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We were prepared for an earthquake We had a flood plan in place We could even have dealt with zombies ProbablyBut no one expected the end to be quite sostickyor strawberry scented For the record, I was predisposed to like this book I don t like Jelly, for those of us in the US Also, I like Yahtzee Croshaw MogWorld was a lovely, twisted and twisting tale, and his vidoes on YouTube are both thoughtful and utterly hilarious So when a friend said that this had come out and told me the back blurb, I was already hooked Ok, I just deleted a block of text about how I approached this book which is a gamble I rarely take becausewell, there s a lot of reflections f For the record, I was predisposed to like this book I don t like Jelly, for those of us in the US Also, I like Yahtzee Croshaw MogWorld was a lovely, twisted and twisting tale, and his vidoes on YouTube are both thoughtful and utterly hilarious So when a friend said that this had come out and told me the back blurb, I was already hooked Ok, I just deleted a block of text about how I approached this book which is a gamble I rarely take becausewell, there s a lot of reflections for the big three generations currently knocking about the Western Cultural world The Baby Boomers, Gen X, and the Millennials how d we get the crap name, again all show up at some point, and their various little quirks fill the action and themes of the novel Trust corporate culture Check Subverted Consumer culture Touched on, but Romero did it best, so, no harm, no foul How damned annoying the eternally ironic are Sweet Maria, and how plus the creeping sensation that the ironic folks don t really know what irony is from time to time I d say Yahtzee is a cynic, but he s the honest kind an optimist that has been mugged by reality, and this comes across in everything he does In his video game take downs, rhyme downs, and now books the subtext is that he wants the human race to win through, but he s not really convinced that they havethan a snow s chance in Hell on a balmy Thursday And this might be why I loved the book so much you want the characters to survive and thrive in their jammy world, even as they all go various shades of bonkers.If you want a proper review I can t help you This is a loving parody of the end of the world, and a grimly hilarious but played murderously straight WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL doom story You care for the characters even if they are a little thin this is plot and theme territory, not character analysis , and you want to know what happens next The middle bit drags for a spell, but Yahtzee s voice carries you through and there are chuckles to be had, even if you want to start drop kicking the cast The relentless logic followed by the story holds throughout, and the focus is on the humans, not the jam, and how they crumble based on the logic of the story again, themes.It s a lot of fun What was that old quote, the War wasn t that bad, provided you were with the right people You re in good hands for the end of the world as we know it.Four of Five check it out Like most people, I know Yahtzee primarily through his brilliantly scathing video game reviews Here s a link for the uninitiated I found out that he d written a book as well, I was curious But honestly, I didn t have high expectations I don t mean this as a dig It s just that brilliance is not necessarily transferable Just because Yahtzee can be funny, clever, and witty in a five minute review, doesn t mean that he can write a funny, clever, wit Like most people, I know Yahtzee primarily through his brilliantly scathing video game reviews Here s a link for the uninitiated I found out that he d written a book as well, I was curious But honestly, I didn t have high expectations I don t mean this as a dig It s just that brilliance is not necessarily transferable Just because Yahtzee can be funny, clever, and witty in a five minute review, doesn t mean that he can write a funny, clever, witty novel Nothan I could jump in and do his job and be good at it All that aside, I was pleasantly surprised by the book It was funny, well written, and managed one of the most difficult tricks of all, which is to be ridiculous AND realistic In my experience, a lot of people who write speculative fiction Sci fi, fantasy, etc tend to make the same mistake They think that theweirdness the better They feel like if their stories only have one piece of speculation in them, they re somehow cheaping out It s as if people thing it s not enough to write an alternate history of Earth where, say, the Roman empire never collapsed No You have to change it so that everyone is talking Kangaroos with magic powers too But this simply isn t true Most of the time, adding one simple what if to the story isthan enough If I had the chance to teach a class on writing speculative fiction, I d use this book as an example of how that s true The what if in question is, What if you woke up and found that the world had been covered in two feet of carnivorous strawberry jam Does it sound corny Yeah But the truth is, it s a fucking good book The best apocalypse stories I ve read in ages So good on you, Yahtzee You clever, multifarious bastard you This author comes up with the most insane ideas and then makes them not only work, but be really funny and tell a good story besides.This book is about flesh eating strawberry jam flooding Brisbane See what I mean about the basic premise being insane But the characters are believable and relatable while still being eccentric and hilarious, the story strolls happily along with a slowly unravelling mystery threaded into the hijinks of basic survival, and this was the big surprise to me the sto This author comes up with the most insane ideas and then makes them not only work, but be really funny and tell a good story besides.This book is about flesh eating strawberry jam flooding Brisbane See what I mean about the basic premise being insane But the characters are believable and relatable while still being eccentric and hilarious, the story strolls happily along with a slowly unravelling mystery threaded into the hijinks of basic survival, and this was the big surprise to me the story climax actually gets very tense and scary I honestly couldn t see how the characters were going to survive and save the day Don t worry, it was a satisfying ending neither too happy nor too tragic My quibbles with the book were that, especially in the beginning, I sometimes had trouble envisioning the scenery, which is a problem when the characters are using the scenery to save themselves from attacking jam Overly convenient bits of buildings seemed to keep springing out of nowhere That said, I could forgive this I was amused enough to keep reading, plus the fortunate coincidences stopped happening after the characters got themselves out of the initial perils Overall, I d recommend this as an imaginative and successful comedy Jam is a bit of a puzzle for me to review It excels at the exact thing that I m often the least interested in plot It s a well constructed story with a post apocalyptic concept that seemed reasonably fresh to me, with a pacing that seldom dragged But it made me realize that the only way a misanthrope can really write compelling characters is by being a narcissist At least then the protagonist gets some development, at least if its based on the author.The entire story emanates a strong level Jam is a bit of a puzzle for me to review It excels at the exact thing that I m often the least interested in plot It s a well constructed story with a post apocalyptic concept that seemed reasonably fresh to me, with a pacing that seldom dragged But it made me realize that the only way a misanthrope can really write compelling characters is by being a narcissist At least then the protagonist gets some development, at least if its based on the author.The entire story emanates a strong level of contempt for every character involved Almost everyone has a single character trait, and that character trait can be ignored if it doesn t fit with the direction of the story If there was some faint praise to be had with Croshaw s previous book, Mogworld, it s that the protagonist was consistently unlikable, and his actions always fit with his motives Here, an idealist can become a self serving for a cheap joke, or a mean character a savior, for no greater reason than otherwise the plot would come to a stop.Writing a humorous book can also be fraught with issues I think Terry Pratchett succeeded so often because, fundamentally, he wrote good stories with likable characters that just happened to have a lot of fun jokes and whimsical notions thrown in when they seemed appropriate He was a funny guy, and his books reflected it Whereas in Jam, there s an exhaustive ongoing joke about how young people misuse the word ironic, and I m not sure if it ever worked for me even once Jokes are often haphazardly thrown into the narrative for no better reason than the author must have felt he d gone a while without attempting one Perhaps because Croshaw s main fanbase comes from a humorous web series, he felt it was expected of him, but there are times where the prose is needlessly awkward because it seemed like it would be funnier There s a pervading sense of, this is what humorous writing sounds like which never quite equaled laughs.Croshaw has created an interesting tale populated by characters that he appears to hate too much to try and get to know better No character hasthan one or two attributes, and at times I almost wanted to yell, Could you stop with your particular shtick and just be real for a minute But he doesn t seem to see the humor in his own hatred of his characters, the kind of awareness that could have pushed the story into a legitimate black comedy What I d really like to see from Croshaw is a genuinely dark novel that in no way deliberately attempts to be funny I think it could be liberating