever been published once before – a short story printed by the same press house. The mystery-meets-crime-meets-horror novella, which includes illustrated drawings, reads very much like a pulp horror fiction – short, lurid, and with an emphasis on entertaining simply through a storyline as opposed to much introspective details.

“It’s more of a thing that you read and pass on to a friend,” says Gallacher. “It’s just a bit of entertainment for someone who likes this sort of thing… There’s always something happening. There’s not a lot of introspection, it’s all third-person narrative just telling the story of the characters going through each scene.”

 

The idea for the story came to Gallacher seven years ago when he was just 18 years-old, and despite trying to write several different books before Snake Jaw, the concept of this one just stuck.

“I was reading a lot of William Burroughs at the time, and a lot of his stories or sections centred around medical procedures and things like that,” says Gallacher. “He had this evil doctor called Dr. Benway who was very much an inspiration. But I came up with this idea a while ago of this girl on an operating table and all these men are standing around basically talking about how they’re going to augment her jaw so they can fit larger things into her throat. So everything sort of grew from that.”

 

Admittedly, Gallacher is relatively new to the fiction scene, and aside from working on his writing, he also spends his off-work time painting and is one of the creators of the comic series, Modern Gentlemen, which can also be found at PolyEster Books. Modern Gentlemen, a horror/comedy anthology composed of several artists’ work is described by Gallacher as being: “A satire comic – lots of little short stories or one-page stories, but it’s very adult-oriented and pretty dirty.”

Utilising his background in painting and comic book drawing, the illustrations in Snake Jaw were created by Gallacher himself. “For this book, specifically, I wanted the drawings to be an additional narrative to the book,” he explains. “So they’re basically the sketches of the villain in the book – sort of things that he’s seen on the medical table in the surgery room. They don’t really tell the story at all, they just add to the realm of the narrative.”

The novella only took Gallacher three weeks to write, and the illustrations a matter of several sessions of evening work. “I did the drawings afterwards. I had a pretty vivid idea of what the story looked like in my head, so I just made drawings to match the story,” he says.

 

Despite only just releasing his debut book, Gallacher is already working on a new solo fiction project, which most likely won’t include illustrations. However, the content will stay true to the pulp and horror style of Snake Jaw; a genre the author feels naturally drawn to.

“When I wanted to get into writing, I read a few horror novels and thought that it was definitely the genre for me because it encapsulates a lot of human emotions, drama, action – a lot of things I wanted to put into a book, I could through horror,” he explains. “I just find I’m comfortable when I write stuff in that [genre] – it comes naturally. I guess in a sense I want to make a career of something I produce the most of.”

Andrew Gallacher’s book Snake Jaw will be officially launched at PolyEster Books on Friday December 3 at 7.30pm. At 88 pages, it costs $20 to buy a copy.