Zombie Spaceship Wasteland
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Zombie Spaceship Wasteland

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  5,598 ratings  ·  777 reviews
Prepare yourself for a journey through the world of Patton Oswalt, one of the most creative, insightful, and hysterical voices on the entertain­ment scene today. Widely known for his roles in the films Big Fan and Ratatouille, as well as the television hit The King of Queens, Patton Oswalt—a staple of Comedy Central—has been amusing audiences for decades. Now, with Zombie...more
Hardcover, 191 pages
Published January 4th 2011 by Scribner
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Kemper
I relate to comedian Patton Oswalt to an almost scary degree. We’re about the same age, we both grew up as nerdy sci-fi/comic fans in areas where there was absolutely nothing cool going on, and we both seem to share a bleak outlook when it comes to people. I loved his routine Text from his My Weakness Is Strong comedy album so much that my wife got a specially made coffee cup for me with the words I HATE on one side and a cartoon of a giant robot destroying a city on the other.*

*(I looked for a...more
Krok Zero
Hmm, is it time to write a review of Patton Oswalt's book? I expected to put the book down upon finishing it and eagerly race to Goodreads to pen a five-star hosannah extolling the multifaceted brilliance of Mr. Oswalt's first official literary endeavor, but the reality is that I was slightly disappointed by the totality of the (occasionally masterful, always amusing) text. So this review is a little more muted in its enthusiasm than the one I hoped to write but you'd still be crazy not to read...more
Mark Russell
I've had numerous friends recommend this book to me, and apparently they know me pretty well, because I loved it and thought it was hilarious from beginning to end.

If I might digress for a brief rant, however (and this is nothing against Patton Oswalt or this book), I just want to lodge a complaint to no one in particular about the sheer amount of energy writers of my generation spend analyzing the pop culture of our youth. About 70% of this book is about legos, Dungeons & Dragons, movie tro...more
Harmony Cox
On the back of this book, there is a blurb from Dave Eggers. He says that this is the book that finally proves Patton Oswalt is a writer as well as a comedian. This will go down in history as one of the many, many things that Dave Eggers is wrong about.

I am a lightweight comedy nerd, and I have nothing but respect for Patton Oswalt. He's definitely one of the best established comics working today. But stand-up comedy is a way, way different art form then writing. The idea behind this book was ap...more
Joe
"I can re-remember things to suit my regret." - Patton Oswalt

What a fantastic antidote to the bad taste that "Dad is Fat" left in my literary mouth. This is exactly what I was looking for from Patton Oswalt. This is another comedian who I'm a huge fan of, I've seen all his specials, all his movies and TV appearances...and this book was something entirely new and original. It wasn't just a retread of stand-up he's done before. Rather, it was a personal, touching, hilarious and heart-breaking jour...more
Nicholas Karpuk
I still have a book to read by Tom Lennon and Ben Garant, but after that I may halt my purchases of books by comedians I enjoy.

Patton Oswalt seemed like a safer bet compared to most comedians. He seemed so narrative in his stand up that I thought it might be safe to delve into his writing. Unlike Eugene Mirman, whose abstract style was wretched for long-form work, I thought Patton could hold it together.

Well, yes and no.

This book does indeed contain chapters that form a complete thought. The n...more
Michael
A kind of yard sale of essays and reminiscences, most of which are entertaining. As opposed to witless drivel published by other comics (looking at you, Chelsea Handler, though it pains me), Oswalt isn't just making gags in this book. (Actually, the gag bits are the worst bits of the book.) Instead, he indulges in a fair bit of autobiography that creates a Portrait of the Stand-Up As a Young Man. He played D&D, was a science-fiction devotee, watched tons of bad movies and worked in suburban...more
Chris
I apologize ahead of time for not even trying to aim at Point B, or even starting from Point A. Comedy and terror and autobiography and comics and literature—they’re all the same thing.

To me.


I hereby officially nominate Patton Oswalt as the spokesperson for the Generation X nerd. And would like to perhaps hire him as my personal ambassador to the world. He’s a couple of years older than I am, but we definitely share similar formative experiences and outlooks. Except he’s funnier, more articulate...more
Alice
I can't believe how disappointed I am in this book. I love Patton Oswalt. He is one of my favorite comedians and I usually find him witty, insightful and just plain hilarious. Usually when he goes off on a tangent, he pulls it right back to his original point in a clever and humorous manner. I don't know what went wrong with this book. I think he tried to cram too many styles into a slim volume. Did he want to write a straight-up memoir? Did he want to write a few "comedic riffs"? OK, either of...more
Abe Something
Other books Patton's book led me to:

