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  • What happened to Australia!? Seriously, we know about every other continent, and there's an Australian astronaut in one chapter, but no mention!
    • Oceania was mentioned in several chapters, with it being made fairly clear how the fared (not well, what with all the seaborne zombies and boat people.) Australia itself did okay since it's able to provide him with a hospital bed.
    • The book does say the Aussie government moved to Tasmania, same chapter.
  • The battle at Yonkers. Not about the planning, or that the US military fouled up so badly, but nobody in the tanks thought of the obvious: RUN THE ZOMBIES OVER? A helicopter tried to mow them down with his propellers, what where the guys in the tanks doing?
    • I think the main point about that sequence was that the army was so tied to doctrine that when everything that they had been trained, or ordered, to do failed, they panicked. Unless tank crews are routinely trained to run over people (and I suspect they are not, not even Chinese ones), it probably wouldn't occur to them.
    • Judging by the number of zombies, there were not enough tanks present to run them over before they all get get stuck on the bodies of several hundred zombies or run out of fuel. I m sure some tanks did try though(this troper works in a armored regiment and can attest that it is the dream of most tankers to run people over, but driving straight through a zombie invasion of millions is a very bad idea).
    • I think the tanks were also generally placed in "dug-in" fortifications, like larger fox holes, that made it more difficult for them to simply start driving over a bunch of zombies. Not to mention that the roads ahead aren't described as being clear - a tank could potentially get stuck amidst zombie corpses and wrecked cars, and then require rescue.
    • A half mile worth of zombies is a lot of zombies.
    • Brooks establishes that this wasn't just a "crowd" of zombies numbering in the tens of thousands, this was more like a deeply packed human wave extending for miles: even if the tanks could ran over that, they'd run out of gas before too long. But look at the Battle of Hope: so many zombies came that their corpses made a *wall* 20 feet high, new ones climbing over the fallen. And that was just a random area of New Mexico, not the 8 million strong, deeply-packed horde coming out of New York. Some of the scariest parts are when Brooks points out that zombie mega-swarms are a seething mass crawling over each other, literally like African driver ants.
  • Speaking of Yonkers: Why didn't they didn't bring enough ammo? I get that the point of that was to show that conventional warfare didn't work against zombies, and that the military was totally unprepared to fight them, but come on. Having ammo ready at hand for combat operations is pretty goddamn basic no matter who or what you're fighting.
    • I got the impression that they thought their artillery would be a lot more effective than it actually was, so that the rocket launchers wouldn't need much ammunition to destroy the zombies while the tanks wouldn't need too many rounds to pick off the straggling groups. They apparently based this supposition on what would happen if regular humans came at a modern army massed like the zombies did, but failed to take into account the biological differences between zombies and humans.
      • I think it's more that they grossly under-estimated the number of zombies they would have to fight. They probably figured that they'd only have to kill a couple of thousand zombies to get their big PR victory, which is why they wasted their artillery (described as highly effective) on the more thinly spread-out initial waves of zombies. Nobody knew about how zombies could form "chain swarms" yet, and they suddenly found themselves swamped by millions of zombies.
    • It also kind of never occurred to them up to that point that zombies are physically incapable of being afraid. Maybe they thought they had animal-level instinct, and would start tapering off or fleeing. More probably, they just didn't think about it. A human army facing that much artillery would get torn to shreds....but artillery is meant to churn up meat, not destroy a cranium. When was the last time that a full scale artillery barrage had to be sustained for over an hour? Even if the enemy has a lot of men, they'll get afraid and pause to regroup. If you face a million zombies, they'll charge head first directly at your guns even if 999,999 are dead, and the last one kills you. As for why no one even though to count how many anti-tank rounds they had? ....my only guesses are that 1 - they didn't take into account the obvious biological differences between humans and zombies. 2 - The Great Panic extended to the military command staff and they weren't thinking clearly; keep in mind that some major cities, particularly New York, had been overrun a matter of days before.
    • Keep in mind that the Battle of Yonkers took place three months after the Great Panic started. Considering the chaos we see in the "highway traffic jam" chapter, proper logistics was likely much more difficult (if not impossible) in that situation.
