So, I think I found a new favorite writer. The kind of writer that necessitates my active engagement whenever a new book is published.
I mean, look, this book didn’t fundamentally rewire my brain. I’m not re-invigorated, or inspired to change my life. This isn’t like when I read Moby Dick last year. But this book was good. And John Dies at the End was just the right blend of chaotically eccentric and delightfully whimsical. And Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits was charming, and fun, and just so goddamned likable. I want to burrow into David Wong’s brain and squish around in his imagination. Maybe that’s gross. That’s definitely a little creepy. But I won’t apologize for it.
This Book is Full of Spiders is the sequel to John Dies at the End, but it has a much more streamlined and coherent plot, with fewer distractions. It’s impressive that he was able to follow up a deliriously comical book with something equally weird, but also maintain a level of freshness. I think back to the conundrum of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One and Armada, where the latter just seems to be a retread of the book that made him famous. If I hadn’t previously read Futuristic Violence…, I would’ve feared that Wong might have fallen into the same trap. But he doesn’t. He changes just enough without losing the tone that makes him such a delight to read.
Even though this is a sequel to John Dies…., I think a reader could get away with just reading this. This is a lot more accessible, and you’d be lost on the characters and basic set-up of the world, but the story itself is mostly build on it’s own internal framework. In short: there’s an infestation by alien-spider things that turn people into zombie-monsters, leaving the town of Undisclosed a ruin besieged and quarantined by the government. Which doesn’t sound particularly funny – but it is. No writer has been able to make me laugh as consistently and uproariously since Christopher Moore.
David Wong’s books are the kind that I wish I had discovered years ago, but am also sad that I’m done with because I now have no more to read.