If you have any interest in video games at all, there’s a good chance you’ve watched Yahtzee Croshaw’s web series, Zero Punctuation, where he critiques games to within an inch of their lives. He’s also released a few indie computer games, co-opened a video game themed bar, and written two books. He’s the sort of person that makes you feel bad about all of your abandoned, and unstarted, projects.
Mogworld, his first novel, is from the perspective of an undead zombie horde member, Jim, inside a massively online role-playing game (a la World of Warcraft). He isn’t aware of that, though. All he knows is that strange things have been happening in the world, such as mindless adventures running across the countryside asking for ‘quests’. And the fact that he’s a now a zombie. Jim’s own personal quest becomes finding a way to die for good. Since rising from the grave, he’s been rather annoyingly immortal.
This book could be described as a fantasy Redshirts, except more enjoyable and with a little Terry Pratchett tossed in. That probably isn’t all that fair to say, though, since Yahtzee really has his own voice. His videos are hilarious, and that humour really transferred nicely to his fiction.
The story did wander a bit in the middle, but he really pulled everything together. I was a bit worried, going in knowing that this was a first novel, but I was really impressed. His characters felt like they might become just props for the humour, but they ended up believable in their own goofy ways. His writing was very natural, a pleasure to read, and the last third of the book went in a direction that was better than I was anticipating, which is always a treat. I’m excited to see where his writing career takes him, after reading this.
Oh, and The Black Pudding is the greatest name a pirate ship could ever have. If I ever have my own boat, even if it’s a dinghy, I’m stealing that.