So, I’ve probably stated elsewhere that I’m not really very good with zombies, they totally creep me out and I’ve tended to avoid them for that reason.

However, I’ve recently begun to find the literary versions rather interesting, starting with Handling the Undead, and now in World War Z.

I think I picked this up on a trip to Forbidden Planet but I’m not entirely sure why; possibly the cover but more likely because I read about it on someone else’s blog and it just sounded like something I would want to read. And it certainly was, because I was totally drawn into the story and ended up cracking through the novel in almost a single sitting.

So this is looking on ten years of fighting a zombie plague (for want of a better description) which has swept across the planet from its beginnings in China, that led to a huge, almost catastrophic reduction in the population of earth, a massive war and a realignment of the planet’s political structures.

For me the huge success of this novel was the fact that it looked back and was structured as an oral history, the sort of thing you see on satellite TV channels every day; people from all walks of life and all affected nations telling their stories. It’s well-written and pacy and has enough gruesomness in it to satisfy the horror fan but without being overwhelming. And the people and stories are credible and not stereotypical, and advance the plot in a convincing way.

And the way the zombie menace spread, the inefficiency of a variety of governments in dealing with it and so on has parallels in today’s world. If you replace “zombie” with bird flu or Ebola and imagine what would happen if something like that got loose in the world, our reaction would probably be something like this – trying to confine it, failing to do so and then  panicking before taking quite radical and drastic action.

All without the need to kill the undead with baseball bats, of course.

Really very, very good.

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