Apparently, even though I am terrified of them, I’m in a mood for zombie stories. I’m still working on the sequels to Feed, and I recently finished World War Z. Soon I’m gonna be watching The Walking Dead and will never sleep again.
So, World War Z – one of the definitive zombie novels. I was attracted to read this book because it’s written as a documentary, a series of reports from folks remembering what they went through during the Uprising, when the dead rose and started walking/running around. I thought that it might be not as scary to read something written at a bit of a distance and it did seem to help.
Max Brooks was very smart in the stories he chose to tell, with politicians, soldiers, and regular folks all getting to tell their side of events. You get a pretty complete picture of what it was like to live through something so bizarre and terrible. The distance you get from someone telling your their story instead of living it with them should have made some of the more horrific aspects of the story easier to read, but it’s hard to read about cannibalism no matter how the story is being told (see The City of Thieves from our book club a couple months ago).
So while this book wasn’t terrifying, it also wasn’t very comfortable to read. One of the main points Brooks seemed to be trying to make was how humans will do anything to survive. Some of the acts they describe in this book can feel far-fetched, but a quick look at history will reveal the truth about the horrors humanity inflicts upon each other (again, see the historical facts David Benioff used in City of Thieves).
This all isn’t too say that I didn’t enjoy World War Z or think it was a really great read, because I did. It has a lot of fantastic action sequences and the different voices of the characters are really developed. It’s definitely worth a read, though be prepared for some pretty heavy topics – this isn’t all RUN, SHOOT ‘EM IN THE HEAD! You might actually end up thinking about global politics and sociology.
I didn’t see the Brad Pitt movie based on this book, but from what I saw in the trailer, I don’t think they followed the book except in the broadest story sense. While this makes me a bit sad (but not surprised), it would be difficult to adapt this as a faux documentary. Folks seem to like the gory stuff better with their zombies.
(Giant writhing piles of super-fast zombies? Yeah, I don’t think I’m gonna be seeing this one.)
Speaking of which, I’m continuing with my rising from the dead reading with the YA zombie novel “Warm Bodies”. I’m a bit stalled on it, zombies not being much in the holiday spirit, but expect a post on it coming up when I am back in the mood to read Romeo and Juliet as interpreted through the living dead. Happy Holidays!