Senior Editor
12.03.07 53 Comments

Ever since the movie adaptation of Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk’s first novel, became a worldwide phenomenon, people have been clamoring for more.  Well good news, because adaptations of Choke and Survivor, his second and third best books, in my opinion, are back on. 

Survivor, which was originally shelved because of similarities between the story and September 11th (it begins with the protagonist crashing a hijacked airliner), now has I Am Legend director Francis Lawrence back on the project. Meanwhile Choke is premiering at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival (that’s a first look you see on the left).

In Clark Gregg’s directorial debut, Sam Rockwell plays Victor Mancini, who grew up going from one foster home to another after Victor’s mother (played by Angelica Huston) was found to be an unfit mother. Several times throughout his childhood his mother would kidnap him from his foster parents. But they would eventually be caught.

Choke is so named for the protagonist’s habit of going into restaurants and pretendng to choke, then bilking money from the good semaritan who gives him the heimlich.  Sam Rockwell is perfect casting.  Hehe, ROCKwell, get it?

Everyone knows about Fight Club, and everyone has seen David Fincher’s film adaptation, but what you probably don’t know is that Palahniuk wrote a book called Survivor that is arguably better than Fight Club. [/film]

I would disagree wholeheartedly, but in any case:

Survivor is a novel by Chuck Palahniuk. A satire of commercial culture, it is the story of Tender Branson, a member of the Creedish Church, a death cult. In it, every member learns how to be a servant for the human race—most of them are butlers and maids—and fear most human pleasures. They await a sign from God to tell them to deliver themselves unto Him, that is, commit suicide. [Wiki] 

I’ve read all of these, and they’re pretty compelling reads, but all Chuck P’s ("Palahniuk"? Dude, if anyone needs a pen name it’s him…) books seem to have the same flaw: they start like Fight Club, with a tight-knit subculture, but before long it becomes a world-wide phenomenon.  To me, the small, nihilistic communities always resonate, but the worldwide rebellions don’t – the characters in Fight Club go for escapism precisely because they have no faith in being able to change the world.  Choke and Survivor are similar.  

But anyway, like Fight Club, most of his disappointing endings are more than made up for by their strange characters and compelling first 3/4ths, and at the very least, they’re all much better ideas for movies than a motherfucking Thomas Kinkade painting.   

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