Nightmare Alley - William Lindsay Gresham
The Horizontal Man - Helen Eustis
The Daughter of Time - Josephine Tey
Carioca Fletch - Gregory Mcdonald
The Hawkline Monster - Richard Brautigan
At the Mountains of Madness - H. P. Lovecraft
The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World - Harlan Ellison
The Howling - Gary Brandner

This book is chock full of references that I look forward to digging into. I knew to start keeping track of the gems Patton was dropping w...more
Jon
It's hard to really get interested in a person that starts a biographical section in a book by sharing how he used to steal from his bosses, and clearly, clearly, feels no shame about it. I should also point out that it isn't played for laughs, nor is there any comeuppance that occurs or is even suggested. No, it's just matter of fact.

At times I laughed (though extremely rarely, barely got through the whole fake greeting card section), but generally I flipped pages waiting for something interes...more
Kate Woods Walker
I'm a fan, and have been ever since first hearing Patton Oswalt's intelligent comedy in a late nineties HBO comedy special. Now I'm a bigger fan.

Zombie Spaceship Wasteland was enjoyable start to finish, but I particularly enjoyed "Punch Up Notes," "Wines by the Glass" and "Mary C. Runfola Explains Her Gifts." Oswalt displays such a wide range of literary gifts, it's possible to imagine him among the National Lampoon writers of the 1970s, sitting at the Algonquin Round Table or even included in s...more
Clare Shaffer
If you are looking for a book with a clear, concise plot and manageable characters, you might want to look elsewhere. Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, though an extremely clever, funny book, doesn't seem to have any clear plot line or story. Instead, it is a mishmash of different stories from the narrator's, stand-up comedian Patton Oswalt,life. Intermingled in these memoirs are random little bits of comedy routines that he has performed in the past, which also take on the persona of yet another life...more
Brandon
I finished this at the gym while lamenting that I was riding the stationary bike instead of running.

Patton Oswalt's first book differs from most comedian books. For the most part, I've stopped buying comedian books because they are inevitably disappointing. If I like a comedian enough to follow their work to the point that I want to purchase their book, I am usually pretty familiar with their material. Unfortunately, my experience has shown that comedian books, especially initial comedian books,...more
Jeremy
First, the bad: it's *incredibly* short; some of the bits, while perhaps conceptually interesting - for example, an epic poem about his favorite D&D character - don't really work; it's not all that funny.

Now, the good: It's not all that funny, but it's not necessarily *supposed* to be all that funny. Look, if you're a huge fan of Patton Oswalt's stand-up comedy and you see that he's writing a book called "Zombie Spaceship Wasteland", you would expect that it's going to be hilarious. If you w...more
Jake
Patton Oswalt is one of my two favorite comedians (right up there with Louis CK) and one of the funniest creations of all time. His book...is not.

Half memoir and half comedy skit chapters SOUNDS like a good time. But the comedy chapters feel like bits that couldn't make it into his stand-up act and the memoir parts focus mostly on his younger, pre-comedian D&D days. It's not terrible by any stretch. I just hoped for more behind-the-scenes as a struggling comedian and less disgruntled middle-...more
Catherine
Laughed out loud at 7:15 in the morning as I sat by myself with this book and a bowl of raisin bran.* "The room smells like a hot, wet hat. The coffee tastes like pants," and "what's more rock and roll than a wolf and a cannon that's about to shoot?" Thank you, horrible Reed and grandma. Somehow you were key ingredients in the marvelous layer cake that is Patton Oswalt.

That's not to say that this book is one-liner, zinger-type funny. That'd be missing the point. Mostly, it's a warm fuzzy feeling...more
Gordon
I love his comedy, and appreciate his thinking-man's approach. He's certainly literate enough to be authoring books, but this read like some contractual obligation, a hodgepodge of disparate material collected for a book release, rather than the labor of love he repeatedly mentions dreaming of. Reminded me a bit of my own comedy book I abandoned ten years ago when I decided to just post those brain droppings on a blog instead. The standup anecdotes are entertaining, as is the Neill Cumpston stuf...more
kimberly
well, i'm done.

the parts that were "supposed" to be funny? totally not funny.

but the musing parts, the parts where he just rambles and talks about his life? LOVED.

Lena
I'm a fan of Patton Oswalt's stand up comedy, so when I found this book on a list of comedy library must reads, I was really looking forward to experiencing more of his work.

