Sunday, September 28, 2014

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

First impression

So many people around me read and love the book! So I figure I should try it and see what the fuss was about. As it turns out I enjoyed the book quite a lot. This is not a book about zombies per se, but more about the effect the zombies turning up on a lot of levels, including politics, economics and even religion. The zombies make a bit of an apparition on people's memories, but is not scene after scene of people running from them, which would've killed the book for me.

Final thoughts

The concept of the book was very interesting. From the beginning we are put in the context, that is would be the "human" side of an after war report. Everything that didn't make it into the official, everything with too many feelings involved, would be the base of this book.

We start with the apparition of the Patient Zero in China, told from the point of view of the doctor that first confronts it. From there on we jump to different countries and different people that managed to survive the war. Soldiers that hated being part of what the war become; kids that are now grown ups and that survived thanks to their parents difficult decisions; regular people that even realized the moment to flee had passed under their noses and were then forced to use all the knowledge they gathered into practice; politicians deciding who survives and who doesn't; movie directors that deliver the films that helped with the morale.

The way the interviews are portrayed really delivers the feeling of the "oral history", of a documentary if you want. It also makes it that you can read tiny bits of the book here and there and without a direct thread you get to build a full image of what was going one globally. Extra points for it not been US only, something that bothers me often with dystopias, but that is another topic completely.

But, and I am afraid this is the reason why I cannot give a 5 to this book, there is no science approach at no point. Every couple of pages you would have someone referring to how weird the physiology or biology of the zombies was: they can survive being frozen; they can resist high pressure under water; how do they do that??? So naturally I though a bit of light on this item was going to be discussed maybe at the end of the book. I don't mean a full item on the zombie inner workings, no, no because then it could've ended up on ridiculous "fake science". But I didn't get anything of it. None. Zero. That would've given it a full 5. Just a bit of an explanation or speculation even.

That said, it was a very fun read, gave me what I was expecting from it and it easy to recommend to anyone looking for a different take on the zombie trope. 


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