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Lemur866
12-07-2006, 01:46 PM
I just got finished reading "World War Z" by Max Brooks last night. Fantastic book, a Studs Terkel-esque "oral history of the Zombie War". The author traveled around the world collecting survival stories from the world-wide outbreak of the zombie plague.

Anybody else have a chance to read this?

An extensive wikipedia article is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_Z.

John Corrado
12-07-2006, 02:03 PM
I read it and thought it was absolutely brilliant, though it had a few minor flaws.

On the "brilliant" side - Brooks manages to set up an absolutely believable situation out of the fantastic, and managed to make me feel a mounting sense of fear and horror at the war even when I knew that it was going to be won and the people telling the stories were all going to survive. The stories were well told, and had enough of a different 'voice' to them to keep it from feeling like just a single narration throughout. He also took the story in very interesting, though logical, directions; I also like how he would refer to events in shorthand because the characters knew them that way, even though we as the audience had to slowly fill in the pieces from half-statements and inferences.

On the "flaws" side - there was a little more technical-jargon-masturbation akin to Clancy than I was willing to put up with; I nearly fell asleep during the diver's story because I no longer cared about the neat diving equipment specifications he had.

The other flaw is one that just plain confuses me: the fact that he set up the American politicians to be very specific people but refuses to actually name them. I mean, Jesus - soft-spoken military hero of Jamaican descent and white-haired, raving Vermonter from the other party who had a public "emotional" slip-up? How can any American who even pays a modicum of attention to the evening news not have an immediate and clear idea of who these people are? I'd be more willing to accept this as not 'dating' the story or something if it weren't for the fact that he fills the story with descriptions of military technology which inherently dates the story. Add in to this his refusal to talk about "the Iraq War" but instead references "our previous disastrous brush war" or "the military conflict in the Middle East", and it feels like he's trying to be coy, and it's just stupid.

But, really, those are minor flaws. I recommended this book to all of my friends without reservations.

BabaBooey
12-07-2006, 02:14 PM
Was planning on reading it soon, but I'm in the middle of The Zombie Survival Guide and I'm probably just going to give up on it. I've laughed maybe twice in the first hundred pages. I get that the humor is funny in the seriousness he takes in such a ridiculous subject, but it's the sort of thing that could be funny in a much shorter span, but in the span of a mid sized book, yuck. I was expecting the delivery to be much more like the ninja stories on realultimatepower.

Tristan
12-07-2006, 04:28 PM
I'm pretty sure I'll be getting a copy for Xmas. I'm looking forward to it... I'm a bit of Zombie fanatic these days.

Ranchoth
12-08-2006, 09:34 AM
Personally, I liked it—all things considered, for this day and age, I think he managed to keep it mostly* apolitical, which was to be commended.

The biggest issue I had with it was technical...namely, a number of his ideas on what would or wouldn't kill a zombie leave me a little :dubious:. I think a big one was the notion that the only good you could hope that radiation would do against a zombie is that it would be a strong enough dose to cause lots of "instantanious tumors to develop" in the dead creature's brain. Yeah.



(...)

...Yeah.

(Anyone else want to take that one on?)

There were a few other ones, but I'll leave them for after I get some sleep. (Or after I get some decent testing done. Anyone know how big an animal leg I could use Galvani's electric frog process to move?)


*"Mostly." At least it won't date it too embarrisingly, for future generations. ("Boy! They're really sockin' it to that Spiro Agnew guy again, he must work there or something.")

Lemur866
12-08-2006, 01:01 PM
Geez, I remember doing that experiment in college. Kill frog. Rip out frog leg muscle. Hook frog leg muscle up to spring scale. Apply voltage to severed frog leg muscle to see how much it contracts. Brrrr.

Oh, the official World War Z website is here:
http://www.randomhouse.com/crown/worldwarz/

When I filled out the "calculate risk" questionaire it reported that based on my demographics I had only a 38% of surviving.

Loach
12-08-2006, 01:18 PM
Why have I not heard of this book? Is it a stand alone book or do you have to read Zombie Survival Guide first? I'm a big fan of Studs Turkel and of zombies so this is right up my alley.

tanstaafl
12-08-2006, 01:31 PM
It's a standalone. The survival guide gets mentioned in passing a few times but that is it.