    • Here's a bigger question; if this was "a giant undead snake stretching back to Times Square", the entire NYC horde....why didn't they blow the bridges along the Harlem river, to take them on one chunk at a time? Not even at first, I mean when the army was getting overrun, didn't they pause to think "maybe we should blow the bridges, like in I Am Legend?" Granted that zombies would just walk underwater to cross, but that takes time. How many were in the Bronx already? Probably wouldn't have saved the battle completely, but still.
      • Overconfidence. If they blow the bridges they have to rebuild them at some point, but they thought they could just lure the horde out and destroy it, then move in and mop up stragglers. Boom, a few months of clean up and NYC is ready to live in again. The leadership at the time just didn't want to admit that the situation really that bad, and by the time they did they either didn't have the resources in the area to blow up bridges or it wouldn't have made a difference.
    • I know he said Yonkers was mismanaged, but the fact the tanks had any anti-tank armaments AT ALL is pushing it to me. At the LEAST, there would be extra rounds of the "tank-shot gun" stuff and just a few DU rounds.
  • I don't get how this disease managed to get worldwide. It moved through human bites, and organ transplants, with a 24 hour incubation - but that still doesn't add up for me how this disease managed to get global.
    • That's an simplification of it. You're neglecting the ignorance (nobody knew about it, ergo nobody knew to watch out for it) and denial (What, me, infected? You must be joking.)
    • The fact the book says so little about how the outbreaks spread is at least somewhat justified. Whoever was on-scene at the start of an outbreak, and could've potentially told the narrator about the details, is either eaten or a zombie. It's a sampling bias in the sources' testimony that ensures we mostly hear about the aftermath.
    • There was a period of at least a year where attempts to contain the zombie epidemic were a complete mess. China was trying to keep everything secret, and failing catastrophically. Thousands of refugees (either infected or with infected relatives) were fleeing into the Developed Countries due to rumors of a cure, and the Developed Nations (particularly the USA) were complacent about the outbreak due to the false security created by Phalanx. By the time it became clear that decisive action was necessary, it was already too late.
      • That sums it up very well: there's a period of over a year or more when people just deny that it exits, allowing it to spread in small numbers around the world - he said that in the USA they started in inner city slums, which is where illegal aliens would try to disappear, but over time even when people knew the bites were a fatal form of "rabies" or something, their survivor instinct kicked in, or people tried to save infected relatives. A major point is, would you honestly take out your own parents or children? That is, before it was well-known exactly what zombies were? Or even then, wouldn't you hope for a last minute cure? They only felt motivated to get off their asses and take costly "emergency measures" when it was obvious, but when its obvious is when its too late. Its a tacit criticism of that Hurricane Katrina thinking: "why didn't you give more funding to the dams earlier?" "The dams weren't obviously broken earlier" (even though hydro-engineering people working on the dams explicitly warned that they were going to break if something wasn't done).
  • Why weren't body shots more effective? according to the Hydrostatic Shock Principle, Zack could have his decomposing brain hemmoraged by a pressure wave from the chest shots the soldiers were going for, and with the M 855 A 1 5.56 NATO bullet the soldiers were using, the chances of that happening approach 1.
    • The Solanum virus fundamentally changes how the brain works, so it's possible that said principle wouldn't apply to zombies, or may not be as severe as in humans.
    • Brooks gets some of the physics of gun- and artillery-fire wrong, particularly in the Battle of Yonkers. .50 caliber machine guns shouldn't just go straight through zombies' bodies without really damaging them - they should be tearing them to pieces (a well-placed .50 caliber machine gun shot can tear you in half if hits you in the chest). There's some hand-waving in that zombies seem to be different on the inside, with their blood being replaced/changed into a strange, thick, dark substance that's compared to a gel.
      • Well, he also said that the ones blown literally in half were still a threat because it just made them a small target. Even if its a head attached to a neck, shoulder muscle, and arm, those body parts will keep trying to claw their way towards you. He calls it the "Scythe theory", and it didn't work. It slowed them down, but didn't immobilize them.
  • It is said that the soldiers and command had no experience dealing with zombies. So is this set in a world where no one has ever watched a movie about zombies? It assumes that once people have gotten over the initial skepticism of the existance of undead, no soldier would quickly make the logical connection that these are identical to the zombies in pop fiction.
