Saturday, October 30, 2010

John Dies at the End (novel) -2001/2007/2009

Okay, I admit that I put this review off for awhile, but that's mainly because I was having trouble putting into words the sheer, overwhelming, adoration that I have for this novel.

Also, this is probably the weirdest book I have ever read ... ever. Period. And that's saying something, because I read some pretty weird shit, believe you me. I mean, Chuck Palahniuk is one of my favorite authors, and I think he would find this book strange.

So also, I had no idea how I was going to describe it to y'all, because I got the feeling it would be a lot like when you witness something strange and hilarious, and then you are later trying to tell your friends about it, and they're all looking at you like "Shit son, you've gone completely sideways."
So you end up huffily telling them "Well, I guess you HAD to BE there."

It's kind of like that. Although I suppose in this case it's more of a "you had to READ it"... or something... anyway, I'll give the obligatory summary a shot. But I make no promises that you aren't going to read it and think I've lost my fool head.

Okay Dears,Darlings, and fellow Spooky Dos, basically, the story of this charming little book is about two guys, David and John. These are not their real names. If they used their real names then they could be tracked down. Also the town where the whole story takes place is referred to as [Undisclosed] because we couldn't let you know about that either.

Dave and John are a couple of college drop-outs in un-fulfilling minimum wage jobs in an extremely boring town. But after a seeming normal concert by John's band "Three arm Sally", wherein David encounters a drug peddling fake Jamaican thing get kind of loopey.

The drug in question is referred to as "soy sauce", due to it being roughly the constancy of. When you take it you can apparently see into the future, and around sound waves, and just generally know shit you shouldn't. But people who take it have a tendency to explode, and it also seems that the soy sauce has to do with a strange group of "shadow-like" beings that are trying to overthrow humanity.

Mixed into this story for good measure are helpings of demonic possession, floating dogs, paranormal conventions in Las Vegas, and some unpleasantness involving bratwurst.

The whole thing is narrated by David, as he meets with a reporter who is going to "tell his story". And honestly, it's a GREAT voice that the story is told in , like really, I feel sort of hosed that this is the only book this man has put out.

The novel itself is the most scrumptious blend of hilarity, creepiness, and "Oh my God what the HELL just happened" that I wanted to start reading it again as soon as it was done.

Y'all don't even know. I finished the book and pretty much did this for like an hour:

Seriously, seriously, weirdest thing I ever read. One second I was snorting with laughter (how sexy is that?) and the next I was literally getting the chills.


On top of which, this little, well, maybe not really so little, book is one of the most amazing "Little Engine that Could" type things around.

I mean, it started out a web-serial over at , which a few years later got turned into a book. The book did not sell, like, at all, but this story developed such an avid cult following that fan outcry finally got in re-released in brand-spanking-new paperback form in 2009.

I for one was overjoyed, I came into knowledge of this book in-between the first an second printings. I don't even remember how, but I somehow ended up at the author's website, reading all the absolutely AMAZING madness on, and when I saw that there was a BOOK I absolutely *HAD* to read it. Except, you know, at that point it was no longer in print.

The author talked about how there was a good chance it was getting re-released. But it hadn't happened yet, and the first edition copies were selling on Amazon for around $100. I'm not kidding. I'm also not kidding when I say that I was seriously considering paying that for it.

But then one day in the not too distant past I was driving my roommate to the airport. She had a pretty long wait there and hadn't remembered to bring a book. Being the combination of caring roommate and freakish bookworm that I am, a produced the book that I kept in my purse, that I hadn't even gotten a chance to read yet, and let her borrow it. I think found myself not too long afterwords on my university campus before class with suddenly NOTHING TO READ. Which, by the way, NEVER happens to me.

So I wandered into the campus bookstore (which actually has a stupidly good selection of books), and there, on a table of new releases, was John dies at the End. The clouds parted, angels sang, I was nearly weeping as I handed my money over to the cashier, and not just because books really cost way more than they should. Especially when you buy as many as I do.

It was love, you don't even know. It's not a short book, seriously, it's about the size of the bible. I was done with it in under a week. Complete and utter madness, I tell you what.

And then about a week or so ago, I found this.

Filming has officially begun on the movie adaptation of John dies at the End. And it's being directed by none other than Don Coscarelli. Who, by the way, was the director of the Phantasm franchise, in case you didn't know.
And this girl sure does love her some Phantasm.
Sure, I would be a little more jazzed if Sam Raimi or Edgar Wright had gotten the rites to it, because in my book, they are the KINGS of Horror Comedies. But let's face it, it's probably going to be totally awesome.

I know that this girl, at least, will be following the film's progress with damn-near rabidness. And you had better believe that she will also be at the first showing she can't get herself to as soon as its released.

Now, my darlings, go read it, like ten hours ago.


  1. mmmhmmmmm.... floating dogs. and bratwurst!!!!

    hey, missed u.

  2. i'll have to put this on my must read list

  3. @stonerphonic with things such as this how can you possibly resist it?
    Awww, I'm sorry I've been neglecting the interwebs so much lately. I'm going to try and be more attentive.

    @cynniegurl see that you do, madam, see that you do

  4. The first print edition of the book was a Cafe Press version that fell apart at the binding like crazy.

    If you want to read more David Wong, go to .... he's the editor, but he's also written a bunch of articles.

  5. @redcoast whilst I was unaware of the first edition being published by cafe press, I have long been reading David Wong's articles on Cracked. It's probably how I found out about the book to begin with.

  6. I really need to start reading more! Love the cat by the way!! :-)

  7. @ Cyberschizoid I have to admit that I'm an almost insufferable book worm. I've totally done the "I can buy groceries, or I can buy some more books .... books" thing before.

    Isn't that cat amazing? I have watched it do that for really long periods of time before.

  8. Well, this tears it. I had heard about this book before and was very curious, but a little skeptical. But after reading your review, it's just really important that I read it...and soon.

    Love your blog!