And my survival chance is apparently only 34%. :(

Amp
12-08-2006, 01:39 PM
Just finished it up and I loved it. Some of the stories left me with chills. For example:

When the traffic copter guy was talking about the bumper to bumper traffic and how people were trapped in their cars while the zombies were just coming up the road devouring everything in its path.

Loach
12-08-2006, 01:59 PM
32% dammit. I thought it would be better than that.

Lemur866
12-08-2006, 02:19 PM
Well, given your location I'm surprised it's that high. After all, the army had to pull back to the Rockies and abandon civilians on the east coast. And given that New York City was pretty much 100% zombified, anyone in New Jersey is going to have a tough time.

Least Original User Name Ever
12-08-2006, 02:20 PM
I also get 38%. I might have to pick this book up. I heard Max Brooks do interviews on NPR about World War Z and the Survival Guide. Very good, very witty, and very entertaining.

Loach
12-08-2006, 02:21 PM
Well, given your location I'm surprised it's that high. After all, the army had to pull back to the Rockies and abandon civilians on the east coast. And given that New York City was pretty much 100% zombified, anyone in New Jersey is going to have a tough time.

Probably the military/police/firearms questions pushed me up a bit. I'll bow out now in case there are more spoilers.

Least Original User Name Ever
12-08-2006, 02:21 PM
Well, given your location I'm surprised it's that high. After all, the army had to pull back to the Rockies and abandon civilians on the east coast. And given that New York City was pretty much 100% zombified, anyone in New Jersey is going to have a tough time.


Well, Yankee fans are pretty much pre-zombified anyways.

JohnM
12-08-2006, 03:39 PM
I got 34% as well, but then I ran the numbers again giving the "right" answers, and still got only 65%. Let's just hope that Comet Wormwood stays away for a long, long time.

Chronos
12-08-2006, 04:01 PM
41%, here. Let's hear it for high mountains, cold winters, and low population densities!

Lemur866
12-08-2006, 04:19 PM
Now lets hear from a sedentary New York City office worker.

Given the cite in the book of 200 million zombies in North America, your base survival rate is only ~33% anyway.

Sierra Indigo
12-08-2006, 04:28 PM
I can't complete the calculator, because it's asking to describe your location in terms of the US only, and there's no option to say you're outside of the US. Assholes.

Sierra Indigo
12-08-2006, 04:33 PM
Actually, screw 'em. Based on the map that shows Australia falling halfway off the world, there's no zombies here anyway so I've got a survival rate of 100%. Booyah!

Merijeek
12-08-2006, 04:38 PM
Actually, screw 'em. Based on the map that shows Australia falling halfway off the world, there's no zombies here anyway so I've got a survival rate of 100%. Booyah!

Sure, until your continent slips off into space and you slowly die as you slide out of Earth's atmosphere. :)

-Joe

Baldwin
12-08-2006, 08:12 PM
Kickass book. I guess the single most impressive aspect was the verisimilitude and details in so many different parts of the world.

Also, when I was at Conwy last year, I climbed up a watchtower (with one good leg and a crutch) and looking down, past the wall, down the rock outcropping to the street far below, I thought, You could hold out against a lot of zombies in here! Max Brooks apparently agrees.

Speaking of recognizable, but unnamed, figures -- it was fun to think of Bill Maher and Ann Coulter having frantic sex on the floor in the face of imminent death.

And incidentally, the book has been optioned for a movie (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0816711/). (If you've never partaken of the message board at IMDB, take a look. You'll come back truly grateful for the SDMB.)

Baldwin
12-08-2006, 08:19 PM
Forgot to mention -- if he wants to do a sequel, focussing in-depth on one story, I think we might agree it should be:The Hero City. The subject is hinted at several times in the book (that is, they seem to be referring to Manhattan as "The Hero City". That's also a designation that was given to twelve Soviet cities for the way they held out in WWII.)

dogbutler
12-08-2006, 09:36 PM
I just started the book today, I am hooked already. I got a 39% on the test.

blondebear
12-08-2006, 11:24 PM
I picked up WWZ after seeing it mentioned in a thread earlier this year. I enjoyed it enough to want to read The Zombie Survival Guide. I want to put it on my Christmas wish list, but it doesn't seem right somehow...

iamthewalrus(:3=
12-27-2006, 11:33 PM
I finished reading this today after receiving it for Christmas. I loved it. All the stories were good, but some of them were especially chilling. The woman recounting her family's trip up North when she was young and the steady degradation of their living situation and the hard suit diver were especially powerful to me.