    • There's a massive difference between having seen a movie and experiencing something yourself. We've all seen Die Hard, but I imagine if you were in a real hostage situation you wouldn't suddenly turn into a badass because of your knowledge of genre conventions. The very real possibility of death or worse tends to massively override whatever you've seen on TV.
    • Anyone with a little know-how can be a zombie fighter. That's a major point in every zombie work and Brooks even points it out in the Survival Guide.
    • And as for soldiers (and police officers and anyone else trained to use a gun) every last minute of their training was based on shooting in the centre of mass. It's easy to say "just aim for the head," it's harder to ignore all those years of training telling you to aim for the torso.
  • The Standard Infantry Rifle. Why would you dedicate the immense resources needed to produce and integrate a brand new semi-automatic 5.56 weapon system by the millions when you already have one?
    • The new-model anti-zombie army only went on the offensive about seven years after the initial outbreaks. Human civilization almost collapsed that first year, when they were barely holding the passes in the Rocky Mountains and there were still hordes of zombies in the Safe Zone. So the SIR was part of what was admittedly a long-term project to completely reform the US military, even down to uniforms. We have tended to switch to entirely new rifle systems when prepping for major wars in the past.
    • The M-16 is a famously persnickety rifle, fragile and prone to jamming. The SIR was designed to never jam, and be the most durable gun out there.
      • It's only prone to jamming if you don't clean it, which the military is trained to do every chance they get. It can actually take more physical abuse than the AK-47, due to being made out of milled parts rather than stamped ones. The SIR is implied to be an AK clone chambered in 5.56. This cannot be true, because 1.) It is described as accurate, something anyone whose knowledge of guns goes beyond Call of Duty knows does not apply to the AK family. It is also unlikely because even if the M-16 series were the glorified peice of shit the book says it is, it would still be more practical to at least use the magazines, something the AK series is quite fundamentally incapable of doing.
      • True, the very first M-16 series rifles were prone to jamming problems, but that was largely due to insufficient training on how to maintain them. Every weapon needs to be regularly maintained, AK series rifles included.
      • Further, if they were looking for a reliable, semi-automatic rifle with a heavy stock, they already had the M-14 as well. True, it fires the 7.62 round, but that is readily available from ammunition depots and gun stores as well.
      • This troper can attest that the M14's performance perfectly matches a description of the SIR
  • The explanation for the battle of Yonkers is total crap. If this is a "publicity battle" then why are the military units under supplied? Every single scrap of ammo should have been removed from every installation in an insanely large area to supply such an important propaganda battle. Since when are men in frigging trenches a decent propaganda image? The media outgrew such a conception after world war I. Massive artillery salvos, and bombing runs are a much better propaganda image today. Why are MLRS salvos being wasted on a few dozen zombies that can be dispatched by riflemen. Why are do zombies, in a bizarre twist of insane troll logic, suffer less casualties from an MLRS barrage when they cluster together. Why weren't barbed wire and deep ditches, two insanely simple and to zombies nearly insurmountable obstacles, not deployed? They weren't given enough time? Utter crap, as they managed to find all the showoffy ECM vehicles and such. The battle of Yonkers is completely unrealistic and there is no way it could have happened like that.
    • Just imagine the way the real world military would react to a zombie attack. They're incredibly undereducated about zombies, especially the older commanding officers who weren't exposed to the fiction around them. The man telling the story about Yonkers is just a soldier. He had no control over the strategies and tactics of the battle, which is probably why he complained about it the whole time he told the story. The operation at Yonkers was just put together horribly from overconfident military leaders and an undereducated population. Hindsight's 20/20, right?
      • That's assuming that chain of command stopped working somewhere. Okay, the politician's stupid. The general's an overpromoted idiot. The Colonel doesn't understand what zombies are and gets the battalion killed. The Captain (usually youngish if he's commanding a company) gets his company killed? The LT (not very long out of college at all) is . . . stupid? The Sgt, who is a few years older than his fresh-out-of-high school troops is what exactly? Chain of command is represented as breaking down in the novel, but chain of command *always* has someone else to pick it up. Everyone, down to the last man is an idiot?
    • Surely the whole point of Yonkers is not just that the men are undersupplied, but that they're undersupplied in the things they ended up needing? The military have prepared this whole 'shock and awe' thing without having fully thought it through, and it comes back to bite them. Furthermore, Yonkers initially looks like a success -- they wipe out a whole load of zombies in the first go -- but no one's considered the possibility that more and more and more might keep coming?
