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Max Brooks

Top 5 Wednesday: Books Featuring Zombies!

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. This month’s T5W topics center around Halloween, and when asked to pick my favorite type of scary creature, I knew zombies was it!

Revival is a favorite of mine, and I have written a lot of posts about it. In this now completed series, twenty three people inexplicably come back to life in rural small town Wisconsin. The “Revivers” are not your typical zombies looking for braaaiins. Instead they quietly rejoin their former lives, not even realizing or remembering their deaths. Their new existence sets the town on edge, with media scrutiny, a government quarantine and religious fanatics taking over the region. The series is being developed into a movie through Shatterglass Films.

Deluxe Edition One

Deluxe Edition Two

Deluxe Edition Three

Deluxe Edition Four

The Walking Dead is the grand-daddy of all zombie series.  A fascinating premise, that is getting a bit long in the tooth now, but is still beloved by many. I list the three compendiums I have reviewed on my blog, but I have also been keeping up with the smaller volumes as they come out, and putting reviews up on my Goodreads account.

Compendium One (Volumes 1-8)

Compendium Two (Volumes 9-16)

Compendium Three (Volumes 17-24)

This book must be listened to on audio…it was beyond good. The story covers the history of the world wide war against zombies, and the narrative covers a reporter getting first hand accounts from survivors that tell about the beginning of the epidemic, the resistance, and the aftermath of the zombie catastrophe.  Some of the standout characters/stories were Todd Wainio, the Redker Plan, the North Korea speculation, the female Russian soldier, the pilot of the downed plane, and the family at the Manitoba campsite. A tiny criticism, is that I figured out every supposed surprise in the stories, and the connections between the world-wide characters strained credibility. The actors voicing the characters in the audio edition were perfect- Mark Hamill! Nathan Fillon! Denise Crosby! Jeri Ryan! Common! Alan Alda! I will definitely be listening to this story again and again.

Negan has been a prominent villain in the long running The Walking Dead series, and is a perverse mix of monster and savior. The question of how he became so twisted and his backstory during the zombie apocalypse is explained in this book that just came out the same week of Volume 28.

After is a strong collection of nineteen short stories about life “after” a catastrophic event. As with any compilation with various authors, some are stronger than others. One of the standouts was  After the Cure by Carrie Ryan. It  took the zombie story trope and subverted it. Vail is a teenager that was previously a zombie like creature but was given a cure to rehabilitate her. Society has a hard time accepting those rehabilitated people back into their communities, and the people themselves still feel some degree of hunger and a need to be back with their undead packs. Despite the melancholic nature of this story, there was a nugget of hope built into the end.

Who would have thought that zombies could be so appealing, but my reading list doesn’t lie!

-Nancy

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World War Z audio edition

 

wwz
Brooks, Max. World War Z. 2006.

 

I listened to the audio version of this book back in 2014 (Goodreads review), and LOVED it beyond belief. The actors voicing each character were perfect, and made the book come alive, more than if I had actually just read the print book. When my family went on a vacation this summer, I insisted on bringing this audio book along and forced them to listen to it (don’t worry- my kids are teens), for I was determined that they would love it as much as I did. While they aren’t as rabid about it as me, they all enjoyed it.

When I first listened to it I recognized some distinctive voices right away, but some were harder for me to place. I did some Google sleuthing to match up each character and I found this blog post that gave me all the information I was looking for. All the following data came from the  blog, In a Sea of K’s, and she should get all the credit for the research!

Introduction: Max Brooks as The Interviewer

WARNINGS

  • Greater Chongqing, United Federation of China [Patient Zero/The First Case] — Steve Park as Kwang Jingshu (the Chinese doctor)
  • Lhasa, the People’s Republic of Tibet [Smuggler seeing signs] — Frank Kamai as Nury Televadi (smuggler)
  • Meteora, Greece [Bandits in cave/Canadian soldier’s account] — Nathan Fillion as Stanley MacDonald (Canadian soldier)
  • The Amazon Rain Forest, Brazil [virus-infected heart transplant] — Paul Sorvino as Fernando Oliveira (corrupt doctor)
  • Bridgetown Harbor, Barbados, West Indies Federation [South African slum outbreak] — Ade M’Cormack as Jacob Nyathi (Black South African)
  • Tel Aviv, Israel [Gathering Evidence/The Warmbrunn-Knight Report] — Carl Reiner as Jurgen Warmbrunn (Israeli spy)
  • Bethlehem, Palestine [Militant Son/Family Move to Israel] — Waleed Zuiater as Saladin Kader (Rebelling son)

BLAME

  • Langley, Virginia USA [CIA director/CIAs non-response] — Jay O. Sanders as Bob Archer (CIA guy)
  • Vaalajarvi, Finland [The Military/America’s response] — Dennis Boutsikaris as General Travis D’Ambrosia (military brass)
  • Vostok Station, Antarctica [Capitalist who marketed vaccine] — Martin Scorsese as Breckinridge “Breck” Scott (moneymaker without remorse)
  • Amarillo, Texas, USA [Former White House chief-of-staff] — Simon Pegg as Grover Carlson (White House spin doctor)
  • Troy, Montana, USA [Zombies attack family in suburbia] — Denise Crosby as Mary Jo Miller (suburban mom)

