And as the dull, watery sun washed out those long nights, I would go back up to my room and I would look into my mirror, and I would ask in the queasy dawn:
WHO AM I?
And the mirror would answer:
MY NAME IS JOHN HODGMAN. But that is all over now. 240
Short for: As Long Threatened and Longer Postponed, Herein you Will Find: A Third Compendium ("Tri-Pendium") of Complete World Knowledge, Now and Finally Complete, As Set Down by Me, A Former Professional Literary Writer; A Former Former Professional Literary Agent; A Minor Television Personality Who Is Arguably Still Famous In Some Circles; and ... A Current DERANGED MILLONAIRE, Who Is Known In Your Language as JOHN HODGMAN Simultaneously Covering and Uncovering Such Previously Un-touched-upon Subjects As... The Practice and Pronunciation of "Oenophilia"; The Ancient Teachings of The
Americanomicon; The Meaning of your Dreams; Gentleman Criminals; How Boats Work; How To Raise Sperm Wales; The Secrets of The Master Magicians; How To Finally Become Happy and Wealthy As A Deranged Millionaire Before The Coming Global Super-Collapse and The End of Human Civilization, aka "Ragnarok"; Plus: Sports! As Well As Most Other Subjects, At Last In Such Sufficiency As To Report: THAT IS ALL
The final entry in the Complete World Knowledge
trilogy, John Hodgman's last book of fake trivia, and, quite possibly, the last book ever to be printed before the arrival of RAGNAROK and the end of the Earth.
Compared to The Areas of My Expertise
and More Information Than You Require, That Is All
retains the humor of its predecessors even as it takes a much darker tone
. Hodgman's fame is waning, and now, a newly-minted Deranged Millionaire, he's taken it upon himself to document his Albuterol-induced visions of the final year of human civilization.
This book provides examples of, and parodies, the following tropes:
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot:
- The entire subplot about Ray Kurzweil.
- Also, all computers are sentient, and want to kill you. And as soon as the anti-sentience wave is shut down in the coming global superpocalypse, they will.
- Alternate History: Apparently the books are set in an alternate timeline where Hitler drowned during the '30s. Franklin Roosevelt was watching the whole time and did nothing.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Many of the ancient and unspeakable ones.
- Better by a Different Name: A variant. Hodgman writes that he was able to accomplish his goal of getting The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. back on the air, except he had nothing to do with it and the show is now called Burn Notice.
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: The sasquatch seeks police custody.
- Brick Joke: The Zeppeliners Vs. Submariners Feud ends up surfacing unexpectedly, resulting in the tragic death of the jock/nerd Steampunk messiah Nick Mangold.
- Cosmic Horror Story: Admittedly, a very comic take on the genre.
- Eccentric Millionaire: John Hodgman and other Deranged Millionaires.
- The BLOOD WAVE is actually caused by a Deranged Billionaire.
- Eldritch Abomination: Many of them figure prominently in the end of the world.
- The End of the World as We Know It
- Et Tu, Brute?: Your dog has BETRAYED US ALL.
- Flat Earth Atheist: Juggoth, God Of Atheists Who Is Himself an Atheist
- Gentleman Thief: Parodied in "Table 49: Other Gentlemen Criminals", most of whom committed crimes far less glamourous than burglary.
- Grail in the Garbage: The giant frozen head of Nug-Shohab is found in a walk-in freezer behind some meat, at a South Pole research station.
- Hive Mind: DOGSTORM
- Homage: Nick Mangold's ascension as the Nerd-Jock Messiah is full of these. He credits Admiral Ackbar with helping him recognize a trap by an opposing football team, plays a duet of "Still Alive" with Felicia Day, and reminds nerds and jocks they need to cooperate because winter is coming.
- Immortality: Discussed at length as a common pursuit of Deranged Millionaires. Popular forms include Consciousness Transfer, cryogenics, and Cyborgism.
- Just Before the End
- Literary Agent Hypothesis: The oddly-solemn short story in the last chapter deals with the strange events that gave rise to Hodgman's destiny. Justified in that Hodgeman was actually a literary agent before he began writing the Complete World Knowledge trilogy.
- Long List: This time, it's a list of the seven hundred Ancient and Unspeakable Ones. Some familiar names crop up, including Nick Nolte and the Century Toad.
- Lovecraft Lite: More in overall tone than in plot.
- Man-Eating Plant: The Carno-fern. There are no practical uses for it.
- Monumental Damage: Starting with Washington DC being consumed in a storm of green Masonic fire.
- Note to Self: The hideous scar you asked about in the previous book turns out to be a reminder to yourself to remember that you have amnesia.
- Nostalgia Filter: There's a Hidden Elf Village dedicated to preserving the year 1983, because it was clearly the best childhood ever.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: The Diner's Club POFH Nine-Times-Diamond Credit Card. Among its perks: the right to have legitimate ticket-holders thrown out of any event you want to attend, the ability to fake your own death, and a safe house from the coming global superapocalypse.
- Karmic Death: The safe house is among the first to be destroyed.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The Thunderbirds abandon Earth, and the mole-men commit mass suicide via the Century Toad. The hobos, first to see it coming, are already long since gone.
- The Singularity: Referred to by name.
- Shaggy Dog Story: The odyssey of Nug-Shohab the Headless
- Zombie Apocalypse: Almost entirely averted. The only dead that will rise will be taxidermied animals, and they'll be harmless as they're nailed down and their eyes are glass. A bearskin rug does manage to crawl outside the taxidermist's shop, but it only succeeds in making someone cozy.