      • Exactly. It's specifically mentioned that the artillery and tanks are under-supplied in munitions, which they quickly used up destroying the initial first waves of the zombie attack during the battle.
    • "If this is a "publicity battle" then why are the military units under supplied?" Because the military wasn't planning on their troops having to do anything other than mop up survivors. This isn't the first time a military has underestimated how the tide of battle would turn and paid for it. Read the chapter again; the plan was that the zombies would be almost completely destroyed by artillery, with the troops on the ground only having to mop up stragglers. From that perspective the troops on the ground had enough ammo forwhat they were intended to do, why give them all the ammo in "an insanely large area" when they wouldn't use it while other fronts could need it? Again, the military plan was to kill most zombies long before they got within firing range of the troops, so pretty much everything that bugs the OT is accounted for. "Men in trenches?" Vast overstatement of what actually happened. "Barbed wire and deep pits?" Overconfidence, they planned on the zombies being eliminated from long range. The "insane troll logic" idea that zombies would suffer less damage from a MLRS barrage when clustered together? Conviential weapons are designed to kill through shock, blood loss, concussive force, etc. etc. Zombies can only be killed by brain damage. The problem was that while plenty of zombies were killed in the barrages, there were plenty more who only suffered damage to their limbs or torsos, which at most reduced them to crawling. With all the zombies packed so tightly it also meant that each zombie effectively acted as a shield for the one behind it. And finally, they were fighting the entire zombified population of New York, several million zombies in fact, and they had to stop the great panic by showing they had the situation under control. So in short, overconfidence in the effectiveness of their artillery, a need to show the world (which at this point is in a state of near-complete anarchy and terror) that they could control the situation, and a lack of understanding how zombies work combined with the fact that everything they had and trained for was dealing with human enemies.
  • Bull. Shit. Massive explosions (like the ones created by the military's favorite shock-and-awe weapon, the MOAB) don't throw around and overpressure bodies-- they rip them apart. No zombies would be getting back up, because no zombies would be in less than seven pieces. The MOAB can level city blocks, the zombies would be a game to it.
    • This was in the middle of America's Biggest City, which they were hoping to eventually re-take without destroying it in the process. They didn't want to devastate the city if they didn't have to, hence why they held off on using air bombs (such as the Fuel Air Bomb at the end of the Yonkers chapter) until the battle was essentially lost.
    • Saying that the military is uneducated about fighting zombies is like saying the US navy in uneducated about fighting wooden frigates. Technically true but irrelevant since actual soldiers, or even actual insurgents are far, far tougher to kill. Over confidence is one thing, balls to the wall idiocy is another. An overconfident commander overextending himself and getting flanked is understandable. An overconfident tank commander getting his company blown up after entering a city without infantry support is understandable. A command capable of getting high tech equipment and air support failing to contain a group of shambling unintelligent enemies is populated with complete and utter idiots. Since when is the brain immune to concussive force from artillery? Food for thought: You know why infantrymen were issued helmets in WWI? Not to stop rifle bullets since they weren't strong enough to do so at regular combat ranges but to protect soldiers from artillery, since the head is the most likely part to get hit by shrapnel from air burst munitions. The zombies being tightly packed would make them vulnerable to artillery and bombs, plus it would allow more powerful weapons like 50 cals and 20mm cannons to take out multiple enemies with one bullet. And not you do not have to take out the head to neutralize the zombies, a zombies that has been expose to enough fire will simply fall apart. Plus, if the first rank of zombies falls, the next rank will have trouble going over them and so on until a literal wall of bodies have been formed.
      • As has been mentioned up-thread, they did take out a ton of zombies with the use of artillery and tank-fire. The problem was that there wasn't enough of it to destroy the following waves (due to supply issues, mostly likely coming from the fact that Yonkers happened in the middle of the Great Panic), which they didn't anticipate because they didn't know about "chain swarms". They were only expecting a couple thousand zombies, and instead half of zombified New York City ended up shambling after them.
