Tag Archives: Zombie

World War Z

Phil: World War Z, written by Max Brooks,WWZBook is a very clever book. Written entirely in the past tense, it describes the ten-year long Zombie war as a series of individual accounts related to the author, a UN executive who has previously written the official report on the war. The idea is that these would have been in this report but were instead published in book form as they were too casual for an “official” publication.

Starting with a doctor who treats “Patient Zero” at the start of the outbreak, we hear from an ordinary soldier who fought in the failed American “Last Stand” at Yonkers, a South African who comes up with a practical but horrifying strategy to fight the zombies, the US general who takes control of the reconfiguring of society to fight back and survive along with many others.

Being an oral history, we don’t get to know everything. For example, no one explains where the virus that caused the zombies to rise up comes from. There are hints that it originated in China as a military programme but that’s never explicitly stated. There’s also an event called “the great panic” where it is hinted that a US newsreader finally tells the truth about the zombies on air – previously news had been suppressed – but while it’s alluded to, we never get any details, just the results.

Along the way, different countries handle things in their own way. Israel abandons the Palestinian territories and shuts the rest of the world out. The US goes typically gun-ho in a completely ineffective way initially. This is truly multi-national story.

Now, you might suggest that zombies are a stupid enemy – completely preposterous in fact, but that doesn’t make them any less entertaining. There’s also an allegory with current events. Were Ebola or SARS to spread dramatically, how would nations react to the threat? More to the point, how would society react? How would you handle such a threat?

The book plays everything straight and works well because of it. Fastidious research and realistic assumptions from the author make a fundamentally silly idea work brilliantly. The idea of a series of verbal accounts from different points of view is inspired. Maybe it’s been done before, but I don’t recall it. A fascinating read.

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Has everyone got the same idea?

World War Z poster.jpg

Candice: I went to the cinema the other week to see the new Brad Pitt movie, World War Z.  Now I’m not really a Brad fan, I’m more into George Clooney myself, and when Brad has long hair – forget it!  But my cinema buddy suggested a trip, so I thought I’d give it ago. However, Zombies in 3D was not part of my Friday night viewing plan!

Anyway, I’m not writing a review of the film, just the plot.  It seems there are common threads running around the psyche of writers at the moment, both novelists and screen writers: the idea of over population.  I can see why, we have been talking about global warming for years, we no longer have a real nuclear threat or cold war, so what do we make the bad guy these days?  Well, actually its us, the human race, as we are killing the world we live on by filling it with too many people.

Inferno, the Dan Brown book, was all about a mad man who thought that letting a virus into the world that would sterilise us all would help with this issue.  A few would be exempt and they would be able to continue the world’s population.

World War Z also has a virus but the suggestion is mother nature is generating it to get rid of the majority of us and start again.

It’s not just in 2013, if you go back to 2006 there was a rather good film called ‘Children of Men’ about women being infertile and the first pregnant woman being protected. And of course, WWZ is based on a 2006 book.

I watched episodes of two different TV programs last week – ‘Body of Proof‘ and ‘Bones‘ where in both cases, a virus had infected a member of the team and if the team didn’t identify it they would die.

I suppose we all get our ideas from what is going on in the news.  I when I say we, us lowly unpublished writers as well as those getting paid big bucks.  So these common ideas are bound to come out.  But is this why different ideas struggle to break through?  There are two White House disaster movies out this year, plus lots of sequels coming out.  If you go to the book shop or even Amazon, it’s all about ‘If you like this, you might also like.’  Recommendations are great, but we would never have had the Beatles if someone hadn’t picked up on their style and said I’ll go with that.

So people, please be a bit more receptive to other ideas and not just the run of the mill.  Else, we will be just churning out the same stuff over and over again!

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