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World War Z

An Oral History of the Zombie War
by Max Brooks
ISBN: 0307346609

I reread this book a third time in preparing for my zombie course. Man it’s a good book.  I’m having my students read it for the course, but I haven’t completely decided how it fits into the schedule of the course.  It will take some maneuvering.

As a third reading, the book feels more familiar this time around.  I looked forward to my favorite parts and skimmed or skipped my least favorite ones (such as the downed pilot stuck in the swamp).  Most importantly, I noticed the parallels between one aspect of the book and lessons I’ve taken out of a couple films recently: the need to make hard decisions for the good of the species, particularly the ability to make the hard decision.  In the movies, it was the ability to follow hard and fast rules; in the book, it was the decisions to leave or kill large numbers of uninfected in securing things against the zombies.

Perhaps the problem from the beginning of War Games would still haunt survivors in the zombie war.  The inability to close the door when healthy people were outside would mean the destruction of all people.  Hrm.

{ 2 } Comments

  1. John | 18 December 2007 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Something in this post made me wonder if you’ve ever read Walter M. Miller, Jr.’s “Dark Benediction” (1951). It’s not a zombie story per se, but it draws from or has parallels with some zombie story conventions. Today Miller’s best known for the novel A Canticle for Leibowitz, which is one of my favorite SF novels, but he published a number of highly regarded short stories during the 1950s. (He killed himself in the 1960s, finally succumbing trauma/guilt from of WWII.) If you want, I’ve got a PDF of the story that I could email to you.

  2. Digital Sextant | 25 December 2007 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    That sounds great! I’m awash in great new zombie swag, so y’all will see some posts about that soon, but for now, this will do. I would indeed like to read that story.

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