      • But...the military had no experience in fighting zombies. It just...didn't. That point was made pretty clear in the book when the whole "shock and awe" show of force fell flat. Your whole explanation of how or why the zombies shouldn't have won flies in the face of, again, what happened in the book. The strikes took down a lot of zombies, more showed up. Brooks made a pretty big point about that - the advanced military technology was great against targets that would stay dead, but against an undead hoard that is simply incapable of stopping? All that high technology is next to useless.
        • Wait, your argument is that what should have happened in the book doesn't make sense becasue it didn't happen in the book? We've discussed this before, shock and awe isn't shocking the enemy you're facing, it's about shocking the guys who heard about that massive gun that wiped out entire battalions of their soldiers.
        • It doesn't matter that the military was under-supplied and unprepared. By all rights the first wave of zombies should have been blown to smithereens, and the resulting wall of bodies causing a massive pileup preventing the rest of the zombies from advancing further. The zombie virus is one big example of You Fail Biology Forever and You Fail Physics Forever.
        • Except that the first wave of zombies was more or less pulverized by the bombardment (no bodies to form a barrier), and the other zombies can crawl over the corpses. That's actually what they did do later in the book, when Wainio describes how they destroyed a zombie swarm in formation - the zombies formed a giant "wall" of corpses.
          • Firstly, accepting that the virus makes no sense is one of the first things you need to do in a book about zombies. Secondly, the bodies would only form a massive pile up of bodies if there was about 100% efficiency (as in the Battle of Hope) and no zombies got through the lines. Apart from the fact that stuff like the balloon effect or SNT doesn't effect zombies, once zombies hit the main line everything goes to shit.
          • Plus, the first wave was blown to smithereens. That's why they initially thought it was a success. The point is that simply that the zombies kept coming anyway; the 'wall of bodies' contained zombies who were only 'injured' (i.e. didn't receive a necessary wound to the head) and so could keep coming, thus creating holes that enabled others to break through, and the zombies weren't deterred from coming through anyway because they can't be deterred.
            • In artillery warfare, you don't shoot one salvo at an enemy you have line-of-sight on. Hell, watch a large-scale war movie, especially older ones. You will hear the phrase "We're getting pounded by artillery out here, Sir!" Artillery is based on being 20 miles away, blasting at the enemy with salvo after salvo after salvo. There is no "wall of bodies" formed, just a field of body parts and blood. You think getting liquefied (at worst) or being shredded with shrapnel (at best) magically leaves your head intact? you think just because, by some miracle, they avoided getting that magical head shot that the rest of them could keep coming? And just because you added italics to your phrases about how zombies can't be stopped by the evils of modern warfare for extra drama doesn't make them any more true. Pay Attention-- This applies to the arguments by many of Brooks' Fan Dumb against Shock & Awe-- "Shock & Awe" doesn't mean "Shocking and Aweing the guys getting shot at", it means "Shocking and Aweing the guys who heard the next day that a few battalions of fellow soldiers got flattened by a big shiny 'splodey thing the other side just got."
        • It's literally been mentioned several times, but I'll repeat it - they didn't know about the chain swarms. That's why they wasted what heavy artillery and tank fire they had on the first couple of waves. It has nothing to do with "artillery being aimed only at line of sight targets", and everything to do with a miscalculation of how many enemies were going to show up to the battle.
          • Then why didn't they expect a LOT of zombies? Recon? Planes? ANYTHING?
        • Cloud cover making aerial recon impossible, with there being no good spots for ground-based recon. And the point of Chai swarms was that if one zombie saw something, it'd moan and move after it. The moan alerts every other zombie in earshot, who moan themselves and follow the initial zombie. The leadership just didn't think that every zombie in New York City would head to Yonkers, or how damn resiliant zombies are to damage.
  • Several parts of the book go into depth about America having just gone through a long brushfire war and a massive economic recession (where have I seen this before?) Its entirely possibly that more ammo than was supplied was deemed "wasteful" or some such nonsense. This also fits with the theory that the military wasn't expecting conventional tactics to be as useless as they were.
    • As a result of a "bushfire war" which I'd (just as a guy posting from Iraq) assume would be characterized by being about continual ambush leads to people carrying less ammunition? I carry 255 rounds in combat, and go nowhere without an absolute minimum of 30 each for my pistol and rifle.
