Warning: You may have a huge, invisible spider living in your skull. This is not a metaphor. You will dismiss this as ridiculous fearmongering. Dismissing things as ridiculous fearmongering is, in fact, the first symptom of parasitic spider infection - the creature secretes a chemical into the brain to stimulate skepticism, in order to prevent you from seeking a cure. That’s just as well, since the “cure” involves learning what a chain saw tastes like. You can’t feel the spider, because it controls your nerve endings. You can’t see it, because it decides what you see. You won’t even feel it when it breeds. And it will breed. So what happens when your family, friends, and neighbors get mind-controlling skull spiders? We’re all about to find out. Just stay calm, and remember that telling you about the spider situation is not the same as having caused it. I’m just the messenger. Even if I did sort of cause it. Either way, I won’t hold it against you if you’re upset. I know that’s just the spider talking.
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If you haven't listened to John Dies at the End, go do that first. Seriously. While this book can arguably stand alone, it would lose a LOT without the backdrop.
I read a lot of reviews about Wong's books that are, in my opinion, incredibly inaccurate or harsh. Spiders is... satire/horror/comedy about the obsession the world has with the end of the world. Like most if not all satire it's designed to be ridiculous. Which this book is in a lot of ways. It's weird and out there, juvenile and crazy. But it also speaks volumes about mass hysteria, fear mongering, and the dangers of handing total control to a single source.
Like most Cult books/films/TV, you either love it or hate it. I happen to be in the group that loves it. I love the characters because they remind me of my friends and I when *we* were in our early to mid 20s. I love the story because, well, it's great. And it's just a fun book. Campy and Weird, with an intentionally capitalized W.
I thought the performance, on the whole, was good. My main issue is that different fellows read John and Spiders- I got very used to hearing the voices in a certain way in John Dies. I spent most of Spiders having to force myself back into the story (though it wasn't that hard).
Like John Dies, if you aren't up for really weird, profanity, and generalized horror, you probably won't like Spiders. If you dig things like that... this is right up your alley.
If you’re not familiar with David Wong (AKA Jason Pargin), he writes for the stupid-yet-brilliant website Cracked, which deconstructs movie plots, videogames, and commonly-held beliefs with ironic, profanity-laced Gen-Y snark. For better or worse, that’s pretty much what his novels are, too -- a marriage of the Evil Dead trilogy and witty commentary on different subjects.
This Book is Full of Spiders isn't quite as off-the-wall entertaining as its predecessor, but it's still a fun read, and mixes some maturity in with its signature goofball humor.
The plot riffs on standard horror movie tropes, in this case about evil spiders that invade their victims, turning them into flesh-eating monsters. Quickly, the government sets up a quarantine, trapping David on one side while the impulsive dumbass John and David's nerdily sweet, resourceful girlfriend Amy must find their way through the cordon of special agents, paranoid townspeople, and disgusting creatures. There are also appearances by a badass detective, a psychiatrist who’s a bit too rational, the sagely occult expert, Doctor Marconi, and David’s not-too-bright-but-faithful-in-her-own-way dog, Molly.
Wong's treatment of familiar conventions is clever, and raises the question of whether the zombies would really be the worst thing about a zombie outbreak. Perhaps the worst thing, Wong suggests, would actually be an outbreak of human nature, in the form of trigger-happy vigilantes and survivalists, zombie-movie-crazed man-children with hero fantasies, the internet, and good-hearted people trying to save their friends. The “villains” might simply be the people acting rationally. Definitely one of the more self-aware, ironic horror stories ever.
Unfortunately, the book is weaker in other departments. The narrative is often thin and jumpy, as though Wong is writing from a storyboard in his head, but neglecting to show clearly how events got from state A to state B. Readers who have seen their share of B-movies will probably picture where he’s going with it, everyone else will be confused. Of course, the first book probably filtered out most of the latter group. The ending, disappointingly, leaves loose ends dangling.
Still, I enjoyed this one nearly as much as John Dies at the End. We get to know the three lovable losers, David, John, and Amy (with Amy being the least loserly) better as characters, and their thought processes made me smile. Perhaps it helped that audiobook narrator Nick Podehl gave them each a bit of personality of his own.