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Sometimes it’s great to read about movie trainwreck productions, because more often than not they stem from the desperate urge to make a film out of something that had been interesting as a literary source, and the following inability of the film production to find the essence of this being interesting in a movie version.

Enter stage World War Z, the film, with its sad story of trying to figure out how you can inject a hero character into a story that describes many heroic acts, but has no heroes, not even real villains (you can hardly blame the “Z”s…). It is a twisted pleasure to read about that (e.g. here), but more importantly, after a couple of years of recurring seeing the book mentioned, I finally picked it up and gave it a try.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, comes about as some form of “minority report” in the sense that it collects the outtakes that did not make it into the official UN or something report about the Causes and Consequences of the Death of Nations (sorry, economists’ humour…). Maybe inspired in this by Richard Feynman’s additional narrative to the Challenger report, the author collects interviews to present a personal story of the end of the world as we knew it. The strength of the book is its global approach, glimpsing at Russia and China, the US and Canada, Israel and South-Africa with almost equal interest. While the references to these countries are their politics and governance system are not always subtle (at least in the cases where I could judge it they seemed to be of a rather Readers Digest depth), this provides the opportunity to play with the idea what various countries’ and governments’ reactions to global crisis would look like – and the result is fun. Unless you are a Zombie or Russian military or just about anybody the book mentions, that is… The book has the minimum plausible amount of humour, a generous amount of pathos (Her Majesty! That Japanese blind dude!!), and a plain and unpretentious tone that protects it from being just a zombie novel. I now actually do not only look forward to reading more about the train wreck tent pole movie disaster of the decade, but to actually seeing it…

On the Book:

On the Movie:

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