    • Considering that the US Military expends approximately 250,000 rounds for every insurgent killed source, it seems likely that they'd err on the side of caution in this aspect and bring more bullets, rather than less.
      • The problem was with planning; the people at the top wanted it to be a nice flashy PR op to show they were in control of the situation, and placed all their bets on their bigger guns taking out the majority of zombies with their troops being able to mop up the rest. Thy didn't err on the side of caution because that would be bad publicity by showing just how desperate the situation really was.
  • It got so much Dan Browned and Did Not Do the Research is not even funny: The resistance of human body to the Shock and Awe weaponry (answer: is not much), handwave the rest of the armament in existence, the effect of heat and cold in meat, metabolism and movility in dead bodies, The overuse of Incompetent goverment (Chinese goverment in real life while somewhat Facist, actually had a competent internal military and there are more competent Generals than those show in the book in the U.S) and this troper been a Psichologist can tell that the way of the use of Moral Damage, the reaction to danger from civilians and its ramifications is pure crab. Doing Handwave and making some Bittersweet Ending is not a Deconstruction.
    • Acceptable Breaks From Reality. Everything you just described is present in every large-scale zombie story in existance. Zombies do take damage from shock and awe weaponry, just not on an effective scale considering the size of the hordes, if you're honestly complaining about the effects of heat and cold on dead bodies than the Zombie genre is not for you, China wasn't incomptent at all (they managed to fool the entire world into thinking the zombie outbreak was just rumours and that they were planning something completely different), and I'll take your word for it, but last time I checked Max Brooks made no claim to 100% pyscholgical accuracy, or in fact 100% accuracy in anything. First and foremost, this is a work of fiction, and while he did do a lot of research for the book, a good story teller knows not to let the facts get in the way of a good story.
      • Consistent use doesn't make something any less inaccurate, especially when the plot relies on it. Just saying.
        • Yes, but the entire genre of zombie stories relies on it. It'd be like complaining about Science Fiction stories not being 100% scientifically accurate.
    • The human body is not very resistant to Shock and awe weaponry, but I'd say the human skull is. And against Romero-style zombies, it does not matter how much you electrify, gas or burn them, you need to damage the brain.
      • The skull is no more resistant to shock and awe weaponry than anything else. It can transfer pressure waves into the brain, and in extreme cases, be shredded into shrapnel that grinds the brain to paste. This is with a human skull, not even a decomposing, rotting, brittle-ly dehydrated skull.
        • Zombie cliche #2501, a zombie's brain can function through injuries that would kill a normal human. So long as it exists the zombie lives. Unscientific, but again if you're complaining about scientific facts zombies can not exist at all. It is biologically impossible.
          • And again, you'd have a point, if Brooks weren't so insistent on claiming the realism gambit. You're claiming zombies don't have to be realistic, he's claiming his zombie story is realistic, so who's right? You, in which case you know better than the guy that wrote the book, or him, in which case he's wrong?" Details, please.
          • Realism, to be fair, doesn't necessarily have to mean "absolutely and unarguably real in all respects" -- if it did, then Brooks wouldn't be able to write his story in the first place, because zombies are fundamentally unrealistic. It simply means "attempting to represent and portray something in as 'real' a fashion as possible." In this case, it means portraying the zombies as the result of a virus, not, say, a voodoo curse or the result of Hell being full. They're still fundamentally unrealistic, but the point of the story is to take this unrealistic element, frame it in recognizably 'real' terms and put it in a real-world setting to see what would happen. At some point, Willing Suspension of Disbelief still has to take over.
          • Moreover, Brooks at least has his characters acknowledge the weirdness that is a zombie. There are several instances in the book where POV characters wonder why the zombies haven't been destroyed by freezing-and-thawing cycles or crushed by deep sea pressure.
    • "this troper been a Psichologist can tell that the way of the use of Moral Damage, the reaction to danger from civilians and its ramifications is pure crab." Details, please.
    • It's just a book guys chill out!
    • Has the OP really though about the sheer numbers of zombies? 8 million people live in NY. Even if only a quarter had become zombies, that's 2 million enemies that don't tire, don't scare, don't stop until their head or limbs are obliterated. And 2 mil is a ridiculously low estimate. Even if 500,000 are destroyed, you have 3 times that amount still coming, and they will crawl over almost any obstacle you are capable of building on short order. I don't care how effective these weapons are, there is not going to be enough ammo unless you've taken these numbers into account in advance, and even then...
