Published back in 2007, Cargo Fever was my first novel. It’s a kind of philosophical caper, featuring a small, oversexed yeti-like creature (an orang pendek to be precise), and set in the outer islands of Indonesia.
A friend of mine, the writer Jonathan Taylor, says that it’s like a philosophical Indiana Jones with jokes in it although when it came out, it was marketed as a thriller, which was a pretty peculiar decision. It’s more a carnivalesque metaphysical romp. Or something like that. But they didn’t have a section for that in the bookstore, so they called it a thriller instead.
Anyway, in this book I was interested in the boundaries between the human and the non-human — whether gods or monsters. With my high-minded philosophical hat on (I do have a high-minded philosophical hat, and it is quite handsome to look at), I would say it is about exploring different kinds of relationship with Otherness. See that capital “O” on the word “Otherness”? That’s how serious I am about this stuff. But don’t let that put you off. It’s fast-paced and pretty entertaining.
I suspect that Cargo Fever is not my best book. But it is not without its virtues. I remain fond of it, and it was a lot of fun to write.