The thing I didn't like (and I suppose this is a general criticism of the zombie genre) is that there was no explanation of how things went from the occasional outbreak that was more or less contained to rivers of the dead streaming along the highways out of major population centers. It just doesn't seem like the housewife's story, about pretty much ignoring the whole zombie menace until one appeared in her den, doesn't make any sense. Similarly, the sudden run to the seas, with ghouls grabbing at everyone from the waves, seems unlikely.

I can understand how a large mob can overwhelm people, and how a slow burn would fester and spread, but it seems like once the threat is somewhat acknowledged and the kill method is known, the average person fighting zombies is going to take down at least one, which would tend to make the total number shrink over time.

susan
12-27-2006, 11:42 PM
46%, baby. And the book is next in the Things to Buy Queue.

Rubystreak
12-28-2006, 12:20 AM
Just finished this book and I thought it was awesome. I wonder which story threads the movie will follow, as there were many POV's in the book, most of them pretty compelling.

The thing I didn't like (and I suppose this is a general criticism of the zombie genre) is that there was no explanation of how things went from the occasional outbreak that was more or less contained to rivers of the dead streaming along the highways out of major population centers.

It does. Patient Zero was a young boy who went diving in the submerged Three Gorges Dam area of China. . The implication is that there was a zombie problem there that was "dealt with" by the flooding of vast areas of China. Unfortunately, zombies don't drown, they just wander around on the bottom and bite people who come near them. Though the Chinese government comes in and takes over the situation with PZ, other infected parties were on the loose (the boy's father disappeared and wasn't accounted for; incidents like PZ probably happened simultaneously in multiple locations near the Three Gorges Dam area); thus the major spread of plague began.

The message, I think, is that the Chinese government dealt with the crisis by suppressing information and going into denial, more worried what the world would think and where blame would fall rather than taking care of the problem. Brooks has the Chinese government overthrown during the Zombie War due to this horrible policy. It seems plausible, considering the way they have dealt with real life disease outbreaks.

It just doesn't seem like the housewife's story, about pretty much ignoring the whole zombie menace until one appeared in her den, doesn't make any sense.

She didn't ignore it. She and her family were taking Phalanx, so they thought they were protected. There was also a firearm in the house for home defense. I think her story was pretty realistic; most people would like to think that they are safe, their precautions are enough, and don't wise up until the problem is in their living room.

Similarly, the sudden run to the seas, with ghouls grabbing at everyone from the waves, seems unlikely.

Brooks never explains, and acknowledges the lack of explanation, of how zombie brains do not suffer from pressure in deep seas. That is a flaw in the story.

iamthewalrus(:3=
12-28-2006, 03:13 AM
I definitely got that the "Patient Zero" in the book was the result of the Chinese government trying to hide the problem by drowning the zombies. And the stories that recount the spread of the plague across the world are convincing.
She didn't ignore it. She and her family were taking Phalanx, so they thought they were protected. There was also a firearm in the house for home defense. I think her story was pretty realistic; most people would like to think that they are safe, their precautions are enough, and don't wise up until the problem is in their living room.It seemed like the book jumped relatively quickly from isolated incidents to full-on zombie mob. There should have been a more steady transition between people in San Diego living an essentially suburban existence and the interstate system becoming a mass of millions of zombies. This isn't just a failing of WWZ. Any zombie story that posits a spreading zombie infection ought to explain how the world actually goes from isolated cases to full blown zombie apocalypse, but usually doesn't. I was disappointed that WWZ did the same, given the incredible attention to detail Brooks paid to many other aspects of the book.

fallapart
12-28-2006, 04:38 AM
Just thought i'd post this zombie outbreak simulation (http://www.fetchfido.co.uk/games/zombies/zombies.htm).
:)

Rubystreak
12-28-2006, 12:18 PM
It seemed like the book jumped relatively quickly from isolated incidents to full-on zombie mob.

Wouldn't it go down like that? I mean, any person wounded by Zack turns into Zack. The plague would sweep urban centers very, very quickly, I imagine. What's surprising is that previous outbreaks had been so effectively suppressed that a World War Z had never happened before.

There should have been a more steady transition between people in San Diego living an essentially suburban existence and the interstate system becoming a mass of millions of zombies.

