Tag Archives: dark humor

What the Hell Did I Just Read

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews What the Hell Did I Just Read [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by David Wong (now revealed as a pseudonym of Jason Pargin), book 3 of the John Dies at the End series.

Wong Pargin What the Hell Did I Just Read

The third “John and Dave” cosmic horror-comedy novel is a little closer in spirit to the first than the second, I think. The central cast of Dave, John, and Amy is unchanged. The setting in the small Midwestern US city of “[Undisclosed]” this time features riparian flooding as a difficulty (unremarkable climate change and infrastructural neglect) incidental and basically unrelated to the main threat of invasion by mind-controlling entities from another dimension.

This volume’s slightly lower overall count of dick jokes is more than compensated by a correspondingly higher number of ass jokes. It reads at a hectic pace. Readers who enjoyed the previous books should appreciate this one too, and while This Book Is Full of Spiders is certainly worth reading, it would be possible to read this third book directly after John Dies at the End with no greater sense of disorientation than the books deliberately offer in their published sequence.

In an afterword in his own voice, writer Jason Pargin sets aside his David Wong character to remark that he doesn’t view the three books as a completed trilogy, and to offer some earnest words about mental health, lest anyone take the wrong lesson from his stories of flawed reality-testing–as he seems to think that certain of his correspondents have done.

Slow Learner

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Slow Learner: Early Stories [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Thomas Pynchon

Pynchon Slow Learner

This aptly-titled collection of short fiction is a superfluity that I keep on my shelf only for the satisfaction of approaching completeness in my Pynchon collection. While none of these stories are really terrible, it is clear that by the time he had written Vineland, Pynchon had already cannibalized his early shorts for everything of value, recycling the elements to much greater effect in his novels. I’d recommend it to scholars and sleuths contemplating the genealogy of Pynchon’s writing I guess, but for most readers I’d say the contents are better encountered in their later, consummated forms.

Eldritch! Vol 1

I’ve mentioned previously the comic Eldritch! by Drew Rausch and Aaron Alexovich, but right now SLG has a special discount code on offer via their newsletter you could use to grab the softcover, which collects all six of the digital comics in one volume. So, click through to the newsletter to grab the discount code, and then head over and pick up the Eldritch! softcover.

Drew Rausch and Aaron Alexovich's Eldritch! Vol 1 from SLG Publishing

“ANYA SOBCZEK (SUB-CHECK) is a snarling science major with an arm full of Darwin tattoos. Her brother OWEN is a sulking introvert in a coven of teenage occultists. The Sobczek sibs have always been brutally competitive, but now that Owen’s blood has started BUBBLING with ancient tentacled abominations, their rivalry is about to enter a vast new dimension of cosmic terror …

Collecting the six issue digital comic book series, Eldritch! is a comedic horror story with Lovecraftian trappings that pits science against belief. Written by Aaron Alexovich (Serenity rose, Kimmie 66) and illustrated by Drew Rausch (Sullengray, Haunted Mansion) Eldritch! will appeal to all fans of dark humor comics.”