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Zombie Spaceship Wasteland: A Book by Patton Oswalt Paperback – November 8, 2011
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“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
Top Customer Reviews
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...
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.
Had he kept that up through the entire book, this would have been a classic for all time. Unfortunately, the second half of the book stutters and falls, ending with ridiculous movie treatments that by his own admission were simply writing practice. It shows.
Back to the first part. The individual essays are a long-form prose in the style of his comedy, where he acts as a sort of nerd-sage who sees and experiences much of his life through the lens of popular science fiction. The flagship essay Zombie Spaceship Wasteland is literally one way to view the world and personality types. In my day job, I once took a test where people were assigned working style types (driver, analytical, amiable, etc.) Then we were told how to interact with each type. It was one of the few courses I've taken that has stayed with me through life. In the same way, I could see Oswalt's take on categorizing people as a way to help proud nerds understand the world.
In the second half of the book, Oswalt phones it in with absurd film summaries (treatments) that mock the poorly-written script ideas he has seen. The concept is interesting, as people who think their ideas are great when they actually stink is a field ripe for hilarity. Unfortunately, these get old quickly and each one becomes more Hollywood-insider-ish.
The decline from the first part of the book to the second reminded me of how I feel about Will Ferrell.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For some reason I didn't place the name before I started reading the book. That being said, I don't find Patton Oswalt to be one bit funny. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Michael Bilak
An enjoyable read by one of my favorite comedians, this book is half-autobiography and half-comedy bits. Both are refreshingly funny. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Rich M.
Two stars because it helped me know why the guy always sort of bothered me. I like the part about the movie theater. Edit - Three stars because the Canada comedy club story.Published 8 months ago by Stu Camenzind
I found Oswalt neither funny nor perceptive and his weirdness merely weird. The short pieces on his jobs, before and after he became a comedian, would be of interest to his... Read morePublished 9 months ago by John A. Lefcourte
If I could sign up to listen to Patton's every thought for a year, I would. He's the consummate storyteller.Published 9 months ago by SAIMA RITCHIE
If you are a Patton Oswalt fan, READ THIS! It was like he was talking to me on stage the whole book. This guy is twisted, brilliant, blunt, and superbly imaginative! Read morePublished 10 months ago by LColby