Let’s kick off this blog with a very fitting theme for October: zombies. The living dead and apocalyptic worlds are a combination that go really well together. It is a timeless combo that has been featured in many sci-fi/apocalyptic literature novels. One novel that portrays it best is World War Z by Max Brooks. I highly recommend this novel for many reasons; one reason is because readers can draw parallels between the fictional society and today’s society. There are so many parallels between political issues, such as, government officials not listening to scientists about information on the living dead disease. Also, government authorities are keeping the public in the dark and not providing the information on the disease and war they need. Another reason I recommend this book is for the structure of how Brooks set up the story. The story is told through interviews depicting different people’s accounts of the living dead war from all over the world. It brings the readers closer to the characters and the internal problems they are facing.
However, back to my original point, World War Z is a prefect example of zombie and apocalyptic world combinations. A disease has spread throughout the world, and it causes the dead to reanimate and come back to life. Countries have armies fighting against the zombies, trying to kill them and regain control of the world. People are scared; they are running and hiding for their lives. Everyone is trying to survive. An important thing to note about apocalyptic literature is that fear is the dominant emotion felt by the characters. For example, in the novel, the American soldiers at The Battle of Yonkers are fighting the zombies with everything they got even though they are so afraid. This part of the novel is a MAJOR turning point for the zombie war because it is when the American soldiers realize they cannot use the same tactics as they would on a human army. The one interviewee, Tod Wainio, calls their main strategy the “shock and awe” tactic. He says, “It’s fear, dude, just fear and you don’t have to be Sun freakin Tzu to know that real fighting isn’t about killing or even hurting the other guy, it’s about scaring him enough to call it a day” (103). It is when one side scares the other so bad the other starts running for the hills, and that is exactly what the zombies are doing to the soldiers. So, from then on things needed to change, new strategies needed to form, and new planes needed to be made.
The zombies are forcing change on the soldiers who are used to their tactics which they had used for years. Fear will paralyze people; it will cripple them and they will break under it. But sometimes it motivates and pushes people to do something more, and the soldiers realize they need to do more in order to win. The combination of zombies and an apocalypse makes people think about what they would in these types of situations. World War Z presents the audience with multiple opportunities throughout the novel to think about how they would respond. Would people run for the mountains, would people head north, would people hide in cellars, etc. The book gives the audience so much to think about in terms of what to do. Apocalyptic literature is made to make the audience think about these types of things. It is also made for the audience to think about society and how society would react to an apocalypse.
Overall, Brooks’ novel is an excellent example of apocalyptic literature and the use of zombies in an apocalyptic world. Many of the circumstances happening in the novel can be applied to our society today. If you are interested in zombies, war, and a fight for survival this is the book for you.