Wednesday, August 25, 2010

100 Days of Fantasy: Day 26

This is an ongoing series looking at books that have influenced me as a fantasy author.

World War Z
by Max Brooks

This is perhaps the most recently-published book to make my list of 100 Days of Fantasy, having only been published about five years ago.

It's a zombie book.

Unfortunately, it's known as a zombie book. Why "unfortunately?" Because zombie fiction is often derided by those who don't care for zombie literature, sometimes even by other fans of horror. And it doesn't help that zombie fans often seem to glorify in the gore and the sometimes silliness of all that gore.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie WarThat being said, World War Z is not that type of fiction. Yes, it has zombies. Sometimes it even has gruesome moments. But World War Z is more than just a zombie novel. It's more than just a horror novel.

Heck, I don't even think of it as horror. It's out-and-out literature.

This book isn't really a novel, but a collection of fictional reminiscences from survivors of a zombie holocaust.

You know the basic idea. Zombies rise up from the dead. They go around eating everyone. Humanity is nearly wiped out.

The stories here are told about 10 years after the zombies appeared. The collection is told as a series of interviews by a book writer.

It seems very real. Which is more frightening to me than more traditional horror fiction.

The stories here vary widely in their subject matter and their execution, which adds to the charm. You'll find all kinds of people and all kinds of responses to the zombie hordes. For my money, the best story is that of a man who helped to train dogs for use in the war against the undead; it's truly a touching story, and can break your heat.

There's also an international charm. The tales here aren't all from the U.S., but come from all over the world, giving the reader a look at just how global and terrifying this zombie uprising was. We were this close to going out for good, folks.

But in the end, humanity survives.

So, this isn't just a zombie novel. It's a novel about humanity, and it's a novel of hope.

Up next: The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass


Charles Gramlich said...

I want to read this.

Ty Johnston said...

Charles, I definitely suggest reading World War Z. I know a lot of potential readers are turned off because it's a "zombie" book, but it's so unlike any zombie or horror book I've ever read.

The way the book is set up, it's almost like the "Band of Brothers" of zombie books, in some ways.