THE GREAT PANIC

  • Parnell Air National Guard Base: Memphis, Tennessee, USA [Highway traffic jam/zombies] — Bruce Boxleitner as Gavin Blaire (derigible pilot)
  • Alang, India [Ship Scrapyard] — Ajay Naidu as Ajay Shah (Indian refugee)
  • Topeka, Kansas, USA [Feral children; church attack] — Nicki Clyne as Sharon (4-year-old)
  • Khuzhir, Olkhon Island, Lake Baikal, the Holy Russian Empire [Russian army experiences/decimation] — Jeri Ryan as Maria Zhuganova (Female Russian Soldier)
  • Bridgetown, Barbados, West Indies Federation [Famous Millionaire’s Haven] — Henry Rollins as T. Sean Collins (merc)
  • Ice City, Greenland [Iran & Pakistan] — Maz Jobrani as Ahmed Farahnakian (Iranian pilot)
  • Denver, Colorado, USA [The Battle of Yonkers] — Mark Hamill as Todd Wainio (Army infantry)

TURNING THE TIDE

  • Robben Island, Cape Town Province, United States of Southern Africa [The Redeker Plan] — Eamonn Walker as Paul Redeker and Xolelwa Azania (South African plan)
  • Armagh, Ireland [Hamburg, Germany, Army withdrawal] — Jürgen Prochnow as Philip Adler (West German soldier)
  • Yevchenko Veterans’ Sanatorium, Odessa, Ukraine (Kiev bridge blown to prevent zombies crossing) — David Ogden Stiers as Bohdan Tara Kondratiuk (Kievian soldier)
  • Sand Lakes Provincial Wilderness Park, Manitoba, Canada [Family Flight to Canada] — Michelle Kholos as Jesika Hendricks (little girl flees)
  • Udaipur Lake Palace, Lake Pichola, Rajasthan, India [General Raj-Singh; monkeys and blowing the pass] — Kal Penn as Sardar Khan (Indian soldier with the monkeys)

HOME FRONT

  • Taos, New Mexico [DeStRes, talent and tools] — Alan Alda as Arthur Sinclair (DeStRes guy)
  • Burlington, Vermont [Vice President, capital punishment] — Rob Reiner as “The Whacko” (VP)
  • Wenatchee, Washington [Wheelchair Home Watch; quizlings] — Dean Edwards as Joe Muhammad (wheelchair neighborhood watch guy)
  • Malibu, California [Countering suicides with success stories] — Frank Darabont as Roy Elliot (director)
  • Parnell Air National Guard Base, Tennessee [Pilot of downed plane] — Becky Ann Baker as Christina Eliopolis (Downed pilot)

AROUND THE WORLD

  • Province of Bohemia, the European Union [Castles, She wouldn’t leave] — Eamonn Walker as David Allen Forbes (Englishman)
  • Ulithi Atoll, Federated States of Micronesia [Radio Free Earth] — Parminder Nagra as Barati Palshigar (Radio translator)
  • The Demilitarized Zone: South Korea [North Korea mystery] — Brian Tee as Hyungchoi Choi (South Korean)
  • Kyoto, Japan [Okatu, hacker escape] — Masi Oka as Kondo Tatsumi (Japanese hacker)
  • Kyoto, Japan [Blind monk] — Frank Kamai as Sensei Tomonaga Ijiro (blind monk)
  • Cienfuegos, Cuba [Defending Cuba] — John Turturro as Seryosha Garcia Alvarez
  • Patriot’s Memorial, the Forbidden City, Beijing, China [Chinese submarine] — Ric Young as Admiral Xu Zhicai
  • Sydney, Australia [Space station] — Alfred Molina as Terry Knox
  • Ancud, Isla Grande de Chiloe, Chile [Saratoga Conference of Nations] — John McElroy as Ernesto Olguin

TOTAL WAR

  • Aboard the Mauro Altieri, 3000 feet above Vaalajarvi, Finland [Total War] — General D’Ambrosia
  • Denver, Colorado [The First Fight – Hope, New Mexico] — Todd Wainios
  • Ainsworth, Nebraska, USA [K9/soldier teams] — Common as Darnell Hackworth
  • Siberia, the Holy Russian Empire [Russian tactics; priests’ role] — F. Murray Abraham as Father Sergei Ryzhkov
  • Aboard the USS Holo Kai, off the Coast of the Hawaiian Islands [Fighting undersea zombies] — Brian Tee as Master Chief Petty Officer Michael Choi (Diver)
  • Quebec, Canada [Paris tunnels] — René Auberjonois as Andre Renard
  • Denver, Colorado – A Day Later [The Road to New York] — Todd Wainios

GOODBYES

  • Burlington, Vermont — The Whacko (VP)
  • Khuzhir, Olkhon Island, Lake Baikal, the Holy Russian Empire — Maria Zhuganova (Female Russian soldier)
  • Bridgetown Harbor, Barbados, West Indies Federation — T. Sean Collins (merc)
  • Sand Lakes Provincial Wilderness Park, Manitoba, Canada — Jesika Hendricks (fleeing child)
  • Troy, Montana, USA — Mary Jo Miller (suburban mom)
  • Chongqing, China — Kwang Jing-shu (Chinese doctor)
  • Wenatchee, Washington — Joe Muhammad (Wheelchair neighborhood watch artist)
  • Taos, New Mexico, USA — Arthur Sinclair (DeStRes guy)
  • Kyoto, Japan — Sensei Tomonaga Ijiro (blind monk)
  • Armagh, Ireland — Philip Adler (West German soldier)
  • Tel Aviv, Israel — Jurgen Warmbrunn (Israeli spy)
  • Aboard USS Tracy Bowden — Michael Choi (diver)
  • Denver, Colorado — Todd Wainios (Army infantry guy)

This version is the best audio book I have ever listened to. My God, it had Mark Hamill! It had Common! It had Denise Crosby! It had Jeri Ryan! It had Alan Alda! It had Simon Pegg! It had Nathan Fillion! I was swooning!

If you are looking for a great story this is your book. But put down the book, you must listen to the audio to get the full experience!

-Nancy

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