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Zombie Spaceship Wasteland

3.56  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,139 Ratings  ·  932 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 S ...more
Hardcover, 191 pages
Published January 4th 2011 by Scribner
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Bossypants by Tina FeyIs Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy KalingDad Is Fat by Jim GaffiganYes Please by Amy PoehlerBorn Standing Up by Steve Martin
Books by Comics
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Written by Comedians
13th out of 117 books — 72 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mar 09, 2011 Kemper rated it liked it
Shelves: humor, biography, 2011
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
Mar 09, 2015 Lyn rated it really liked it
This book is hilarious.

And like the old saying, “It’s funny because it’s true” this is SO funny because it rings true. Patton Oswalt writes about growing up in the eighties, so there’s a connection – but specifically about growing up in the eighties, IN THE SUBURBS and being a “broke ass white kid”.

He and his cheap beer guzzling friends listened to The Doors and Zeppelin and then REM and U2, and it’s just funny. This is written as a series of loosely connected vignettes, all funny, some also i
Krok Zero
Jan 13, 2011 Krok Zero rated it really liked it
Shelves: winter-10-to-11
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
Harmony Cox
Sep 14, 2011 Harmony Cox rated it it was ok
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
Mark Russell
Jul 03, 2011 Mark Russell rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 25, 2013 Joe rated it it was amazing
Shelves: listened-to
"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
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
Mar 30, 2011 Alice rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pop-culture
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
Nicholas Karpuk
Aug 29, 2011 Nicholas Karpuk rated it it was ok
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
May 31, 2011 Chris rated it it was amazing
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
Serena.. Sery-ously?
Ok, questa volta l'ho terminato.
Tanta tanta noia e la consapevolezza di non avere la minima idea di quanto Oswalt stia dicendo nel 90% dei casi.
E poi secondo me parte per la tangente come pochi!

Not my cup of tea (Abbandonato al 23% senza rimpianti, ma io e Patton ci siamo lasciati da buoni amici).

Non solo non ho la minima idea di chi sia Patton Oswalt (Lo so, io a malapena so accendere il decoder della tv, figuriamoci guardarla).. Ma per i primi due capitoli mi ha parlato di cose/persone/show ch
Abe Something
Mar 17, 2014 Abe Something rated it really liked it
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
Nov 08, 2011 Jon rated it it was ok
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
Kate Woods Walker
Feb 24, 2011 Kate Woods Walker rated it really liked it
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
Clare Shaffer
Aug 30, 2012 Clare Shaffer rated it it was ok
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
Jan 24, 2011 Brandon rated it really liked it
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,
Jan 11, 2011 Jeremy rated it liked it
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
Feb 17, 2011 Jake rated it it was ok
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 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-
Feb 05, 2011 Catherine rated it really liked it
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
May 08, 2013 Gordon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Funny, quick and what I expected. But totally not in a bad way. I have long been a fan of Patton Oswalt and have all of his albums. He's brilliant and that transfers to the page well.
Jun 09, 2011 kimberly rated it liked it
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.

Feb 10, 2014 Lena rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, humor
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
Apr 14, 2016 Molly rated it really liked it
This was really pleasant. I listened to it on a drive, so the only disappointment was the chapter that is presented in graphic novel format, as I couldn't exactly view the PDF while I was driving. I probably would have enjoyed it more in print, though Oswalt is conscientious enough as a writer and the reader to acknowledge when certain things make more sense on the page.

The title piece is probably one of my absolute favorite essays. I'm going to have to buy the actual book now. Damn you, Patton
Christopher Farnsworth
Jan 06, 2011 Christopher Farnsworth rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 14, 2011 Ariel Cummins rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, funny
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
J. Hamlet
Jun 22, 2011 J. Hamlet rated it really liked it
Shelves: comedic-memoirs
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
Apr 05, 2012 Alan rated it it was amazing
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
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
May 05, 2011 Kirby rated it really liked it
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
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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.” 31 likes
“Zombies can't believe the energy we waste on nonfood pursuits.” 26 likes
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