Blog Post 7: World War Z by Max Brooks
“Lies are neither bad nor good. Like a fire they can either keep you warm or burn you to death, depending on how they’re used.”
The Book: World War Z by Max Brooks
The Genre: Horror Fiction
Ghostly Rating: n/a
It began with rumours from China about another pandemic. Then the cases started to multiply and what had looked like the stirrings of a criminal underclass, even the beginning of a revolution, soon revealed itself to be much, much worse.
Faced with a future of mindless man-eating horror, humanity was forced to accept the logic of world government and face events that tested our sanity and our sense of reality. Based on extensive interviews with survivors and key players in the ten-year fight against the horde, World War Z brings the finest traditions of journalism to bear on what is surely the most incredible story in the history of human civilisation.
Those who know me know that I am a huge horror fan. Books, films, experiences. Love it. Zombies, however, are not my favourite villains in the genre. While doing a little research for this blog post, I stumbled across this website: https://zombie.fandom.com/wiki/World_War_Z_(novel) which, if you’re a fan of the zombie genre, you’ll love.
I have a confession to make, first and foremost. I read the wrong book first. World War Z is the follow up book to the book The Zombie Survival Guide. World War Z tells the story of the zombie apocalypse through a series of oral interviews. My main gripe with the book was that I found it confusing. There was so much information. So many characters. So many different things going on at once, that I wasn’t hooked. However, that could most definitely be my fault. I’m presuming that if I would have read the first book beforehand, I would have had an easier time with this one. Therefore, I don’t think it’s fair for me to give a ghostly rating. As of right now, I don’t have any plans to go back and read the survival guide, but I will at some point in the future, I’m sure.
Max Brooks is insanely clever at imagining all of the events that would unfold as a result of the spread of an undead pandemic. Given what is happening in the world right now, it hits very close to home. His research would have needed to be extensive to pull this off in the way he did, and for that you have to give credit. The book definitely tugged at both your heartstrings and your temper. When you see the way humans react in the situations Brooks outlines, it is easy to look at them with abhorrence. And then you take a step back. You realise that you have no idea how you would behave in that situation too. Think back to the great toilet roll hoarding of 2020. We all know somebody that did it. Maybe you did? Now, think of this on a far wider scale. You are scared for your life. The lives of your family. What would you do to keep them safe? Brooks paints this picture of what it means to be human fighting a disease that makes us entirely inhuman.
This book is most certainly one of a kind, and I can see why it is credited with pushing zombies into the mainstream. I mean, Brad Pitt is in the film, that tells you all you need to know. The horror genre is typically thought of as the underdog of fiction, with many writers failing to get as much recognition as their more mainstream peers. With Brooks, the genre of horror is pushed firmly into the reader’s psyche. I resolutely believe we need more horror books out there. We have Stephen King (who you know I love) and James Herbert but I think if you asked the majority of readers to name horror writers, they’d stumble. So, to summarise my little rant, MORE HORROR PLEASE! Yes, I’m talking to you, Max Brooks!
Trigger Warnings: Is it okay to say ‘all of them’? All the trigger warnings. Abuse, violence, death, child death, mental health… The list goes on and on.
Bonus Quote: “The monsters that rose from the dead, they are nothing compared to the ones we carry in our hearts”