World War Z
Overview
 
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War is a 2006 post-apocalyptic
Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction
Apocalyptic fiction is a sub-genre of science fiction that is concerned with the end of civilization due to a potentially existential catastrophe such as nuclear warfare, pandemic, extraterrestrial attack, impact event, cybernetic revolt, technological singularity, dysgenics, supernatural...

 horror novel by Max Brooks
Max Brooks
Maximillian Michael "Max" Brooks is an American author and screenwriter, with a particular interest in zombies. Brooks is also a television and voice-over actor.- Early life and education :...

. It is a follow-up to his 2003 book The Zombie Survival Guide
The Zombie Survival Guide
The Zombie Survival Guide, written by American author Max Brooks and published in 2003, is a survival manual dealing with the fictional potentiality of a zombie attack. It contains detailed plans for the average citizen to survive zombie uprisings of varying intensity and reach, and describes...

. Rather than a grand overview or narrative, World War Z is a collection of individual accounts
Epistolary novel
An epistolary novel is a novel written as a series of documents. The usual form is letters, although diary entries, newspaper clippings and other documents are sometimes used. Recently, electronic "documents" such as recordings and radio, blogs, and e-mails have also come into use...

 in the form of first-person anecdote. Brooks plays the role of an agent of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 Postwar Commission who published the report a decade after the Zombie
Zombie
Zombie is a term used to denote an animated corpse brought back to life by mystical means such as witchcraft. The term is often figuratively applied to describe a hypnotized person bereft of consciousness and self-awareness, yet ambulant and able to respond to surrounding stimuli...

 War. The United Nations left out much of his work from the official report, choosing to focus on facts and figures from the war rather than the individual stories that form the bulk of Brooks' novel.
Encyclopedia
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War is a 2006 post-apocalyptic
Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction
Apocalyptic fiction is a sub-genre of science fiction that is concerned with the end of civilization due to a potentially existential catastrophe such as nuclear warfare, pandemic, extraterrestrial attack, impact event, cybernetic revolt, technological singularity, dysgenics, supernatural...

 horror novel by Max Brooks
Max Brooks
Maximillian Michael "Max" Brooks is an American author and screenwriter, with a particular interest in zombies. Brooks is also a television and voice-over actor.- Early life and education :...

. It is a follow-up to his 2003 book The Zombie Survival Guide
The Zombie Survival Guide
The Zombie Survival Guide, written by American author Max Brooks and published in 2003, is a survival manual dealing with the fictional potentiality of a zombie attack. It contains detailed plans for the average citizen to survive zombie uprisings of varying intensity and reach, and describes...

. Rather than a grand overview or narrative, World War Z is a collection of individual accounts
Epistolary novel
An epistolary novel is a novel written as a series of documents. The usual form is letters, although diary entries, newspaper clippings and other documents are sometimes used. Recently, electronic "documents" such as recordings and radio, blogs, and e-mails have also come into use...

 in the form of first-person anecdote. Brooks plays the role of an agent of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 Postwar Commission who published the report a decade after the Zombie
Zombie
Zombie is a term used to denote an animated corpse brought back to life by mystical means such as witchcraft. The term is often figuratively applied to describe a hypnotized person bereft of consciousness and self-awareness, yet ambulant and able to respond to surrounding stimuli...

 War. The United Nations left out much of his work from the official report, choosing to focus on facts and figures from the war rather than the individual stories that form the bulk of Brooks' novel. The interviews chart a decade-long war against zombies from the view point of many different people of various nationalities. The personal accounts also describe the changing religious, geo-political, and environmental aftermath of the Zombie War.

World War Z was inspired by The Good War
The Good War
"The Good War": An Oral History of World War Two is a telling of the oral history of World War II written by Studs Terkel. The work won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction...

, an oral history
Oral history
Oral history is the collection and study of historical information about individuals, families, important events, or everyday life using audiotapes, videotapes, or transcriptions of planned interviews...

 of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 by Studs Terkel
Studs Terkel
Louis "Studs" Terkel was an American author, historian, actor, and broadcaster. He received the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1985 for The Good War, and is best remembered for his oral histories of common Americans, and for hosting a long-running radio show in Chicago.-Early...

