Monday, January 31, 2011

John Dies At The End / by David Wong

Dave is an average guy who's been experiencing some unusual events of late. He's able to trace his odd behavior and frequent lapses in time back to a party in which his friend John and his band "Three Armed Sally" had a gig. It was here that Dave was introduced to a new drug called "soy sauce" which began him seeing and sensing some pretty wacked out phenomenon like certain impossible phone calls from dead people. Dave thinks it's just a bad trip until he and John find out a little more about the "soy sauce" in question. It seems that the mysterious substance actually "chooses" its takers rather than the other way around, imbuing them with the eerily unnatural ability to decipher the goings on in other parallel dimensions. In short, the drug can show them new, yet similar worlds yet unknown to them while also unveiling their own conceptual reality in strikingly new and unfamiliar ways. There's a serious problem though. An evil presence associated with this alternate dimensional realm desires access to the real world, hence its 'targeting' of certain test subjects (e.g., Dave and John). "The Evil", as it's called, will stop at nothing to gain entry into the world of the living and Dave and John may be the only thing which can prevent it from doing just that.
Part a Lovecraftian horror, part William S. Borroughs and even a snippet of Stephen King-esque macabre are thrown in to this craftily conceived tale of alternate dimensions. Wong is something special and as a result has created quite a cult following with his fiction which was mostly restricted to online material for quite a while. It was actually a webserial promoted online by the author before a publisher saw the story and snapped up the copyright. It's a book which manages to be both funny and scary simultaneously, darkly comedic and yet fairly sinister in its approach. As a novel, it's solid enough to appeal to Sci-Fi/Horror buffs and yet generate appeal among mainstream fiction readers. Nothing from any specific genre really fits the book. The story is one which conceives the inconceivable, pointing out things few people (even ones in not-quite-their-right mind ;-) could have ever imagined. A movie version starring Paul Giamatti and Clancy Brown directed by Don Coscarelli is in the works and due out sometime this year. (SF WONG)

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