They do talk about how anxiety was building, the kids weren't sleeping well, were behaving badly and medicated for ADD, everyone was tense, but they thought it would blow over. Then, blam, zombie in the living room. Probably similar to pre-1939 Germany.

This isn't just a failing of WWZ. Any zombie story that posits a spreading zombie infection ought to explain how the world actually goes from isolated cases to full blown zombie apocalypse, but usually doesn't. I was disappointed that WWZ did the same, given the incredible attention to detail Brooks paid to many other aspects of the book.

I thought he did a fine job of showing how it spread. Once Asia was overrun, really, everyone was going to be on the defensive. This disease has a quick infection time, no cure, and creates more disease vectors that are very effective. If you buy his premise on the face, the rest makes sense, at least to me.

Astroboy14
12-28-2006, 01:00 PM
It's in my Shopping Cart at Amazon right now... I'll probably complete the order within the next few days (I hate just ordering 1 or 2 things at a time).

chorpler
12-29-2006, 07:34 AM
Well, this is certainly off-pissing. I bought and listened to the audiobook version, and I don't recall any of the fascinating-sounding stories people have recounted here. Clearly the "abridgement" is worthless despite the all-star cast.

I mea, yeah, the audiobook was great, but damn, that's irritating.

Baldwin
01-01-2007, 08:55 AM
Well, this is certainly off-pissing. I bought and listened to the audiobook version, and I don't recall any of the fascinating-sounding stories people have recounted here. Clearly the "abridgement" is worthless despite the all-star cast.

I mea, yeah, the audiobook was great, but damn, that's irritating.Abridgement is a bad thing in general. Unless it's a Stephen King novel, in which case you can probably lose at least half the book without missing anything.

chorpler
01-01-2007, 11:26 AM
Abridgement is a bad thing in general. Unless it's a Stephen King novel, in which case you can probably lose at least half the book without missing anything.

I agree (well, I've never read Stephen King, so I don't know about that). I absolutely hate abridged versions of books. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any other audio edition of World War Z out. :( :( :(

Lemur866
01-01-2007, 01:22 PM
I think the author is correct in his assumption that an outbreak in a major urban area will either be quickly contained, or within a week the entire population of the area will either be zombified or evacuated. The most likely outcome of a major zombie outbreak in New York City is to turn New York City into an army of 8 million zombies.

susan
01-01-2007, 02:21 PM
Okay, my copy's in the mail.

Terrifel
01-01-2007, 03:43 PM
I thought he did a fine job of showing how it spread. Once Asia was overrun, really, everyone was going to be on the defensive. This disease has a quick infection time, no cure, and creates more disease vectors that are very effective. If you buy his premise on the face, the rest makes sense, at least to me.Funnily enough, I read it the exact opposite way around. As in George Romero's work, Brooks' zombies are a problem that can be quite easily solved at any time... assuming that humans are willing to communicate and to cooperate with each other. It is not the zombies themselves that cause the catastrophe; that is accomplished entirely by human dishonesty, greed, selfishness, irrationality, and fear.

The account of the Battle of Yonkers exemplifies this perfectly; it's obvious that the soldiers would have been perfectly safe on the roofs of buildings, because zombies can't climb. A simple two-story building with the stairs removed is a completely zombie-proof structure. However, the top brass have foolishly decided to place their troops in harm's way as a concocted media event, using visually impressive but woefully inappropriate weapons and tactics, while giving no forethought to the practicality of the situation. The book isn't really about how unstoppable zombies are, it's about humanity's collective knack for making bad decisions.

Zombies, the book makes clear, are glacially slow, entirely mindless, and 100 percent predictable in their behavior. There's really no way that they could possibly present a threat to humans, unless we allow it. This is really the heart of the metaphor. Zombies are war, they are hunger, they are disease, they are the madness of crowds; they are every terrible thing that we, as a species, inflict on ourselves. They are us.



Parenthetically, I would like to know exactly what fatal mistake Iceland made that led to the entire nation being exterminated. I also suspect that Israel might not actually turn out to be the shining beacon of hope that Brooks depicts in such a situation.

Tristan
01-01-2007, 04:18 PM
I'm jealous. I didn't get a copy.

But I did get a Borders card, and some cash, so I'll be picking it up, I think, next weekend.

