This book has in macrocosm what most zombie stories have in microcosm, the thing that has always attracted me to them. Here’s this world, usually Earth, with people going about their lives in the way that people do, and then suddenly everything is completely different, and it’s time to find out who people really are. World War Z has a pretty cool conceit behind it. During the rebuilding years after the Zombie War, a commission is established to report on everything that led humanity to its direst straits and the manner in which it extricated itself. This is not that report, but it is the personal stories and reflections that were gathered and then deemed to be outside the scope of the commission’s directive, published by the researcher who did the bulk of the gathering.
So there are these stories of survivors from all over the world: doctors, military personnel, human transporters, filmmakers, politicians. It’s never spelled out exactly what happened or exactly how, but there are enough stories from enough places to get a wispy, watercolor picture of how things were, and of the myriad ways in which the world is a completely different place in this future that is less than a generation away. It is surprisingly well done, by turns touching, engrossing and horrifying, for someone whose previous résumé is mostly in on-screen comedy writing.
Plus, of course, zombies. Right? Right.