The Journal of Doctor Shamass

ShamassCovers1997-2013A new edition of The Journal of Doctor Shamass is available here*. First published in June 1997, I released another edition of it in November 2008. The new, third edition*, is simply a slightly altered version of the 2008 edition. The scan of the cover of the 1997 edition above is of a battered zine, loaned from a friend. I will endeavour to put up a complete scan of the original version sometime soon.

I wrote The Journal of Doctor Shamass in the winter of 1996, over about a month and a half in a house in the suburb of Downer, Canberra. At the time my partner was heavily pregnant. I would sit up after she went to sleep; tapping away on what was even then an old Mac Plus with an external 20 mg hard drive rescued from a garbage dumpster in between rolled ciggies on the porch and solo games of Risk and Axis and Allies on the computer. One of the keys of the Mac was dead, I can’t remember which, probably not an essential one considering that I finished the zine, though I do vaguely remember having to cut and paste a letter or a word fairly often. I typed up the Journal at night usually between 10pm and 2am. As my partner slept I often obsessively wondered what becoming a father would mean; maybe no more nights like these, at least not for a while. I loved the cold Canberra nights, the frigid clear dark with stars and the smoke and the warmth of my breath forced out; I still love the nights and the stars above this town of state institutions.

Of the many influences on its composition I will here draw attention to the that of The Colour of Liberty, a veritable biography of Franklin Octavian Porque discovered by myself and Peter Smale one night south of Grafton in April 1996.

Sometime in the early winter of 1997 I printed up 100 copies of The Journal of Doctor Shamass on a departmental photocopier at a university campus in Canberra. With the help of a friend we ‘liberated’ the copier for other, better uses at night with fewer people around to bother or stop us. I handed them out for free over the next year or so in Canberra, and a few in Sydney and Melbourne. I intended to print up more and even write further adventures of the good Doctor, but these plans were put on hold for some time.

In the late Spring of 2008 I set myself the task of returning to Doctor Shamass. For various reasons* I was now ready to take up where I had left off 12 years before. In that time I had scratched away at some ideas for Shamass but not to any great effect—though I have since worked some of these fragments up and will hopefully release them in the next issue of The Mouth::The Anomalous. In November 2008 I republished The Journal of Doctor Shamass in a new re-set format as a preliminary for the appearance of new tales.

In December 2008 I released my first Shamass ‘Christmas Tale’. Since then I have continued to release a new Shamass tale inscribed on a card every December. So far five new tales have been released. Over the next few weeks I hope to put up these five tales on the blog.

Shamass is a kind of therapy; or more exactly a way of filling in the time. I may even keep releasing them until I no longer can.

The Journal of Doctor Shamass*

NB. From now on all genuine, non-invasive advertising links on this site will be followed by an asterisk like this: *

Back Cover of the original 1997 Journal

Back Cover of the original 1997 Journal

Back cover of the 2008/2013 re-print

Back cover of the 2008/2013 re-print

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7 Responses to The Journal of Doctor Shamass

  1. Linus Vincentian says:

    I have in my possession two original 1997 editions. One has been thumbed repeatedly and severely by several people (presumably through the act of reading). However, the other is in almost ‘mint’ condition and I am looking to finally realise the capital growth on my initial investment. Given your extensive experience, do you think I should sell it on eBay or Gumtree?

    • antyphayes says:

      I would definitely consider “realising” the intrinsic value of the said zine or even donating it to one of the nation’s august scholarly institutions. However I think there is a better option. Bury the zine in a time capsule, wait for several thousand years (keeping in mind both the hermetic quality of your time capsule – don’t skimp on quality! – and the likely longevity of the 80gsm A4 paper used in the production of the zine), and then pop forward to the far future in a temporal converter. Remember don’t leave it in the ground too long! With your “naturally” aged zine now considerably older than all other copies presently available on the planet (though I can’t guarantee this), its intrinsic value will undergo a strange metamorphosis full of metaphysical subtlety and theological niceties. And that, my friend, is money in the bank.

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