SOMEONE (by whom I mean Paul) bought – bought! – “World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War” last week, while bored at a Barnes & Noble. So of course I read it over the weekend. Well, Friday/Saturday, technically – it only took me four hours or so.
Consequently, I have been very upset since. Zombies are nonsensical to me, but hey, if you substitute “riots and civil wars related to massive bio-crash” for “zombies”, and just roll out all Brooks’ “Great Panic” and warfare-related consequences…it pretty much scared the bejebusdamn out of me. Especially the part where people panic and roll north, because zombies freeze solid in cold, so the US government instructs CNN to tell people to flee to Canada. Of course, then they start suffering, because they’re suburban Americans, and start infighting and eating each other instead of conserving resources and working together to survive the winter. The part about people fleeing north and then freezing and starving to death once they went north out of zombie range really disturbed me, because the Donner Party and the Franklin Expedition are two of my worst nightmares, and who’s to say that in a climate-change related civil war, caused by lack of resources, people wouldn’t be that stupid?
I know this came up in a lot of reviews, about how zombies were just a metaphor for disaster, and not necessarily the stupid horror creation to be taken literally. I know that Romero’s Night of the Living Dead and related other movies are metaphors for social reaction. And that’s why I have spent the weekend having horrible nightmares about the upcoming (and thank you Al Gore for making this worse) apocalypse. When climate change and lack of sustainability cause a famine in the United States, and the people who suffer the most for it – the lower income in cities, or in areas that completely lack agriculture – start pouring into the rich white neighborhoods that still have resources, what will happen? How stupid will people get? I’m afraid of Katrina-style suffering on a mass scale, afraid of the stupidity that goes with fear, afraid of having a suddent shock of an event – whatever it is – plunge millions of people into despair, without the resources to survive.
So it isn’t so much the zombies. It’s what happens because of the zombies. And I guess I have to give Max Brooks credit, because the Zombie Survival Guide seemed like such a joke to me, and his book is actually so serious, in the way it explores the consequence of a global-scale disaster. It still doesn’t mean that I didn’t have nightmares about the apocalypse, much like the ones Linda Hamilton has in T2 (which also scared the bejesus out of me when I was twelve). I take things too seriously, I take things too much to heart – and what I can’t figure out, right now, is to stop what’s coming.