Troy Chambers, author of Seven Seagulls for a Single Nipple, was kind of enough to chat with me about his book, being an employee at Eraserhead Press, the history of Lobster Baby and his favorite parts of weird occultism.
Outtakes from this interview were posted at Bizarro Central yesterday.
Troy, you’re not just part of the NBAS 2011-2012, you’re also an Eraserhead Press employee. (Eraserhead Press publishes the NBAS.) What’s it like being an NBAS and part of the press proper?
Well, being a part of the NBAS and working full-time at the Eraserhead Press offices are two totally separate beasts. There’s the Troy that’s working on Eraserhead office stuff (editing, running Bizarro Central, running our ebook conversions, all the emails, etc) and then there’s the NBAS Troy who is a new author trying to make his way in the book world.
In regards to being an author, working for Eraserhead proper has given me an idea of how to make it as an author, and really try and get your name out there. It’s still hard as hell though! But at least I’m able to look at all these other successful Bizarro books by popular successful authors and see that if they can do it, so can I. Eraserhead’s a great company- for authors and employees.
If there’s any sort of downside, it’s the time-issue of being both a full-time writer and a full-time guy here at the Eraserhead offices. It’s a good thing I hardly ever sleep, because there’s always SOMETHING to do for one or the other.
Stalin the Lobster Baby is an integral character in your book, Seven Seagulls for a Single Nipple. However, there’s actually a real-life Lobster Baby, as well. Would you tell us about the real Lobster Baby?
I’m glad you asked that… Stalin the Lobster Baby in the book and the real-life Lobster Baby is kind of a funny story.
Lobster Baby the stuffed animal doesn’t have a name. He’s just a… thing. A very wrong thing. He was left in a shopping cart at a department store I used to work security in (this was just before I left that company and started working at Eraserhead). No one claimed him, so I was allowed to bring him home. At first I thought he was an Anne Geddes doll, but by tracing the info on his tag I found out he’s really one of those weird, one-off freak toys that they put in coin operated claw machines.
Well, I took him home and went on an absinthe bender (not related). At some point in the night, I remember sobering up a bit while I’m making out with lobster baby. Not wanting to think that I’d decide MYSELF it was a good idea to make out with a stuffed crustacean mutant, I decided that he had raped me because I was drunk and easy- and his persona developed from there. I took him to BizarroCon 2010 a few weeks later and he was a hit with everyone there, so the idea started to form that he might make a good character in a book.
When it came time to make him a fictional character, I had to give him a name. The name I chose, Stalin, is actually the name of a demon that I work with in my occult practices. I decided to blend the personality of Stalin the Demon with Lobster Baby the Rapist for the character- Lobster Baby’s rapey-ness, and the demon’s tendency to chainsmoke and be a snarky, obnoxious layabout.
The stuffed animal lobster baby has not tried raping me since that first night, however the demon Stalin still continues to chainsmoke and generally be rude.
For the record- he’s not THE Stalin. He just goes by that name. Because he’s an ass.
What does Lobster Baby think of the Stalin in the book, or is Stalin actually that close to the real life Lobster Baby?
Like I said above, they’re pretty damn close. Demon Stalin doesn’t do the whole rape thing, but he is quite sexual. He’s flamboyantly homosexual, and quite often make some rather… lewd comments, about my personal life.
The demon was quite ok having the character in the book named after him, as long as I made sure to give the character his snarky, no-boundaries way of speaking. I tried to get him to dictate Stalin’s lines in the book, but he refused and just stood there smoking and being annoying. So, to spite him, I wrote that into the book too.
In your book, we learn how one Lobster Baby was made. We also learn that Stalin was a serial rapist before becoming a Lobster Baby. Could you tell us how some of the other Lobster Babies turned into Lobster Babies, and maybe even a little more about Stalin’s origin story?
Alright, so- people who know me personally, or see any of my online presence know I’m very much involved with the ‘occult’ if you will. Anyone who doesn’t know that is catching on quickly I’m assuming.
I practice Voodoo, as well as a few other African-derived practices, with a strong focus on understanding the darker strains of these practices. Which leads me often to demons, both in these systems and out of them- to just the random wandering ones.
Now, without saying too much about it I will say that these sorts of demons are generally comprised of A) human beings with… let’s just say ‘interesting pasts’ animals C) times and places of some sort of disturbance. These components go into creating demons.
So from that, you should be able to see a bit more about what the Lobster Babies are- they’re demons. Demons in the sense that I know, as a cross between animal remains, human remains, and memories. To bring that into the setting of a Bizarro book I took that formula quite literally and made the Lobster Babies- lobsters with the faces of human babies. As for the time and place of disturbance element, well, look at Stalin in the book- he was a rapist. Not a very nice individual. He did terrible things, and all this contributed to what he became when he died. Wilmorn had that element too, in a different way- he was a broken individual, and tried to use dark magic to achieve his ends. He failed, and became this demonic force. I’ve wondered since the writing of the book what he does with that ability after the book ends…
Given all that, we can assume that the rest of the lobster babies glimpsed in the book had similarly disruptive lives, and at some point crossed the Seagull Gods. Whoever they are, they’re probably not nice, and I can imagine that there are some much MUCH worse than Stalin.
As for Stalin’s origin story- well, I didn’t really give him one in the book, as a lot of his personality was straight from the demon whose name he carries. If I think about it, I’d say that his desires lead him to where he is now. Someone who just had to have new experiences in sex, and when the newest fetish got boring, find one more extreme, repeat and repeat… and eventually, it seems he called the Seagull Gods into it to try and spruce up his sex life. Didn’t work out well…
In the book, Stalin the Lobster Baby says the best part of weird occultism is Transmogrification. What do you think is the best part of weird occultism?
Well, I just might have to agree with him, as he was sort of echoing my own thoughts there…
The idea (that is very real to me) that there are ways of attaching demons to yourself that will physically change the body is fascinating and endlessly exciting. And I’m not just talking throwing up an illusion so you look sexy around certain people or scary and intimidating around others, or the minor physical appearance changes that take place during a moment of possession- these are usual and, dare I say it, common occurrences.
But something more extreme? Something inhuman happening- and sticking? A reforming of the body into an embodiment of demonic energies while still ‘living’, so that instead of having to work with these forces on an external level you can work them from inside this new body?
Now that- that interests me…