It’s a zombie world…

The zombie apocalypse is probably one of the most terrifying, although far-fetched and hopefully impossible, things that could ever happen.  No matter which writer’s or director’s version of zombies you think of, they’re pretty terrifying.  They don’t sleep, they don’t need rest, they can’t be reasoned with.  They’re out for your blood (or brains, whatever), and nothing will stop them.  Total war, as they say.

Of course, most movies use the slow-moving, single-minded, follow-the-food zombie, which is scary, but can thankfully be outrun if you meet just one or two.  Then there’s the fast zombies that can run and climb and swarm and will fuck shit up.  They’re even more terrifying.  And, if that isn’t scary enough, in zombie master’s George A. Romero‘s Land of the Dead, the fourth movie of his Living Dead series, the zombies are actually beginning to think and plan their attacks.

Yes, they scare me. Now, I don’t actually believe that the zombie apocalypse will happen, but that doesn’t make it any less frightening for me.  Like most people, I have always been fascinated by the idea of zombies.  Besides Romero’s work, shows like The Walking Dead and movies like Warm Bodies and 28 Days Later have just fed that fascination.

So this week I decided to go all out and scare myself and watch Brad Pitt‘s World War Z, which I then followed by reading the novel of the same name by Max Brooks.  Not only would I get my fill of zombie shenanigans, but I’d see what the big hype was about on both the movie and the book.

I decided to watch the movie first, which was probably a good idea, as I was able to enjoy it. As a movie, it’s not too bad.  I mean, if you’re looking for non-stop action, lots of explosions and zombies and people dying, then the movie’s totally for you.   It has its moments where you wonder if they really thought you’d buy this bullshit, or if there’s anyway anyone could have gotten out alive, but other than that, it’s pretty solid.  As far as zombie movies go, it’s not the worst I’ve seen.  And honestly, it’s not a bad way to waste two hours.  It’s the typical action movie, you know, guy has a mission, stuff explodes and things try to stop him, but he survives and carries out mission, saves the world.  I wouldn’t tell people to not watch it, but unless they’re looking for mindless explosions or they love all things zombies, I wouldn’t recommend it either.

Unfortunately, it’s nothing like the book, which is fantastic.

The book is not done like a story, so although there is a UN worker involved, he’s not the main guy.  In fact, he’s just the interviewer, and with the exception of some questions and an intro, you never hear from him.  The book is done to be the collective history of the zombie war, as told by the survivors to the UN fact finder a decade later.  It’s an incredibly compelling book that you just can’t put down.  At times, it seems like it could be an actual history book and not a work of fiction.

I honestly enjoyed the book.  It’s basically the worst case scenario for zombies.  Well, maybe it’s every possible worst case scenario.  And because it’s done on an international level – some of the people telling stories are from the U.S., but there are also Russian, Israeli, Chinese, Cuban, and so on – it really gives you an idea of just how much of a catastrophe this was on a global level.  Humanity was almost wiped out completely.  The world has changed, too: Russia is not a religious empire; Cuba is democratic and the economic capital of the world; Iceland is overrun and the most infested place in the world; Iran and Pakistan have destroyed each other in a nuclear war.

It’s a pretty good read, although I can see why it’d scare people.  Not because zombies are real (although I’m not really qualified to say they’re not), the book basically explains how much we failed and just how bad we let it get, which honestly, could happen with any pandemic. No matter what the disease, it could spread and it could kill us all.

Yeah.  Zombies.  Ugh.

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