Pontypool Changes Everything


276 pages
ISBN 1-55022-356-9
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by Jo-Anne McBride

Jo-Anne McBride is a renewable resource specialist in Vancouver, B.C.


Though it’s not clear for many pages, this book is about a plague that
causes its victims to become flesh-eating zombies and ultimately
devastates of Northern Ontario. Spread by thought, the virus first
manifests itself in symptoms that mimick a stroke—aphasia, confusion,
and awkwardness. Told by the victims, this tale of dementia offers
little reward for readers willing to wade through seemingly random
writing (e.g., “Radical spaces evolved to compensate. Negative space
became a fortune telling device. Positive space arched its back
painfully, now pocked horribly by the frenzied migration of vehicles
into the ground”). Initially plausible, the events become increasingly
bizarre and incomprehensible. There are strands of interesting stories
here: for example, the tale of Les, a man who wants to bring Orpheus to
the Campbellcroft High School drama department; or the narrated story of
the “you” who ends up in a psychiatric ward after panhandling in
downtown Vancouver. Many of the images are disturbing and edgy, and on
that strength Pontypool Changes Everything might gain a cult status
among readers of horror, dark fantasy, or science fiction.


Burgess, Tony., “Pontypool Changes Everything,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 16, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/517.