May 11, 2010

World War Z: Need to Read Nerd Book.

World War Z by Max Brooks is the scariest book I have ever read.  It's not because of zombies being scary in general, it not because of violence, and it's not because it brings something new and exciting to an old monster.  It's because it's a scarily accurate prediction of what were to happen if the zombie apocalypse were to happen.

Brooks essentially takes the world the way it is now and figures out what would happen culturally, politically, psychologically and even geographically with a zombie attack.  The infection starts in China, and over time spread across the entire globe.  There's no explanation as to why the infection starts, nor why it works the way it does.  But it is devastating, partly due to people acting the way people do.

I have to applaud the future world that Brooks creates, and the knowledge of the rest of the world necessary to paint such a perfect picture.

It is structured as interviews taken after the declared success of World War Z.  Each person interview talks about a piece of the experience from different parts of the world.  It's perfect for a zombie apocalypse book since it's the entire world that's affected.  You hear about regular family experiences, military forces, people in special positions.

It is gruesomely true to humanity--all of its strengths and flaws.  The strengths help us actually see the ending of the book, but the flaws help show how gruesome and scarily truthful civilization falls due to the situation.    And that is why this book is scary.  It's extremely truthful.  As a reader, you can see where Brooks gets it right.  It makes you hope that zombies don't happen, because it'll bring out the worst of people, a side you don't want to see.

The political predictions are accurate as well, and makes you see the current world differently.  The split in China, the newly formed Holy Russian Empire,  USA pushing the war effort, and the eeriest thing is what happens to North Korea... but I don't want to spoil it.

If you want a sneak peak of the book, listen to this reading of a chapter by Mark Hamill, about the Battle of Yonkers.  I suggest people read it.  It is enjoyable, and it's the kind of scary where you can still sleep at night (even if you think zombies do exist).  I think it'll be a nerd read necessity soon, added to every geek library.


  1. I don't want to be cliche, but this book changed my life. My apocalyptic nightmares have not been the same since. And it doesn't matter *what* the disaster is, humanity itself will always be our worst enemy.

  2. I listened to this book on tape driving from Colorado to Georgia (well, it made it to Louisiana ;)). Engrossing stuff, with some great narrators, to boot. The slowly widening gyre of the apocalypse is really well done.