Monday, March 22, 2010

Survivors of the Zombie War

From the first outbreak of infection to "Victory in China" day about a decade later, over 600 million people lost their lives. Although the zombie war (which "goes by many names: 'The Crisis,' 'The Dark Years,' 'The Walking Plague,' as well as newer and more 'hip' titles such as 'World War Z' or 'Z War One'") is over, people, and countries, are still trying to recover, and the world has irrevocably changed.

There is value in the official report of the United Nation's Postwar Commission, "a collection of cold, hard data, an objective 'after-action report' that would allow future generations to study the events of that apocalyptic decade." But the stories of the survivors, military and civilian, those who profited from the war and those who are still bearing its scars, are too important to lose. The stories of some of these survivors have been transcribed and collected in Max BrooksWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War.

Purported to be a record of accounts from a worldwide selection of survivors, World War Z is an absorbing and plausible tale of zombie apocalypse. Despite its large cast of narrators, the story is remarkably cohesive. The accounts are compiled in a rough chronological order, and the interviewees varied perspectives showcase the different experiences of the survivors. From the doctor who saw an early, perhaps even the first, person who was infected to soldiers in the US, Russia, and China to government bureaucrats trying to save their countries, and a couple of ordinary people just trying to stay alive, the first-person accounts are by turns chilling, fascinating in their strategic and logistic considerations, and haunting in their immediacy.

World War Z is just one of the books featured on the Not Just Gross But Actually Scary Horror Books list. I'm always hesitant to use the phrase "must read," but this really is a must read for anyone into zombies, and I also think it has a lot of appeal for fans of survival books, like Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life As We Knew It.

Book source: public library.

Cross-posted at The YA YA YAs.

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