The Scrivener
01-01-2007, 10:35 PM
The only detail that struck me as daft (which is remarkable, considering it's a book about a global zombie epidemic) was the bit about masses of zack in the deep seas, attacking oil rigs, etc. The oceans are really, really huge and their size mitigates against zack congregating in noticable numbers unless there's a compelling reason that wasn't spelled out. Sound travels very well underwater, so theoretically zack could be attracted to manmade sounds (from oil rigs, say) and home in on them and call out to each other... provided they could ascertain directionality of sound underwater, which I'm not sure is a given.

The Scrivener
01-01-2007, 10:40 PM
:smack: I forgot the other thing that didn't seem right, the detail that zombie moaning somehow carries much, much farther than our normal human vocalise. Sorry, but I'm not buying it. Unless zombiefication does transforms your pulmonary system, vocal chords, and sinus cavities, it shouldn't change your voice per se, except to render you a lot less articulate and inhibited about the sorts of moaning and groaning noises you make in public. :dubious:

Rubystreak
01-01-2007, 10:41 PM
It is not the zombies themselves that cause the catastrophe; that is accomplished entirely by human dishonesty, greed, selfishness, irrationality, and fear.

It is entirely ignorance that causes a scenario about WWZ. People don't know how to kill them; they don't know that bites are 100% fatal and zombie-ism irreversible. They believe Phalanx can protect them; they don't think it'll come to their corner of the world.

However, even if you knew all that, and you were caught in an indefensibile position, ill-equipped, or mobbed, you'd be done. As Brooks pointed out, the zombie war is Total War. Billy Sherman had no idea, right?

The account of the Battle of Yonkers exemplifies this perfectly;

Well, that was a titantic clusterfuck for all the reasons you said. It was inexcusable. China being overrun, not the same thing. Those people did not know what was going on, so they didn't have the option to be prepared. The American government did, but chose to prioritize the TV coverage.

Can you not imagine how such a plague would spread, when the majority of the world has no idea what's going on? I can.

Zombies, the book makes clear, are glacially slow, entirely mindless, and 100 percent predictable in their behavior. There's really no way that they could possibly present a threat to humans, unless we allow it.

I disagree. I would say, "unless we lack the information to protect ourselves." The poor Chinese peasants "allowed" themselves to be overtaken? I think the book was full of examples of people who were not given any options, who did not know what was coming, who were betrayed and abandoned by the authorities who were supposed to care for them. The didn't allow themselves to die-- their governments did.

This is really the heart of the metaphor. Zombies are war, they are hunger, they are disease, they are the madness of crowds; they are every terrible thing that we, as a species, inflict on ourselves. They are us.

And those things, like zombies, victimize those who are defenseless, who should be protected by those who enjoy power over them. They are disregarded at the peril of those who take them for granted.

Parenthetically, I would like to know exactly what fatal mistake Iceland made that led to the entire nation being exterminated.

Good question. I think maybe it had something to do with their cold climate not being sufficient the protection they had though it would be.

I also suspect that Israel might not actually turn out to be the shining beacon of hope that Brooks depicts in such a situation.

I found that scenario a little hard to believe as well.

The Scrivener
01-01-2007, 10:45 PM
Unless zombiefication does transforms your pulmonary system,

Eh, apparently I've already been bitten. In a few hours I'll be reduced to typing out stuff like "ummmmhhhrrrrrruuunnnnmmmmrrrruuuuuu...". :D

Terrifel
01-01-2007, 11:57 PM
It is entirely ignorance that causes a scenario about WWZ. People don't know how to kill them; they don't know that bites are 100% fatal and zombie-ism irreversible. They believe Phalanx can protect them; they don't think it'll come to their corner of the world.My point is that the makers of Phalanx, and the Chinese government, and the American government, and all the other organizations and authorites, are also people. Some of those people decided to conceal the initial Chinese outbreak. Other people decided to market a bogus vaccine solely to make a profit. Still other people decided that suppressing information about the threat was to their political advantage. If these people had behaved responsibly, the zombie threat would never have materialized. The general public wouldn't have been caught unprepared if some of us weren't actively working to exploit the situation for our own benefit.However, even if you knew all that, and you were caught in an indefensibile position, ill-equipped, or mobbed, you'd be done. As Brooks pointed out, the zombie war is Total War. Billy Sherman had no idea, right?They can't climb. They always move toward sound. They can easily be outwalked, or even out-wheelchaired. They can't climb. They can't operate even a simple doorknob. They don't recognize danger of any kind. They can't climb.

