Oral History of the Zombie War Lacks Life

The realistic approach removes the teeth from this zombie tale

This one was not at all what I had expected. The story is presented as a collection of oral interviews with survivors of the zombie apocalypse, making listening to the audiobook feel like a documentary podcast of the events.

The unnamed narrator takes a truly global approach to cover this world war. He interviews survivors from all nations and walks of life. The story starts with patient zero and follows throughout the fallout and survival of the years following the initial outbreak. This approach contrasts against most post-apocalyptic stories' geocentric focus on a few main characters usually from the United States and adds authenticity to the story.

The authenticity of this approach to a zombie apocalypse story makes it feel more documentary than comic. The gradual dissolution of society and the international conflicts that occur when countries start to blame each other at the beginning of the outbreak add a layer of realism to the conflict that most zombie stories neglect. For each humanitarian crisis that the outbreak creates the survivors discuss all the details of what worked and what didn't. The attention to detail immerses the listener into this world.

For all of the authenticity and global recognition that this approach adds, it means that there is not a single unifying narrative thread for the listener to connect with. Listeners are not rooting for a single protagonist or group to make it through other than "humanity" in general. There is no single person to emotionally connect to. Which underscores the documentary nature of the story, but also makes it feel like something you would sleep through in a history class of the future. I rarely found myself wanting to revisit the story, there was nothing pulling me back.

When I did revisit the story I found it interesting. We know from the beginning of the story that humanity has survived so it removes the largest drama. Without the emotional connection to individual characters, all we are left to understand is the how of humanity's survival. It leaves the story lacking drama and suspense.

Overall, I enjoyed listening to this one (and I would definitely recommend the audiobook if you're going to pick it up), but the story falls a bit flat without natural character evolution.


Post Apocalyptic