Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Book Review: World War Z by Max Brooks and Why Zombies Bore Me.

Probably unfair to have the two in the same title as World War Z was quite an entertaining read. It’s about the outbreak and spread of a zombie virus throughout the world from the perspective of the survivors. Because it is from the survivors’ POV there isn’t much anxiety or anticipation because you know those people got out safe and you know that eventually mankind wins right from the beginning. The thing I liked most about the book was the fact that it was an international tale of survival and not wholly focused on America like many of this kind of book is. It was interesting to see how individual countries dealt with the virus in different ways and how information and fear spreads. There was a lot of social and politic commentary embedded in this international portrayal that I enjoyed but don’t have enough knowledge nor desire to elaborate on those points at the moment. One common criticism that I agree with is that everyone had the same voice, the characters were diverse but none sounded particularly unique. 3/5

On to why Zombies Bore Me
I admit to not watching many zombie shows/ films because they don’t interest me. I think of them as a kind of scapegoat. As if we need some kind of unhuman being to tear apart our society or some kind of monster to fight against. There’s often some variation of conversation discussion the humanity, or lack thereof, of the zombie and once it has been agreed that it is no longer a real human being it is alright to kill them. But really, zombie fiction doesn’t scare me. Books like The Road scare me. No virus controlled beings out to eat us, only the disgusting and depraved depths that regular human beings can descend to if placed under horrific circumstance -Real human beings that have decided that their own survival is worth butchering another human for meat. I’m convinced that in a post-apocalyptic scenario it would happen. Yeah, I know, some zombie books/ movies have that too but something outside humanity is still the catalyst. Good post-apocalyptic or dystopian novels force you to question the very meaning of humanity and what makes us human. Humans are responsible for the greatest atrocities not zombies or any other kind of monster. It reminds me of uses of the werewolf. Of some sort of bestial side of humanity that we can blame so that people don’t have to be accountable for their own actions, so that we don’t have to confront that fact the humans- plain and simple humans- are capable of monstrous acts. Zombies make us comfortable. Zombies are amateurs compared to humans.  

Any suggestions of good post-apocalyptic novels?


  1. Have you tried SM Stirling's work?

    He plays more in "what if" which he does very well, but the "change" novels I am happy calling post-apocalyptic. Oh wait, of course you did - one of his novels was course reading.

    What did you think of it?

  2. I loved Dies the Fire. Appropriately chaotic and dark yet hopeful. I read the second novel and was mostly bored. The Wiccan chick was even more annoying and a lot of it was ridiculous. I enjoy the premise of a new medieval world more than the actual written book. Reviewed it here actually: http://ashtheviking.blogspot.com/2011/05/book-review-protectors-war-by-sm.html