John Dies at the End by David Wong, 2011
Published by Titan Books
First line: “Solving the following riddle will reveal the awful secret behind the universe, assuming you do not go utterly mad in the attempt.”
Book Rx: For a quick plunge in a weird/funny (mostly weird) world.
‘John Dies at the End’ was originally written as a web series by David Wong (not his real name), the executive editor of cracked.com. (The website that, in my opinion, perfected the art of haha photo captioning. Sample Wong’s cracked writing here.)
I think I got this book on one of those days I fell far down the rabbit hole of Amazon’s “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” suggestions. It’s a mix of horror, scifi, and humor. Best friends John and Dave come across “soy sauce,” a drug that allows them to see and experience strange and horrifying things, a list of which includes:
- a dead “Rastafarian drug dealer” that transforms into a white insect
- one of them speaking through a dog
- a “meatscarf”
- bizarre monsters, and lots of them:
“The finished creature seemed to be assembled from spare parts. It had a tail like a scorpion curling up off its back. It walked on seven–yes, seven–legs, each ending in one of those small, pink infantile hands. It had a head that was sort of an inverted heart shape, a bank of mismatched eyes in an arc over a hooked, black beak, like a parrot’s. On its head, no kidding, it had a tuft of neatly groomed blond hair that I swear on my mother’s grave was a wig, held on with a rubber band chinstrap.”
My interest in the book surged and dipped — I enjoyed Wong’s Lovecraft-like monsters but there were moments when I picked up the book and pressed on simply because I have this thing about finishing books I start to read. (This explains why my GoodReads account says I’m “currently reading” Tom Wolfe’s ‘The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test’… since July 25, 2012.)
That said, while I’ve semi-sorta-kinda given up on Wolfe’s book this one had a perverse hold on me: I managed to finish it no matter how weird/WTF/crazy it got. Overall, if you’re a fan of the horror/scifi genre and you like Wong’s brand of humor this book is perfect for you.
P.S. Anddd someone made it into a movie! Wonder how that went.