The Spinal Cord Perception is the first novel from Josh Porter who is known mostly for his role as Josh Dies, the singer/songwriter for the band Showbread. In late 2006, Porter announced that he had written the novel and would be releasing it independently to be sold via his website before it received mainstream publication. An active internet following gathered, comprised largely of Showbread fans who participated in message boards and an ever expanding myspace account in support of the book. Pre-order for the novel was accepted for two days in early December in which the entire first printing of the book sold out quickly. A very small number of people are said to actually own the book, more printings are said to be available in early 2007. The book is currently out of print.
The story chronicles the bi-polar rants of David Rivers, a mentally unstable substitute teacher. Rivers is most likely an unreliable narrator in most instances and is thought to be a cipher of various hypocrisies in human nature. He ruthlessly condemns other characters for personality traits he claims to find unbearable and usually exemplifies the same traits moments later. The way in which Rivers sees the world is most likely a metaphor for the way the world actually is. For instance, Rivers witnesses Charles, one of Rivers co-workers who lives a loose, decadent life-style, transform slowly into a gigantic gila monster and then bite himself with deadly venomous fangs. Later Rivers overhears other characters mention that Charles killed himself.
The Llapasllaly is a small black creature who stalks David Rivers and has some kind of ghostly ability to speak with no audible voice. Several detailed descriptions are offered to explain the actual appearance of the Llapasllaly, most of which amount to some kind of horrific, gangly monster. It is also compared to an aye-aye, a tarsier, a reptile and a goat. .It is unclear whether or not this being actually exists or is a figment of David’s imagination. It does seem to steer his perception as well his actions. Several theories exist explaining the truth about the Llapasllaly. Many believe it to be metaphor for sin or evil, and that it is simply a physical manifestation of David’s instinctual human evils. It is also possible that certain things the Llapasllaly does, like killing David’s girlfriend, aborting a child and choking a small boy with a belt, are actually things that the people are doing themselves because of the evil within and that the Llapasllaly is just a visual reference to that evil. Indications to support this theory other than the fact that most characters cannot see the Llapasllaly are the creatures methods, for instance, the scene in which the Llapasllaly aborts a characters unborn child, it does so using a method almost identical to actual surgical abortion.
Porter posted a blog on his website warning readers that The Spinal Cord Perception contained some graphic content that may upset certain fans. He explained briefly his spiritual convictions as an author and contended that everything in the book was included for a specific purpose, and not added for arbitrary shock value. Among these passages are instances in which the Llapasllaly kills certain characters in gruesome ways, David Rivers vaguely details an unfulfilling sexual frustration with a girlfriend he despises, and some graphic scenes dealing with a child who is the victim of molestation.