World War Z
“Do you understand economics? I mean big-time, prewar, global capitalism. Do you get how it worked? I don’t, and anyone who says they do is full of shit. There are no rules, no scientific absolutes. You win, you lose, it’s a total crapshoot. The only rule that ever made sense to me I learned from a history, not an economics, professor at Wharton. “Fear,” he used to say, “fear is the most valuable commodity in the universe.” That blew me away. “Turn on the TV,” he’d say. “What are you seeing? People selling their products? No. People selling the fear of you having to live without their products.” Fuckin’ A, was he right. Fear of aging, fear of loneliness, fear of poverty, fear of failure. Fear is the most basic emotion we have. Fear is primal. Fear sells. That was my mantra. “Fear sells.”
– an excerpt from Max Brooks’ World War Z
For a book that portrays what is a ridiculous notion of a George Romero-inspired walking dead outbreak, Max Brooks nailed it and took true human nature and the current state of the world into account.
If I could give the entire humanity just one book right now, one that mirrors the current human condition of this day and age, it would be this.
What fascinates me the most about the post-apocalyptic scenarios that George Romero created on film is that these are not merely grotesque horror camp; rather, they are war stories. They are war stories. There is a key “us versus them” theme to these visions. And these visions are not far removed from what we see, hear, read and talk about in the chaotic state of the world yesterday and today.
Every day, there is war going on. The vignettes in this book merely heighten this reality to horrific levels, but these are our stories all the same. These are the same stories depicted in history, the same stories told and also censored by our government and political leaders and the mass media, the same stories preserved in journals, commission reports, and eyewitness accounts. You will find that where we were then and where we are now is really no different from visions of a world torn by a zombie apocalypse.
Of this book, Keith Phipps from The A.V. Club and theonion.com writes: “He doesn’t miss an opportunity to let his readers hear echoes of contemporary woes in the moans of the undead. When an outbreak of zombie-ism occurs in the near-future of Brooks’ novel, it takes the world aback, serving as a stand-in for pandemic scares, Katrina, tsunamis, terrorism – basically any of the recent catastrophes that have reminded us how fragile civilization is beneath the surface…It feels like the right book for the times, and that’s the eeriest detail of all.”
All of you, pick up this book to read.
It needs a wider audience.
P.S. There is also an abridged audio version of the book which features the voices of author Max Brooks himself, and personalities like John Tuturro, Alan Alda, Henry Rollins, Rob Reiner, and — wait for it — Mark Hamill.