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Pontypool Changes Everything Paperback – March 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: ECW Press; New edition edition (March 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1550228811
  • ISBN-13: 978-1550228816
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #672,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"May be one of the most important novels published this year."  —Toronto Star


"Pontypool shivers beneath the skin with unsettling wit. It is a deep book, but it is fun and magical as well."  —Globe and Mail


"Buy all his books."  —Now Magazine


"An exquisite writer . . . [B]lissfully overarching descriptions and deadpan humour that ensure Burgess won't be filed as a horror writer."  —Uptown Magazine


"Like Burgess's last book, The Hellmouths of Bewdley, the writing in Pontypool is taut with inventive and poetic metaphors. Overtones of the Night of the Living Dead abound and the novel is filmic in approach, style, imagery, and construction."  —Quill & Quire


"Quite literally, a hell of a read, enough to satisfy the most jaded appetite." —eye Weekly
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Tony Burgess is a writer of poetry, screenplays, criticism, and fiction. He is the author of Caesarea, Fiction for Lovers, and The Hellmouths of Bewdley. He lives in Toronto.

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Customer Reviews

Unfortunately, hint intriguingly is about all "Pontypool Changes Everything" does.
William McNeill
There aren't any walking, rotting corpses, but the book is still chock full of zombie violence.
titania86
I had recently seen the movie Pontypool, and wanted to follow up reading the book.
A. Gordon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Tony Burgess, Pontypool Changes Everything (ECW Press, 1998)

And the award for most-adapted screenplay goes to Bruce McDonald's Pontypool, one of the best films of 2008. I say "most-adapted" because Burgess' screenplay for the film and the book Burgess wrote ten years before the film was released are two entirely different animals. One can't really say that the book is better than the movie or vice versa when comparing them against one another; they must be looked at as two entirely separate, or at best tangentially related, pieces of work. That said, the movie is better than the book (and according to his afterword, Mr. Burgess agrees with me). While I'd recommend the movie to anyone, the book requires a certain mindset, as well as an ability to put up with (or enjoy) writing that can only be described as hallucinatory; you'll often wonder what it is, exactly, you're reading. Also in that afterword, Burgess mentions that he wrote the book just after graduating university with a semiotics degree. Be warned, he uses it extensively, and not just in the inventive method of viral transmission that underlies both book and film. (I should also mention as a side note for my American readers that ECW Press, despite its recent forays into the memoirs of professional wrestlers, has nothing to do with Extreme Championship Wrestling--though since those memoirs are the only ECW books widely available in America, one can be forgiven for thinking so.)

In the movie, we see the genesis of the plague. In the book, the plague has always existed; it has evolved along with humans. As with many zombie plagues, no one really knows what triggered it, though a few hypotheses are offered by various people throughout the book.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is one of those books that you won't put down until it's finished. The second volume in Burgess's Pontypool trilogy, PCE follows the rise and fall of a destructive virus as it rampages across Ontario, Canada. What elevates this work to truly deranged hights is the seemly-endless array of bizarre characters, from an obsessive compulsive doctor to a walking foetus to relentless zombies. Filmmaker Bruce Macdonald (Highway 61, Roadkill) is expected to film this story; after reading the book, I shudder with anticipation.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A. Gordon on January 31, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had recently seen the movie Pontypool, and wanted to follow up reading the book. First, they are almost completely different. For many months on Amazon it was out of print, only available for $130. The one day, up popped a few copies- I had to order it. Without adding spoilers, the movie is very good for what it is, a simple idea of infection/virus spread by language (It's so simple that it's brilliant). That is the core of the book. Beyond that the book and the movie are not the same story. The book is a challenge, but one worth the effort. The base idea is that the virus creates a type of deja vu confusion that also has paranoia, rage, and psychosis. What makes this book a challenge is that is written from the point of view of the infected. The dialogue becomes both gruesome and poetic. If you need a book that has it all explained, a neat tidy wrap up, or you have to comprehend everything as it happens- you will hate this book. But if you appreciate awriter using language like music, the ebb and flow of really exceptional wordplay- this is one of the best. It is for the reader who wonders "What if?"
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William McNeill on August 25, 2013
Format: Paperback
In an afterword to the reissued edition of "Pontypool Changes Everything", Burgess says that his novel was a private sketchbook never intended for an audience and it shows. The book begins in something like conventional horror story manner-a contagion is spreading through a small town in rural Ontario, turning ordinary people into carnivorous zombies. This contagion somehow transmits through language itself, so first manifests as aphasia and babbling before the more familiar face-chomping ensues. Though you get the impression it may just be an extended riff on the phrase "language is a virus", the hook is compelling, and there are some effective early scenes told from the point of view of the newly infected as they struggle to find the right word. The central character of this part is a drama teacher who has suffered from paranoid schizophrenia in the past. "Pontypool Changes Everything" isn't so lame as to suggest the catastrophe all in his head, but does hint intriguingly at what it would be like to see your schizophrenic delusions come true.

Unfortunately, hint intriguingly is about all "Pontypool Changes Everything" does. The vague semblance of a plot in the first half becomes completely disjointed and surreal in the second. There are periodic splashes of zombie gore and mayhem to keep your attention, but it's all so abstract that the genre's other elements-the desperate survivalism and social decay-never get a chance to land. By the time you get to the incestuous brother and sister feral children who themselves subsist on the flesh of cannibal zombies, and the sister has a baby that gnaws through its own umbilical cord and then tears off screaming into the night, it's all become a bit of a slog.
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