; and by the zombie films of director George A. Romero
George A. Romero
George Andrew Romero is a Canadian-American film director, screenwriter and editor, best known for his gruesome and satirical horror films about a hypothetical zombie apocalypse. He is nicknamed "Godfather of all Zombies." -Life and career:...

. Brooks used World War Z to comment on social issues like government ineptitude and American isolationism
Isolationism
Isolationism is the policy or doctrine of isolating one's country from the affairs of other nations by declining to enter into alliances, foreign economic commitments, international agreements, etc., seeking to devote the entire efforts of one's country to its own advancement and remain at peace by...

, while also examining themes of survivalism
Survivalism
Survivalism is a movement of individuals or groups who are actively preparing for future possible disruptions in local, regional, national, or international social or political order...

 and uncertainty. Critics have praised the novel for reinventing the zombie genre; the audiobook version, performed by a full cast including Alan Alda
Alan Alda
Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo , better known as Alan Alda, is an American actor, director, screenwriter, and author. A six-time Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winner, he is best known for his role as Hawkeye Pierce in the TV series M*A*S*H...

, Mark Hamill
Mark Hamill
Mark Richard Hamill is an American actor, voice artist, producer, director, and writer, best known for his role as Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy of Star Wars. More recently, he has received acclaim for his voice work, in such roles as the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series, Firelord...

 and John Turturro
John Turturro
John Michael Turturro is an American actor, writer and director known for his roles in the films Do the Right Thing , Miller's Crossing , Barton Fink , Quiz Show , The Big Lebowski , O Brother, Where Art Thou? and the Transformers film series...

, won an Audie Award
Audie Awards
The Audie Awards are annually bestowed annually in the USA for outstanding audiobooks. The Audies have been granted by the Audio Publishers Association, a not-for-profit trade organization, since 1996. The nominees are announced each year in January, and the winners are announced at a gala banquet...

 in 2007. A film based upon the book
World War Z (film)
World War Z is an upcoming post-apocalyptic horror film based on the novel of the same name by Max Brooks. The film is directed by Marc Forster and stars Brad Pitt, with a script written by J. Michael Straczynski and Matthew Michael Carnahan. The film is scheduled to be released on December 21,...

 is in production, and is set for a December 2012 release.

Development

Brooks designed World War Z to follow the "laws" set up in The Zombie Survival Guide
The Zombie Survival Guide
The Zombie Survival Guide, written by American author Max Brooks and published in 2003, is a survival manual dealing with the fictional potentiality of a zombie attack. It contains detailed plans for the average citizen to survive zombie uprisings of varying intensity and reach, and describes...

, and explained that the guide may exist in the world of the novel as a precursor to the Zombie War. The zombies of The Zombie Survival Guide are undead humans reanimated by an incurable virus, Solanum. They are devoid of intelligence and are motivated only by the desire to consume living flesh. The only way to destroy them is to destroy the brain, by any means. Although zombies are as strong as the humans they infected, and do not tire, they are slow moving and incapable of planning or cooperation in their attacks. Zombies usually reveal their presence by moaning.

Brooks did a large amount of research while writing World War Z to make the novel as realistic as possible: "Everything in World War Z (as in The Zombie Survival Guide) is based in reality... well, except the zombies. But seriously, everything else in the book is either taken from reality or 100% real. The technology, politics, economics, culture, military tactics... it was a LOT of homework." Brooks used a variety of reference books and consulted with friends who were experts in several fields when writing the novel. He also cites the U.S. Army as a reference on firearm statistics.

Plot summary

Through a series of oral interviews, Brooks, as an agent of the United Nations Postwar Commission, describes the history of 'World War Z'. Although the origin of the zombie pandemic
Zombie apocalypse
A zombie apocalypse is a particular scenario of apocalyptic literature that customarily has a science fiction/horror rationale. In a zombie apocalypse, a widespread rise of zombies hostile to human life engages in a general assault on civilization....

 is unknown, the story begins in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 after a zombie bites a young boy. The Chinese government attempts to contain the infection and concocts a crisis involving Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

 to mask their activities. The infection is spread to other countries by the black market organ trade
Organ trade
Organ trade is the trade involving human organs for transplantation. There is a worldwide shortage of organs available for transplantation, possibly a result of regulations forbidding their trafficking.-Legal organ trade:...

 and by refugees; an outbreak in South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 finally brings the plague to public attention.

