Overview

The Ocean Container is the story of an environmental activist in a North American petro-state. Labeled an “economic terrorist”, he takes hiding in a shipping container, in a compound for vagrants and the unemployed. There he meets charity providers, other dissidents in hiding, and a theatrical company attracting tourists with Edo: Pleasure District in the 21st Century (quite possibly a front for prostitution). Contraband exotic species – a tapir and a white peafowl – are set loose as communal pets, and someone with two right eyes seems to be stalking him. Fearful of the outside, the “terrorist” isolates himself inside his container, where the division between imagination and external reality is fatally blurred.

Trailer

Endorsements / Reviews

In this organically original corrugated collage of a lyric novel, The Ocean Container, Patrik Sampler has created a perfect vehicle to animate the great static drama between sustainable stasis and voracious mobility by not-so-simply sitting down and paying attention to the obscene traffic of our disintegrating world.  The Ocean Container, a bounded space that contains multitudes, isn’t dystopic exactly but exact in its exacting observation of the apocalyptic bias found in the immediate.  Not the future as much as the next awful now.  This near-future meditation reads like a documentary and a diary, recording our ongoing witless destruction of the world, not with a bang but an ecstatic whimper.  Sampler reinvigorates for me Thomas Kuhn’s now glossed notion of the paradigm shift.  The Ocean Container is an elegant depiction of the minute and minute-by-minute tectonic decay and depletion of the half-lives of our halved lives.  This gorgeous lament is our Wasteland and our own manifest destiny made manifest.

Michael Martone (author, Four for a Quarter)

Sampler has, among other talents, the comic sensibilities of Kurt Vonnnegut and the poet’s heart of Icelandic writer Sjon. Which is not to say that his work is derivative, oh no. The Ocean Container is its own beast, dense and hallucinatory, dark and visceral. A reader who submits to its surreal charms might find himself in a dream-like state. And, as in a dream, imagery is paramount to the narrative. A certain amount of decoding is required. But the payoff—the solution to this puzzle Sampler has created for us— will delight and satisfy.

Carleigh Baker (author, Bad Endings)

The suspicion is that Patrik Sampler is deliberately messing with us.  But that’s okay, because it’s clear he’s messing with himself as well.  Spoiler alert: he doesn’t even survive his own novel.  Welcome to the future, I guess.  If the Big Earthquake doesn’t get you, a slip of the pen just might.

Bill Mullan (radio host and screenwriter, Terminal City Ricochet)

I found this to be one of the most poignant treatments of the implications of the environmental crises from the geopolitical level to the ultimate personal level (of one’s own container). It’s so beautifully written and ultimately about human resilience. I highly recommend it.

Sylvia Torti (author, Cages)

Shortlist

2015 Ken Klonsky Novella Contest

Publishing details

Published by Ninebark Press

ISBN-13: 978-0-9791320-4-9
ISBN-10: 0-9791320-4-5

Cover design credit

Lou Robinson

Feature image credit

The Ocean Container whale tale collage by Steven Cline

Announcements

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Where can you purchase a copy?

The Ocean Container is currently available at a variety of online retailers, a number of bookstores, and directly from the author.  Click HERE for details.

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