Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Flamethrowers don't solve every problem
I really wish that fire could fix everything, which seems to be something that I have in common with John and Dave from This Book is full of Spiders - thankfully David Wong is well aware that fire does NOT solve all the problems in the world and writes compellingly about why we should resist the urge to break out the flamethrower at every opportunity. Don't get me wrong, there's going to be no stopping me from shooting fire out of the next flamethrower I come across, but when that doesn't fix everything I'll make a point of remembering that there are other options (hopefully before I manage to fuck up the fate of the entire world).
If John Dies at the End is a funny little monster book that happens to be chock full of human frailty and strength then This Book is full of Spiders is a goofy little book about zombies that happens to raise lots of valid questions. But I'm probably putting that wrong - there's nothing goofy about This Book is full of Spiders (that is a straight-up lie, people die with spaghetti monsters in their ass and there's a Caddie that can't stop playing Creedence even when it gets stolen by turkey monsters) because it's actually a mature and serious examination of post 9/11 paranoia and the meaning of sacrifice that also totally kicks ass and has a gun that can turn things into mashed potatoes.
If I'm not explaining this well it's because the book doesn't lend itself to being broken down into itty-bitty capsules that are easily digested. This book has edges that will bite your throat and make you choke as you try to swallow them because you're yelling at yourself inside your head "no, not me, I'm not like that, it's all those other people" and that's exactly the point.
This Book is full of Spiders is, of course, delightful but it's a lot darker and less funny than John Dies at the End so if you come into the story hoping that it picks up exactly where John Dies left off you'll be at least partially satisfied - events between the two books match up in chronology and there is, in fact, a flamethrower put to awesome use. However neither John nor Dave are the same lighthearted idiots from the first novel and the differences in their characters from one book to the next is a bit startling, though it does create a rounder read.
I enjoy the hell out of Wong's work and even if Spiders isn't as much of a page-turner as John Dies it's still great fun.