Review: Max Brooks – World War Z

I finished WWZ and as much fun it (mostly) was while reading the more appalled I am by how reactionary and racist it is beneath all the action.

The obvious point is of course the Redeker plan to „sacrifice“ part of humanity so others can survive. At least it’s not only people who are somehow more „worthy“ than others who are allowed to live (that would have been too fascist even for this kind of militant garbage). Note that this plan has been thought up by an (at least white) South-African (though admittedly it is taken up world-wide, including the US). The idea is just so disgusting and inhumane that I think it could happen in reality.

Then there’s the glaring American patriotism: Sure they „almost“ get their asses kicked at Yonkers, but only „almost“ while all the others seem to bloodily loose their battles most of the time. And it’s of course the fucking AMERICAN president who makes this speech how they have to take back earth to get everyone’s spirit up.* And how the Americans take back their „house“, they just have one ultra-efficient line of well-equipped soldiers roll once straight over America and erase the zombies in a total war of glory, while Russians struggle with weapons from WW2 and the French are too stupid to take their time (and both therefore get their soldiers infected all the time).

And what is this bullshit paragraph about the queen being all heroic and a role-model for her people, refusing to go to a safe place and staying at Windsor instead? What is this royalism, are you crazy, Mr. Brooks? Role-models, my arse.

And boy, does he HATE communism, Cuba turning into the best capitalist state there is during WWZ, all North-Koreans somehow just vanishing into their underground-bunkers and suggestively turning into 23 million zombies (I almost stopped reading the book when he said (as if it where a fact and not – at least maybe – propaganda) that the North Koreans ate their children on orders by Kim Jong-il in the 90s)), China’s good patriotists revolting against the backward communist leaders. Finally there’s Russia (granted, not a communist country anymore) turning into some kind of fundamental Christian version of Nazi-Germany all with Lebensborn and everything. Hey, that would probably really happen in your glorious US with their Bible Belt and Creationism and other medieval bullcrap.

Racism: The only two people from Japan are a sociophobic ultranerd/Otaku turning Samurai and a blind „wise-men“-stereotype taken directly from (presumably Hong Kong-made) Kung-Fu-movies. Also for example note the contrast between the ISS and how heroic they handle the situation opposed to the Chinese space-station that is just a piece of garbage in space anyway and their hostile crew who also fuck up.

Of course this is all just fun and exaggeration/generalization and maybe I don’t get the satire/irony/whatever but it still strikes me as racist, especially since I’ve lately become tired of things made from male white people for other male white people (all of them straight and middle class, naturally) and their staggeringly narrow world-view.** I should have known this would be exactly the Generic Tale but … Jeez, they’re making a fucking Hollywood-movie of it how could this NOT have been complete shit?

All in all this book is – of course – one of these tertiary forms of apocalyptic tales (I wrote a paper (in German) on this during my studies) where all people get from the „cleansing“ of the end of the world is a return to fucking status quo. There’s this paragraph of how the banks (the banks! the FUCKING banks?! God help us all!)*** are getting more popular than „barter system“ in America again. Absolutely no lessons learned, shitheads. Sure people are nicer to each other now for a few years but if that’s the only thing you get for 75% of humanity eaten by zombies, fuck that.

Why did I read this crap? I guess its because of my fascination with the end of the world and scenarios how we could handle it (or rather fail really, really badly in reality, I guess). It’s just so unbearable awful that this piece of SF/fantasy is just as backwards, reactionary and racist in its views as 90% of the genre.

* Yeah, there’s some cynical commentary on this but the fact remains that this is written by an American bathing himself in how awesome his country’s leader is (just like Obama! He won the fucking Peace Nobel Prize for not closing Guantanamo!). Let’s wait and see if the movie version makes this scene EXACTLY how the cynical commentary imagines (though I’m never gonna find out).

** If I remember correctly there’s only ONE single episode from what you would generally call Arab countries, (and that’s – who could have guessed) the Palestinian family who’s allowed to go to Israel (oh yeah, THEY handle the situation brilliantly too, of course). I guess Arabs don’t sell in the US at the moment.

*** Note also that Island is the only country that is still overrun by zombies at the time the book takes place. Island being the ONLY country in the world that says Fuck you, shitty bankers, we’re not gonna pay for the bullshit you’ve done. I’m sure that’s just a coincidence, though …

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