[They say you shouldn’t judge books by their covers. In this case, both the interior text and cover art feature a minimalist approach that underlies their deeper meaning.]
It’s not often that Powerwolf reviews works of literature, but considering the overwhelming importance that The Fart That Killed Everyone collection has had on the social, cultural, and geopolitical landscape, we would be remiss not to discuss it. Since this duology burst onto the scene, both the Trump and Clinton campaigns have rallied around the perceived messages at play, while Sanders has largely ignored them in a move that will likely cost him the DNC nomination. Some have argued that, like a fart, the novels’ message is nebulous enough that it can be appropriated by any Dick, Jane, or Sally with an agenda to push. I would argue that while The Fart That Killed Everyone and its sequel do contain political elements, the potency of the story’s messages are in their human universality.
The pieces are both works of stirring genre brilliance, delicately servicing their needs as a breezy, crowd pleasing page turner, and as a deeper metaphor. What does the fart represent, if not the folly of man? The environmental similarities to global warming are hard to ignore, as well as the political right’s insistence that “Whoever smelt it, dealt it,” despite overwhelming evidence from the scientific community that we all share blame in dealting it.
These themes are at the fore, but upon repeat readings, it was clear that there was more at play. The fart represents an inability to connect to our loved ones without hurting them. It represents the formless hand of God, reshaping the world through catastrophe for the greater good. In this way, it tells the story of Noah with more depth and sincerity than either Darren Aronofsky or Moses could muster.
Even more surprising is how effortlessly the plot spews forth. The first chapter stands as one of the brightest examples in the disaster genre. The imagery of the Statue of Liberty being melted down by the noxious fumes works not only for pure shock value, but as a potent metaphor for the state of immigration in the US. Avoiding obvious logical fallacies and “slippery slope” style arguments, the author shows a natural and logical progression as the death of freedom leads to the death of all. One can only be forced to hold back a natural human function for so long before killing the entirety of the human race.
How well the sequel works is even more shocking. I despise sequels that undermine the resolution of the originals. Men in Black II, The Bourne Supremacy. It’s a Terrible Life. All of these take a perfectly tied up bow and unravel it for the sake of “Not Breaking the Formula.” You’d think that after “Killing Everyone,” there wouldn’t be anybody left to produce a second fart, much less anybody else to kill. Without spoiling anything, it involves robots possessed by a sentient fart battling an army of the undead. The thematic symbolism on display is nothing short of astounding.
Besides his or her age (8 years), not much is known about the reclusive genius that penned these new Great American Novels. We only hope these gems don’t represent the beginning and end of their silent, but deadly artistic contributions to the world. It may be too much to hope that, should a The Fart That Killed Everyone 3 ever come into existence, that it would encapsulate the essence of the human experience as well as its predecessors. I worry that we might be running into a The Godfather: Part III scenario, but if anybody can succeed where Coppola, Lucas, and Nolan failed in their diminishing trilogies, it’s this kid.
Considering the movie rights are sure to be picked up any day, you can consider this an advance review for what’s sure to be one of the most important film adaptations of all time. No doubt, the only reason we haven’t received word of an option already is that the author has all the major studios in a bidding war. I give it another week before Disney drops a cool 2 billion for their next franchise to stand beside the Star Wars and Marvel brands. Unfortunate, because they will certainly want to make “family friendly” subject matter whose gravity and horror demands an “R” rating. I’ve never been a proponent of the idea that mature themes necessitate violence, profanity, or nudity, but since the novels contain all of these, it would be a disservice to pretend they aren’t a part of the story’s DNA. We can only hope that an HBO miniseries is the actual result, as they have a history of utilizing these more adult aspects as tastefully as they are presented in the source.
If you haven’t already taken the time to read The Fart that Killed Everyone and its sequel, now is the time. Don’t let this be one of the books that you want to have read but never got around to. Don’t use the excuse of, “It’s not in print and there’s no way to find a copy,” Just make it happen. You’ll never read a more important 10-page, illustrated opus in your life.