No joke, man. Just don’t touch that book. The spiders are there, and they’re invisible, and they definitely want to eat your flesh, which they will do whether you see them or not. Which you won’t. Dave does, though, and so does his buddy John. Having developed psychic superpowers as a result of their drug habit, Dave and John are on the front lines of yet another otherworldly invasion. This time, they’re doing an even poorer job of fixing things than they did last time. In fact, they’re actively causing the apocalypse to pick up speed. This time, there might be no stopping it.
Wong’s style has definitely matured since John Dies in the End, his first novel. This book was way, way better structured, and while I’d lose the plot now and then in John Dies, I was pretty confident that the story was going forward all the way through This Book Is Full Of Spiders. His prose has improved, too, though This Book is still not exactly poetry. That’s really OK: it’s a story about two gun-happy Midwestern dudes hanging out on the lower end of the economic spectrum and fighting cthonic horrors with their drug-induced mind powers. If this were Shakespeare, it would suck.
Because it is not Shakespeare, it’s a pretty great read. It’s exciting, ramps the tension up fast and doesn’t let off, and delivers gags in the right places. There are a few loose ends, however, that disappointed me a bit. For one thing, throughout the book, people keep implying that Dave, or his buddy John, may be infected with mind-controlling brain spiders. They do come into contact with the spiders multiple times, and even black out around them, which would give those spiders ample opportunity to settle in. On top of that, they eventually meet infected people who are basically normal, who either never develop symptoms or who can manage their condition, and whose infected status is completely undetectable. The fact that the characters kept accidentally saving the monsters – from bombing, or by letting them out of a house, or if they turned out to be an adorable/creepy/innocent little girl, suggested that they were unknowingly under the influence of the spiders the whole time. But no dice – the book ends quietly and with no big reveal. Maybe the principal characters were just passing the idiot ball around. That they are indeed idiots is not necessarily bad for the book. You’ve just got to sort of turn your brain off to enjoy the madness.
That said, who needs brains? It seems like they’re just there to get infected by spiders. Enjoy this hole-filled piece of borderline bizarro zombie fun and try not to get any blood on your clothing.
John Dies at the End by David Wong
Dave and John are just normal guys until they take a drug code named Soy Sauce. Now able to see ghosts and other things that ordinary people can’t, Dave and John become paranormal investigators.
Gil’s All-Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez
Duke and Earl are ordinary guys in a broken-down pickup truck, if by “ordinary guys” you mean “a skinny vampire” and “a huge werewolf” stuck in a town with a “zombie problem.”
Apocalypse Cow by Michael Logan
Forget the cud. They want blood. Britain’s cows have been transformed into sneezing, lustful vampires and only a trio of deadbeats can stop them!
John Dies at the End starring Rob Mayes
Closely following the book, this film also stars Paul Giamatti.
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil starring Tyler Labine
Tucker and Dale really aren’t evil – they just look the part. A Canadian-American comedy masterpiece!
Odd Thomas starring Anton Yelchin
A small-town fry cook sees ghosts everywhere – and then there’s the new guy in town, who might be the bringer of the apocalypse!
Fight off hordes of the undead in this popular first person shooter for Wii!