Saturday, March 9, 2013

This Book Is Full Of Spiders, Seriously Dude Don't Touch It review




     This is the best remake of The Thing I've read in years.

    No, seriously.


    The thing is, it's also the best zombie novel I've read since Ex-Heroes. I'd argue it's better than Ex-Heroes but said novel has superheroes, so I'm going to have to give it the edge. At heart, the sequel to John Dies At the End is a tremendously funny book which actually manages to make a lot of dead-horse (as in "beating a") zombie tropes better.


    TBIFOSSDDTI is less entertaining than the original John Dies At the End because it's a good deal more conventional. At no point do the heroes enter an alternate dimension ruled by a man-made supercomputer formed from meat where everyone is naked or defeat a bunch of demons with the power of rock and (testa)mints. It's hard to beat the staggering weirdnss of John Dies At The End.

 
    This book, instead, focuses on the much tamer issues of deconstructing both The Thing and your typical Zombie Apocalypse tropes. The Thing elements deal with the premise of an alien parasite eating into your brain, consuming you, and re-animating you as something else. The best-case scenario is you become a horribly obvious nightmare cannibal thing. The worst-case scenario? You become a nightmare cannibal thing fully capable of appearing as a normal person for an extended period.
 
    The psychological and physiological impact of all this is examined at length, surprisingly enough. It even manages to address what I thought about while watching the Thing, but the movie completely glossed over. Specifically, if The Thing converts everyone into a member of its race without even the people involved being aware of it, is it necessarily a bad thing? The book really went up in my estimation when it discussed this.
 
    Next, I loved the discussion of zombies and their role in the media. TBIFOSSDDTI points out that a lot of people are preparing for the zombie apocalypse either specifically (as a game) or as part of a general breakdown in society (militia types). It has nothing for scorn for the former when they try to apply these lessons to real life and even more so for the second group due to their lack of compassion.
 
    John and Dave are more or less unchanged from their previous appearance, sticking to the role of goof-ball and comically serious protagonist. Amy, however, has much more to do his time around. I can't say she really reads like a 'realistic woman' but John and Dave aren't exactly realistic men so that's a poor complaint. Instead, I found her entertaining and, by the end of the book, every bit as developed as the leads. I'm fond of several new characters introduced in the book as well with TJ and Doctor Tennet being amongst my favorites.
 
    TBIFOSSDDTI could do with a bit more of the series' trademark wackiness but it manages to tell a surprisingly effective and coherent monster story despite several absolutely absurd moments. 

    This isn't a spoiler but there is a moment when a villain terrifies his audience by using the visual metaphor of a honey bear. This is joined by, quite possibly, the bloodiest example of Darwin in action where a bunch of people slaughter each other because they're all carrying assault rifles in an enclosed space while thinking they're in a First Person Shooter. Oh, yes, and there's a gun that shoots beards.
 
    Yet, somehow, this is STILL more serious and less whacky than John Dies At the End. It's not a flaw, though, and I'll say that I very much enjoyed the book. 

9.5

2 comments:

  1. I'm a huge fan of this book (and the original) as well. I think the blending of humor and horror is something that David Wong does better than anybody else out there.

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  2. I love these books I have listened to them 3 or 4 times so has my son. It is hilarious whenever we say something from or about them around other people and we get strange looks

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