As the infection spreads, only Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 initiates a nationwide quarantine
Quarantine
Quarantine is compulsory isolation, typically to contain the spread of something considered dangerous, often but not always disease. The word comes from the Italian quarantena, meaning forty-day period....

 and closes its borders. Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 and Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 destroy each other in a nuclear war after Iran attempts to stem the flow of refugees from Pakistan. The United States of America does little to prepare; although special forces teams are used to contain initial outbreaks, a widespread effort never starts as the nation is sapped of political will by several "brushfire wars", and an ineffective and fraudulently marketed vaccine has created a false sense of security. When the world recognizes the true scope of the problem, a period known as the "Great Panic" begins. The United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 sends a task force to Yonkers, New York
Yonkers, New York
Yonkers is the fourth most populous city in the state of New York , and the most populous city in Westchester County, with a population of 195,976...

, in a high-profile military campaign intended to restore American morale. However, the military relies upon Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 tactics, weapons intended to disable vehicles
Anti-tank warfare
Anti-tank warfare was created by the need to seek technology and tactics to destroy tanks and their supporting infantry during the First World War...

, and demoralization through wounding: these have no effect on the zombies, which use wave attacks, have no self-preservation instinct, and can only be stopped if shot in the head and killed. The soldiers are rout
Rout
A rout is commonly defined as a chaotic and disorderly retreat or withdrawal of troops from a battlefield, resulting in the victory of the opposing party, or following defeat, a collapse of discipline, or poor morale. A routed army often degenerates into a sense of "every man for himself" as the...

ed on live television. Other countries suffer similarly disastrous defeats, and human civilization teeters on the brink of collapse.

In South Africa, the government adopts a plan drafted by ex-apartheid government official Paul Redeker, which calls for the establishment of small "safe zones", areas surrounded by natural boundaries and cleared of zombies. Large groups of refugees are to be kept alive outside the safe zones to distract the hordes of undead, allowing those within the safe zones time to regroup. Governments worldwide adopt their own versions of the "Redeker Plan" or evacuate to safer foreign territory. As zombies freeze solid in the cold, many civilians in North America flee to the wilds of northern Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

; approximately 11 million people die from starvation and exposure
Hypothermia
Hypothermia is a condition in which core temperature drops below the required temperature for normal metabolism and body functions which is defined as . Body temperature is usually maintained near a constant level of through biologic homeostasis or thermoregulation...

.

During a conference near Honolulu aboard , most of the world's leaders indicate they want to wait out the zombie plague, but the United States President successfully argues that the only way to survive physically and psychologically is to go on the offensive. Determined to lead by example, the United States military reinvents itself to meet the specific challenges involved in fighting the living dead: automatic weapons and mobility
Maneuver warfare
Maneuver warfare, or manoeuvre warfare , is the term used by military theorists for a concept of warfare that advocates attempting to defeat an adversary by incapacitating their decision-making through shock and disruption brought about by movement...

 are replaced by semi-automatic rifles and formation firing, troops are retrained to focus on head shots and slow, steady rates of fire, and a multipurpose hand tool, the Lobotomizer or "Lobo", is designed to destroy zombie heads close up. In two north–south lines stretching across North America, the U.S. military leaves its safe zone west of the Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States...

 and crosses the continent, systematically destroying the zombies and reclaiming outposts of survivors (whether they want to be reclaimed or not).

Ten years after the "official" end of the zombie war, millions of zombies are still active and the geopolitical landscape of the Earth has been transformed. A democratic Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 has become the world's most thriving economy and the international banking capital. China has become a democracy—after a civil war was ended by a Chinese nuclear submarine launching intercontinental ballistic missiles at the Communist leadership
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

—but has been vastly depopulated, while Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

, freed from Chinese rule, hosts the world's most populated city
Lhasa
Lhasa is the administrative capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China and the second most populous city on the Tibetan Plateau, after Xining. At an altitude of , Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world...

