Have you read: Z is for zombie in ‘World War Z’
“World War Z” by Max Brooks
“If you are like me, you remember exactly where you were when it all started. Whether you were watching the news, talking to a friend, or reading the newspaper. It’s a day that none of us will ever forget, for that was the day we all learned that the dead walk, and not only did they walk but they ate and ate and ate, and the worst part about it is that we were the food supply. We all remember the fear; the scratching at our windows, the moans of the re-animated dead every time human flesh was near. It has now been 10 years since the start of the worst world war in history, the first time humans had to fight an enemy that was waging all-out war. They never slept, they never needed to be re-supplied, and they spent every hour of every day trying to end their endless hunger for living flesh.”
This is how one of the striking accounts in Max Brooks’ latest book might begin; perhaps it would be mine, had World War Z (for Zombie) actually occurred and had I been a survivor. Throughout the book, the emotional recollections of survivors create a compelling and sometimes thought-provoking look into the very nature of human beings pressed to the edge of extinction.
I have been a fan of zombie fiction for some time now, and it seems I may not be the only one considering the growing popularity of zombie-style movies, literature and graphic novels. Even the most peripheral of zombie fans have heard of George A. Romero, the director who brought us the idea of the modern zombie with his film “Night of the Living Dead.” As the zombie movie genre has grown in popularity, the idea has spread to other forms of entertainment. The tremendous sales of video games like “Resident Evil” and “House of the Dead” have helped keep the zombie a pop culture icon in recent years. As America’s fascination with the undead continues to grow, it was only a matter of time before it spread to literature. In 2003 author Max Brooks (son of actor Mel Brooks) published “The Zombie Survival Guide,” a straight-faced parody that applied all the format and detail of a military training manual/survival guide to the ever-popular horror cult genre of zombies. While this first foray into the subject was not a bestseller, it enjoyed a wide acceptance among the legions of undead fans.
Now Brooks is at it again with his follow up novel “World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War.” In “World War Z,” Brooks’ keeps the tongue-in-cheek seriousness that made his first book so popular. The book is exactly what the title implies, an oral history of the war against the undead, a time of history that has become known as the plague years. To write his new book, Brooks’ narrator traveled around the world speaking to survivors from all walks of life and recording their testimonies. Full coverage of the war ranges from the man who discovered 12-year-old “Patient zero,” to the clean- up crews of today who keep the remaining zombies at bay. Every survivor who Brooks interviews gives a new perspective and more information about turning points in the war.
There are many stories within this book, each of them as interesting and important as the ones prior. Brooks does a great job capturing the human element of the war, by placing the text in an “eyewitness account” style, the reader is not constantly pounded with fact after fact but wonderfully crafted memories. Each account is literally a story of survival and the endurance of the human spirit.
The rights for a full-scale film have been purchased by Paramount Pictures with a scheduled release sometime in 2008. While I’m sure the movie will be great, if you are a zombie fan and don’t want to wait two years, get up and go get a copy of this book. You won’t regret reading this great perspective on what might really happen if the zombie plague ever reached our shores.
– Steven LaPointe is a sales associate at Neighbors Bookstore.
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