John Dies at the End

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
John Dies at the End
John Dies at the End 2213.jpg
Written by: David Wong
Central Theme:
Genre(s): Comedy, Horror
Series: David Wong
Followed by: This Book Is Full of Spiders
First published: August 15, 2007
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"This has our names in it, John."
"That's right."
"But... the scene they're depicting here in the book... this really happened. Only nobody else was present when this happened. No one could have known."
"I know."
"So what do you think it means?"
"I think it means we're living a novel. This novel."
I turned the book over in my hand and studied the cover:
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, by Ann Brashares. I glanced over at the chair at the foot of the bed. At my pants.
Charlize Theron began screaming.

—David Wong, JDatE 2 Excerpt

A webnovel-turned-published-book by author David Wong (actually Jason Pargin, head editor of, written in autobiographical style, narrated by a character named David Wong about his and his best friend's adventures featuring the paranormal.

Dave and John are two college dropouts living in the middle of an "Undisclosed" town in Illinois. John is a deranged, irresponsible, carefree, slacker/rocker/drug enthusiast. Dave is an apathetic, bored, snarky withdrawn young man with a traumatic past and the tendency to get dragged along with whatever John happens to be doing. After a run-in with a living hallucinogenic drug at a party, the pair gain the ability to see ghosts, demons, and into other dimensions. Hilarity Ensues. So does violence. And Monsters. And weirdness. And swearing. And an unbelievable amount of sexual innuendo.

Once available for free at, but now that it's being published, there's just a humorous promotional blog addressing the (supposed) rumors that the events of the story really happened. It's also an Alternate Reality Game with clues hidden in the blog images and filenames.

A sequel, titled This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously Dude, Don't Touch It, was released in 2012.

John Dies at the End was recently republished worldwide as of September 29, 2009.[1] A film adaptation directed by Don Coscarelli was made in 2012.

Tropes used in John Dies at the End include:
  • Abnormal Ammo: When John and Dave get somewhat famous due to the Sauce, people begin sending them bizarre things. One of them is a package of explosive bullets for David's pistol.
  • Adventure Duo: Dave is more serious and literal-minded (to the point of missing blatant clues), a trait he credits to an array of negative character traits. John is flat-out crazy and more on the ball about the insane crap pitched at them.
  • Alternate History: Several, in fact. Other universes are often alternate histories where one or more important details have changed, resulting in often-cataclysmic differences from our own world - for example, Korrok came from a world where Organic Technology was fully mastered. He's an out-of-control supercomputer. More creepily, the Shadow Men exist out of time and can make changes in history that echo in the present. Arnie mentions to Dave near the end of the book that he vaguely remembers false memories of John Paul II dying much earlier and being replaced by a black pope who adopts the name Leo, for instance.
    • Much more threateningly, the Shadow Men can suddenly change a timeline. Arnie speculates that the Shadow creature that nearly blew up Amy's plane would later turn out to be a reality if Dave didn't play along, changing it so that David wakes up one day and remembers Amy really died all those years ago.
  • All There in the Manual: The website and several forum comments by the author (and John Cheese, who, as the name suggests, is who John is based off of) detail the back story and side stories of the novel. Impressively, revelations in the novel make throwaway gags in the preview updates much, much creepier.
  • Always Someone Better: Dr. Marconi, a rich and respected former priest, archaeologist, and ass-kicker of the demonic and undead. He resembles the typical Lovecraft protagonist, especially Prof. Armitage, and likely would be the hero in a traditional Lovecraftian take on the story.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot/Big Bad: Korrok is a violent, tyrannical, evil, sadistic, racist, homophobic, know-it-all organic computer from another dimension, with the maturity of a 13-year-old playing an online game, made out of a tower of flesh and nerves bigger than the Statue of Liberty. He also eats people wrapped in bacon and wants to rule the entire multiverse.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Dave
  • Anti-Hero: Dave isn't the greatest guy, and he does some pretty nasty stuff here and there. However, he does enough good to escape being a mere Designated Hero, even if many of his bravest deeds were performed by Monster Dave, and isn't too bad a guy at all when not forced into universe-threatening circumstances.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Somewhat justified, since the majority of the mail that John and Dave get are from bona fide crazies who give them nothing useful.
    • Arnie. It takes David a good deal of luck to convince him from not turning and leaving - even after he shows him a Wig Monster.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "Would you describe your own appearance to me, please?"
  • ASCII Art: John is proficient with it. Also used in the story to depict the pi-symbol Korrok uses to mark cloned humans and animals.
  • Asshole Victim: Billy Hitchcock. Sewing a dog's eyes and mouth shut with a glue gun is the LEAST assholish thing about him...
  • Author Avatar: David Wong. In a book written by David Wong. Yeah.
  • Badass Preacher: Definitely Dr. Marconi.
  • Better Than a Bare Bulb: Part of the plot when Arnie realizes that Dean Koontz has been writing fiction about Shadow Men lately, much like the ones in Dave's story, and calls out Dave on it. This is done in part because the early versions, according to the author, were a little too close to Dean Koontz's style of plot, down to Molly being an intelligent golden retriever instead of an "Irish rust dog".
  • Beta Couple: Subverted. You'd think Dave and Jennifer Lopez would be this, and for a moment it seems like they are. She stops showing up in the story by the midpoint.
  • Black Comedy: The universe imminently ending is no reason to keep from laughing at the sheer ridiculous horror of the circumstances.
    • Korrok himself is a gigantic fan of this style of humor.
  • Blue and Orange Morality - Robert North and Korrok's worshipers, who, as a result of Korrok's calculations and predictions of events, have adjusted their morals - for example, stealing is okay, since the stolen object could hurt the owner or be used by the owner to hurt someone else.
  • Body Horror: Kicking off with the cop in the interrogation room whose body parts can detach and animate and remains a constant throughout the novel, culminating in alternate-universe humans who can instantly mutate victims from people to animals and Dave turning out to be Monster Dave since the start of act 3.
  • Book Safe: Dave keeps his gun in a hollowed-out Koran.
  • Breather Episode: The time between the trip to Las Vegas and returning to Undisclosed... until the Shadow Men show up to be irritating again.
  • Candlelit Bath: Invoked.