. Following a religious revolution, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 is now an expansionist theocracy
Theocracy
Theocracy is a form of organization in which the official policy is to be governed by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided, or simply pursuant to the doctrine of a particular religious sect or religion....

. North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

 is completely empty, with the entire population having disappeared underground; it is unknown if they survived or have become zombies. Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

 has been completely depopulated, and is the world's most heavily infested country. The United Nations fields a large military force to eliminate the remaining zombies from overrun areas, defeat hordes surfacing from the ocean floor, and kill frozen zombies before they thaw. Major effects of the war are a drastic reduction in the human population, which is alluded to have been brought to the brink of extinction, and the devastation of many environments and species, as much by desperate humans as by marauding zombies.

Social commentary

Reviewers have noted that Brooks uses World War Z as a platform to criticize government ineptitude, corporate corruption and human short-sightedness. At one point in the book, a Palestinian youth living in Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 refuses to believe that the dead are rising, fearing it is a trick by Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. Many American characters blame the United States' inability to counter the zombie threat on low confidence in the government due to conflicts in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

. Brooks also shows his particular dislike of government bureaucracy. One character in the novel tries to justify lying about the zombie outbreak to avoid widespread panic, while at the same time failing to develop a solution for fear of arousing public ire. Alden Utter, a reviewer for The Eagle, notes similarities between the government's response in the novel and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...

: "Early warnings are missed, crucial reports go unheeded, profiteers make millions selling placebos, the army equips itself with tools perfect for the last war they fought and populations ignore the extent of threat until it is staring them in the face — this is, surprisingly, a post-Katrina zombie tale."

Brooks has also criticized American isolationism
Isolationism
Isolationism is the policy or doctrine of isolating one's country from the affairs of other nations by declining to enter into alliances, foreign economic commitments, international agreements, etc., seeking to devote the entire efforts of one's country to its own advancement and remain at peace by...

:

Survivalism

Survivalism
Survivalism
Survivalism is a movement of individuals or groups who are actively preparing for future possible disruptions in local, regional, national, or international social or political order...

 and disaster preparedness are other prevalent themes in the novel. Several interviews, especially those from the United States, focus on policy changes designed to train the surviving Americans to fight the zombies and rebuild the country. For example, when cities were made to be as efficient as possible in order to fight the zombies, the plumber could be a higher status than the former CEO. Throughout the novel, characters demonstrate the physical and mental requirements needed to survive a disaster. In a 2008 interview, Brooks described the large amount of research needed to find optimal methods for fighting a worldwide zombie outbreak. He also pointed out that Americans like the zombie genre because they are a nation of individualists who believe that they can survive anything with the right tools and talent.

Fear and uncertainty

Brooks considers the theme of uncertainty central to the zombie genre. He believes that zombies allow people to deal with their own anxiety about the end of the world. Brooks has expressed a deep fear of zombies:
This mindlessness is connected to the context in which Brooks was writing. In a July 2006 interview, he declared: "at this point we're pretty much living in an irrational time", full of human suffering and lacking reason or logic. When asked in a subsequent interview about how he would compare terrorists with zombies, Brooks said:

Literary significance and reception

Reviews for the novel have been generally positive. Steven H. Silver identified Brooks' international focus as the novel's greatest strength. He also commented favorably on Brooks' ability to create an appreciation for the work needed to combat a global zombie outbreak. Silver's only complaint was with "Good-Byes" – the final chapter of the book – in which characters get a chance to give a final closing statement. Silver felt that it was not always apparent who the sundry, undifferentiated characters were.

