Novel: John Dies At The End

Hey, this is really good, a really fun summer read – but be warned:  it’s comedy horror and while it really is comic, it’s also genuinely horrific.

What Goes Ha-Ha-Ha-Yikes?

As I understand it, the author, who writes under the pseudonym David Wong, is now the editor of Cracked.com, a very good comedy website based on that old Mad Magazine rip-off Cracked.  Wong started publishing his novel online in 2001 while working odd jobs.   It garnered a readership, eventually got published by Permuted Press and Thomas Dunne Books and is now slated to be a movie directed by Don Coscarelli of Phantasm fame.

Which is a good story in and of itself but not as good as the novel’s tale of two layabout ghost busters who happen on a bunch of time-shifting weirdness and follow it through to its terrifying conclusion.   There are some annoyances, growing out of the novel’s patchwork history:  namely, it’s badly edited, with some grammatical errors that should’ve been caught in copy-edit.  But listen, I laughed out loud every couple of pages and then a few pages later was reading in wide-eyed horror.  There’s real emotion and real insight – and a scene where the narrator gets possessed by an evil spirit and turns into a liberal!

All in all:  good stuff, a pleasure.  I really enjoyed it a lot and, if it’s in your wheelhouse, you will too.

There seems to be a movement going on of post-modern horror, by the way.  The best I’ve read yet is House of Leaves.  This is way less intellectual, more populist, but a worthy contribution.  A sequel is in the works.

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