John: “Oh, no! It’s dark in here and here I am in the shower! Alone! I’m so naked and vulnerable!”

  • Canon Discontinuity: The original, free, online sequel, John and Dave and the Temple of X'al'naa"thuthuthu, is being rewritten and expanded into the true, published sequel, and Dave has stricken the original from canon.
  • Carnivore Confusion: See trope entry.
  • Cat Scare: Not in the story, but for the reader; while viewing the partially finished sequel (now available online again) on the website, highly disturbing faces pop onscreen unexpectedly at random intervals.
  • Chainsaw Good: Subverted. Dave asks himself if he could have gotten stuck in such a situation with a dumber weapon. He does, however, manage to slice off a guard's fingers with it, but drops it due to the kickback when it hits the guard's rifle.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Many examples, and most of them don't play out the way you expect them to. For example, the footsteps and missing bullet in David's gun.
    • "Would you describe your own appearance to me?"
    • David seeing Todd in the broken TV at the fake Jamaican's place.
  • Chick Magnet: John doesn't really try, but Dave mentions his numerous girlfriends and ability to attract women over the book and in the blog. It makes sense, John is a pretty fun guy.
  • The Chosen One: Neither John nor Dave desire to be the Chosen One, and actively fight against attempts to nominate them as such. When they finally get dragged to meet Korrok, it turns out they're Chosen Ones... for allowing Korrok to cross into their universe.
  • Cloning Blues: Dave discovers near the end of the book that HE is the clone, rather than the dead Dave in his tool shed. He becomes depressed enough to contemplate suicide but eventually gets over it with support from Amy and John (who jokingly refers to him as Monster Dave).
  • Cloudcuckoolander: John. The fact that he happens to be right about most of the supernatural stuff doesn't change the fact that he was basically insane before any of the weird stuff happened in the beginning of the book.


