One of the books that came up at the SciFi BOF back at CFUNITED was World War Z. The book is written as if it were non-fiction. It is a collection of numerous interviews from folks who have survived a zombie war. It’s ten years past the end of the major fighting (although a few pockets of zombies still exist) but in general the view point is of a world that has survived the worst of it.
Consider a normal zombie film. The hero wakes up, sees that something is seriously wrong, runs to some safe haven (like a mall), meets a few other survivors, one of which who will do something dumb and force them to flee, and that’s it.
When I watch a film like this (or really, any ‘end of the world’ type film), I know the geek in me starts going crazy. If the film centers in on one city, I wonder what’s going on in some other city. If the film takes place over a few days, I wonder what the world likes 5, 10, etc years from then. Obviously most films and books will focus on one sort of characters, but what makes WWZ so amazing is that you get an incredible range of view points.
The book is roughly separated into stories from various parts of the war. From when things begin to go crazy, to the panic, the fighting, and the aftermath. You get views from everyone, and I mean everyone. From Asia to Russia to England to America (and they even mention Lafayette, LA!).
The book begins by saying it is an emotional view of the history, but really, for a geek, it’s has an amazing amount of resources about what was going on. Some of the cooler aspects include a detailed look into how the military dealt, and adapted, to the zombie threat as well as how the government helped rebuild the country with a dramatically reduced work force.
So while I’m focusing on the geek aspect of the book – the emotional part works well. There is one interview – it involves a girl who lost her parents – and I don’t want to say much more as it will ruin it – but it is easily one of the most creepy things I’ve read in my life. What happens at sea is also pretty darn scary as well. I know there are plans to turn this into a movie – and if they do – I hope they focus on the people and not some giant CGI-fest. If they could pull off the horror of the stories with good actors it could be a heck of a lot more creepy than Dawn of the Dead. I should say though – as I’ve gotten older I’ve really begun to get turned off by gore. Frankly I appreciate a movie that can do more with less. I know Blair Witch Project was way over-hyped, but it scared the you know what out of me without ever showing the big bad monster.
Anyway, I enjoyed this book so much I put down my current novel and finished the whole thing in about 2 days. Because of the nature of the book, a collection of interviews, it reads very fast and makes a great bathroom book. I’d definitely recommend it!