Monday, 21 May 2012
Pulpy Wong & Warring Peace
John Dies at the End is an amusing comedy/horror novel about a pair of deadbeats who get drawn into an interdimensional war with some blood thirsty intruders. Our protagonists are nicely drawn slackers who's bafflement and irreverence in the face of a variety of nicely peculiar, lethal interlopers provides an endearing and frequently funny counterpoint to the gore and mayhem the critters cause and though the writing isn't the best and the plot proceeds with fits and starts it's still a thoroughly good read. Apparently the author, David Wong, is a co-founder of Cracked.com and with this promising debut slice of schlock hopefully he'll spend a little more time on polishing his next book than trawling the net. Oh and there's a movie version and it looks not bad.
David Peace is frequently compared to James Ellroy (a sort of critics shorthand I guess) but his jarringly direct prose is strafed with poetical flourishes far more sophisticated than the Devil Dogs cartoonish stylings and there's plenty of evidence to Peace's talent in his stunning GB84 a furious, fictionalised history of the miner's strike of the 80's. With multiple narratives including a Union accountant, ordinary miners, Special Branch bug men and duplicitous, shadowy fixers Peace creates a kaleidoscope of endemic cynicism, brutality and political naivete that leaves a distinctly bad taste in the mouth. I'm not sure exactly how historically accurate this book is (was only 8 at the time) but it's an amazing, exhilarating look at a seminal period in our recent socio-political history and a telling reminder in these austere times of just what lengths governments will go to get their way.