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FTN reviews World War Z

August 3rd, 2012 by Michael McCaffrey Comments

Every summer, bookshop shelves explode with a few different types of books. It seems that the second we even consider getting on a plane our brains are hardwired to crave these specific genres. The move tie-in, the Ludlum/Clancy big action books, or if your into that sort of thing, the good old fashioned romance novel.

I was faced with a tough choice, which of these classics would I lean towards? I’m not a romance novel kind of guy, so that was off the table in a second. I decided to go with the scary bogeyman of the 21st century, zombies, and give Max Brooks latest undead offering a read. It also fits neatly into the movie tie-in, with filming still going on in Glasgow.

Max Brooks is one of two things. He is a either a brilliant man, with an amazing gift for making fiction so real you won’t feel fear, you’ll feel proper pants wetting dread. Or he’s full-on batshit insane, and thinks the zombies are actually coming for him. Give either of his Zombie books a read, and you’ll find yourself thinking the same thing, I guarantee it. He creates a realistic model for spread of his zombie virus, creates temporary heroes and villains as he works his way across the globe, “interviewing” those caught up in the hotspots of the zombie war.

The structure of the book works incredibly well here. Written as a kind of half diary / short story compilation, it allows Brooks to temporarily develop briefly meaningful characters, without getting bogged down in details. When we’re hearing about the downed air force pilot fighting her way towards safety we don’t need a complex backstory, we know her motivations. He also has a talent for what I would call pragmatic evil. Try reading about the Redecker plan and not feeling a little bit ill..

All in all I think you’ll like the book. And then you’ll have zombie nightmares for a month.

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Jeff, whose real name is Michael. It’s a funny story, unfortunately it’s a funny story that isn’t actually that funny, and so we won’t bore you. Read a children’s encyclopaedia cover to cover as a child because nobody told him that wasn’t what you were supposed to do with those. Jeff is a Terminal Discworld addict, home brewer and semi successful scientist, and enjoys long moonlight walks through Skyrim. His main problem is though, that he will read anything, literally, anything literary. This has lead to the complete lack of shelf space remaining in his house.

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