Unfortunately, the book is a very mixed bag. It's not a memoir, exactly, though there are some autobiographical pieces that can be both funny and moving. Nor is it pure comedy writing, though there are sections in which he takes a theme and riffs on it a writerly way for a good long time. While there are moments of sheer bri...more
Christopher Farnsworth
This isn't just a collection of Oswalt's stand-up routines, or the bits left on the wayside. Instead, we get a look at some of the things that made him, as well as jokes that would only work on the page. And it's really fascinating as well as funny, not to mention skillfully written. Anyone who's seen or heard his routines knows he's got a gift for imagery and language, but here he puts it to work in prose that's often painful, funny, and heartbreaking within the space of a few sentences. From "...more
Ariel Cummins
I think I should just stop reading books by comedians I like. After being burned by lukewarm feelings (MIXED METAPHOR IN YOUR FACE!) about Bossypants, I still had hope that Patton Oswalt, king of the Nerd Comedians, would be able to deliver a funny and coherent memoir. And yet, here I am, summing up this book with the same word I used to describe Fey's -- meh.

Oswalt's book definitely has some hilarious moments, and I really enjoyed the times when he talked about ACTUAL events in his life. It wa...more
J. Hamlet
I started reading this book, being a big fan of Patton's, thinking it was just going to be gut-bustingly funny the whole way through. I was a bit surprised. While this book is indeed a laugh riot in a lot of places it was surprisingly poignant. Little did I know Patton was not only from a boring Virginia suburb like me, he was also a theater usher! I have a feeling I won't grow into one of the greatest comedians of our time, however.

Anyway, Zombie Spaceship Wasteland (the check boxes are actual...more
Alan
Apr 05, 2012 Alan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Any of the three
Recommended to Alan by: An awesome title and a high-contrast cover
I thought this book was freakin' awesome, actually... and not just because I think the guy might've been stalking me, back in the 1980s. Oh, not really... but from the "Preface Foreword Intro" on, Patton Oswalt was dropping names and recounting experiences which could easily have come from my own memories of that formative decade. He was in (East) Virginia in the Eighties; I was in West Virginia—not that far away physically, or even culturally. He was voraciously reading sf—much of it in books t...more
Kathleen
This collection of short works--mostly autobiographical--is interesting but pretty hit or miss for me laugh-wise. I giggled at the short story told in comics and the fantastically accurate satire of a wine list, and I rolled my eyes and skimmed the sickeningly graphic 'decoding' of hobo songs. Most of all, I liked the chapters about a kid coming into puberty playing D&D or the excellent shaggy dog story about his first gig headlining a club. And--as ever--when Oswalt's humor works for me, it...more
Kirby
Back when I taught 9th grade English, I occasionally assigned "multi-genre projects," which are essentially a collection of 5 or so items (like essays, collages, poems, drawings, short stories, whatever) that express a central theme of a character or story. The majority were very bad.

Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, on the other hand, is the ultimate multi-genre project. At first, I assumed it was an autobiography; but-- like it clearly states on the cover-- it is simply "A Book." It's a brilliantly...more
Benjamin
I have been thinking some lately about where a person's sense of humor comes from.

This all started when I recently revisited some old episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. I used to watch the show religiously back in high school. I taped it, shared copies with friends, watched with buddies, and sometimes turned it on trying to share the show with someone in my family. (They tolerated it.) Watching the show now, I was stuck by a few things: 1) It was still funny. 2) I definitely prefer the s...more
Gus Sanchez
By no means is Patton Oswalt the nerdiest person alive, but, as a stand-up comic (and one of the funniest people alive), he may certainly be the most vocal and visible. This collection of essays documents his obsessions with sci-fi and fantasy, and how those obsessions forged both his personality and his stand-up comedy. The standout essays are "Prelude to the Song of Ullvak," in which Oswalt defines Dungeons and Dragons to us the uninitiated, and the title essay, in which the aforementioned thr...more
Spencer
I'm a sucker for a fellow bibliophile, especially a nostalgic one, but egads this was clever and brilliant and unexpected and delightful. Two thumbs enthusiastically up. Laughed out loud numerous times, though it was also cerebral and witty and intelligently humorous. Write more, Patton Oswalt. Loved this!

For more, check out my somewhat-but-not-completely book blog at: http://dunceacademy.com/3350/zombie-s...
Cristina
If you're a fan of Oswalt's comedy, read this book! He is as funny in writing as he is on stage. Totally recommend.
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Patton Oswalt is an American stand-up comedian, writer and actor.
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“If the victories we create in our heads were let loose on reality, the world we know would drown in blazing happiness.” 23 likes
“Zombies can't believe the energy we waste on nonfood pursuits.” 19 likes
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