Zombies are purely reactionary creatures, the simplest of automatons. Their actions are invariable and are always a response to ours. If you don't let one bite you, they can't multiply. If you destroy the brain, they die. A zombie attack is not like a battle or even an animal attack: you can't defeat them by being more fearsome or violent than they are, any more than you can fight off a thunderstorm.

Zombies turn many of humanity's everyday strategies for success-- selfish behavior, deception, exploitation of fears-- into a recipe for failure. Against a zombie attack, people survive only through clear thinking and cooperation.

Rubystreak
01-02-2007, 12:12 AM
My point is that the makers of Phalanx, and the Chinese government, and the American government, and all the other organizations and authorites, are also people. Some of those people decided to conceal the initial Chinese outbreak.

Yes, those people had a choice. Their choices prevented the rest of the world from having choices. In ignorance, the world was a sitting duck.

They can't climb. They always move toward sound. They can easily be outwalked, or even out-wheelchaired. They can't climb. They can't operate even a simple doorknob. They don't recognize danger of any kind. They can't climb.

Wait, what are you saying? That they can't climb? ;)

If I were in my home and a bunch of zombies attacked, we'd all be severely screwed. I have no firearm (and if I did, I wouldn't have enough, I'm sure). I cannot secure my house-- it's all ground-floor windows, no second floor I could make inaccessible. Even if I got into the attic, I don't have a ton of food saved up, no generator, no way of eliminating a swarm of them to escape, no way of contacting the authorities if my phone wasn't handy. I would die. Period. It wouldn't save me that zombies can't climb. They also don't stop until you take off their heads. Unless you have firearms, you have to close melee with them. I would eventually get bitten and die, or get trapped and starve to death unless I had enough information before that happened to make choices that would save me. A hell of a lot of people didn't have that information, and so... 200 million zombies in North America.

Zombies are purely reactionary creatures, the simplest of automatons.

They never stop coming. They cannot be scared, or discouraged, and are very hard to disable. They are truly relentless. Regular people just living their lives are not prepared to fend of hordes of zombies. To say otherwise is really absurd. Now, well-informed, well-equipped people? Sure. But it's the choice of people in power to provide that information. If they don't, then the world would be screwed just as it was in the book.

Zombies turn many of humanity's everyday strategies for success-- selfish behavior, deception, exploitation of fears-- into a recipe for failure. Against a zombie attack, people survive only through clear thinking and cooperation.

And proper information. I am a clear-thinking person who would happily cooperate with anyone rather than be eaten by a zombie. But if I get caught out here unawares, unprepared, unequipped, I think I'd be dispatched in the end. Sure, I might take a few of them out on my way, but against a mob? Nope. Not here. Not now. Not fair to expect better from the rest of the world than I could hope for for myself in that situation.

Terrifel
01-02-2007, 12:33 AM
Well, granted, if a swarm were to descend upon your rambler-style house at this instant, your survival prospects might not look so great. Ideally, the whole 'communication/cooperation' strategy is best employed before zombies outnumber humans by 80 to 1. I freely acknowledge that the situation becomes somewhat more complex once the open swarming phase has been reached.

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
01-02-2007, 08:59 AM
And HERE'S the guy who will lead the Zombies into battle: Ghost Saddam! (http://www.shortnews.com/shownews.cfm?id=59270&CFID=10814288&CFTOKEN=29123353)

Not in Hell Yet: Saddam's Ghost Reportedly Seen Around Baghdad
In an unusual twist to the Saddam saga people around the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, have reported seeing the ghost of their former president. Reported sightings have come from restaurants, markets, and other public places.

:D :p

Rubystreak
01-02-2007, 09:19 AM
Well, granted, if a swarm were to descend upon your rambler-style house at this instant, your survival prospects might not look so great. Ideally, the whole 'communication/cooperation' strategy is best employed before zombies outnumber humans by 80 to 1. I freely acknowledge that the situation becomes somewhat more complex once the open swarming phase has been reached.

Sadly, it takes a crisis of epic proportions to make some people cooperate rather than profiteer in situations like these. This is why I think Brooks' depiction of a worldwide zombie outbreak is pretty believable in most ways.

I also had a problem with zombies being able to survive in deep seas, brains unaffected by pressure. As for the moaning, I didn't think it was described as being really loud, just that other zombies seemed able to hear it from very far away. Could the virus have caused heightened senses somehow? Maybe.