Gilbert Cruz of Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly is an American magazine, published by the Time division of Time Warner, that covers film, television, music, broadway theatre, books and popular culture...

 gave the novel an "A" rating, commenting that the novel shared with great zombie stories the use of a central metaphor, describing it as "an addictively readable oral history." The Eagle described the book as being "unlike any other zombie tale" and "sufficiently terrifying for most readers, and not always in a blood-and-guts way, either." Keith Phipps of The Onion
The Onion
The Onion is an American news satire organization. It is an entertainment newspaper and a website featuring satirical articles reporting on international, national, and local news, in addition to a non-satirical entertainment section known as The A.V. Club...

s The A.V. Club
The A.V. Club
The A.V. Club is an entertainment newspaper and website published by The Onion. Its features include reviews of new films, music, television, books, games and DVDs, as well as interviews and other regular offerings examining both new and classic media and other elements of pop culture. Unlike its...

 stated that the format of the novel makes it difficult for it to develop momentum, but found the novel's individual episodes gripping. In his review for Time Out Chicago, Pete Coco declared that "[b]ending horror to the form of alternative history would have been novel in and of itself. Doing so in the mode of Studs Terkel
Studs Terkel
Louis "Studs" Terkel was an American author, historian, actor, and broadcaster. He received the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1985 for The Good War, and is best remembered for his oral histories of common Americans, and for hosting a long-running radio show in Chicago.-Early...

 might constitute brilliance."

Ron Currie Jr.
Ron Currie Jr.
Ron Currie, Jr. is an American author. His first book, God is Dead, was published to critical acclaim in 2007, earning Currie comparisons to Kurt Vonnegut and Raymond Carver. God is Dead received the Young Lions Fiction Award from the New York Public Library, as well as the Metcalf award from...

 named World War Z one of his favorite apocalyptic novels and praised Brooks for illustrating "the tacit agreement between writer and reader that is essential to the success of stories about the end of the world ... [both] agree to pretend that this is not fiction, that in fact the horrific tales of a war between humans and zombies are based in reality". Patrick Daily of the Chicago Reader said the novel transcends the "silliness" of The Zombie Survival Guide by "touching on deeper, more somber aspects of the human condition". Drew Taylor of the Fairfield County Weekly credits World War Z with making zombies more popular in mainstream society. The hardcover version of World War Z spent four weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list
New York Times Best Seller list
The New York Times Best Seller list is widely considered the preeminent list of best-selling books in the United States. It is published weekly in The New York Times Book Review magazine, which is published in the Sunday edition of The New York Times and as a stand-alone publication...

, peaking at number nine. According to Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly, aka PW, is an American weekly trade news magazine targeted at publishers, librarians, booksellers and literary agents...

, World War Z has sold 600,000 copies in all formats.

Audiobook

An abridged
Abridgement
Abridgement or abridgment is a term defined as "shortening" or "condensing" and is most commonly used in reference to the act of reducing a written work, typically a book, into a shorter form...

 audiobook was published in 2007 by Random House
Random House
Random House, Inc. is the largest general-interest trade book publisher in the world. It has been owned since 1998 by the German private media corporation Bertelsmann and has become the umbrella brand for Bertelsmann book publishing. Random House also has a movie production arm, Random House Films,...

, directed by John McElroy, produced by Dan Zitt, with sound editing by Charles De Montebello. The book is read by author Max Brooks, but includes many other actors taking on the roles of the many individual characters who are interviewed in the novel. Brooks, thanks to his first career doing voice-over
Voice-over
Voice-over is a production technique where a voice which is not part of the narrative is used in a radio, television production, filmmaking, theatre, or other presentations...

 work and cartoons, was able to recommend a large number of the cast members.

Cast

  • Max Brooks
    Max Brooks
    Maximillian Michael "Max" Brooks is an American author and screenwriter, with a particular interest in zombies. Brooks is also a television and voice-over actor.- Early life and education :...

     as Max Brooks
  • Alan Alda
    Alan Alda
    Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo , better known as Alan Alda, is an American actor, director, screenwriter, and author. A six-time Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winner, he is best known for his role as Hawkeye Pierce in the TV series M*A*S*H...

     as Arthur Sinclair
  • Carl Reiner
    Carl Reiner
    Carl Reiner is an American actor, film director, producer, writer and comedian. He has won nine Emmy Awards and one Grammy Award during this career...

