Review of The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks

Since I posted a review of World War Z yesterday, here is my review of The Zombie Survival Guide for the REALLY well prepared survivalist…or someone looking for a laugh.

Zombie Survival Guide cover

The Zombie Survival Guide is a companion piece to World War Z (The Zombie Survival Guide was written first), Brooks’s satirical faux oral history of the zombie war.  As such, it is a faux survival guide in the same vein, albeit not as heavily satirical as World War Z.  It exists in the same alternate reality, but it was “written” before the events detailed in World War Z take place.

The lighter treatment leads to a book less colored by the author’s personal views, but I have to believe that the dismissive view toward pickup trucks in general, contrasted with the sensible view toward SUVs, reflects a combination of the author having a bias against the type of people that drive trucks while not knowing anyone who actually owns one.  It certainly doesn’t have any basis in reality.  Something that is essentially a functional vehicle will have functions that come in handy, you know?  (This does not apply to two-wheel drive trucks.  If you drive a two-wheel drive truck, you don’t have a truck, you have a minivan with limited seating.)

The guide is impressive in its thoroughness, although is not necessarily a good thing.  A survival guide without actual practical use is not by nature an enjoyable read (The Hatching appears to be taking survivalism seriously, another point in its favor).  Brooks makes it work well enough, however, and imagining how you would fend off zombies yourself has always been one of the joys of the sub-genre.

Make sure to not skip the appendix—the chronology of past recorded attacks is a high point (the guide alone would have merited 3 stars—it was the appendix that pushed it up to 3.5).  The appendix also inspired a graphic novel (which I have not read).

3.5/5 Stars.

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About H.P.

Blogs on speculative fiction books at Every Day Should Be Tuesday.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Horror and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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