Saturday, March 5, 2011

Zombie invasion

A few years ago, zombies had A Moment. Remember that? Everyone was making 'braaaaaains' jokes, a few ironically shitty movies with zombies in it came out, stuff like that. They got eclipsed, of course, by ninjas or pirates or yetis or something.

Still, Max Brooks' World War Z is an excellent, if depressing read. It is an oral history of the war that humanity fought against zombies, a conceit taken all the way to the author's bio on the back cover.

But it's not really *about* zombies, something that the page who reccomended it tried to explain, and something I've spent the last week trying to explain to everyone else. It is one of those books that's like an inkblot. Different people will see in it what they want: it's about the fact that American society isn't sustainable, it's about the dangers of bureaucracy, it's about the fallacy of relying on tech-based military solutions for all problems, it's about the limits of science, it's about the nobility of the human spirit, it's about what happens when people revert to their basic instincts and the trappings of society are stripped away, it's about hard choices during war, it's about what it means to be a leader. And all of those people are right, and probably a few more.

World War Z will definitely make you think, that's for sure. (Ironic, because zombies can't. In the book, some people 'reanimate' inside of cars and wind up spending eternity there because they don't have the brainpower to figure out how to open the door and get out.) It may even make you go out and buy a low-tech item like a crowbar or heavy metal shovel that can be used as a weapon -- just in case.

Me, I've decided that I'm on to more cheerful fare. I got several books that day. I sure hope one of them is not bleak and apocalyptic.

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