Audie Award Winner, Multi-Voiced Performance, 2014
World War Z: The Complete Edition (Movie Tie-in Edition): An Oral History of the Zombie War is a new version of Max Brooks' episodic zombie novel. The abridged versions of the original stories are now joined with new, unabridged recordings of the episodes that were not included in the original (abridged) version of the audiobook. These additional episodes feature a star-studded cast of narrators to coincide with the upcoming release of the film.
New narrators include Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese, Spiderman star Alfred Molina, The Walking Dead creator Frank Darabont, rapper Common, Firefly star Nathan Fillion, Shaun of the Dead's Simon Pegg, and members of the casts of Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes and more! Max Brooks will be reprising his role as The Interviewer.
The original abridged edition, released in 2006, won an Audie Award for Best Multi-Voiced Performance. Original cast members include Alan Alda, Mark Hamill, Carl & Rob Reiner, and John Turturro.
In this new classic of apocalyptic fiction that feels all too real, the Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. The documentary-style oral history records the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time.
Featuring five more hours of previously unrecorded content, this full-cast recording is read by F. Murray Abraham, Alan Alda, René Auberjonois, Becky Ann Baker, Dennis Boutsikaris, Bruce Boxleitner, Max Brooks, Nicki Clyne, Common, Denise Crosby, Frank Darabont, Dean Edwards, Mark Hamill, Nathan Fillion, Maz Jobrani, Frank Kamai, Michelle Kholos, John McElroy, Ade M’Cormack, Alfred Molina, Parminder Nagra, Ajay Naidu, Masi Oka, Steve Park, Kal Penn, Simon Pegg, Jürgen Prochnow, Carl Reiner, Rob Reiner, Henry Rollins, Jeri Ryan, Jay O. Sanders, Martin Scorsese, Paul Sorvino, David Ogden Stiers, Brian Tee, John Turturro, Eamonn Walker, Ric Young, and Waleed Zuaiter.
©2006 Max Brooks (P)2012 Random House
Yeah, I've listened to the 2006 Abridged version several times now and I'm already on my second listen of this Complete Edition. The book is just fantastic zombie entertainment all over.
The narrations are all excellent and the story is a creative approach to the zombie apocalypse genre.
Sure, if I had 12 hours to spend in a sitting.
I'm so glad that Audible and Random House finally listened to the complaints from the fans and fixed the error. The missing audio (especially from the first zombie story) was just obnoxious. It's good to have a real Complete Edition.
Now that the missing 4-5 minutes of Chapter 3 have been restored and my previous (very whiny, I admit) comments have been scrubbed, I can do a proper job of reviewing this long-awaited edition of World War Z.
WWZ has a scope that is unlike any other zombie novel that I know of. It's true that we don't get to know any of the characters really well; the segments range from just a few minutes to an hour or so. But the overall effect of the dozens of different stories layered on top of one another--some political, some personal, many both--is to emphasize the world-wide nature of the crisis. I don't think any other zombie novel has accomplished this. I love that stories from around the world are lightly linked by repeated mentions of certain people, places, battles, policies, etc. I also love that the author has not spelled everything out for us or given us a full timeline. We get enough glimpses that we can put things together ourselves.
If you are looking for a typical zombie novel, with a group of survivors on the run, this may not be for you. But haven't you read enough of those already? Give this one a try.
As for performances, most are good. I admit that I don't have much of an ear for accents, but a few of them sound off, either wrong or just overdone. But the majority of the performances are solid and a few are stunning. The best of the lot, for me, are Mark Hamill as Todd Wainio, Frank Darabont as Roy Elliot, Alfred Molina as Terry Knox, Rob Reiner as "the Whacko", Becky Ann Baker as Christina Eliopolis, and Eamonn Walker as Xolelwa Azania.
(Another reviewer suggests that the accent chosen for the character of Xolelwa Azania is not appropriate. Without giving anything away...isn't that the twist that makes the story so good?)
I'll keep this brief. Look at my previous review of the initial issue of this audiobook. This addition is what we should have heard from day one. Why this didn't happen is beyond me, but it's similar to looking at a director's cut of a movie you already love. You get further insight and pleasure out of the experience.
If you have been on the fence, and don't own the original version, get this NOW. Again, read my first review, and you'll see why.
Sorry, any more that I'll write on this is wasted. It's that good.
It's really a shame that the movie of the same name may lead some people to ignore the book or Audible book, because this is a TREMENDOUS audiobook that you can get truly lost in.
Very well narrated, enjoyable but still poop-your-pants-intense. Maybe don't listen to it at work though like I did. A few times I was so engrossed in a story that someone touched my shoulder to get my attention and I nearly screamed.
This is a unique way to write a story, and I've seen it done very rarely but I do enjoy it when it happens........it's a collection of vignettes that focus on a single place and person, but when wound together in your mind they together make up an interesting picture of what's going on (or, in this case, what has gone on in the past). There is no real linear progression and no specific plot; instead the reader or listener gets to learn about the event from different perspectives in the experiences of different people in different situations all over the world who together share one characteristic: they survived the global war against the zombies.
