World War Z Review

I like horror movies…sort of. Lets say I like certain categories of horror movies. I will not watch satanic/demonic horror movies. I watched the trailer for Paranormal Activity and didn’t sleep for a week. But slasher movies I like. Freddy being my favorite, but Jason and Michael Myers are also very awesome. Alien horror movies are cool too. My all time favorite though is zombie movies. They are just amazing. My favorite line from any movie ever was from the 1985 Zombie movie Return of the Living Dead. Where the zombie boyfriend is trying to eat his girlfriend’s brain and she’s screaming “No, no.” and the Zombie replies, “If you loved me you’d let me eat your brain.” Of course she replies, “OK” and lets him eat her brain.

Maybe it’s the always-present twisted humor that seems to emanate from the Zombie movie genre that appeals to me or perhaps it’s the relative “safeness” of them that allows me to watch them. See I don’t mind the slasher movies because they are so fake as are the alien horror films. The demonic ones scare me too much because I believe that crap can happen for real so they aren’t safe to watch. Zombies just can’t happen. It’s those 4 words that I’ve been muttering non-stop every night, all night long while I’m huddled in a corner of my room rocking back and forth wishing for the dawn to break ever since I picked up Max Brooks novel “World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War” (referred to as WWZ from here on out).

I ran into this novel after watching Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland back-to-back. I decided to see what Wikipedia had to say about Zombies. WWZ was not Brooks first step into the Zombie genre. His first book was called “The Zombie Survival Guide” which from all accounts was a humorous gag of a book where the joke just went on too long to keep your interest. So I never read it. WWZ was a whole different animal though.

This book is a collection of individual stories from survivors of the 10-year long world war against zombies. Brooks himself is the interviewer working for the United Nations Postwar Commission investigating the war. Once compiled, the UN scrapped most of it, choosing just to stick to facts and figures. Brooks was so outraged, in this fictional account, that he finally pushed the UN into allowing him to write his own book based on what he had learned, and voila we have this epic novel.

I had never read a zombie book before. Even this review starts out talking about movies, and I wasn’t about to read this one either till I got about half way through the Wikipedia entry about it. That’s where I read this:

As the zombies' bodies don't generate their own heat, they are prone to freezing solid in cold climates, and as a result, many people in North America flee to the wilds of northern Canada; approximately 11 million people die there of starvation and exposure after realizing they are unprepared for the harsh climate.

And BAMM!!!!!!! Just like that it hit very close to home. It’s at this point I started asking myself what I would do for me and my family if the world was being overrun with zombies. Ummm, just a minute I’ll be right back... zombies just can’t happen…zombies just can’t happen…zombies just can’t happen…. OK, I’m back. Sorry about that.

So I went out and bought the book and read it as non-stop as a full time job and family will allow. I was so ticked off when it ended because it was over. I wanted so badly for there to be more. This is one fantastically scary book. There were so many cool things that I had never seen explored before in this genre, like what happens to zombies when they get cold, and also what happens to them when they fall in the ocean since they can’t drown.

More than that though the book explores many other avenues such as what would the greatest military weapons and strategies do against an enemy like this? How do you fight against an enemy that has no feeling, no fear, no ability to negotiate or even think. And what would a civilization on the brink of complete destruction be willing to do to survive? All of this is wrapped up in very stark and personal stories; first-hand accounts from people who were there when it happened.

This is not isolated to America alone either. The story starts in China and goes to every corner of the world and back and slowly builds as the first outbreaks cause suspicions which leads to all-out panic and finally war. This is the only book that mocks the folly of war and passivism all at the same time. World War Z is a certified ReviewSpew All-Star! I recommend reading it before the movie comes out (yes there’s a movie in the works but I’m not going to tell you who stars in it because it may ruin the book for you.)


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