Maggoty Bodily Fluid Soup: Michael Green’s The Jim-Jams

The Jim-Jams – Michael Green

Pocket – 1994

As soon as I heard of this rare, disgusting work of cosmic-horror, it jumped straight to the top of my to-read list..

Blue Turtle Island is an isolated holiday resort for old people. The small team of staff working there are in for a rough weekend. Not only has a gang of thugs sailed over with plans to mug the visitors, but there’s a weird… thing in the woods, and it’s having some rather strange effects on the creatures that come into contact with it.

It feel from the sky, and it seems to mess with the DNA of all lifeforms who encounter it, altering their physical structure and behaviour. Insects and small animals seem to morph into each other, and people get really messy. There’s lots of swelling, tumours, fluids, new orifices and more. Oh and there’s bugs in everything.

A plot centering on a bunch of old people is novel, but the real fun of this book lies in it’s relentlessness. It’s really gross. Think of all the horrible things that can happen to a human body, and then imagine most of them happening at once to the same body while that body is being infested with worms and spiders. There’s no great build-up here either. Things get gooey early on, and they never dry up.

There’s weird references to other horror writers in here. Different bugs are referred to as koontzes, bradburys and straubs. One character is called Farris too. Also, there is a direct reference to another horror author that had me laughing. One of the characters sees a mutated freak and assumes it’s an alien.”Feeling almost faint with excitement, Lana strove to keep in mind the courageous example of Whitley Strieber, a man she admired more than any other, an ambassador for all humankind who endured so many hardships during his encounters with Visitors from other worlds.”

The Jim-Jams reminded me of Edward Lee’s Slither. That one was also about people trapped on an island with gross mutating bugs. Both are very silly novels, but there’s enough self awareness and plot to keep them enjoyable. If you like Edward Lee, give The Jim-Jams a read.

This book has been out of print for almost 20 years, and it’s almost impossible to find. There’s no copies for sale online right now. I read it online at the Internet Archive, one of the greatest resources on the internet for people with an interest in books. The Internet Archive is currently in a legal battle with the biggest publishers in the world. You can show your support for libraries here.