  • Cluster F-Bomb: "Fuck that. Fuck that idea like the fucking Captain of the Thai Fuck Team fucking at the fucking Tour de Fuck."
  • City with No Name: Taken to an art form; the current splash page image is a sign reading "UNDISCLOSED".
    • Interestingly, the city originally had a generic-sounding name, but it was removed after David learned that there was a real city with that name, and his book was leading people to vandalize it. The name was Rockville.
  • Collector of the Strange: David Wong eventually gets a garden shed full of things that simply should not exist. For instance, an issue of TIME magazine about the assassination of Bill Clinton.
  • Continuity Nod: To earlier versions of the story. The wide release finally reinstates the fan-favorite Badgerconda.
  • Crap Saccharine World: Shit Narnia, Korrok's home dimension. The inhabitants live in peace and harmony, harness biotechnology, are very welcoming and kind... and serve a psychopathic eldritch abomination, are horribly disfigured, and like to feed people to said abomination.
  • Crapsack World/Planet Eris: The setting of the world is such that anything or anyone could suddenly appear for no explained reason, and 90% of the time it wants to kill you. 10% of the time it's actually friendly but you're so used to the other 90% you shoot it anyway.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: This is how Robert North introduces himself.
  • Dead All Along: We don't get to see all of the stuff that happens to them, but it apparently occurs enough that the main duo's attitude to this is "I hate it when they do that." Especially when it happens to Dave and Arnie.
  • Deadpan Snarker: John and Dave and Dave's subconscious, who constantly berates himself and interjects into the action. At times, Dave's subconscious seems like its own character.
  • Demonic Possession: Which turns out to actually be Puppeteer Parasite using Korrok's Organic Technology.
  • Devil but No God: It is alluded to in the first half, though as the main monsters featured in the story were created in an alternate timeline it may not be an actual example. The only reference to a God or something related is a letter from Chrissy Lovelace, sending a cross necklace to David, saying an Angel told her to send this to him.
    • Early in the book, Dave seems to subscribe to this worldview himself, though it's notable that at the time his experience with "demonic" entities was all but non-existent.

Morgan: You believe in Hell, Mr. Wong?
Dave: Uh, yeah. I guess.
Morgan: Why? Why do you believe in Hell?
Dave: Because it's the opposite of what I want to believe.

    • And used more explicitly here:

Amy: Are you scared?
David: Pretty much all the time, yeah.
Amy: Why? [...]
David: Because I sort of looked into Hell, but I still don't know if there's a Heaven or not.

  • Did Not Do the Research: Invoked at one point when David refers to his Hyundai as a Japanese car; Hyundai is in fact a Korean manufacturer, but this was deliberate to help establish that David is an ignorant fuck.
  • Doing In the Wizard: Most of the fleshy creatures turn out to be genetically-engineered bio-weapons, but averted with the Shadow Men, who are dead spirits helping Korrok in turning the world into his personal shithole. Holy objects still affect them and whatever form they take, like most ghosts and demons. The only explanation is that they are "agents of discord" who find ordered things like music and formalized prayer or iconography extremely irritating.
  • Dogs Are Dumb: Molly, at first. It eventually goes to blatantly self-serving, to the point David thinks it's out to get him killed. Turns out, it was helping him.
  • Ear Worm: Some of the evil racist remixed songs can be catchy, when you think about it. Just don't try to sing along... Three Arm Sally's music, sans the actual music, sounds like it could be pretty awesome.
    • "I knew a man / No, I made that part up / Hair! Hair! Haaairrr! / Camel Holocaust! Camel Holocaust!"
    • You can see the lyrics and music for Gay Superman and USAnthem here (about a third of the way down the page).
      • Let's send 'em aaalllllll ba-ack to Aaaaafrica...
  • Eat the Bomb: Molly eats the bomb that John and Dave make towards the end of the book, and they feed her some burritos in order to speed up its evacuation. The bomb reappears just in time for their escape from Shit Narnia.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: The good guys shoot at a car's gas tank to kill some nasty little Soy Sauce bugs biting their faces. This simply puts a hole in the gas tank, and they have to light the gas manually.
  • Everytown, America: The unnamed, ugly little town where John and Dave live.

"Welcome to Undisclosed. Dreams Interpreted for Beer."

