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Zombie Spaceship Wasteland: A Book by Patton Oswalt Paperback – November 8, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (November 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439149097
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439149096
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Comedian Oswalt (The King of Queens, Caprica) offers up a collection of colorful essays ranging in topic from his experiences working at a movie theater to sends-ups of eccentric relatives, including a grandmother who gives exceedingly odd birthday gifts. To delve into the book is to take a tour of Oswalt’s delightfully offbeat mind: he shares with readers what he was doing to procrastinate while writing certain chapters, suggests some truly morbid greeting cards, and parodies the vampire craze in comic-book form. The title is a reference to Oswalt’s theory that creative teens gravitate toward three subjects for their early stories: zombies, spaceships, or wastelands. Oswalt found himself drawn toward wastelands, a natural choice for a comedian who likes to poke fun at society. Oswalt is a wonderfully descriptive writer, vividly evoking his zombielike coworker at the theater, a grim Canadian comedy club, and the wanderings of his teen imagination with sharp, sardonic prose. --Kristine Huntley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Patton Oswalt...is one of those rare performers whose material translates into any medium without losing its sharpness--including, for the first time, print. . . . It is well worth it to join him on his odyssey."--Washington Post

“Sharp storytelling and sardonic wit.... Oswalt populates these stories with expertly drawn characters, and infuses them with a limitless supply of cultural references and deft turns of phrase.” —Boston Globe

“A thoughtful, hilarious, quasi-memoir that puts the standard-issue comedy-routine-in-book-form to shame.” —SPIN

“Patton Oswalt is one of those rare performers whose material translates into any medium without losing its sharpness—including, for the first time, print.... It is well worth it to join him on his odyssey.” —Washington Post

"A very funny book by the Funniest Man Alive." --GQ

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Customer Reviews

Patton Oswalt's writing style is very unique.
Kaylee
If you're a fan of his stand-up you'll most likely enjoy this book.
illgnosis
I give the book 2 stars, although I'd feel better with 1.5.
J. R. Szupiany

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth N. Bikoff on January 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love Patton's work, whether it be his standup or Reno 911! or his movies, but this book disappointed me. The stories of his life were interesting, but the presentation of a few other elements of the book -- the graphic part of it and the cards -- seemed odd and out of place. I know they pertained to his life, as well, but they didn't seem to fit other parts of the book. Is it worth a read? Sure, just for the life stories that are part of the equation. But not every piece seems to fit. Also, the graphic part of it was tough to read on a Kindle, although that's not Patton's fault, and the star rating doesn't have anything to do with that.
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45 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Ernest P. Bigglebottem on January 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Patton Oswalt is a brilliant comedian. His intelligence has always shown through in his stand-up; not only will he insert references that shows he's well-read and well-versed in history, but they each have a narrative that flows well from the beginning of a bit to the end. His essays are much the same, and it's clear that the man can write.

Unfortunately, the material itself isn't quite up to snuff. One of the things that I've always loved about his stand-up is how he never seems to care what people think about him. He has a frenetic in-your-face delivery style that was married to such confident stage presence. If he sticks to stand-up, we'll be talking about him in the same breath as Bill Hicks and George Carlin down the road. His book, however, has this painfully self-conscious feeling to it. His writing style isn't nearly as crisp as his stand-up delivery. Granted, it's a function of the medium, but that doesn't explain all of it away. Much of this is auto-biographical which lends an almost tedious air to some of the stories, like you're hearing them from your boring, half-drunk uncle at a holiday party.

The best way to sum up this book is this: remember his bit about how he had to take a science class in college called "physics for poets" and he ceaselessly mocked the "head-in-the-clouds" mentality of the English majors? It sounds like one of those people wrote this instead of the short, angry man who yelled at the professor about an incorrect Star Trek reference on the test. I wasn't asking for 200 pages of his caustic wit (okay, I was), but I can't fathom how none of what makes him a brilliant stand-up comedian made it into this book.

But at least it wasn't about wedding deejays...
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As said before, if you enjoy Patton's flavor of comedy, you'll almost certainly enjoy both the tone and content of this book.
It is not a book of jokes...but it is very funny. Patton is a very talented writer and does an excellent job of painting a picture of what was going on around him during some important and formative years of his life.
It is not a very long book. I was a bit disappointed at the short little line of dots on my Kindle. Given the quality of the content, however, I'm not disappointed in the book as a whole.
Speaking of the Kindle, the Kindle formatting of this book is...not great. I wish somebody would put a bit more effort into making sure there aren't any misplaced hard line breaks and such.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. B. Steinberg on July 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I really like Patton oswalt but this book was not that great. I thought it was going to be a funny memoir and half of it was. The problem was that the other half was brutally terrible.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ed C. on June 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
You know the feeling you get when someone says a non sequitur, and you're trying to figure out if it's a joke? I had that feeling while reading (ok, skimming) this whole book. I admit the titular "Zombie Spaceship Wasteland" chapter was a clever analysis of geek teenage life. But the rest of it just felt like a big waste of time. Maybe his material just doesn't translate well to the printed page, or maybe I just needed a few more drinks.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Head Cheeze on April 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I'd heard Patton Oswalt was coming out with a book, I was truly excited. I'm a big fan of the guy's stand-up, and just assumed he'd bring the same sort of geek-centric humor to the page. Sadly this hodgepodge of depressing reminiscences, elitist posturing (most glaringly represented by his countless references to bands like Fugazi - the music geek's Citizen Kane in that all proclaim their greatness yet so very few have actually even listened to a single song by the band), and ill-conceived philosophical rantings. What I expected to be a fun read proved to be one of the few books I've read this year that I couldn't even be bothered to finish.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Wadler on December 10, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I think Patton Oswalt is a phenomenal comedian and writer. This book however just didn't do it for me. I wanted to enjoy it but was unable
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Drudzinski VINE VOICE on January 25, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really wanted to enjoy this book, but it was tough.

The book isn't a coherent story like comedian Mike Birbiglia's book, it's more a collection of random pieces -- everything from mock greeting cards (actually, hilarious) to stories about L.A. to concepts like "Zombie, Spaceship, Wasteland". I don't always object to such disjointed material -- it's part of what makes Patton's stand-up so entertaining -- but in book form it doesn't work as well.

The book felt thrown together. As if Patton's agent felt it was time the comedian branched out into a new medium and Patton simply collected random musings from his journal. The material sometimes reminds you of his irreverent stand-up, but it's really uneven. Sometimes the pieces just fall flat.

I would have liked more stories from the road (he does touch on this but not enough IMO), especially because Patton really struggled on his way to success. I'm sure he has so much more to say about that arduous journey.

For Patton's hard-core fans, check the book out just to get another glimpse into his arcane madness. But for casual fans, I'd recommend going to YouTube and watching excerpts from his stand-up. That's where he really shines.
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