Patton Oswalt, Zombie Spaceship Wasteland
The comedian and actor presents a work of comedy, terror and autobiography
Comedian and actor Patton Oswalt (“Ratatouille,” “Big Fan”) brings a little of this and a little of that to his first book. It’s part memoir, part humor, part list of things he looked up on the Internet as he wrote. As the author puts it, Zombie Spaceship Wasteland is a work of comedy, terror and autobiography that begins with his early memories of working in a movie theater, committing light larceny and playing Dungeons & Dragons until its magic is eclipsed by an actual social life. The amusing autobiographical sketches are interspersed with short out-and-out humor pieces (the title is a reference to the various philosophies nerds take towards life as we know it: you either identify with zombies, wish you commandeered a spaceship or looked forward to living a quiet life in a wasteland).
The best moment of the book is when Oswalt offers a look at what it’s like to headline a comedy club somewhere in Canada (not nearly as glamorous as it seems, when you don’t want to be there nor, seemingly, does the audience), while a reverie of a trip to an MTV gifting suite is rife with self-consciousness and loathing. Helped out by his musical friends Michael Penn and Michael Stipe, the book includes a few semi-jokey, semi-autobiographical musical references (like meaningful-to-Oswalt REM lyrics recited gamely by Stipe). At just over three hours long, it’s ideal for a mini-road trip.