  • Foregone Conclusion Subverted: John doesn't die at the end, just toward the beginning, but he gets better. Dave dies about halfway through the book (although we don't realize it until after the climactic showdown), but eventually Monster Dave gets over the whole "evil clone from another universe" thing and arguably winds up a nicer guy than the original Dave was, apparently trying to compensate for the guilt over killing Human Dave.
    • Also, a clone of Amy dies at the end. The only main character who doesn't die at the end is John.
  • Foreshadowing: You will die alone, with shit in your pants. He's talking to the Real Dave, who is killed by a doppelganger who replaces him halfway through the novel. When Monster Dave finds his original corpse, it stinks to high heaven, meaning he really DID shit his pants.
  • Framing Device: The first book is framed as Dave telling his story to a reporter.
  • Genre Savvy: Dave and John, after the initial shock of seeing ghosts has worn off. One exception: they are apparently compelled to deliver inappropriate one-liners at every opportunity.

"A key. Good. Now, if I know what's going on here, and I think I do, we'll have to wander around looking for that door. Behind it we'll meet a series of monsters or, more likely, a whole bunch of the same one. We'll kill them, get another key, and then it'll open a really big door. Now right before that we'll probably get nicer guns. It may require us to backtrack some and it might get really tedious and annoying."

  • Glamour Failure: If Molly is drinking out of the toilet, what just licked Dave's hand? Also one of the abilities conferred by the Sauce, as John and Dave gain the ability to see through supernatural disguises.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: Three Arm Sally. Another: "Fat Jackson's Flap Wagon," which is still spraypainted on the band van even though they've changed their name.
  • Gorn: An inordinate number of living things explode throughout the book.
  • Groin Attack: Shitload unleashes a torrent of these; apparently, during the fight, it doesn't occur to him to do anything else other than exploit this one weakness.
  • Hell Gate: Shit Narnia Gate, actually. The elevator in the mall technically counts, as it leads to a multiversal bazaar of sorts.
  • The Hero: John. Dave has a few moments, too.
  • Hero of Another Story: Played for Laughs in the end, where John and Dave get dragged off to another universe again, but leap out before they can get wrangled into saving the day. Four kids come along and save that universe instead.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Molly is a red-furred Irish... dog of some sort, but the love interest is her red-headed owner, Amy Sullivan.
  • Heroic BSOD: Dave, when he realizes that he's killed someone and stuffed their body in his tool shed. Ironically, being too freaked out to get a good look at the body actually saves Dave's life. ...or rather, it saves Monster Dave's life. If he saw who it was, he would have committed suicide right away.
    • John, when he gets a look under Largeman's mask in Shit Narnia.
    • Arnold when he realizes he may not be real.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Dave constantly berates himself for all manner of negative character traits, some true, some exaggerated.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: John and Dave, definitely. Which leads to a lot of the Ho Yay, below.
  • Ho Yay: John and Dave sometimes finish each other's sentences, or speak volumes with a glance. Granted, the Sauce has a lot to do with that, but from time to time the book actively courts it.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: A recurring theme in the novel. It's the apparent motivation of the Shadow Men, as Shitload gives an impassioned speech on why Earth is the most terrifying place in existence.

"Dude, I can't believe you ain't all paralyzed by the pure, naked horror of this place."
After a long, long pause John said, "Uh, thank you."

