Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A special message about JOHN DIES AT THE END

Below is a very important message from David Wong, author of the soon to be re-released John Dies at the End (pre-order here). Please read it carefully as your life may depend upon the information it contains...


My most terrifying experience reading a novel was when I opened my copy of White Fang and a dead spider fell out.

I've always felt like that's what a good horror novel should do. That is what I told Jacob at Permuted Press when it came time to put John Dies at the End into print a couple of years ago. My idea was to rig each copy with a plastic spider that would jump out at the reader when they opened page 42. It was as simple as cutting a compartment into the middle pages and rigging some kind of spring mechanism.

This idea was rejected very quickly (too quickly for it to have been properly considered, I felt) due to the costs of cutting into and inserting the spiders during the printing process. I spent several months searching for a workable alternative, and found a place that for a reasonable price would supply us with thousands of spider eggs. These could simply be tossed in between the pages and by the time the book reached readers' hands, they would be ready to spill dozens of live spiders on them, which I felt would be even more effective than the plastic ones.

My calls on the subject were not returned, and by this point the book was already for sale and we didn't want to create a situation where customers were storming the counter at Borders, demanding refunds in exchange for spidered copies of the book.

It was at this point that horror legend Don Coscarelli approached us, having heard rumors and wishing to purchase the film rights for "that book where the spider jumps on you". By the time he realized the truth, the ink was already dry.

Then along came St. Martin's Press, who picked up the rights to republish John Dies at the End around the globe on September 29th of this very year. On Day One we drew up plans to have each copy actually project a holographic spider onto the reader's chest, using a complex system of low-powered lasers to simulate a "bite" from the spider by burning two pinprick-sized holes into the victim's skin.

We did have to scale that down due to the costs, as my new editor at St. Martin's said that something equivalent could be created by simply DESCRIBING a spider jumping out at the reader. I was dubious, and we compromised by adding a one-page interlude on page 204 (between the scene about the guy who explodes and the scene where the dog explodes) featuring a drawing of a spider, with some motion lines behind it. It was then removed during the first round of edits.

They did throw me a bone and let me write some new material that expands the John Dies at the End universe (that is, a fifth scene where somebody explodes) so it would be a rewarding experience even for those who read the Permuted edition. Publisher's Weekly give it a great review (though, ahem, noted the lack of spiders) and Don Coscarelli is busy negotiating with studios about the cost of staffing each showing of a JDatE film with a crew of guys who would fling buckets full of plastic spiders at the audience every five minutes or so.

So what I'm saying is the book goes on sale on September 29th, and I have some pretty serious outstanding debts to the spider egg wholesalers. So it'd be great if you could buy a copy. Thanks.

Pre-order here:

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