Skip to main content

Zombie Spaceship Wasteland: "We were, postage-wise, suburban feudal subjects."



I gave Patton Oswalt's book Zombie Spaceship Wasteland 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads but you should still read it, and I shall tell you why.

I love Patton Oswalt. A lot. Stand-up comics have occupied a disproportionate section of my brain since I was 12 and Comedy Central Presents appeared, and with the advent of Spotify, you can hear all their albums without spending a ton of money (however, if they're doing the brilliant 'give me $5 for my album' thing that Louis C.K. started, DO IT, because most comedians are not J.P. Morgan -- in fact, he probably wasn't funny at all). I saw Patton Oswalt (from here on referred to simply as 'Patton' because 'Oswalt' sounds so cold, and also I want to pretend we're friends) on shows like Reno 911, but I hadn't heard his stand-up until recently and therefore I only realized a year ago that he. is. so smart.


He wavers between this intellectually elite, could-talk-circles-around-his-audience vibe, to ridiculously crass, "here's what you guys want, but I also just talk this way sometimes" levels of humor. When mocking his "Physics for Poets" class in college that he had to take as an English major, he describes it as "where the students would ask questions like 'Is the red planet Mercury like the crimson eye of Cerebus?'"





So the book of this funny, frustrated, brilliant, nerdy man. It's short. It's around 190 pages. On one level, I'm glad his publisher seems to have just let him do whatever he wanted with it. Sometimes comedians need to just experiment and throw all their shit out there, and some of it turns out to be the Next Level of Comedy, but some...does not work. Because the essay-style was so all over the place, it felt kind of wandery and 'Wait...what's happening now'ish.


THAT BEING SAID. I'm still keeping it so I can read it again. His essay about working in a movie theater as a teenager in his small town? Fantastic. His story about working in the worst town in Canada (nay, in perhaps the world)? COMPELLING STUFF. And the awesome thing about comedy is that maybe you'll love all the stuff I was like "Meh, didn't really work for me" about. You know what I find hilarious every time I see it, and which NO ONE ELSE has ever laughed at with me? The moment in Big when Elizabeth Perkins's character is trying to make Tom Hanks hit on her and she finally just says "I'M REALLY VULNERABLE RIGHT NOW." So you never know with comedy.


What I do know is that Patton is smart and thoughtful and a giant nerd. OH, and he has an essay in his book about Dungeons and Dragons that cleared up a lot of questions for me.



Also how do you not read something
with this as the author pic?

For those of you with Spotify: Patton Oswalt. My Weakness Is Strong. The track "Rats." Worth it.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Harry Potter 2013 Readalong Signup Post of Amazingness and Jollity

Okay, people. Here it is. Where you sign up to read the entire Harry Potter series (or to reminisce fondly), starting January 2013, assuming we all survive the Mayan apocalypse. I don't think I'm even going to get to Tina and Bette's reunion on The L Word until after Christmas, so here's hopin'.


You guys know how this works. Sign up if you want to. If you're new to the blog, know that we are mostly not going to take this seriously. And when we do take it seriously, it's going to be all Monty Python quotes when we disagree on something like the other person's opinion on Draco Malfoy. So be prepared for your parents being likened to hamsters.

If you want to write lengthy, heartfelt essays, that is SWELL. But this is maybe not the readalong for you. It's gonna be more posts with this sort of thing:


We're starting Sorceror's/Philosopher's Stone January 4th. Posts will be on Fridays. The first post will be some sort of hilarious/awesome que…

How to Build a Girl Introductory Post, which is full of wonderful things you probably want to read

Acclaimed (in England mostly) lady Caitlin Moran has a novel coming out. A NOVEL. Where before she has primarily stuck to essays. Curious as we obviously were about this, I and a group of bloggers are having a READALONG of said novel, probably rife with spoilers (maybe they don't really matter for this book, though, so you should totally still read my posts). This is all hosted/cared for/lovingly nursed to health by Emily at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) because she has a lovely fancy job at an actual bookshop (Odyssey Books, where you can in fact pre-order this book and then feel delightful about yourself for helping an independent store). Emily and I have negotiated the wonders of Sri Lankan cuisine and wandered the Javits Center together. Would that I could drink with her more often than I have.


INTRODUCTION-wise (I might've tipped back a little something this evening, thus the constant asides), I am Alice. I enjoy the Pleistocene era of megafauna and drinking Shirley Templ…

Yes, Frances Willard was as gay as Oscar Wilde. But in a lady-way.

Yup. We're gonna do it. We're gonna talk about Frances Willard and gayness. Look, it's not a major part of her life, and it's definitely not the main thing she should be remembered for, but the fact that a line is being put out that she was totally straight is complete hogwash and it upsets me.




The thing is, I get when people say it's anachronistic to put the cultural concept of "gayness" onto a person from a century other than the 20th/21st. I get that. And usually agree with it. But Frances Willard is one of the gayest people in history. I have zero problem labeling her with that. The fact that she didn't have the language to describe what she was experiencing is upsetting, but she managed to have a seemingly full and satisfying life anyway, so I am happy for her.

And for people annoyed when gay people say that someone from the past was gay, here's the thing: When you're completely whitewashed from history, it is a matter of TOTAL DELIGHT wh…