    • Interestingly, in the sequel, it seems that other powers are afraid of the opposite: that humans are in command of free will, the strongest magic in the universe, and may in fact win out over their base instincts and thus the base, instinctive terrors that try to besiege them.
    • And not to mention Korrok and his Shadow Men aren't much better, being irritating, immature pricks who say "fag" and think it's funny.
  • Hurricane of Puns: John and Dave are both prone to them, John especially. In one scene, John is wielding a folding chair to fight off monsters, and lets loose a long string of one-liners containing chair-based puns.
    • While imitating "Macho Man" Randy Savage.
  • I Am Legion: The human hive in Book 1 refers to itself as Shitload because 'there's a shitload of us in here.'
  • Improvised Weapon: "TestaMints," little mints that have Bible verses on them to be given to unsuspecting demons, a baseball bat with a Bible and tape recorder strapped to the end, a flamethrower made from a water spray gun, and after taking the Soy Sauce John and Dave make a bomb from ordinary household objects by analyzing their molecular structures.
  • Indy Ploy: The entire book. Lampshaded with “Do we really strike you as the type to plan things out ahead of time?”
  • Infant Immortality: The dog version, with Team Pet Molly, who survives a miraculous amount of things. The ending strongly hints that Molly is actually a disguised angel, who takes on the form of Fred Durst to explain this (and a bunch of other stuff) to the narrator. Note when he says he's been "dogging" Dave around. Quotes included in the original text. May or may not be the case in the sequel.
  • Invoked Trope: John and Dave decide (very loudly) to split up while trying to lure out a ghost that has eluded them. John takes a shower while loudly proclaiming that he hopes he does not get attacked while he is naked and vulnerable. Dave decides to take a nap because ghosts love to sneak up on sleeping people.
  • Jumped At the Call: John. Though, in the epilogue, even he thinks the world on the other side of the gate on the basketball court is too lame to save. Don't worry, some kids do it for them.
  • Kill and Replace: Done successfully with Dave's, but Amy's is foiled by North, though Dave doesn't know it at the time.
  • Kill It with Fire: Subverted and played straight. While being held prisoner by Shitload, John and Dave and crew think up a plan to douse him with Molotov cocktails. They're caught off guard by his weird appearance and they fail to throw the bottles on time. Later, when the hateful worm things are trying to burrow into Dave's arm, John douses it with booze and lights it, killing them.
    • Jennifer throws a Molotov cocktail but she was so shocked and the throw was so halfhearted that the bottle just hits the ground and rolls away without breaking.
    • John makes a flamethrower and uses it while spouting fire-based puns.


