In the event of a zombie apocalypse, don’t loose your head—literally and figuratively.
Thinking clearly is imperative to survival, said Max Brooks, the best-selling author of 2003’s “Zombie Survival Guide” and 2009’s “World War Z.”
Brooks is making a stop in Blacksburg to share his wealth of knowledge on the fictional but real-world applicable topic. He will be presenting “10 Lessons for Surviving a Zombie Attack” tonight at 7:30 in the Haymarket Theatre in Squires Student Center.
Brooks, who majored in history at Pitzer College, started his career in comedy as a writer for Saturday Night Live (SNL) but soon realized his passion for more serious writing and the living dead.
Around the time of Y2K when survival guides were flying off the shelf, Brooks noticed an absence of zombie “how-to” manuals. That’s when he set out to answer his own questions about a potential undead epidemic with a detailed, well-researched zombie survival guide.
His novel “World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War” was a follow-up to his “Zombie Survival Guide” and offers a picture of how the world would react.
The novels, which Brooks said he wrote out of fear of the undead, as well as the unknown, were not only a huge success in the book industry, but they were a personal success for Brooks who is dyslexic.
The Collegiate Times spoke with Brooks about his best-selling novels, his future plans, and what he thought of Brad Pitt’s take on “World War Z.”
Where did you get the idea for “World War Z?”
That came about a year after “Zombie Survival Guide” was published. I wanted to write another zombie story, but every zombie story I had ever seen were all sort of basic, small group survival stories— all basically the same story… Those stories are great, but I had a lot of questions that nobody was answering.
So just like the “Zombie Survival Guide,” I settled down to answer my own questions.
How did you go about doing the research to answer those questions?
Let’s just say that if the FBI ever raided my office in New York City, it looked like a terrorist cell. There was nothing in there but a desk and just tons and tons of books on weapons, world militaries, maps, tons of maps, the Quran. The only time I did Internet research, I used first-hand sources.
The other 50 percent of the research was done by just talking to people. For every fake interview that I had in the book, I did a real one.
A lot of the imagery in “World War Z” is very graphic and can be considered gory. How did you come up with those images and did they ever haunt you after writing them?
Well the truth is, the images that I came up with don’t haunt me half as much as the research. Because in reality, there’s nothing the zombies can do to us that we haven’t already done to each other.
I based my zombie virus really on the AIDS virus. Because quite frankly, I’m not interested in the science of AIDS. I’m much more interested in the global reaction to AIDS. I’m interested in how the population reacts, how we react as individuals, as a society, and as a planet. I find that much more terrifying and interesting than the (zombies) themselves.
How did you think the “World War Z” movie turned out?
I think it was a very interesting, exciting, summer blockbuster that just happened to have the title of the book I once wrote.
The truth is, it was easier to watch than I thought, because it had so little to do with the book. I didn’t watch my book being turned into a movie. I just watched a movie that happened to have the same title as my book. So in a strange way, that made it easier.
What was your initial reaction when you heard that “World War Z” was going to be made into a movie?