World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie Wars

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by unimatrix7, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. unimatrix7

    unimatrix7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm a huge fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, and zombies in particular, so this book was a must-read for me. I read it the first time about a year ago, and was very impressed.

    It basically takes place in the aftermath of a global zombie apocalypse and stars the author, Max Brooks, travelling the globe and talking to survivors of 'World War Z' about their experiences. The book takes the form of a series of interviews (which, to be honest, are basically just monologues) arranged chronologically from patient zero in China, the spread of the 'disease' to Africa and the Americas via the black market organ trade, the gradual spread across Europe and the United States, the 'Great Panic' when the military spectacularly failed to contain the threat and all hell broke lose, and so on right through to its conclusion.

    It's horrifying, but not in the usual way. It takes itself quite seriously and outlays a course of events in a fashion that might be believable if you can accept the absurdity of the premise.

    It's a great read, and highly recommend it to everyone. Also, there's a film version in the works for a 2010 release, which should prove interesting.
     
  2. John Clark

    John Clark Commodore Commodore

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    One of my mates keeps recommending it to me:)

    Haven't managed to track it down yet, but it sounds interesting:)
     
  3. Yeah this is a pretty phenomenal book, that covers the zombie invasion from dozens of different angles, each one good enough to be its own story/novel.
     
  4. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Amazon is usually a good place to look. ;)
     
  5. Harry Palmer

    Harry Palmer Admiral Admiral

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  6. TheBrew

    TheBrew Vice Admiral Admiral

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    FYI, the author, Max Brooks, is the son of Mel Brooks.
     
  7. Gotham Central

    Gotham Central Vice Admiral Admiral

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    While the book does take itself pretty seriously, it is something of a parody/satire of the Bush Years (both politically and culturally). Be sure to look for all of the "cameos" by famous people that are described by their appearance and behaviour but are never named directly. BTW, the black man who was elected president of the USA during the turmoil was not Obama (though there is some presecience in the fact that during a period of crisis, the American people turned to a calm black man to be President).
     
  8. Chaos Descending

    Chaos Descending Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I did enjoy this book, but frankly I think the people who hyped it endlessly to me made me have such impossibly high expectations that I actually enjoyed it less than I would have had I just discovered it on my own.
     
  9. clint g

    clint g Admiral Admiral

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    He also made a quasi-prequal (or would it be considered a companion guide?) of sorts called the Zombie Survival guide which outlines all the tactics and equipment one would need to survive the outbreak
     
  10. fennrysha

    fennrysha Commander Red Shirt

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    I've read the Survival Guide and it was great. I have World War Z and it's the next book I'm going to read.
     
  11. JNG

    JNG Chief of Staff, Starfleet Command

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    Loved it. The business with the Chinese submarines is a real standout.
     
  12. Ruaidhri

    Ruaidhri Commodore Commodore

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    Fun book. I mentioned in the What Are You Reading Now thread that I think the style and structure make the book better. A straight narrative would not have been as effectively compelling as the series of interviews, and it gives us more perspective, too.
     
  13. Shurik

    Shurik Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm reading The Survival Guide now, World War Z is next on my list ...
     
  14. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There's also a graphic novel from Avatar Press, which I'm not sure is out yet, that explores some of the historical zombie outbreaks (like, in ancient Rome) that are alluded to in World War Z.
     
  15. The Squire of Gothos

    The Squire of Gothos Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    A mate of mine had the survival guide (I still eye up buildings with stairs as possible places to hide) but extracts have not convinced me that WWZ would be enjoyable. Brooks just seems to take the fun out of it all with the drawn out explanation of how the zombies came about and how they ended up over running civilisation.

    For me, part of the fun is that our heroes in most of these types of shows/films simply wake up and find the zombies everywhere. Much like a force of nature, they're simply there for us to recoil in horror at. Going into the wheres and whys just takes away from that for me.
     
  16. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's not quite as straight forward as that. The book is essentially a compilation of "in universe" interviews with people from all over the world and in all walks of life who lived through the whole thing, so you "see" the whole thing on a much grander scale than the average Zombie Survival story, while at the same time retaining the street level perspective. What it's really about, to me at least, is how people - from individuals, mobs, groups, nations all the way up to the species in general - deals with and adapts to (or not, in some cases) extreme stress and upheaval. In fact, for the most part the zombies themselves are barely in it. I can only think of a few chapters that deals with the Z-heads directly and most of them are the recollections of military types. The one involving a pilot, crashing in the middle of an infested zone springs to mind.

    Stories and especially movies that drop a bunch of characters right in the middle of a zombie infestation are all very well and good, but it's been done, many many times (and done well too) rather than just beat the proverbial undead horse, this book dose something different and I think rather unique and compelling.

    Oh and any zombie story that has Nelson Mandela in it has GOT to be worth a read. ;)
     
  17. Phily B

    Phily B Commodore Commodore

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    I liked the book a lot, the only part of it that didn't sit right with me was the Battle of Yonkers.
     
  18. Gotham Central

    Gotham Central Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The Battle of Yonkers is the most pivotal point in the book. Its failure sparks "The Great Panic." It was mostly an alegory of how militaries are always prepared to fight the last war and fumble the initial strategy in the new war.
     
  19. FrontLine

    FrontLine Nekkid Hedonistic Ethical Slut Moderator

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    Why?
    I thought it was great in that it showed the failures of modern tactics on zombie forces?

    Overall I found the book and its style to be very enjoyable. I pestered my wife to read it and she too found it fun. Then again we both love TEOTWAWKI type stories.
     
  20. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I found this when it came out and had great fun reading it. It just took a different tactic in its presentation that helped breath new life in a tired sub-genre.