Freight’s Friday Feature

Fridays are days for fun things! On Fridays we’re going to write
a wee bit about things that we enjoy.
We hope you enjoy them too.

world war z audiobookSo I’ve been wanting to do a post on the audiobook for World War Z by Max Brooks for quite some time now. I’m still a little bit cynical about ebooks, but this one absolutely floored me with its awesomeness. It works perfectly as an ebook as it’s, in essence, a series of recollections and stories about ‘The Zombie War’, and the audio version allows for vocal differentiation and a heightened characterisation – you are literally hearing each individual speak, and this really helps to separate the stories.

scorseseAnother thing that makes this so great is the cast. I really can’t praise the vocal performances enough. Each story’s narrator is from a different place, and the vocal performances lend another layer of reality, helping you to become entirely absorbed in what’s going on. The format of ‘the interview’ also works well – it’s as though you’re listening to a recording of each interview, not an audiobook.maxbrooksMax Brooks gives an incredibly convincing audio performance as the interviewer, and other famous names include Martin Scorsese, Simon Pegg, Nathan Fillion and Mark Hamill. I’ll be honest though, they are barely recognisable unless you look up the characters as they give such brilliant performances as their zombie war survivors (see the bottom of this post for the full cast). This book isn’t just for fans of the Zombie, Dystopian or Apocalypse genres. It’s for fans of real characters, courage and imaginative storytelling. I can’t recommend this highly enough.

I’ll admit that I’m not an audiobook aficionado though – this is the only one I’ve listened to. But I struggle to see how the experience of reading the book could be any better than the experience of listening to it performed. For me, this book works in audio the way that plays work in performance. You can read it, of course, but it’s designed to work best in a particular format. For me, this is one of those texts. So utterly wonderful and absorbing. If we did star ratings on this blog it would get 5 full, gleaming stars of approval from me.

Side note: I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about audiobooks in general. I think for books like this, audiobooks can be excellent, but in general I’d say nay. I don’t think everything needs to be made into an audiobook, and some books definitely shouldn’t be. I find that audiobooks have an immediacy about them that doesn’t lend itself to the process of reading and thinking. If you daydream or have a little thought about what you’re listening to, the story carries on without you and leaves you behind. This is a problem. But I’m interested to find out your thoughts! Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Full cast:

Max Brooks as The Interviewer
Steve Park as Kwang Jingshu
Frank Kamai as Nury Televadi
Nathan Fillion as Stanley MacDonald
Paul Sorvino as Fernando Oliveira
Ade M’Cormack as Jacob Nyathi
Carl Reiner as Jurgen Warmbrunn
Waleed Zuiater as Saladin Kader
Jay O. Sanders as Bob Archer
Dennis Boutsikaris as General Travis D’Ambrosia
Martin Scorsese as Breckinridge “Breck” Scott
Simon Pegg as Grover Carlson
Denise Crosby as Mary Jo Miller
Bruce Boxleitner as Gavin Blaire
Ajay Naidu as Ajay Shah
Nicki Clyne as Sharon
Jeri Ryan as Maria Zhuganova
Henry Rollins as T. Sean Collins
Maz Jobrani as Ahmed Farahnakian
Mark Hamill as Todd Wainio
Eamonn Walker as Xolelwa Azania / Paul Redeker / David Allen Forbes
Jürgen Prochnow as Philip Adler
David Ogden Stiers as Bohdan Taras Kondratiuk
Michelle Kholos as Jesika Hendricks
Kal Penn as Sardar Khan
Alan Alda as Arthur Sinclair Junior
Rob Reiner as “The Whacko”
Dean Edwards as Joe Muhammad
Frank Darabont as Roy Elliot
Becky Ann Baker as Christina Eliopolis
Parminder Nagra as Barati Palshigar
Brian Tee as Hyungchoi / Michael Choi
Masi Oka as Kondo Tatsumi
Frank Kamai as Tomonaga Ijiro
John Turturro as Seryosha Garcia Alvarez
Ric Young as Admiral Xu Zhicai
Alfred Molina as Terry Knox
John McElroy as Ernesto Olguin
Common as Darnell Hackworth
F. Murray Abraham as Father Sergei Ryzhkov
Rene Auberjonois as Andre Renard

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