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John Dies at the End Paperback – September 14, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
In this reissue of an Internet phenomenon originally slapped between two covers in 2007 by indie Permutus Press, Wong—Cracked.com editor Jason Pargin's alter ego—adroitly spoofs the horror genre while simultaneously offering up a genuinely horrifying story. The terror is rooted in a substance known as soy sauce, a paranormal psychoactive that opens video store clerk Wong's—and his penis-obsessed friend John's—minds to higher levels of consciousness. Or is it just hell seeping into the unnamed Midwestern town where Wong and the others live? Meat monsters, wig-wearing scorpion aberrations and wingless white flies that burrow into human skin threaten to kill Wong and his crew before infesting the rest of the world. A multidimensional plot unfolds as the unlikely heroes drink lots of beer and battle the paradoxes of time and space, as well as the clichés of first-person-shooter video games and fantasy gore films. Sure to please the Fangoria set while appealing to a wider audience, the book's smart take on fear manages to tap into readers' existential dread on one page, then have them laughing the next. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
“John Dies at the End…[is] a case of the author trying to depict actual, soul-sucking lunacy, and succeeding with flying colors.” ―Fangoria
“David Wong is like a mash-up of Douglas Adams and Stephen King . . . ‘page-turner' is an understatement.” ―Don Coscarelli, director, Phantasm I–V and Bubba Ho-tep
“David Wong has managed to write that rarest of things---a genuinely scary story.” ―David Wellington, author of Monster Island and Vampire Zero
“The rare genre novel that manages to keep its sense of humor strong without ever diminishing the scares.” ―The Onion AV Club
“Sure to please the Fangoria set while appealing to a wider audience, the book's smart take on fear manages to tap into readers' existential dread on one page, then have them laughing the next.” ―Publishers Weekly
“When it's funny, it's laugh-out-loud funny, yet when the situation calls for chills, it provides them in spades.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“The book takes every pop culture trend of the past twenty years, peppers it with 14-year-old dick and fart humor, and blends it all together with a huge heaping of splatterpunk gore…. Successfully blend[s] laugh-out-loud humor with legitimate horror.” ―i09.com
Top customer reviews
If you're coming to this via the movie? The movie is pretty much an entirely different creature; if you're given the choice, read the book first, see the movie second.
This incredibly entertaining, suspenseful, eerie, funny genre-buster avoids the cliches and set-pieces of most horror-SF, and manages to be transcendentally creepy without the dragging dreariness and archaic stilted prose of Lovecraft, but echoing his elements of *truly* otherworldly strangeness that, although entirely alien, hang together as individually-glimpsed facets of an underlying connecting horror that is all the more chilling for being only murkily outlined... but here, full of weird and cutting comedy, driven by characters you badly want to know personally.
Think, the Hardy Boys explore Lovecraftian horror, but the Hardy Boys are young Hunter S. Thompson and Johnny Knoxville.
This is that rare book that will get raves both from people that are devoted, sophisticated readers, and from people that hate to read and haven't cracked a book since high school. Got a kid who can handle adult themes and won't crack a book? Give 'em this.
Further: Wong is (in terms of what I've stumbled across, I'm not an expert) kind of a ringleader in a band of writers that are destroying boundaries and cliches in SF/horror/superhero/action/noir genres. If you like this book, and Wong's others, and start biting your nails anticipating his next, you'll certainly also like Robert Brockway's superb "The Unnoticeables." (Max Landis, who wrote "American Ultra," "Chronicle" and "Superman: American Alien" is another guy writing some fresh-direction takes on established tropes.)
David Wong is sui generi -- and you'll enjoy his work whether you know what that means or not, which is saying something in terms of wide appeal.
Eleven stars on a scale of one to ten.
The book begins with a couple of townies taking a drug called “soy sauce” that let’s them experience an infinite amount of knowledge and connected-ness with everything in the universe. From there on out, the story just get weirder, with penises, feces, meat monsters and a really smart dog that probably has more brains than any of the main characters.
This absurd book was made into an absurd film, but if you read the book you’ll understand that there is no way that any film could have done it justice. It’s kind of an ingenious set up. Throw out the most random of occurrences and rules for the world and then tie it all together logically later. You see this in every part of the book. Everything that you thought was just annoying fluff in the beginning all comes full circle at the end.
I can’t say that I liked the book, but I definitely appreciate it for it’s cleverness. I saw the film first and just assumed that’s what I’d be getting, but it was way better than that. Even still, I felt like it was a little too long and if it wasn’t for the laugh-out-loud moments and the big character moments, I probably would have hated it.
The character of David is someone I relate with. I think me and him have the same character flaws. Not giving a shit about anything is often a difficult resonating value to portray in fiction but it’s done perfectly here. My favorite quote from the book is…
"There was a time when i would have found the idea of certain death a little comforting, like being on the last day of a job I hated."
I very distinctly remember reading that line and knowing I’ve felt that before. It’s a good, fun read you can get done with in a couple of days. if not one whole day if you’re committed. I say read it, but you don’t have to like it. I don’t love it, but I’m not mad about it either. It just is.
I think the author did an especially good job with the descriptions. He describes unbelievable things in real-world terms so they are easy to visualize and become concrete for the reader. The creep factor was definitely high, but there was enough humor and normal life situations to mitigate that for a more squeamish reader.
The characters are young and somewhat charming, nerdy guys you've probably met in real life. I wish they called things retarded less often, but I liked their lack of surprise at the terrible events unfolding around them.
Anyway, I hope Wong writes more, whether "horror" or otherwise.
Most recent customer reviews
I'm middle aged. Some of the jokes were really funny, and some were too juvenile for me.Read more