BOOK REVIEW: Slasher Camp for Nerd Dorks by Christoph Paul
In order to control the population, the government has divided the population into two factions, the murderous Slashers and their targets the Finals. Jason Vorheesberg, a dorky Jewish boy, is a failure as a Slasher. He has no stomach for violence or sex. To help him conquer his anxiety, his overbearing mother sends him to the Slasher Camp for Nebulous Youth, a camp for the worst Slashers.
“While Slashing was always encouraged, rape was punishable by death as it went against population growth and the moral tenets of the of the Slasher/Final treaty. Necrophilia on the other hand was deemed ok.”
Slasher Camp for Nerd Dorks is a tribute to slasher movies via a parody of teen movies. Jason Vorheesberg is your typical underdog protagonist in a coming of age teen story. A nerdy boy out to overcome his fears, make friends, and win the heart of Rachel, the Final girl he develops a crush on.
A lot of this book is hilarious. Paul writes with a sense of constrained goofiness that reminds me of Mel Brooks’s earlier films. One part that stood out to me is when Jason is pushed to fight Rachel one on one. During the scuffle, he ends up ejaculating in his pants.
“’To be fair, that was a unique and unexpected strategy. I was not … expecting that,’ Rachel said and laughed again. ‘Props for originality. You could have killed me, my defenses were down.’”
On the downside, not all of the humor in this book works. The multiple puns on the word “slasher” are amusing at first, but start to wear thin quickly.
Paul builds an interesting world in this book that plays with a lot of the cliches of slasher films. He manages to fit a good amount of detail in the short length, going into how to the division of Slashers as Finals came about and exploring other aspects of this society. At one point, a group of zombies known as the “Fuck Followers” is introduced, results of an experiment to discourage sex. They were originally created to attack people who are having sex, but ended up attacking anyone who has lost their virginity. Paul takes the trope of people who have sex in slasher films being the ones who die and makes it a central part of the book’s plot in a very clever way.
My biggest complaint with this book is that it seems constrained by its length. There are several times where the plot seems to jump ahead. There are also many plot points that are introduced, but don’t seem to go anywhere. The Fuck Followers I previously mentioned appear briefly but then are never mentioned again, despite the detailed background they’re given. I’m kind of hoping that Paul will come back to this story and expand it into a longer work.