      • But these are shambling type zombies, they shouldn't have the motor skills for that and unless the zombies allow them to ignore some basic biology the zombies would still die out from lacking basic nutrients especially since cannibalism isn't very effective and with that in mind the zombies are basically perpetual motion monsters
        • The Zombie Survival Guide handwaves it with the way the virus works in that setting. Remember, just because it's slanted towards realism doesn't mean it has to be 100% realistic, since zombies are a medical imposiblity.
  • Why would the Israelis take the chance to rescue the Palestinians; Even fighting a civil war against their OWN PEOPLE for them? That's the most implausible part of the book for me, especially when they could just let the Zombie Apocalypse wipe out their enemies for good.
    • Maybe, because not rescuing the Palestinians would result in a load more zombies being available to attack Israel. Also, the zombies have not yet reached Israel, so there won't be this problem there with the civil war.
    • "especially when they could just let the Zombie Apocalypse wipe out their enemies for good. " Ugh, Flame Bait. The Arab-Israeli Conflict isn't a Guilt-Free Extermination War.
    • When Israel sealed its borders and began constructing The Wall, the zombie outbreaks had only just started spreading. The near-collapse of human civilization in the Great Panic began about a year later in the following summer (they also state that the US administration didn't listen to the Israeli warning because it was an election year, so the report must have come out before November, which is when the US has elections). In that window of months to a year at the most, it seems Israel was concerned that if it simply sealed its borders and refused to take in Palestinians, surrounding Arab countries would immediately attack it in protest. Sealing their borders, but making a big point to let Palestinians in, seems to have been to try to convince the rest of the world that this really wasn't another step in the Arab-Israeli conflict. They also withdrew to pre-1967 borders so it wouldn't look like a land-grab (also pragmatically to shrink to a smaller and more defensible perimeter. As for the "every Palestinian outside the Wall is one more zombie" theory....Israel is located on the same landmass as India, China, and ultimately Europe. They're not Ireland or Cuba. They'd be facing hordes of zombies numbering in the hundreds of millions: if the Palestinians outside the wall got infected, it would be just a drop in the bucket. As for "they should kick out the Palestinians to remove their enemies"....their immediate concern, on a completely pragmatic level of Realpolitik, was that in the months before human civilization collapsed, its Arab neighbors would feel threatened by this quarantine and make an all-or-nothing invasion. And Israel kind of wasn't hoping that human civilization would start collapsing as quickly as possible; who knew how long they'd have to placate surrounding Arab countries? What if the plague was successfully contained? They were trying to avoid another round of wars because they wanted to focus on the zombie problem.
  • I only listened to the audio book (unabridged unavailable, sadly), but there's a lot of talk of how hard it is to defend against zombies, with the Redekker plan and similar being portrayed as super important. What about a Big Wall? It seems like the simplest of medieval fortifications would thwart zombies with ease. A deep moat with some spikes in it, a pallisade, a wall more than 12 feet tall...? Do they try this in the full length book?
    • There's a chapter devoted to this in the regular book, about maintaining a castle. It does mention that castles generally tend to be good for keeping out zombies, as zombies can't climb walls, and that the real enemy was staying supplied, and keeping everyone alive from secondary threats. For example, one castle, falls when pneumonia breaks out among the defenders, killing them all, and another when the defenders accidentally detonate some explosives, blowing apart their wall.
    • Its sort of implied that as many if not more people died from starvation than from the actual zombies. In every town in the world, people would hide behind "big walls" or on rooftops....with no rescue party coming. You're safe in your castle...but the zombies control all the farmland. It was literally a siege, and the deciding factor in sieges is starvation. The chapter on European castles mentions this, and Todd Waino mentions that they encountered survivor enclaves which *didn't* fall to the zombies...they found nothing but human skeletons which had obviously been picked clean with knives, not eaten by zombies. Isreal *did* built a country-sized wall, around their farmland too, but that isn't something you can build in a hurry; they had to do it long in advance. Think of all those people in New Orleans, "just go somewhere high" -- standing on rooftops for days and dehydrating to death.