Lemur866
01-02-2007, 12:23 PM
I think the Iceland disaster was caused by too many people thinking Iceland would be a perfect place to avoid the zombie plague. Isolated, lightly populated, freezing cold winters, largely self-sufficient.

And so you have hundreds of thousands of boat people heading for Iceland. And if a couple of those people are infected you get a total zombification of the island, as well as all the boat people who tried to take refuge there.

One of the most horrible parts of the zombie plague is that any refugees from infected zones are pretty much guaranteed to have some infected carriers with them. And so, zombies pop up in refugee camps which are filled with disorganized, hungry, confused, traumatized people. An area will pretty quickly become either 99% clear (with the occasional trapped zombie (An especially creepy part were the descriptions of highways clogged with cars, each car with a zombie who couldn't figure out how to unfasten a seatbelt)) or 99% zombified (with the occasional guy in a water tower). Either the humans will wipe out the zombies, or the zombies will eat the humans.

I enjoyed the parts of the book where the military finally puts some thought into anti-zombie tactics. And as others have pointed out, killing any number of zombies is not difficult if you're prepared and organized. The standard military tactics that work against humans are largely ineffective against zombies. Their morale never breaks. They can't be stopped by disabling wounds. They can't be pinned down by covering fire. But they don't shoot back, they don't improvise, they act as automatons. So you stand shoulder to shoulder, you don't take cover, and you just shoot and shoot and shoot and shoot until every zombie is gone for however long it takes. At that point, zombie extermination is just an especially nasty and dangerous job, like cleaning a sewer.

bouv
01-03-2007, 03:23 AM
At that point, zombie extermination is just an especially nasty and dangerous job, like cleaning a sewer.

So you're saying that ten years after World War Z, "Zombie Hunter" will be one of the professions featured on Dirty Jobs? :D

Scupper
01-03-2007, 03:22 PM
I bought the audio book from iTunes yesterday and it is phenomenal. The Battle of Yonkers section is read by Mark Hamill and is truly horrific.

Other actors who provide voices:

Alan Alda
Carl Reiner
Rob Reiner
John Turturro
Jurgen Prochnow
Henry Rollins

Prochnow and Rollins are both very good. Carl Reiner was a bit too Ocean's 11 for me. The others I have yet to hear.

chorpler
01-04-2007, 11:00 PM
I bought the audio book from iTunes yesterday and it is phenomenal. The Battle of Yonkers section is read by Mark Hamill and is truly horrific.

Unfortunately, as noted previously, it's hugely abridged and much of the good stuff is left out.

susan
05-30-2007, 03:23 PM
I am reanimating this zombie thread (nyuck, nyuck, nyuck) now that I've read the book in order to ask whether others noticed a relative dearth of female interviewees.

Smitty
05-30-2007, 03:51 PM
I am reanimating this zombie thread (nyuck, nyuck, nyuck) now that I've read the book in order to ask whether others noticed a relative dearth of female interviewees.

Why would that be surprising? Those most likely to survive would be people with military or para-military (police, etc.) training, excellent physical conditioning, survival skills, and the ability and willingness to kill. That means, mostly male.

susan
05-30-2007, 03:57 PM
The ability to walk quickly and a willingness to bash in heads seems more germaine.

Push You Down
05-30-2007, 04:15 PM
I am reanimating this zombie thread (nyuck, nyuck, nyuck) now that I've read the book in order to ask whether others noticed a relative dearth of female interviewees.


I disagree there are several females. The pilot, the emergency radio operator, the housewife who now runs a suburban fortress community, the wild child, the Russian soldier, the park ranger- There may be more, that's just off the top of my head.

AuntiePam
05-30-2007, 04:19 PM
True, not many females interviewed, but Brooks makes up for this lack with the pilot who was "guided" through the swamps.

My vote for filming would be the two Japanese men, especially if they waited awhile to reveal that one of them was blind.

Smitty
05-30-2007, 04:48 PM
The ability to walk quickly and a willingness to bash in heads seems more germaine.

Willingness to bash heads = ability and willingness to kill. Zombies are just as tough, if not tougher to kill than a live human.

The ability to walk quickly (for long periods of time, under constant threat of attack, without the comforts of modern civilization to come home to) = military or para-military (police, etc.) training, excellent physical conditioning, survival skills

Glad we agree.

susan
05-30-2007, 05:24 PM
Zombies are just as tough, if not tougher to kill than a live human.Not in Brooks's world. They are easy to deal with. I repeat: bash their heads in. By the way, I kill all manner of animals as needed, but have yet to kill a person. I don't think your argument is sound.

