Jon Methven’s Strange Boat is the story of Danders Wake, a man raising money to build a new planet. The current world is evolving him outof his home, his job, his religion, his marriage, his sexuality, even his dream of inventing the world’s first pay-for-toilet business, known as Swanktrines. As a member of Manhattan’s high society culture, at first the planet fundraiser is conceived by Wake as a means for him to get his hands on his rightful inheritance, which is stuck in escrow so that he does not sink it into his toilet business. But the planet fundraiser is very literally a bigger project, and becomes the grander goal of a man fighting for hope over hopelessness, and a dream for a civilization that refuses to put aside its differences and distractions in order to save itself from . . . well, itself, or perhaps a really big rock heading its way.
The story is told in the first person plural, by the we” members of a government agency known only as Division: Homeland meets The Office. Their job is to sit in vans outside of supposed fraudulent charities that are raising money for dubious activities, like building a planet.
Strange Boat is a literary and comic take on a growing fascination that our culture has for space travel, the space industry, trips to Mars, survival, and escapism. The novel deals with the insanity, speed and ferocity of modern life and the desperate attempts that we all may make to get away. (Note on the title: It comes from a song, Strange Boat” by The Waterboys. The lyrics: We’re sailing on a strange boat. Heading for a strange shore. Carrying the strangest cargo that was ever hauled aboard.”)
Jon Methven has worked as a paperboy, a dishwasher, a Ponderosa cook, a pizza deliverer, a golf course grounds crewman, an illegal barbecue seasoning filter employee since he was living in Australia without a work visa, a bartender, a mascot at Yankee Stadium (Mr. Popcorn), a journalist, a taste tester, and a cubicle dweller. He knows things you can only dream of knowing, or can learn if willing to work for minimum wage. His work has appeared in Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, n+1, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Buzzfeed, The Morning News, The Awl, and New York magazine. Strange Boat is his second novel. His first novel, This Is Your Captain Speaking, was published in June 2012. He lives in New York City with his wife and sons.