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Zombie Survival Guide, Max Brooks
Zombies might one day present mankind with a very real problem and if one is to be prepared against such an irrepressible threat, one has to be prepared. Zeal alone will not ensure survival and living through the apocalypse requires a little more than simply going berserk with a chainsaw as Max Brooks highlights in his comprehensive and imaginative Zombie Survival Guide.
Zigzagging its way through carefully researched sections of survival tips, from thoroughly analysed weapon choices and combat techniques to imaginative and humorous defence and attack strategies, the ultimate aim of the book is to provide the average citizen with essential knowledge and a set of rules in which to survive a potential zombie apocalypse. Zombie-hunting however is not advised in such a world and Brooks portrays the very real dangers of copying the Hollywood style hack-and-slash technique to survival. Zach Snyder's 'Hollywood zombie' portrayed in the movie Dawn on the Dead (2004) is ripped apart by Brooks (!) as he redefines the zombie mould with his own very detailed and persuasively written approach, attributing the onset of the brainless shambling corpses to the fictional Solanum virus; a theory which I found to be quite a believable explanation due its remarkable scientific soundness.
Zero-brain activity does not mean you can incapacitate your foe with the quick swipe of a cricket bat however; instead you must first know your enemy inside out (so to speak) in order to be able to effectively evade and, where necessary, dispatch with the enemy. Zapping myths and fallacies left right and centre, Brooks writes with a startling air of authority on the subject which makes his book both a believable and immersive read which I found all the more thought-provoking due to the sheer breadth of knowledge Brooks appears to possess on the subject.
Zingers and nuggets of information are littered liberally on every page which, with their unremitting inventiveness, helped to hold my interest throughout providing a good few laughs along the way as well as many thought-provoking scenarios where I asked myself what I would do in such a situation. Zipping along at a readable pace is a must to hold my interest in any book, fiction or otherwise, so the progressive rate of the book's sections was a welcome attribute with many amusing illustrations also included to break up large blocks of text.
Zoning in on the necessities of survival with precision and thoroughness, here you will find out that firearms are a poor choice of weapon on many counts and discover why the cemetery might actually be a better place to go than the shopping mall! Zilch appears to be omitted from this guide and I found it extremely engaging and thought-provoking with every page holding a unique idea or cleverly argued point for survival. Zero chance of survival may well describe the person who refuses to keep their hair short to avoid being grabbed from behind when hightailing a group of zombies as well as those who overlook the combative benefits of the Shaolin spade (unfortunately sold out at my local Tescos) in favour of the noisier and more 'kick-ass' nature of the chainsaw.
Zombie-ism is very much Max Brooks' area of expertise and I have yet to read anything so skilfully 'researched' and comprehensive on the subject which is packed with a huge amount of seemingly accurate detail and logical explanations and advice. Zoological warfare, for example, is amongst the myriad of strategies mentioned but is soon discredited due to the fact that animals both instinctively fear and avoid zombies. Zebras therefore will provide little more than a warning of impending trouble if you are run upon by a fleet of the living dead and animals, regardless of how savage, cannot be relied upon for tearing the enemy to shreds allowing you to sit tight and enjoy the show...if you were so inclined. Zeppelins might not be a bad choice of travel as Brooks goes on to highlight the relative merits of air travel over terrain-dependant road vehicles (but good luck finding such a vehicle to test this theory) along with emphasizing the dos and don'ts of travelling across a lawless land.
Zonking zombies on the head with something heavy is by no means the essence of the book and the ambition of the writer to create something both comprehensive and believable is highlighted by the final section which details historic outbreaks of zombies quashed before reaching pandemic stage. Zulus in South Africa (thankfully, for the purposes of this review ! ) are reported among the many countries and cultures to have come face to face with the zombie threat and I found each entry here very entertaining and imaginative, which for me was the perfect way to end the book on a harrowing and thought-provoking note.
Zany and eccentric describe Max Brooks' survival guide to the zombie apocalypse and although it is yet to be proven as the ultimate guide to zombie survival, it is undoubtedly an exceptionally well written and convincing piece of (non-)fiction. Zest for the subject however is probably a must to enjoy this book as much as I have but if, like me, you are fascinated by anything zombie related then you will most likely find Brooks' guide a thoroughly enjoyable read allowing you to add meat to the bones of questions such as "What would I do if a horde of living corpses started shambling their way towards my front door?".
Zoom over to amazon.co.uk now where you can purchase your essential copy of the Survival Guide for £6.74 which is a very worthwhile price to pay for a humorous and engaging read which may one day save your life!
Zillions of thanks for reading :)
...this review was written for the dooyoogames competition to start every sentence with the same letter. My choice of the letter Z was quickly regretted.