World War Z</i>World War Z</i> by Max Brooks

I bought this book almost by accident. I was in the bookshop looking for a couple of different things; with two novels in hand, I was casting about for something to make up a 3-for-2 and grabbed this one almost at random. Subtitled “An Oral History Of The Zombie War”, I was expecting something pulpy and trashy, and instead I found intelligence and feeling.

Dead simple premise: the world is over-run with zombies (or the Romero type), humankind does its best to survive. But that’s only the background action. In all the best traditions of zombie fiction, this is all about the hard-biting social commentary. Everyone from politicians counting votes first and cost later, to opportunistic big pharma, to mass-media as big business takes a proper hit. There’s enough gruesome and technical detail to get things going, but the crisis could have been almost anything. Told as a series of interviews with survivors from all parts of global society, read it just as a story of ordinary people doing their best to get by in a frightening situation.

A deep surprise.