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Decidedly Uncomicy

August 8, 2008

Yes, I know that this blog is supposed to be all about comics or animation but I recently pulled a book off my shelf that I hadn’t read in awhile. 

Barreling my way through it made me remember why I bought the book in the first place and I feel the need to recommend it to anyone who reads my blog. 


The Author: The book was written by Max Brooks who gained fame when he released his book called The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection From the Living Dead. Yes, his second novel is about zombies.

Some interesting facts about Max include that he is the son of Mel Brooks. He worked as a writer for Saturday Night Live from 2001 to 2003. He is also an actor having appeared on 7th Heaven, Roseanne, and did voices for Justice League and Batman Beyond. Imdb is awesome by the way.

I also found out that he was at the recent San Diego Comic Con. Cool deal. 

The Book: The book that I am referring to is not the Survival Guide but rather his second novel, World War Z. What makes this novel interesting is that instead of having a linear plot that focuses on one character it is actually a series of interviews done by an investigator for the UN. 

It follows a linear plot a little bit, actually. More in the sense that the interviews are based around on somewhat chronological events. The Outbreak, The Great Panic, The War, The Clean-up, and finally Current World Status. However, it’s not going around talking about this is what happened first, and then this, and then this, finally this. 

Instead, Z looks at specific stories that various people have to tell about their experiences in the war on Zombies. It ranges from political figures, military figures, people who made money off the war, radio operators, famous war heroes, etc. And the investigator travels the world talking to people from England, India, South Korea, China, and yes, the United States. 

Stylistically it makes for a very interesting read. What sets Z apart though is that each situation feels researched, and each character has their own quirks, you as the reader feel like you could be listening to these people tell their tales of the war. It’s very similar to watching World War 2 documentaries and listening to the interviews with soldiers and civilians who lived through it. 

Obviously, humanity survives the war due to the fact that the book had been written in the first place. The one main character, the investigator, isn’t really seen through out the novel. He’s there to ask a few questions to clarify things every once in awhile but for the most part it’s just these people telling their stories.

The creepiest story in the whole thing for me was when he interviews Shannon, a young woman in her 20s who survived the war but her mental level is at the age 5 or so. That interview is just creepy because you know what happened even though the girl didn’t and her descriptions just creepy. 

Cool fact about the book, Paramount Pictures bought the rights to make Z a movie and Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B, is going to produce. I’m excited and hopefully they don’t fuck it up too much. It’ll be interesting to see how they translate it to film. 

My recommendation: You should check this book out. I highly recommend it. Even if you’re not a fan of zombies World War Z is still worth the read. I mean, the zombies are just a means to end, it’s these people’s stories that make it interesting. However, if you are a fan of zombies there is enough zombie gore to make it worth your while. Also, who hasn’t thought of a global zombie outbreak? I know I have. My plan; take over a Fred Meyer or Target, something with supplies and food. Board it up and hopefully defend it. That’s my plan.

♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣


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