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By Clayton Smith
Reviewed by Jason Pettus
Clayton Smith's Apocalypticon is incredibly easy to summarize -- it's what a post-apocalyptic novel would look like if written by Joss Whedon -- and what you think of it is going to directly reflect what you think of that idea, of basically the storyline of Mad Max as seen through the eyes of a couple of goofy slackers who are slightly autistic and have an obsessive love of throwaway pop culture. (It's no surprise that the framing device for this novel is our heroes' obsessive quest to make it from Chicago to Disney World for a nonsensical "end of the world vacation.") And although I'm on record as not particularly liking actual Joss Whedon projects, I have to admit that I gleefully enjoyed this book a lot more, primarily for the go-for-broke sheer silliness of this absurdist plot and even more absurdist characters, and the way it agreeably clashes with the super-serious and violent world that our Raimi-esque narrators blissfully traipse their way through. A surprisingly thoughtful look at what a post-apocalyptic Chicago run by murderous gangs might actually look like, an especially big bonus for a local like me, this will be right up the alley of people who liked The Road but didn't think it had enough fart jokes, which believe it or not I actually mean as a compliment.
Out of 10: 8.5, or 9.5 for Joss Whedon fans