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31 May 2012

World War Z (2006)

World War Z is one of the more famous zombie books that I could have picked to read. It's written by Max Brooks (son of comedian Mel Brooks) and is a follow-up to his hugely successful The Zombie Survival Guide and The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks.

"All Americans Eat Hamburgers"
Aren't Stereotypes Stupid!

Word on the street is that Brad Pitt has bought the rights to all three books and is going to release a trilogy of zombie films based upon them. I'd take that with a pinch of salt, but he's certainly producing one film: World War Z. It's scheduled to hit cinemas in June 2013. These things take such a long time to come to fruition; I remember filming starting in Glasgow almost a year ago! To be honest, I'm not really paying that much attention to it... I'm not expecting it to be any good. I hope I'm surprised.

I'm going to come clean and reveal that I listened to the audio-book version of World War Z quite a few years ago and found it just "okay". A lot's happened since then. Let's see how the book stacks up in 2012...

Max Brooks - Author or World War Z

World War Z (pronounced with a 'Zee') - or World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War to give it its full title - is a sort of outsider's view of the Zombie Apocalypse. We are transported to life after the Apocalypse and through a series of interviews with some of the survivors we learn about how the Apocalypse started and ran its course. One thing worth pointing out here is that Brooks is taking the big picture view. Yes, we have details of some of the day-to-day trials and tribulations, but Brooks' real interest is to try and explain things in global terms.

The global stuff really did bore the pants off me. I very much preferred the smaller snapshots of life up-close and personal with our zombie brothers and sisters. I realise the irony of my next statement, but I found Max's view of global politics to be very American, very stereotypical. It didn't really do too much for me. It's not that I'm anti-politics or anti-American - far from it - but I was reading this book for the "Z".

And while I'm being negative, I'll mention the writing style. Everyone was the same! There was very little variation in the pacing, of the language and grammar of the interviews. I didn't believe much of what I was reading or sympathise with the characters. What a bummer!

It wasn't all bad...

Pai Mai rakes zombie Ass!

There are some great scenes sprinkled throughout the book. Most of the ones I liked are in the second half, so it was like wading through treakle for a while. I enjoyed the story about the pilot crash-landing in the "Sea of Zack". While we're on it: it was little phrases like "Sea of Zack" that had me squirming. I know we invent new words all the time, or new meanings for words, but come on! I reckon I must be getting old! World War Z: An MTV History of the Zombie Apocalypse! The pilot story was good. I got flashbacks to AMCs Walking Dead with the abandoned cars on the freeway. Another story captured my imagination: that of the blind gardener. I had in my mind's eye a picture of Pai Mai beating zombies up with a rake. There are other good tales too, but I won't reveal too many secrets. Read it yourself.

I'm conscious that I'm not painting too rosey a picture here. Aren't I a grumpy old git! I don't care. As they say where I come from: I speak as I find...

I'm not a fan I'm afraid. On the Triple-B I'm going to re-enforce 5 stereotypes... but I bet that's exactly what you're expecting...


  1. I've not read the book,but I am looking forward to seeing the movie.
    And I thought I was a harsh critic.-)

  2. Yeah - I should watch what I say eh! I hope the film's good too... but I'm getting this sneaking suspicion that we might be in for a big let-down. And you know I'll be the first to buy it when it gets onto dvd - good or bad! :-)

  3. Until I visited your blog I was never aware that there was a movie version of "Tokyo Zombie".
    Now that's a DVD that would be interesting to see.

    1. I started out with the film Daz. It would be good to hear your take on it.