Unpublished Books by Hunter S. Thompson
Hunter S. Thompson was one of the most famous writers of the 20th century, fusing fiction and non-fiction in an innovative style called Gonzo. His work on the genre catapulted him to counterculture fame, but his notorious drug habits and lack of focus meant that many potentially great books went unpublished. Here are nine of his works that never saw the light of day.
1. Prince jellyfish
Thompson’s first attempt at writing a novel was Prince jellyfish, more a series of autobiographical stories than real fiction. He wrote the book while living in a cabin in the New York woods in 1959, and the style is an odd mix of his literary heroes of the day like Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, and JP Donleavy. The book was picked up by an agent; however, apart from a few excerpts from Songs of the condemned (1990), it has never been published.
2. The gun hall
In the late 1960s, as Thompson’s counterculture star was on the rise, he was hired by Squire infiltrate the NRA. Asked to write a 3,000-word article on the organization, the author baffled his editors by handing them an 80,000-word manuscript. Without surprise, Squire refused to publish a rambling personal story that was nearly 30 times the stated word count, and Thompson, possibly at odds with his own love of guns, never sought to publish the book.
3. Tripe ball
It is a little known fact that Fear and loathing in Las Vegas almost got a sequel. After returning from the 1972 presidential campaign, Thompson had a drug-induced vision of a plane filled with Secret Service agents, Nixon employees and other assorted passengers, including the alter ego of Thompson, Raoul Duke. In an orgy of drugs and violence, Secret Service agents forced each passenger to participate in a frenzied game of football in the aisles of the plane. Thompson worked on this “saga of madness and terror” for years before admitting defeat, although you can listen to him talk about what he had in mind for the novel / screenplay on Gonzo bands.
4. The Silk Road
Thompson was in Key West when the Mariel boat lift – a massive legal emigration of Cubans to America – began. As reporters flocked to cover the story, Thompson walked over to the bar, disinterested until Squire gave him a cash advance, including $ 15,000 for expenses, to make a part of it. Instead of covering the event, however, he spent the money and started writing a novel called The Silk Road, offering an excerpt to its editors instead of the article. Thompson explained that Silk Road would be “A Quick, Weird, and Sometimes Violent Story” that involved smuggling and scuba diving.
As with most of his attempts at fiction, he wanted the plot and characters to resemble those found in Gatsby the magnificent, but with a lot of his sex, his drugs and his violence. He actually wrote a substantial part of the book, but was rejected by the magazine, which suffered a loss on the lead. Only a few segments were published in Songs of the condemned.
5. The night manager
For his next concert, Playboy paid Thompson to write an article on feminist pornography, so he settled down and started working at San Francisco’s infamous O’Farrell Theater, an X-rated movie theater and strip club. quickly realized that a book would be more profitable than a magazine article and began to turn the story into a novel on the subject titled The night manager. Despite a year of effort and the patience of its editors to Playboy, neither the article nor the book have been published.
6. The rise of the Nazi bodies
In the years 1983 Lono’s curse, Thompson, in part, explored what he saw as a descent into the apparent masochism of the rise of marathons and running culture. Publisher Paul Perry suggested that Thompson explore this social satire of so-called “fitness freaks” further in a book titled The rise of the Nazi bodies. Thompson was enthusiastic, especially about the title, but unfortunately he owed his publishers so many books that they refused to pay him another advance and Nazi Corps joins the ranks of condemned Gonzo companies.
7. 99 days: the trial of Hunter S. Thompson
In Songs of the condemned, Thompson announced he was working on a new track titled 99 days: the trial of Hunter S. Thompson. It was a reference to a lawsuit brought against him by a porn actress who accused him of assault (those charges were later dismissed). Instead of writing the book, however, he collected reports on his legal issues and crammed it into various other works, including the entire last section of Songs of the condemned himself.
8. Polo is my life
In the 1980s, Thompson attempted to seduce a wealthy woman, but she turned him down in favor of her ponies, telling him, “Polo is my life.” Thompson was in love not only with her, but with this line. So for many years he worked on a book called Polo is my life, the story of a man who quits his job in a sex theater in San Francisco and flees to the mountains, where he falls in love. (He also apparently described it as a “finely choked saga of sex, betrayal, and violence in the ’90s, which also resolves the murder of John F. Kennedy.”)
Friends, editors, and assistants all pushed him to finish it and his publisher even announced a release date, but that’s never gonna materialize outside of a few snippets in Rolling stone.
9. The Mutineer
Thompson was fortunate that his early writings were so brilliant and voluminous that they carried him through decades of failed missions. In his old age, he was able to collect his first letters in two successful volumes, but the third opus, entitled The Mutineer: Mountain Top Missives, has yet to be released, although its publisher gave it a cover and an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) nearly ten years ago.
Additional sources: Hunter S. Thompson: An Insider’s Take on Disturbed, Depraved, Drugged Brilliance; Fear and loathing in America: the brutal odyssey of an outlaw journalist; Fear and loathing: the strange and terrible saga of Hunter S. Thompson