I’ve been doing one of my favorite pastimes for the past month or so; which is terrifying myself. That’s right, I went on an insane zombie binge and I’d like to share the results with you! As you know from reading my classic, and for some reason most frequented entry, My Epidermis is Delicious, I have a love/fear of zombies. Without getting into my multitude of academic theses on the subject of zombies, I will simply state that I am well versed in their mythos and have my own predilections when it comes to how they are portrayed.
That being said, on to the reviews aka my own worthwhile, but ultimately disregarded opinion.
Let us begin from my beginning, which was the reading of the vastly entertaining and incomparable World War Z (book). Written by the son of Mel Brooks, because after I found out this information that is all I could think of when I heard/read his name. This zombie novel is a collection of stories from different moments in history beginning with a “patient zero” in China, to full scale war a few years later. My introduction to World War Z came as a result of the Brad Pitt movie trailer.
When I saw it I was a little confused as to what was going on. Shots of people running, Brad Pitt worried, mass destruction on a freeway, I thought it was another war movie and that the “Z” had something to do with the politics in-universe. I vaguely remember paying attention to it, but somewhere I must have seen the words that somehow always pique my interest when it comes to almost any movie, “Based on a novel by…” Gets me every time.
So I googled it and to my immense joy found out what the “Z” meant. (It stands for zombie, in case you didn’t know). I procured a copy and set about reading it.
It is great.
Unlike other incarnations of the zombacolypse, World War Z gives you an entire world view. If you’re looking to bond deeply with any characters, this is definitely not the book for you. The best you get is Todd Wainio, a soldier in the army from war’s beginning to end, who appears more than any other characters in the story. Other than that, you get a rich tapestry of carnage, despair, and hope that even the most tightly written siege scenario has trouble encapsulating. (A siege scenario btw, or lock-in, is when the protagonists of a monster movie are surrounded and/or trapped inside with the creatures they are trying to flee)
It’s difficult to discuss this one without giving away some spoilers. So instead of going into any explicit detail I will say that this is a definite must read; and from the reviews I’ve read thus far, has zero to do with the film other than the title and the mass grade attack the living dead unleash upon the world. Shame too, I would have watched a documentary style rendering of this. It would have been boss as a television series depicting each character’s story. Also note, that the audiobook is a keeper as well. I hate audio books because I hate being read to, but the caliber and cast of this one is amazing. Mark Hamill aka Luke Skywalker plays Todd. Enough said.
Next up is the accompanying book to World War Z, The Zombie Survival Guide.
It’s like someone stepped into my paranoid dreams and found my Christmas wishlist wrapped in aluminum foil. The survival guide is….in a word…thorough. You can definitely see that Mel Brooks’ son did some heavy research and some deep (probably twisted) immersion to come up with the tips and advice he writes in this little companion piece. I wasn’t as taken with this book initially. It’s mainly a how-to manual of what one should do should scenarios a, b, and c occur. It held me in places like “living in an undead world” and battle strategies, but lost me in other places; like the intolerably long lists of guns and weapons. It immediately got me back however when I reached the section on “recorded attacks.” Brooks gets back to the business of journalistic storytelling that he does so well, by chronologically retracing every known and suspected incident of the zombie virus (Solanum) throughout history. My favorites were the Roman tales, efficient sons of bitches. If you want to bypass all the hullabaloo with finding shelter and scavenging, then you can go to this site and get a little synopsis of the recorded attacks here.
Otherwise go ahead and read the whole thing. I’m certain there are combo packs with both books included.
I talk too much and in the interest of keeping this at a readable length I’m going to divide it into parts. But, I won’t leave you hanging for too long and because I’m a nice gal I’ll even tell you my next topic piece:
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan