Tuesday, August 2, 2016

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War / Max Brooks / 342 pgs

This is the second time I've read World War Z, although this time I listened to the Audie-award winning multi-cast audio book. The first time I read the book, I was taking a Reader's Advisory class in 2012 at Mizzou and needed to read two horror books, a genre of which I'm not terribly fond. However, a classmate recommended the book and I LOVED it. It started a bit of an obsession I still have with zombie books. Since then, I've read Rot and Ruin, Warm Bodies, The Girl With all the Gifts, and probably a couple of others I can't remember.

World War Z is set up as a series of interviews that take place a decade after the end of a decade-long war with the undead. The main character is writing a book that will present the human element to the story of the war. He interviews the doctor who first learns of a new sickness when treating a patient in rural China, an opportunistic pharmaceutical marketer who sells tons of placebos during the early days of the infection, an astronaut who spent most of the war on an orbiting space station, a helicopter pilot who was caught in the middle of invested marshes of Louisiana, the retired politician living as a farmer in Vermont, a Japanese computer nerd turned samurai, a South African experienced in making tough emergency contingency plans, a Russian soldier, and a whole lot more. In the audio book, these characters are played some extremely recognizable names like Jeri Ryan, Mark Hamill, Simon Pegg, F. Murray Abraham, Alfred Molina, Nathan Fillion, Martin Scorsese, Bruce Boxleitner, and Rob Reiner.

I am fascinated with the world-building that Max Brooks created in this book, especially how the geo-politics changed. Countries change names and change governments. Since it was published ten years ago, there are a few things that you will encounter that are a bit dated (such as a mention of a still-living Nelson Mandela), but it's still a really great book and I highly recommend it.

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