World War Z

Cover of "World War Z: An Oral History of...

Eeek, I just totally and utterly loved this, I listened to Max Brooks’ World War Z as an audiobook and it was pretty lengthy, but I just could not stop listening to it and finished it in just a few days. I’m sure that just conventionally reading this book would be brilliant but the audiobook format took it to another level, as the book, a ‘non-fiction’ account of World War Z, the zombie war, is a series of first person accounts and each account was read by a different narrator and they were read so well, it was like listening to a long radio documentary rather than listening to a story. Some of the chapters were almost exclusively just a retelling of that character’s story in his own words but other chapters were more like interviews, so those were read by two narrators, the book’s ‘author’, a UN employee and the interviewee.

World War Z tells the tale, through the accounts of survivors, of a massive, global zombie apocalypse, the zombies take over vast swathes of the planet, leaving humanity to cling on in a few pockets of land.  The story is incredibly well thought out; how the initial outbreaks started, how countries would initially respond, the individual human impact and how they would eventually fight back. World War Z is an allegory in a way about modern society; how we’ve lost our ability to communicate with each other, how we’ve lost our ability to be self sufficient. It was like the use of zombies was an extreme example of how we’ve got too soft and comfortable in our existence and how if any problem was to effect us globally like a (non zombie) disease pandemic or more conventional global war we would just crumble.

Anyway, I would highly recommend this book and in particular the audiobook and (and I’m normally personally strict about this anyway) definitely read the book before you see the movie, which is out next June, as from the trailer, the movie looks pretty different.

And as with all good books that people adore, when they make a movie that dares to differ from the plot, it gets slated before it’s even out (although a lot of times that slating can be absolutely justified – see the Dark Is Rising movie *shudder*), although in defence of the World War Z movie, it would be pretty difficult to stick to the format of the book, with its collection of first person recollections, although that format would have made a fantastic big budget TV series. However from the trailer the zombies do look pretty awful, I can get the use of CGI in the zombie crowd scenes but I hope there are lots of chances to see actual people playing the zombies in close ups, as the CGI zombies don’t look that realistic. And they’re fast zombies, that was a key point of the book, that they were slow! They’re also not meant to be good at climbing things hmmmmm …. have the producers thought that slow zombies that couldn’t really get you if you climbed high enough or built a big enough wall weren’t scary enough? Cos I tell you, they were still pretty scary in the book.

Still, I will so be watching this movie, if anything because I’ve been totally brainwashed by all those Chanel ads that are everywhere at the moment, Brad Pitt can go look at me with those eyes anytime and actually Hollywood superstars that actually look better as they age aside, I like a good action movie, even a bad movie but I can’t guarantee that I’m not going to moan about them slaughtering a brilliant book afterwards.

***** (out of 5)

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