The OTHER Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: A Parody (Anniversary Edition)
The big news first: you can now buy a brand-new Anniversary Edition of the funniest book since the invention of hyperbole: The OTHER Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook. The new edition is in e-book only, for a perfectly modest sum of $4.99. Why don’t you click right here first and download your copy and then we’ll talk some more.
(BONUS: LIMITED TIME SAMPLE CHAPTER: How to Reach the Summit of Mount Everest)
So! Some time in the late 1990’s a book came out called The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook. It was something of a success, spawning multiple follow-up books, and even a television show for a short time.
I was horrified. Why? Because it wasn’t funny. Sure, the advice was probably right–although I don’t think I’m going to need to perform any battlefield tracheotomies any time soon– but I signed up for a humor book and got a fairly dry manual out of the deal.
As a humorist, I realized I could do better. I just had to skip some of the things that made the original book such a drag. Like facts.
Writing a parody
At the time I was running a website called GenePoool on which I posted my regular humor columns, ran a little blog, and provided samples of my plays and so on. After pitching my idea of a parody book with a number of sample chapters– and being told that publishing companies tend to write parodies in-house on the cheap (which is why most parodies suck, not incidentally)– I decided there is nothing worse than a humor piece in a vacuum. So I created a new section for the handbook, and started posting the chapters there.
It was easily the most popular section on my site. And after a year of creating new pieces on a semi-regular basis I decided to publish it myself.
Self-publishing in the days of the dinosaurs
A: Print-on-Demand, or
B: vanity publishing.
There were no e-books, and a company like iUniverse– the publisher I went with– was just starting out and offering fire sale prices for their services.
So in 2001, The OTHER Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook– the website, became The OTHER Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: A Parody— a book. (The words “A Parody” were added at the stringent recommendation of iUniverse, whose contract offered them legal cover in case of a lawsuit, but still didn’t like the idea of the book going out without “parody” on the cover somewhere.)
Meanwhile, I kept writing new chapters.
A new edition was needed, obviously, if only because I needed a place to put “How to Start Smoking” and “How to Find Weapons of Mass Destruction” and all of the other things that were written after the 2001-2002 publication of the print book.
And here we are!
Over the next few days I’ll roll out sample chapters, a page devoted to the new edition, and… maybe a better-designed cover. It looks a little boxy right now, doesn’t it?