Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Book: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

World War Z: The Oral History of the Zombie War is Max Brooks' successor to his pseudo-comedy book The Zombie Survivial Guide, although Z is very much a serious piece of literature that not only curb-stomps the brains out of anything else in the genre I've read, it blows it into a pulp with a shotgun blast. Yeah, it's good.

Z is a series of vignettes, each an "interview" with someone associated with a worldwide outbreak known as the "zombie war," or "World War Z." It has taken the world twelve years to push the zombie threat back to managable levels, and not without great loss; it's an apocalyptic scenario, but not a total one, as there are still millions of people as well as some infrastructure left.

What's fascinating about Brooks' Z is the same spirit that encapsulates all post-apocalyptic literature - the posed question "how would people react in this, the most extreme of circumstances?" Brooks' answer is certainly more hopeful than most, and reminds me in no small part of David Brin's take on civilization - that despite its shortcomings, it's something worth fighting for. Brooks also manages to work in some good social commentary as well without resorting to cliches or jaded and tired criticism; his details of Israel's response and the reactions in the Middle East are especially telling.

I cannot recommend World War Z enough, as the top of the zombie novel genre, a great piece of post-apoc. fiction, and just a great read.

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