This is a zombie story, but it's not really about the zombies - it's really about the global reaction and action to a deadly contagion that had not ever been imagined, let alone prepared for. Because it's done as a series of interviews, it's perfectly set for an audio production, and the narration (by over three dozen actors) is terrific - in fact, they do a great job of imparting a feeling for a character even though they may speak for no more than 10 or 15 minutes and everything takes place in the past. Actually, I think it's the fact that these are memories and not real-life events that make their stories that much more poignant. Sometimes a book that is a recollection of past events can be stale and uninteresting, but because these are experiences of a war rather than simply telling a past tale, they maintain their emotion and energy.
This turned out to be one of my top audiobook experiences so far.
This has the feel of the War of the Worlds radio-cast because of the way it is presented as a documentary.
I normally skip over abridged books, but I"m glad I listened to the reviews and gave this a chance.Because it is presented as a number of NPR-like interviews with survivors, they can cut out some sections without making the story hard to follow. It is a number of different viewpoints of the events surrounding the Z war.I am really surprised how much I like it. The narrator/interviewer has a familiar sounding voice -- I wonder if he may actually be an NPR reporter. And having a different reader for each character interviewed helps to sustain the feeling of real interviews.I have never read the book - only seen the movie, but I can say that it does not feel disjointed at all. I have no qualms about recommending this book -- even to the movie haters!
The only thing I do more than read is drive, so maybe I should start listening to audiobooks?
I loved the voice actors. This is my first audiobook in awhile and now I don't even know what to listen to now because it was so good and nothing will ever be the same now. All the characters were so alive! This was especially important because of the nature of the book. World War Z: an Oral History of the Zombie War is the full title, so naturally, the best way to read this book is via the audiobook. I have neither read the book or seen the movie, so unfortunately I don't know how it compares.
You know when you're in the car and you're trying to listen to the news but they're doing a special on the most boring thing you've ever heard of? This is the opposite of that. It's pretend journalism. So it's always interesting! And you may find yourself driving past your exit or running an extra mile (or two. extra fast. zombies are coming!) because you're so invested in the story.
Yes, but then I made myself stop and it made the world of the story a little harder to dive back into. I'm not sure if the book was actually this unbalanced, but I've always had a hard time with short stories because I like to follow one characters journey instead of stories of people who tell a bigger story...which is what this does. I think a one sitting listen might be a better way to listen to it.
It felt like you were listening to actual interviews due to the excellent performances.
Nice change of pace from your typical zombie story.
I would have if I could have...but that would have been a sizable time commitment
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Even though I don't particularly care for zombies, or apocalyptic scenarios, or war-related fiction, the all-star cast on this audiobook and some good reviews from friends made me pick it up. While it wasn't my favorite book ever because this just isn't my genre, I really enjoyed it. It was well-written and the premise of telling the story through interviews was interesting. The zombie references were often pleasantly creepy instead of just gross, which worked well for me, and the story was more about the people and the politics than it was about the zombies. Plus, the audio production was amazing. If you're a fan of this kind of fiction already, you'll love it, and maybe you'll love it even if you aren't.
World War Z is not going to go down in history as a literary classic, but it is no less worth a read for it. Sometimes, as with movies, a book is just entertaining without having any deeper meaning message. As books go, it is the literary equivalent to a 'popcorn movie,' the likes of which often get panned by the critics, but end up grossing half a billion at the box office. That is to say, its a fun read that requires little investment on the part of our brains.
Adding to the fun (and 'popcorn movie' feeling), are the performances of the all-star cast of well known Hollywood personalities. Part of the fun of this book is just figuring out which actor is portraying each character as the story progresses (some are instantly recognizable). Still some of the performances are just plain good, and believable regardless of who played them. Dare I say that I actually really enjoyed Mark Hamill's performance which appears toward the end. He has made a decent career for himself doing voice-over work (the Joker anyone?) so it comes as no surprise.
Before selecting this book, I had read some rather harsh reviews by others regarding the abridged nature of the book, and how it is missing sections. Some even indicated that the book did not make any sense as a result of the missing parts. Perhaps those people have their reasons if they have read the original (non-movie tie-in) edition. However, I can tell you that for me - a person that has not seen the movie nor read the original book - it was just fine for me. The story is written as a series of interviews between the main character (a journalist who is portrayed in the audio version by the real life author) and various 'survivors' of the Zombie War. So I am not entirely certain what difference those missing parts would have made. Long story short, what you don't know won't hurt you.
Of course, with any book, some segments that are better than others, and while some are very engaging and occasionally even tension-filled, others are more mundane and forgettable. Still, the beauty of this book is you need only wait a short while before you are whisked off to the next interview and a brand new story line. So in that regard, the story movies along at a nice pace.
In short, if you are a fan of zombies or post-apocalyptic survival stories, you'll enjoy this book and the entertaining performances of its cast. If you are not a fan of those themes, then you probably not even reading this review.
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