Sunday, January 13, 2013

“The only rule that ever made sense to me I learned from a history, not an economics, professor at Wharton. "Fear," he used to say, "fear is the most valuable commodity in the universe." That blew me away. "Turn on the TV," he'd say. "What are you seeing? People selling their products? No. People selling the fear of you having to live without their products." Fuckin' A, was he right. Fear of aging, fear of loneliness, fear of poverty, fear of failure. Fear is the most basic emotion we have. Fear is primal. Fear sells.” Max Brooks, World War Z

I had been quite excited to read this book. I started it before I left on holiday and is quite a quick read. 

The book is quite literally what it sells itself to be 'An Oral History of the Zombie War'. 

The text begins after the war, and what you're reading is a bunch of interviews by Max Brooks - interviewing ex-military, doctors, crazy dictators, scientists etc etc. This is the type of book, I imagine, that in 2000 years it'll be found, and our descendants will believe that we lived through a Zombie apocalypse and survived. The interviews are chronological, the first interview given by a doctor in China who was one of the first people to diagnose the problem. 

So was this book any good? Well, it was interesting, very interesting in fact. It seems that the author certainly did his homework. He looked at the world as it is now, politically, economically spiritually and I believe pretty much described what we could realistically expect if a plague such as the one described really did spread. So, if anything, it is a fictional commentary of countries and how they responded, as well as the people involved.

Unfortunately, as it is a bunch of interviews and I knew that mankind survived, there was no real drama. There wasn't a particular group of characters that I couldn't bare to see die. I didn't feel suspense, or anxiety over their well being. I knew they survived because they were being interviewed after the fact - if you catch my drift. The writing and many voices were excellently executed and to ignore that would be unfair. Although I read for the drama of it, I also read to meet characters that I care about. Unfortunately this was an impossibility with this book. 

The book read like non-fiction, so much so that when I finished reading I really did think - hmmm... well, I've definitely learnt something new; and then I had to remind myself that this is just a prediction of how the world and its peoples would respond to a calamity such as this one. And yes, it's a prediction, but as far as I am aware, I really do think that Mr. Brooks got it SPOT ON. Maybe I seem that I do not have much faith in the human condition - but that's not it. I'm a realist, and I think, looking at the world around us now - most of us would really be able to predict how things would unravel.

Anywho - I recommend you read it if you want to read something interesting. Don't read it for a plot line, or to love characters, or for drama, or horror, or for thrills... or well, anything like that! Read it because you like history and you're interested in psychology - and only slightly interested in zombies - as they don't really feature much!

Oh - and apparently the movie will be coming out in June 2013!

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