In the sixteenth chapter of John Dies at the End, it is literally impossible to summarize this chapter in a few sentences. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read John Dies at the End.
Chapter Sixteen: Shit Narnia
You’ve got to be kidding me.
- I was prepared for absolutely none of this.
- Let me start off by stating that David is one unreliable narrator, and I even said that earlier, and I STILL BELIEVED WHAT HE WAS TELLING ME REGARDLESS. It’s like I never learn. But then what would the fun be if I did?
- Anyway, this massive, relentless, confusing, and frightening chapter answers nearly every question I ever had about this universe, and it also provides the one thing I wasn’t shocked by: This is all super fucked up.
- And yet, the “answer” to this is a long time coming. David Wong doesn’t reveal it to us immediately, instead choosing to immerse us in this hellish nightmare universe, one that is like our own but slightly off. Obviously, there are a lot of visually disturbing things in this chapter (I will shriek about the trench scene in a bit), but it’s the idea that this world is just what ours could have been that unnerves me the most. Haven’t we seen people behave in a similar manner in our own world? The frank and obsessive worshipping of savior figures, genocide, the exaltation of violence… all of these things exist here. So is this reality all that different than ours?
- (Yes. Oh my god, yes, but I really dug the parallels to our own world. It made this so much creepier.)
- I mean, this shit starts out with David, John, and Molly doing a freefall into a weird net, only to be greeted by a band of nude/hooded people who don’t seem to have faces in their dark hoods, and nothing makes sense. Why? Why are these people so happy to see these three?
- Why is David Wong so obsessed with dicks??? The world may never know.
- WHY IS THE MAN WHO WAS WATCHING DAVID THROUGH THE TELEVISION HERE?
- Statues. There are statues of David, John, and Molly. They are gods here. I figured this was a huge clue as to what this world was, but I couldn’t quite piece everything together. Whose side were these beings on? Their behavior suggested they wanted to help out David and John, but why did everything feel so wrong?
- KITTENS AS MEDICINE. Okay, that’s about the only redeeming feature of this world.
- It was around page 392 that I knew that this couldn’t end well. Once the man who met David and John mentioned that the people of his world were trying desperately to reach another world, it triggered a memory in me. Didn’t someone tell David and John that these creatures were trying to come into our world? Wexler said something like that, right? Well, he said there were doors everywhere, and Robert North warned of something along these lines.
- The alternate “Y” history of this parallel world is FASCINATING, and I’ve always loved the exploration of how parallel worlds differ from one another. Here, we see how the survival of a man in one world causes history to branch off in another direction. Up to that point, the worlds were identical.
- Beastiology. The “art of transforming naturally occurring life into forms that can be used by man to better the world.” Again, the term is new, and what Mr. Rooney did with life is horrifying, but doesn’t this sound remarkably like what is done in our universe? We have turned nature into something that is used by us to better our lot. Granted, we haven’t done this, but we did create the atom bomb and guns and dynamite and we poison each other and we blow each other up, and I think you get the point.
- So. The trench sequence. Saying this is revolting and disgusting is an understatement. I can read a lot of uncomfortable things, but the human suffering here was too much for me. These people suffered because they resisted progress. It was for no other reason but this.
- It’s through this that the man reveals what’s behind all of this: a sentient machine that can compute all outcomes and scenarios. A computer that always knows the “right” outcome. And it’s terrifying to think about because morality as we know it is subjective. Therefore, how could you compute the right answer? The world is more complicated than that! But that’s not what these people believe, and it instantly explains the fervent worship that I saw in this place. They worshipped an immutable moral code spat out by a computer.
- Oh, and they have spider elevators. This whole place is one giant NOPE except for the kittens. I’ll take those.
- “You are seeing what only a select few have seen. You are looking at the ultimate manifestation of Mr. Rooney’s creation, which now stands as the absolute wisdom and strength in all of existence. John, David, meet Korrok.”
- FOREVER FUCKING DONE WITH THIS BOOK
- KORROK IS A LIVING, BREATHING MASS OF ORGANIC MATTER THAT IS SO BIG YOU CAN’T EVEN LOOK AT ALL OF IT AT ONCE AND IT IS A FUCKING SUPERCOMPUTER WHO CAN COMPUTE THE ANSWER TO ANYTHING AND WHAT THE FUCK.
- (Which is an amazing idea, a brilliant reveal, and something that endlessly confuses me, because how can a perfectly moral machine be so crude and bigoted? I totally don’t get this. Though I suppose just because it can compute the “right” answer doesn’t mean it acts that way.)
- “You look like you were made by a committee.” Literally the best insult in the entire book.
- Oh, right, Korrok is ruling over THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS OF OTHER UNIVERSES. Oh my god.
- And then it makes sense. The statues. The adoration. The spying through televisions. These people don’t know about soy sauce. They don’t know how David and John were able to travel (or see) another world, and they believe (because of Korrok) that they’re here to help them cross into our universe.
- “I ran.” Can I just say how refreshing it is that David sees Korrok eat some innocent dude, and he’s like FUCK IT, I AM GONE, GOODBYE Y’ALL.
- Oh, except Korrok and his followers (maybe just Korrok? I wasn’t clear on this) can command the human cell itself, which explains all the “possession” in the book. Fucking hell, that is so scary. How do you fight against a being that can predict any outcome and can control you at a cellular level? It doesn’t help that the darkly poetic way in which the man speaks makes my stomach turn. Everything about this felt impossible!
- Of course, it only gets about a billion times worse once they find Amy, trapped in a cell, and ONE OF THOSE PURE WHITE INSECTS IS LET LOOSE. No. No!!!! There’s no cure for that! Surely they aren’t going to do this???
