Oct 6, 2022 • 57M

How Cult Classic 'John Dies at the End' Kicked Off a Literary Career

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Appears in this episode

Richard Rushfield
Sonny Bunch hosts The Bulwark Goes to Hollywood, featuring interviews with folks who have their finger on the pulse of the entertainment industry during this dynamic—and difficult—time.
Episode details

On this week’s episode, Sonny is joined by Jason Pargin for a wide-ranging and freewheeling discussion about, among other things, the propriety of jokes about nuclear war, how a cult classic movie kicked off his literary career, and the ways in which social media algorithms have possibly led you to believe that your favorite writers have disappeared and/or died. (As the former executive editor of Cracked dot com, Jason has some experience with this.) Oh, we also talk about his new novel—If This Book Exists, You’re in the Wrong Universe, out October 18—and why you don’t need to read the three previous books in the series to enjoy it.

That said: I would recommend reading them! The first, John Dies at the End, is probably the easiest to skip since you can get the basics by watching the movie (streaming now on Hulu) but basics are, well, basic, and you don’t want to be Basic, now do you? (You can buy a new copy here and a used copy here). The second, This Book Is Full of Spiders, is my favorite of them, a deft deconstruction of the late-2000s-to-mid-2010s wave of zombie movies, shows, and video games. (New here, used here.) What the Hell Did I Just Read is perhaps the funniest book about depression I’ve ever read. (New here, used here.)

One of the things we talk about in this episode is Jason’s dislike of live events, meaning readings/signings. Which in turn means that if you want to get a signed copy of the new one, well, you have to preorder it from Parnassus Books in Nashville. And you have to do it by October 17, a scant 11 days from now. So … go get it, I don't know what you’re waiting on.

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