Smitty
05-30-2007, 05:43 PM
Not in Brooks's world. They are easy to deal with. I repeat: bash their heads in. By the way, I kill all manner of animals as needed, but have yet to kill a person. I don't think your argument is sound.

Where in the world did you get that? In Shaun of the Dead all it took was a bash to the head. In his book, you had to destroy the brain. A little bop on the head ain't gonna cut it! "Bash their heads in" is also a way to kill a live person, you know? And zombies don't feel pain, so they can't just be disabled. They won't fall down, grabbing their head in pain if the first blow isn't a deadly one, like a live human. Like I said, they are just as tough to kill, if not tougher, than a living person.

And you personally may be able to kill all the animals you want. You may even be able to kill a human, if it came to that. But aren't men a much larger percentage of hunters than women? It takes a certain physical and mental state to kill, one that is more common to men. I maintain that it would be psychologically harder to kill a zombie than a deer, because of the knowledge that it was once human. "Bash their heads in" would work, but that takes the physical and emotional ability to do so.

Pushkin
05-30-2007, 05:48 PM
From the wikipedia article, apparently I'll do ok out of the whole thing;

It appears that Britain and Ireland integrated their response, with the latter serving as a safezone.

:)

I was put off the book for the reasons noted by iamthewalrus, when I had tokens to buy it.

Terrifel
05-30-2007, 05:50 PM
How many hunters, male or female, kill deer with "a bash to the head?"

Lemur866
05-30-2007, 06:09 PM
Zombies are tougher to kill than a human physically, but have the weakness that once you understand zombie behavior they are totally predictable. So one blind guy with a shovel can kill any number of zombies if he knows what he's doing, but a battalion of conventionally armed soldiers get overrun because they don't.

susan
05-30-2007, 07:31 PM
Arlington, Va.: Forgive me for being blunt, but is it sufficient to shoot them in the head?

Max Brooks: Or just hit them in the head hard enough to crack the skull. --Washington Post

RandMcnally
05-30-2007, 07:49 PM
At that point, zombie extermination is just an especially nasty and dangerous job, like cleaning a sewer.


I don't think it's that simple. Remember how that one soldier was talking about how no matter where they went they had a shrink near by. How so many seemingly stong willed people just snapped under the pressure. My favorite (worst?) story was when he talked about the guy who ended up finding his home again, and then he shot himself.

It is possible to be cold about it, like the park ranger. To her, it was just a job. I guess the effect of it lessons with time.


I guess the reason why I like this book so much is because I can see all of the actions taking place. I can see how some people'll just lay down one day and not wake up. Or how some'll start thinking they're zombies.

I did feel sorry for the people who were left by the government to fend for themselves, and when the government came to reclaim the land some of those fending for themselves didn't want to give it up. Honestly, I can't blame them.

Hostile Dialect
06-04-2007, 01:39 PM
There should have been a more steady transition between people in San Diego living an essentially suburban existence and the interstate system becoming a mass of millions of zombies.

Anyone who has tried to get from La Jolla to Chula Vista on the 5 at the end of the workday knows that the San Diego interstate system already is a mass of millions of zombies.

Unless you have firearms, you have to close melee with them.

There's always the fire method; though fire isn't as useful in the Brooks universe as in the Romero universe, the protagonist in Night of the Living Dead (IIRC) held the zombies at bay for a good while by setting a couch on fire between the zombies and the house. And he didn't even know fire repelled zombies--he was just grasping at straws.

I don't remember if zombies were actually repelled by fire in the Guide, though I do remember that it would only kill them if and when their entire body burned to ash. That doesn't make it a viable defense option inside your home--they'd set the house on fire before any of them died--but it's something to think about.

Push You Down
06-04-2007, 02:45 PM
I don't remember if zombies were actually repelled by fire in the Guide, though I do remember that it would only kill them if and when their entire body burned to ash. That doesn't make it a viable defense option inside your home--they'd set the house on fire before any of them died--but it's something to think about.

I think the guide says fire is the WORST possible way to dry to dispatch a zombie. You light one on fire it doesn't care it doesn't feel pain. IT will still come after you. And in the process set anything else flamable around on fire.