Akhirnya’s CBR #40 World War Z by Max Brooks (ebook)

I’m a bit behind in my reviews, thus the double-post.

I cannot underscore how awesome and amazing World War Z is.   I actually encountered World War Z when it first came out, through the abridged audio book version.  Being an ‘oral history’, it translates well to that format, though the great voice cast (Alan Alda, Carl and Rob Reiner, Henry Rollins, Mark Hamil, etc.) didn’t hurt.  After seeing a few reviews of the book here, I finally got around to the unabridged novel and was deeply impressed.

I picked this up and couldn’t put it down.  The international outbreak of the zombie disease is uncovered through a series of interviews and oral histories given to the author.  They have largely been grouped by theme and put in a chronological sort of order, so we start with the beginning of it all in China and end with the current state of world affairs.  Brooks does not lack creativity, describing just about every scenario you could hope for: the various political responses (nuclear war, isolationism, panic, denial, civil war, military states, and so forth), the breakdown or build up of communities, moral ambiguity,  and the strategies people would take (going north, going to sea, etc.)  Even when Brooks seemingly went off on tangents, as with the astronauts stuck in the international space station, these interludes were still fascinating diversions while managing to somehow play into the greater narrative of the zombie war.

If I have any quibbles, it’s that the zombies seem slightly bizarre to me.  I don’t really understand how the ones on land rot, but those in sea do and don’t  (in one section he describes bloaters floating to the top of the water, but in another, perfectly preserved specimens on the seabed.)  This is minor, though – if anything, it resulted in a slight quirk of my brow when reading, and is easily forgiven because I liked the added complication for those who fled to the sea.

If you’re a fan of military history, oral histories, or zombies, then this is a definite must read.  Highly recommended.

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