World War Z


As so often happens I go through phases of really liking some genre. Over the past years it was Vampire movies, than Frankenstein’s Monster (patient zero?) and this year is the year of the Zombie.

I had zero interest in them before but slowly started out with Romero’s ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and started watching ‘The Walking Dead’ to fill the gap left over by ‘Breaking Bad‘. My most recent foray was ‘World War Z’. I had watched the movie last Summer and while not overly impressed with it I did enjoy it. Although I have to say I never get the whole “Running Zombies” thing.

The book ‘World War Z’ is a different kettle of fish altogether. Instead of a straight forward story we have a historical account through recorded interviews of various people from across the world, from Doctors to Army personal to your average joe.

For me it didn’t work. I think a more straight forward story through one character’s perspective might have been more interesting. The thing about these reports of Zombie encounters are that they’re over before you can really get into the story. There were some parts I really loved such as the Chinese Submarine crew and the Blind Japanese man and the Otaku. They’re fascinating and detailed with some heart pounding moments that really place you in the story.

Other accounts can be less interesting and at times over long. Sometimes dealing with the logistics of Zombie combat, the effect on the world’s environment, governments and military. While clever, it’s also too much information that could be delivered in one line of dialogue between characters. Instead we have to see set up, action and result of each little aspect. The characters in the story too are described in an overabundant amount of detail. Often there will be a mention of how a character is behaving or his tone or manner while telling their story. But already through their account you can imagine their behavior and mannerism without having to be told by the fictional reporter that the person recounting their story looks sad or angry.

On the whole the book is an interesting concept but could have been executed better. Focus on a select few characters would really help to keep the pages turning but unfortunately so much is thrown into this that you can become addled with details.

Favorite Quote: “Turn on the TV,” he’d say. “What are you seeing? People selling their products? No. People selling the fear of you having to live without their products.” Fuckin’ A, was he right. Fear of aging, fear of loneliness, fear of poverty, fear of failure. Fear is the most basic emotion we have. Fear is primal. Fear sells.”

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2 Responses to World War Z

  1. I’ve been on a pseudo-zombie kick this month. I never read the book, but I enjoyed the film last summer. I like running zombies. I think the reason I was sort of turned off to the genre for a while was the mundanity of slow walking. Watched one episode of the Walking Dead and was not impressed. Mostly just walking slowly, back and forth.

  2. You’ll be disappointed to know then that there are no running Zombies in the book. Just the good ole fashioned kind. I think since they are rotting corpses they shouldn’t really have the ability to run fast. The Walking Dead took me a while to get into but I like how the Zombies or Walkers are this unstoppable force of nature that the main character will likely have to spend the rest of their lives dealing with. Movies just give us the briefest glimpse of such a situation but the Walking Dead is full on the world has gone to hell drama.

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