- “She shook the hand and rubbed it on the wall and did everything she could to try and dislodge the insect, but it was useless. It had burrowed into her.”
- WELL, FUCK! FUCK.
- Except John had a plan. Bless you, John. I can readily admit that I have never, in my entire life, read anything that approaches the level of gross-out absurdity as using Molly as a shit-blasting weapon. I just… I can’t. It’s hilarious because it just is.
- At the same time, I saw a huge flaw in John and David’s plan, though this isn’t a complaint about the chapter. It’s actually openly addressed: They still have no cure for Amy. They can have Largeman direct them back to their world, and then… what? What do they do???
- THE COUNTDOWN IS SO TENSE AND I DON’T THINK I’D NORMALLY LIKE ITS USE IN A BOOK, BUT IT WORKS. IT WORKS, AND IT MADE ME SO NERVOUS.
- WHAT THE FUCK DID JOHN SEE WHEN HE TOOK OFF LARGEMAN’S MASK???????
- OH FUCK WHY IS ROBERT NORTH HERE IN AMY’S HOUSE?
- NO, WHAT’S HAPPENING
- OH MY GOD, AMY’S SKIN IS BULGING
- THIS IS UNBEARABLE
- I DON’T LIKE THIS
- I –
- “There was suddenly warm blood all over me and a ragged hole appeared in Amy’s temple. She went limp in my arms.”
- No. No, you didn’t. NO. NO, AMY WAS THE BEST, WHY? WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS???
- oh my god ROBERT NORTH IS PUTTING AMY’S BODY IN THE OTHER WORLD. Oh my god. He found a way to destroy these people. And maybe even Korrok???? THIS ALSO WASN’T CLEAR.
- “I grabbed the gun, pointed it at North’s heart, and watched him melt. Literally. He fell into a puddle of good and, from it, emerged a creature not unlike a jellyfish. A man-of-war, actually…”
- Every second that I feel like I am done with this book, it reminds me that I am not remotely prepared for the next plot twist. What the shit, Robert North was that jellyfish in Amy’s house? HOW???
- I hadn’t even fully dealt with the horrifying and shocking events I’d just experienced when a dude with a red baseball cap, speaking in faux-AAVE, offers Dave and John a ride home, and it is Fred Durst. From Limp Bizkit. Well, not him, but him nonetheless.
- I’m pretty sure I’ll never read another book like this in my entire life.
- Given the reveal of the pi symbol at the end of the chapter, I’m guessing that this Fred Durst is not a copy, but represents whatever “light” there is in the universe that balances out the darkness. So… does that mean faux Fred Durst is an angel of sorts? I kind of don’t want to engage that thought any further.
- But I have to! Because once Fred asks David if he would trade his life for Amy’s, the impossible becomes true. At David’s house, his toolshed is wide open. And Amy is in his house, looking down at a corpse on the floor wrapped in a blue tarp. The corpse from the shed. Which was her, I thought?
- “The body on the floor was me.”
- YOU FUCKER, WHAT THE FUCK. WHAT THE FUCK. No, how the fuck is that possible??? Was that always the body in the shed? I thought David said it was Amy? Did he just somehow trade places with her? Was his wish to Fred Durst granted? I DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS.
- It’s smart, then, that David and John check Amy’s feet to see if she has Korrok’s pi-like symbol on her foot. She doesn’t. So she’s real. Impossibly real, but there she is. And the pieces fall into place: Korrok was stocking our world with his replacements. The bags of fat, the vats of blood, the people who are not-quite-right: They were all part of a plan of his to slowly replace our world with his people. Which is why Amy was infected: They kept the real Amy, assuming that David and John would bring the fake Amy back to their world and help infect it. So how the hell did North know who was real and fake? And how the fuck does Fake Fred Durst play into this?
- But the bigger question is still right there on the ground: HOW THE FUCK IS DAVID DEAD BUT NOT DEAD?
- “North knew what he was doing, and I knew what I was doing the other night. When I shot this thing in my toolshed.”
- Oh. Oh. The footsteps in a chaotic pattern in the frontyard. David’s panic at seeing who was in the toolshed. He’d forgotten that he had shot a copy of himself. Well, this is fucked up, isn’t it? But everything’s fine, right?
- “I brought up the foot and rubbed at the pi symbol on my toe, as if I could make it come off. I knew, of course, that it never, ever would.”
- YOU ARE KIDDING ME!!!!! No!!! How is this possible? Has he always been the “fake” version? When was the switch made? Can Korrok still control David? I THOUGHT JOHN WAS SUPPOSED TO DIE AT THE END, NOT DAVID. THIS BOOK IS EVIL, YOU ARE ALL EVIL FOR DOING THIS TO ME, AND I CURSE YOU. FUCK. FUCK!!!!
Mark Links Stuff
- I have redesigned MarkDoesStuff.com! Check out this post explaining the new changes, which includes the start of a permanent archive of all Mark Watches videos!
- The Mark Does Stuff Summer Tour is happening soon! Check out the posted dates, suggest new ones, help bring me to YOUR TOWN.
- I have been nominated for a Hugo in the Fan Writer category! If you’d like more information or to direct friends/family to vote for me, I have a very informational post about what I do that you can pass along and link folks to!
- Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is now published and available for purchase! It’s available in ebook AND physical book format, and you can also get a discount for buying the ENTIRE SET of digital books: $25 for 7 BOOKS!!!
- Video commissions are open, and you can commission a Mark Reads/Watches video for just $25!