ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Book Review: John Dies at the End by David Wong

Updated on June 24, 2017

There's a new drug in town and it seems to be driving people insane. Or perhaps it is only opening portals to another reality. Let's face it... It is hard to say exactly what is happening when a strange new substance that is hard to say "no" to, "Soy Sauce", hits the streets of an undisclosed town somewhere in the Midwestern United States. Our intrepid if somewhat unenthusiastic heroes, Dave and John, are tasked with saving not only the world but our very reality from the evil forces of Korrok.

Throughout the story the somewhat level headed David Wong tries to make sense out of the madness while his insouciant friend John "Cheese" seems to be determined to go deeper and deeper into the insanity. Despite Dave's reluctance, the "Soy Sauce" drags him along for the ride. Along the way the dysfunctional duo encounter exploding dogs, phone calls from the future, fake Jamaicans, a man made of cockroaches, a police officer who looks like Morgan Freeman, ghosts and demons... And then there is also some weird stuff.

While John tries desperately just to mind his own business after running across the new drug at a party where John's band has played, his friend delves deeper and deeper into the chaos that is a "Soy Sauce" high. As time warps and alternate dimensions bloom, the two become minor celebrities while stumbling through a series of misadventures that do not always make a lot of sense, especially to them. But in the end (while John doesn't exactly die but then doesn't exactly not die) everything is wrapped up in a neat little package, albeit with a tentacle or two protruding out the sides along with maybe a chunk or three of something that looks vaguely like raw meat.

Written sort of like a shaky camera film, the book is authored by "David Wong" (who is really Cracked .com Senior Editor Jason Pargin). John Dies At The End began as online serial that around 70,000 people read it before it was removed in late 2008 following the release of a paperback edition of the novel in 2007. The book has developed a strong cult following and movie rights have been acquired by Phantasm mastermind Don Coscarelli. There is also a sequel planned possibly to be called John and Dave and the Fifth Wall. So does this mean John did not actually die at the end? Read the book and find out!

John Votes In The End

Please share your feelings on this book...

See results

Update: The Movie & The Sequel

Fans of John Dies at the End have certainly had plenty to entertain them since the first book, though many fans feel the book and its subsequent offspring have not received the respect it deserves. For instance, the film adaption received no theatrical release and despite the cult status of the first book, many fans felt the second book still did not receive the advertising push that would bring it into the mainstream.

The sequel, This Book Is Full of Spiders (and sometimes subtitled Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It) was released October 2, 2012. Reviewers described the book as "Kevin Smith's Clerks meets H.P. Lovecraft" (SF Signal) and "The Walking Dead written by Douglas Adams" (Washington Post). Fans described it as a fitting follow-up to the first novel. All the principal characters return -- Dave, John, Amy, and even Molly. Things get a little strange when spiders start attacking and taking over people. Wait... strike that. Things get a lot strange when spiders start attacking and taking over people.

Chase Williamson as Dave
Chase Williamson as Dave
Rob Mayes as John
Rob Mayes as John
Fabianne Therese as Amy
Fabianne Therese as Amy

The film version of John Dies at the End began filming in October 2010. The film was written and directed by Don Coscarelli, a true master of oddball horror films such as the Phantasm series and the cult classic Bubba Ho-Tep (which will soon have a sequel, Bubba Nosferatu: Curse of the She-Vampires). He was a perfect fit for the project, delivering a film that was both heavy on the horror and filled with the weird. In other words, it was exactly what you would expect in an adaption of the book.

A lot of the success of the film centered on the casting of Dave, John and Amy. For Dave, relative newcomer Chase Williamson was chosen. Though his resume at the time was rather short, he turned out to be an excellent choice. John was portrayed by Rob Mayes, best known for his recurring roles on the television series Jane by Design and 90210. For Amy, another unknown was tapped in the lovely Fabianne Therese. But the relative anonymity of these actors doesn't mean the film lacked star power.

The role of reporter Arnie Blondestone was filled by veteran actor Paul Giamatti (Lady in the Water, Sideways) while Dr. Albert Marconi was portrayed by Clancy Brown (Cowboys & Aliens, Starship Troopers). Genre mainstays Doug Jones (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth) and Daniel Roebuck (Rob Zombies' Halloween, Final Destination) also appeared in the film as Roger North and Largeman respectively. Overall, the cast was well-chosen and really added to the film's atmosphere and appeal.

The film never received a theatrical release but a DVD and Blu-Ray was released April 2, 2013, after the film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2012, and then played at the South by Southwest Festival on March 12, 2013. While fans would have loved to see the film on the big screen, it was still a thrill to finally have the film in hand.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • FunabashiJ profile image

      FunabashiJ 

      8 years ago from Bridgeport, CT

      A very interesting sounding book. Definitely something I'll have to look into.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)