  • Why were the US newspapers so keen to make Phalanx seem effective? This troper is British, and maybe it's just English nature, but our newspapers are programmed to believe the worst of all pharmaceutical companies and I just find it so over the top that it would take all that time for someone to break the news.
    • One, the American news tends to keep to the party line. Two, ad revenue.
      • What party line? That's a gross generalization, and not really reflecting how American news actually works. Half the American news might support whoever's in charge, but the other half would be trying to paint them as Satan.
    • It was supposed to be satirical of Americans having short attention spans, the media being superficial, and the government being beheld to corporate interests (as well as short-sighted and looking for a quick fix). There's obviously some exaggeration involved, but I think you can chalk a lot of it up to a misunderstanding of the situation. We know that the Great Panic really got off in April, which is around the time through most of the continental US when it gets warm enough to stay above freezing temperatures. Since zombies freeze solid in freezing temperatures, it's not a stretch to imagine that zombie cases dropped heavily when the previous winter showed up, and the media incorrectly attributed that to Phalanx and its knock-off drugs.
    • Satire is funny "justification" in book that claims realism
      • Um, and? Satire and realism aren't mutually exclusive. In fact, a lot of the best satire is incredibly realistic.
  • Why did China want to keep it a secret? Maybe this is obvious, but...this troper just can't get it.
    • Totalitarian governments are fanatical about secrets, especially those that make them look weak. Consider the Chernobyl disaster: The Soviet Union didn't reveal anything was amiss until they started picking up radiation in Sweden, several days later.
    • It's another satire of how China tried to keep an avian flu outbreak under wraps a few years back, and only made things worse.
  • Who do you suppose the in-universe author was symbolically killing in the separate chapter "Closure, LTD"? I suspect it was a parent (Brooks' in-universe alter ego would have been a child or teenager when the Zombie Pandemic first occurred), possibly the "mom" he mentions at the end of World War Z.
  • How did so many zombies actually come to be about? 200 million zombies are mentioned in America, but here's the problem: in order to be infected, one has to be bitten, escape, stay safe for 24 hours, and reanimate. I can accept that this disease is 100% infectious, no one is immune and it never simply kills the victim, but for that many zombies to form, this means that nearly everyone who was bitten had to get away, and stay safe for a day. They can't be killed by the other members of their party, if they have one. They can't commit suicide. They can't be found/caught by other zombies (not unlikely, since they're wounded) or simply stumbled upon and eaten while they are "dead" just before reanimation (zombies prefer fresh meat, they will still eat carrion). For 200 million zombies to form, this would have had to happen (taking into account the chaos, those who survived, etc-- nearly 100% of the time.
  • Why are The "Holy Russian Empire"'s soldiers described as fighting in a (and I quote) "brutal and sloppy" manner, engaging in the evils of using all the weapons at their disposal such as flamethrowers, tanks, and machine guns. It's one thing to subvert/avert Mother Russia Makes You Strong, it's another to make them into the subhuman brutes the Nazis thought they were, or make them cowardly enough to require decimation to keep them in line in the same conditions that other armies adapted well to. Not to mention that their weapons are described as being "crude" and had a massive tendancy to misfire. This troper can attest that Russian milsurp ammo and weapons are usually in quite good condition, mostly due to the annoying-as-shit-to-remove cosmoline they're caked in before storage (if the book had mentioned that the misfires were do to the fact that the soldiers didn't clean the cosmoline out, it'd be another story).
    • The Russian military's fight against the zombie is only sloppy when compared to other countries. Where America had the "One shot, one kill" doctrine, Russian soldiers did whatever it took to kill the zombies. Sloppy refers to the fact that the Russians couldn't afford to use such a policy and therefore wasted resources. As for the decimations, the problem wasn't that the Russian soldiers were cowards. The problem was that they had no loyalty to the Russian government, and were more interested in protecting their families, friends, and themselves. The decimations did nothing to increase the bravery of the Russian soldiers, but by tying the fates of the soldiers and the government, it kept them loyal. As for the misfiring, I would assume that that can be attributed to a biased viewpoint. While in the narrator's unit perhaps the weapons were improperly stored, or the soldiers removed the cosmoline improperly, it's possible that other units got along just fine.
      • Yea, Max's research, While good, is not perfect. Remember, he thought the modern M16 was basically the same thing as the vietnam era ones.
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