     as Jurgen Warbrunn
  • Jürgen Prochnow
    Jürgen Prochnow
    Jürgen Prochnow is a German actor. His most well-known roles internationally have been as the sympathetic submarine captain in Das Boot , Duke Leto Atreides I in Dune , the minor, but important role of Neo-Stalinist dictator General Ivan Radek in Air Force One and the villain Maxwell Dent in...

     as Philip Adler
  • Waleed Zuiater as Saladin Kader
  • Dean Edwards
    Dean Edwards
    Dean Edwards is an American stand-up comedian, actor, singer, writer, voice artist, comedian, and musician whose trademark is a voice similar to Eddie Murphy....

     as Joe Muhammad
  • Michelle Kholos as Jesika Hendricks
  • Maz Jobrani
    Maz Jobrani
    Maziar “Maz” Jobrani is an Iranian-born American comedian who is part of the "Axis of Evil" comedy group. The group appeared on a comedy special on Comedy Central. Jobrani has also appeared in numerous films, television shows, including Better Off Ted, on radio and in comedy clubs...

     as Ahmed Farahnakian
  • Mark Hamill
    Mark Hamill
    Mark Richard Hamill is an American actor, voice artist, producer, director, and writer, best known for his role as Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy of Star Wars. More recently, he has received acclaim for his voice work, in such roles as the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series, Firelord...

     as Todd Wainio
  • Henry Rollins
    Henry Rollins
    Henry Rollins is an American singer-songwriter, spoken word artist, writer, comedian, publisher, actor, and radio DJ....

     as T. Sean Collins
  • Eamonn Walker
    Eamonn Walker
    Eamonn Walker is an English film, television and theatre actor. In the United States, he is known for playing Kareem Said in the HBO television series Oz, for which he won a CableACE Award, and elsewere as Winston, the gay, black thorn in Alf Garnett's side in In Sickness and in Health and John...

     as David Allen Forbes and Paul Redeker / Xolelwa Azania
  • Ajay Naidu
    Ajay Naidu
    Ajay Kalahastri Naidu is an American actor.Naidu was born in Evanston, Illinois He attended Evanston Township High School. As an actor, he trained with the American Repertory Theater's Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University.His first professional acting job was the film ...

     as Ajay Shah
  • John Turturro
    John Turturro
    John Michael Turturro is an American actor, writer and director known for his roles in the films Do the Right Thing , Miller's Crossing , Barton Fink , Quiz Show , The Big Lebowski , O Brother, Where Art Thou? and the Transformers film series...

     as Seryosha Garcia Alvarez
  • Rob Reiner
    Rob Reiner
    Robert "Rob" Reiner is an American actor, director, producer, writer, and political activist.As an actor, Reiner first came to national prominence as Archie and Edith Bunker's son-in-law, Michael "Meathead" Stivic, on All in the Family. That role earned him two Emmy Awards during the 1970s...

     as "The Whacko"
  • Jay O. Sanders
    Jay O. Sanders
    Jay Olcutt Sanders is an American character actor.Sanders was born in Austin, Texas, to Phyllis Rae and James Olcutt Sanders. He is noted for playing Mob lawyer character Steven Kordo in the 1986–88 NBC detective series Crime Story...

     as Bob Archer
  • Dennis Boutsikaris
    Dennis Boutsikaris
    Dennis Boutsikaris is an American two-time Obie-Award winning character actor. He is a Broadway Actor and frequent television guest star and leading man in made-for-TV movies...

     as General Travis D'Ambrosia
  • Becky Ann Baker
    Becky Ann Baker
    Becky Ann Baker is an American actress who is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Jean Weir on NBC's Emmy Award-winning Freaks and Geeks.-Early life:Baker was born Becky Gelke in Fort Knox, Kentucky...

     as Christina Eliopolis
  • Steve Park
    Steve Park (comedian)
    Steve Park is a Korean-American comedian. Originally a stand-up comedian, his best known work includes being a cast member of In Living Color during the 1991-1992 season and the roles of Mike Yanagita in Fargo, Sonny in Do The Right Thing and Detective Brian in Falling Down...

     as Kwang Jingshu
  • Frank Kamai as Nury Televadi and Tomonaga Jiro
  • John McElroy as Ernesto Olguin

Critical reception and recognition

In her review of the audiobook for Strange Horizons
Strange Horizons
Strange Horizons is an online speculative fiction magazine. It also features speculative poetry in every issue....