    • Every Car Is a Pinto is also subverted when they shoot the gas tank, and...gas spills out harmlessly while they wait for the trope to kick in. Then they light it.
  • Kill Us Both: Subverted. Monster Dave becomes suicidal when he realizes he is a Tomato in the Mirror, but John and Amy conspire to prevent that.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Lots, for various reasons. A popular one ("You heard me" and "Hey, why not?") is to call out the sheer ridiculousness of the story.
  • Large Ham: The possessed pile of meat. A Large Ham in more ways than one.
  • Living Shadow / The Heartless: The Shadow Men are the ghosts of dead hateful beings from billions of alternate dimensions who seek to add to their ranks via mass death and spread misery and hate everywhere through a series of time-altering plans.
  • Magic Versus Science: Played with. See trope entry.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: John, for Dave.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: The Wigmonster.
  • Moe Blob: Amy, who John notes is one of those girls who invoke that sort of thing from their appearance.
    • Shelly Morris from the prologue is also described in a way that paints her as this. It probably goes away when she turns into snakes.
  • Money Spider and Crate Expectations: Parodied at the mall. John embraces the situation to the extent to mention the possibility of finding mushrooms resembling the 1up mushroom from Super Mario. Played down quite a bit from the original version, which was essentially a chapter-long parody of First Person Shooters and The Legend of Zelda. Justified because the demon who is creating the monsters is riding around in their friend, who they presume is mimicking a game in order to help them along.
  • Monster Clown: The Ronald McDonald decal that Dave sees.
  • More Dakka: John and Dave first face down evil with whatever weapons they have on hand, but by the climax they're stocked to the nines with proximity explosive pistol rounds and a flamethrower made out of a Super Soaker. Though the improved firepower is somewhat selectively effective...
  • The Multiverse: Played straight, and with a lot of confusing jargon from the people/creatures who know the score.
  • Mysterious Watcher: North, who is actually an alien jellyfish who tried to make love to a chandelier and stops the infected, dead Amy from crossing over into David's world.
  • Name's the Same: Jennifer Lopez. Subverted with "Morgan Freeman", who John notes doesn't look, sound, or is even named anything like his namesake (his real last name is "Appleton").
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book:
  • Oblivious to Hints: At the end, the guy who looks suspiciously like Fred Durst tells Dave that he's been "dogging" him the whole time. Dave is completely oblivious to the implication that he is talking to Molly in human form.
  • Odd Couple: Deconstructed with the relationship between John and Dave. For most of the book, Dave is seen as pretty normal, with John being the weirdo. However, as the book progresses, we discover that John is Dave's only friend, and the reason Dave still hangs around with him is because he's (almost rated as) a codependent sociopath, and John's the 'normal' one.
  • One-Paragraph Chapter: Chapter 10 is: "Looking back, if I had gone in and seen what was in the toolshed, I would have put a bullet in my own skull one minute later."
  • Organic Technology: Turns out, Korrok is the result of one man who utilized and perfected organic tech. Worlds taken over by him, or worship him, use them, such as adorable little kittens that heal injuries and giant spiders that serve as vehicles.
  • Our Demons Are Different They're either malevolent inter-dimensional ghosts of living shadow or humans turned into genetic experiments from the next door universe.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Cited by a villain as the kind of unrealistic hope that humans invest into their heroes. Played ridiculously straight when John and Dave blow the hell out of Shit Narnia.
    • To be fair, however, John was the only one on the other side at the time of the explosion, and only a few feet from the exit. As well, the bomb was located fairly deep within the complex as well. They weren't exactly running with flames on their heels.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: John. He's also The Lancer, and, according to the real-life David Wong and John Cheese, the real hero of the story.
  • Psycho Serum: The "soy sauce"—if it doesn't kill you or drive you mad, it leaves you Cursed with Awesome (or Blessed with Suck, depending on whether or not you liked what sanity you had before you took it) and able to see through the Masquerade.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: extradimensional conqueror Korrok's first words in person to Dave are "Welcome. Your wiener is even smaller in person." He then goes on to use the word "fag" and giggle way too much. Korrok also has the (telepathic) voice of a small child.
    • Earlier than that, Shitload was more-or-less the epitome of a 13-year-old who discovered rap music and learned how to curse.
  • Portal Cut: One of the monsters at the mall's elevator when the door closes.
  • Post-Modern Magik: All the weird stuff that people send John and Dave, ranging from some sort of oil that can form the shape of a person's thoughts (and then attempt to kill them) to Scooby-Doo glasses from a Kid's Meal that let you see through the Masquerade.
  • The Power of Rock: Demons hate music. Especially rock love power ballads. Used at many points in the book, even when whatever music is being played barely counts as music.
  • Powder Trail - John lights a giant self-wrapped cigarette that acts as a Powder Trail to the bomb that destroys part of the building in Shit Narnia.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The hooded assholes in charge in Shit Narnia, though they are just puppets of Korrok.
  • Reaction Shot: During the first climax in Las Vegas, Dave and friends play "Camel Holocaust" after they're informed that demons hate music. When they perform, there's a line of all the invading wig-monsters all standing still and giving them incredibly annoyed looks.
  • Rape as Drama/Rape as Backstory: Dave has both dead parents and possibly rape in his backstory.
    • "Let's just put it this way. I'll never ever tell you."
  • Ret-Gone: The main form of attack of the Shadow Men.
  • Retarded Enough To Work: Many of John's plans. Lampshaded when the heroes decide to fight a ballroom full of wigmonsters by playing musical instruments.

John: Guys, this is just retarded enough to work.

