So I read this bloody book, and it’s brilliant, dog’s bollocks, cat’s nuts, pig’s fucking trotters and marsupial’s nadgers. It already came out a while ago but I’m a bit slow like that. I don’t know whether I’ve gotten a bit spoiled following Zero Punctuation a good long while, but I kind of expected this book to be a bit funnier. I do think that is probably the reason, as a webisode is so much shorter for the caffeine-hyped twats that cannot hold their attention to anything that doesn’t have either guns or tits attached to it, so it really is rather unfair to expect the same kind of fast-paced constant, verbal diarrhoea of undiluted fun. However, the book instantly got me hooked in the story-line and never let me go, and found it very pleasant to take things slower, and rather enjoy the feel of the comedy flowing like a pleasant mountain stream made entirely of bile and misanthropy, rather than being sandblasted by it in short 4-minute-bursts.
The big issue with the book is that you have to have, if not played WoW or another grinding MMMRRPGRRGR, to have a pretty good understanding of how they work. Otherwise the book is not going to be quite as hilarious. Rather like watching Charlie Chaplin’s Dictator with no concept of Hitler. You would still enjoy it and pick up the pieces as you read along, but it wouldn’t quite be the same. Oh you know, the ridiculous quest systems, grinding, campy armours that always have a slutty version for the ladies, sad necromancers pathetically failing to menace even a passing squirrel, the works…
I never played WoW, which I am thankful as fuck for, yet recognise all the same shitty elements from Lord of the Rings Online, which I was really into for a while. I eventually got quite tired of the grinding and shitty quests, though the scenery, graphics and atmosphere were just right. The exact point where my interest began to droop, can easily be pinned to the point where is stopped reading quest descriptions. And that point came after one fat Hobbit wanted me to go and fetch his hanky. In an epic world of Tolkien…my mission was to find a hanky. A hanky. Embroidered. This fat little sack of cock-juice wanted me to fetch…a hanky. Filbert…Bor-r-r-r-ows… “Here you go sir, here’s your hanky. I had to slaughter twelve men to get it from their camp, but I’m sure you’ll be pleased as pudding. Don’t mind the blood sir, I was just wiping my face, you know, with all the blood. As they were pleading me to spare their lives, with the wife and kids and all…Oh my reward? I can go and get a better quest? At the other side of Hobbiton. And three bits of copper. Thank you sir, though are most charitable..”
That was the other thing that really fucked me off, the bloody quest structure. The first quest always being really shit, which unlocks the next one 10 miles away that is slightly less shit and pays two bits of copper, after you can get a proper quest with the first quest-giver…oh fuck it, got sidetracked again.
The book is about a World of Warcraft style Massive Multi-player world becoming self-aware through snazzy programming, and the book follows one of the characters within the game, Jim. It is kind of easy to interpret Jim as a direct extension of Croshaw himself, infinitely sarcastic, misanthropic and pessimistic, though the truth I think is much more intelligent than that. Jim dies and finds himself resurrected by a dark overlord as a zombie, quite enjoying his time managing the rat-pit of his master’s Dread Fortress, spending his days cruelly torturing adventurers and trying to kill himself. Very fittingly to Croshaw, Jim’s primary motivation in the book is to achieve death, which was so cruelly taken from him (Jim only leaves his body momentarily at death, to return back to his decaying body again and again), until becoming a reluctant hero trying to restore the balance of life and death to Mogworld.
The world the characters live in is actually only a very intelligent simulation, which exists only for humans to take over characters and adventure. So death has ceased to exist before Jim’s resurrection as Mogworld’s code becomes more advanced, and everyone simply becomes restored after death at the nearest temple, leading to immense suffering for all involved, the end of which, becomes the story’s ultimate goal.
The back-story of the novel follows the game developers, as a new member joins the team and completely cocks up the project, leading to increasing glitches in Mogworld, that he then tries to fix presenting himself as a god, making his cult try to erase the damaged areas, which eventually leads to genocide and destruction (or reset) of the entire Mogworld.
Though Croshaw has tried to downplay Terry Pratchett’s effect, he is the closest literary parallel that comes to mind, though Yahtzee is much edgier, darker and loves to use the word “fuck” a lot more.
So if you haven’t read it, read it. In the meantime, I am left with fond memories and equal degree of wonder, at why the fuck there is no ebook edition of Jam out yet.