, Siobhan Carroll called the story "gripping" and found the listening experience evocative of Orson Welles
Orson Welles
George Orson Welles , best known as Orson Welles, was an American film director, actor, theatre director, screenwriter, and producer, who worked extensively in film, theatre, television and radio...

's famous narration of The War of the Worlds
The War of the Worlds (radio)
The War of the Worlds was an episode of the American radio drama anthology series Mercury Theatre on the Air. It was performed as a Halloween episode of the series on October 30, 1938, and aired over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network. Directed and narrated by actor and future filmmaker...

. Carroll had mixed opinions on the voice acting, commending it as "solid and understated, mercifully free of "special effects" and "scenery chewing" overall, but lamenting what she perceived as undue cheeriness on the part of Max Brooks and inauthenticity in the Chinese accent of Steve Park. Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly, aka PW, is an American weekly trade news magazine targeted at publishers, librarians, booksellers and literary agents...

 also criticized Brook's narration, but found that the rest of the "all-star cast; deliver their parts with such fervor and intensity that listeners cannot help but empathize with these characters". In an article in Slate
Slate (magazine)
Slate is a US-based English language online current affairs and culture magazine created in 1996 by former New Republic editor Michael Kinsley, initially under the ownership of Microsoft as part of MSN. On 21 December 2004 it was purchased by the Washington Post Company...

 concerning the mistakes producers make on publishing audiobooks, Nate DiMeo used World War Z as an example of dramatizations whose full casts contributed to making them "great listens", and described the book as a "smarter-than-it-has-any-right-to-be zombie novel." The World War Z audiobook won the 2007 Audie Award for Multi-Voiced Performance and was nominated for Audiobook of the Year.

Film adaptation

In 2007, the movie rights for World War Z were secured by Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt
William Bradley "Brad" Pitt is an American actor and film producer. Pitt has received two Academy Award nominations and four Golden Globe Award nominations, winning one...

's production company, Plan B Entertainment
Plan B Entertainment
Plan B Entertainment is a film production company founded by Brad Pitt, Brad Grey, and Jennifer Aniston. In 2006, Pitt became the sole owner; the company currently holds a release deal with Paramount Pictures, along with Warner Bros...

. The screenplay was written by J. Michael Straczynski
J. Michael Straczynski
Joseph Michael Straczynski , known professionally as J. Michael Straczynski and informally as Joe Straczynski or JMS, is an American writer and television producer. He works in films, television series, novels, short stories, comic books, and radio dramas. He is a playwright, a former journalist,...

, with Marc Forster
Marc Forster
Marc Forster is a German-Swiss filmmaker and screenwriter. He is best known for directing the films Monster's Ball, Finding Neverland, Stranger than Fiction, The Kite Runner, and Quantum of Solace.- Life and career :...

 directing, and Pitt starring as the main character, United Nations employee Gerry Lane. Production was to begin at the start of 2009, but by mid-year, the script was still under development and being re-written by Matthew Michael Carnahan
Matthew Michael Carnahan
Matthew Michael Carnahan is an American screenwriter who wrote the feature films The Kingdom , Lions for Lambs and the film adaptation of both the hit BBC television drama serial State of Play and the novel White Jazz. Carnahan wrote the screenplay for Lions for Lambs for United Artists...

, and filming did not commence until mid-2011. Initial filming occurred in Malta before moving on to Glasgow, (which was used to represent Philadelphia as uncertainty over tax credits for filmmakers caused the production team to avoid the American city). Some scenes were shot in Cornwall, before production moved to Budapest in October. The morning before filming commenced, a Hungarian Anti-Terrorism Unit raid seized the firearms that had been brought in for use as props, as their import had not been cleared, and, contrary to documentation, the weapons were fully functional.

World War Z is to be released by Paramount Pictures on December 21, 2012.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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