  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory When the timeline is changed by the shadow men, some people will randomly remember how things used to be, although they'll typically remember it both ways, not just the original way.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Several different locations: Marconi's show room in Las Vegas, Robert Marley's trailer and his hovel at the abandoned mall, Dave's tool shed, and Big Jim's workshop. Each one is not only a Room Full of Crazy, but an insight into the personality and life and often death of the owner.
  • Rule of Cool: Dave's reason for bringing an improvised flamethrower while Storming the Castle. They also bring a chainsaw and a battleaxe.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl - Every time David screams, he tries to convince the reader that he did it in a manly, gaspy way, and not like alittle girl.
  • Shout-Out: Too many to count, often as a form of lampshade hanging or elaborate gag.
    • Let's put it this way: if you enjoyed the articles on Wong's (now-defunct) Pointless Waste of Time website, you'll get a kick out of some of the references (Wally's Videe-Oh!; getting an absurdly high score on a sports video game, et al).
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror:
  • Spirit Advisor: While John's body is comatose, he manages to offer guidance to Dave. He speaks through a cell phone, a sausage, and eventually, a dog that ate the sausage. Molly herself is one in hiding.
  • Spot the Imposter: Look for the π!
  • Spy Speak: Parodied. When John and Dave talk on their cell phones during the prologue, the code they speak in case their phones are bugged with stuff like "tomorrow we kill the President" to mean "pick up a pack of cigarettes".
  • Storming the Castle: John and David have no idea what they're getting into as they assault the mall's cover... which turns out to be some sort of multidimensional bazaar.
  • Sudden Videogame Moment: The mall chapter becomes a lot like a FPS, with added references to classic games.
  • Take Our Word for It: Only John gets to see what's under the hood of the inhabitants of Shit-Narnia, his reaction hints that it's not a pretty sight.
  • Take That - At Fred Durst and his band, with David repeatedly referring to their band as shit.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Using the Sauce, a local news sports anchor tapes one side of an entire conversation. When it is played back to his intended audience, her initially-reluctant responses sync up perfectly, and the anchor in the video even waits for John and Dave to exit the room before continuing.
  • Textual Celebrity Resemblance: It has a lot of fun with this. For example, there's a cop the narrator describes as looking like Morgan Freeman, so that's what he's referred to as for the rest of the novel. It then subverts this by having a character named Jennifer Lopez who looks nothing like the singer.
  • Timmy in a Well: Subverted. Molly barks at the reality breaks that John and Dave encounter, but rarely does anything but that. Also invoked early on when she's trying to get back home.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Monster Dave, as well as Arnie Blondestone.
  • Trophy Room: David's tool shed is half this and half Chekhov's Armory.
  • Uncanny Village: Shit Narnia, the world that Dave and John visit, appears to be peaceful at first. It's the home universe of Korrok.
  • Unperson: What the Shadow Men can (and will) do to you if you get in the way.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: When the heroes plan even slightly ahead, things go wrong in as fast and messy a fashion as possible. Rolling with the punches and grasping on what little luck they get winds up saving the universe. Also the source of the most terrifying phrase John can say: "Dave, I have a plan."
  • Unpredictable Results: The "fur gun" in the sequel. It seems completely random at first (except for John, who can only give things beards), but it seems to be influenced by the thoughts of its users. This trait is used to save the day.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Dave admits that he might not be 100% accurate in his retelling.

I did it according to this equation:
l = E x ∞
Which can be translated as "One small lie saves an infinite amount of explanation." I use it all the time. I've used it on you already.

    • There are also small parts where Dave wasn't present and John tells the story instead. These parts have a suspiciously high occurrence of backflips, as well as a chase scene that John resolves by "stealing a nearby horse". As David points out early on, "If you know John, you'll take the details for what they're worth. Please also remember that, where John claims to have 'gotten up at three-thirty' to perform this investigation, it was far more likely he was still up and somewhat drunk from the night before."
    • Also, when Dave is talking to Arnie, he gets called out on the fact that he changes the number of people in their group as they head to Vegas, which is actually due to one of them becoming an Unperson.
  • Viral Transformation: The effect of various worm creatures and a sufficiently large dose of Soy Sauce.
  • The Virus: Horrifying sapient worm-things from another dimension that will burst you apart and spread more worm things.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Dave works at a video rental store and needs to use his sick days carefully if he wants to save the world without ending up homeless. John also works, but never seems to hold the same job for long.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Used twice, once after Vegas, where Dave couldn't remember entire weeks, and again around the time Amy went missing, where Dave couldn't remember what he was doing during a particular hour. He thinks he murdered someone. No, it's not Amy.
    • Amy herself. She'd disappear for hours on end with no memory.
  • What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic: To expand on the Devil but No God above. Korrok can be compared to Satan, locked in a war with the mostly unknown forces which spawned Fred Durst and North for the whole of creation. Fred Durst and North and can be seen as representing Angels, or even God himself in the case of North.
  • What Have We Ear?: Done by Robert the Fake Jamaican to Dave with a live centipede. But that's not the end of it...
  • Word of God: In regards to several character traits and plot points.
  • World Half Empty - David occasionally monologues like this, especially when he investigates the mall. He knows it's an attempt by the Shadow Men to make him kill John and Chrissy in a fit of nihilist-driven rage, though.
  • A Worldwide Punomenon: John is this trope embodied. His one lines are the stuff of legends.

"You wants the committee asshole, you better meet with the "chair"!"

  1. You can find a copy of the original draft of the first book right here.