Finally, Yahtzee Croshaw’s Jam found its way into my grippy little fingers. This book was pretty damn great, if somewhat stupid, in its premise, characters and story, and I found it to be much more fun and entertaining for it, as well as very clever in its cultural criticism.
One day you wake up and all of Brisbane is covered in man-eating Jam. It’s the apocalypse. The rest is pure fun, as Croshaw’s brilliantly dim and satirical characters make their way trying to survive, each with equally strange ways to deal with the apparent end of the world as we know it. This scenario was also sort of hinted at in a Zero Punctuation review, where he says that people would be plain unable to cope, if the Apocalypse came in any other form than those precious zombies every fanboy is looking forward to with sweaty palms. Like carnivorous jam. Oh, yeah…
Unwittingly to the layabout heroes Tim, Frank, Angela and Travis, Jam has mysteriously struck during the morning rush-hour, when all the hardworking people with lives and jobs are all gobbled up, leaving alive only the dregs of society who don’t get up before noon. Like students, unemployed, game-developers and ironic hipsters. And people who turn up at the office before anyone else, who are sort of by definition unhinged, emotionally dead corporate workaholics.
Frank is the first to go, unwittingly sliding down a railing into a gloopy red end, and soon Travis, Angela and Tim join up with the sarcastic and cynical Loincloth Entertainment developer Don, and they witness a military helicopter crashing with two mysterious American agents X and Y.
The story progresses in a Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness -sort of parody, finding surviving communities of ironic hipsters, ironically worshiping a grumpy janitor and ironically sacrificing its own members, to a corporate building full of aforesaid workaholics organising survival efforts and sacrificing their own members in a detached, corporate cost/profit way. Besides trying to survive in a world of jam, the characters must strive to fulfill personal goals, such as uploading the latest build of their game or documenting the events for future generations, and come closer to finding the truth behind the Jam, and its mysterious origin.
A lot of the humour comes from the characters and modern societal stereotypes, as well as trends dominating the sort of shared Western popular culture, with a whole subculture of apocalypse fantasy, mostly centered around corpses walking around gobbling up the living, usually taking place in internet forums for socially inept shut-ins, where everything is so fucking ironic. In many ways this book is pandering the idea of societal collapse, except in that it is the apocalypse fantasy gone wrong, where all the hard Bear Grylls type of survivors are already dead, and the only people left are the societal outcasts, looked down at by people with nine-to-five jobs and cars.
Recap. Jam. Awesome. Go. Read.