My LibriVox recordings & my reading journal (solo Litblog).

World War Z notes; Home Front USA chapters 4 & 5

World War Z

Disclaimer: notes transcribed as is, no editing has been made so as to preserve my original feelings as I read the chapter.

Part 5, Home Front USA; Chapter 4, Roy Elliot.

Roy’s tale is very different from the previous tales.
Unlike some other refugees who are deemed an F-6, a person of no useful skill-set, he manages to find a use for his pre-war vocation. That of a film maker.
He explains about a condition now labelled as ADS.

Asymptomatic Demise Syndrome, or, Apocalyptic Despair Syndrome, depending on who you were talking to.

How this condition had cost the lives of hundreds of people every day, simply because these poor souls had lost the will to try. They were not suicide cases. So many people had finally found a safe area to rest their weary bodies and simply did not wake up again.
Roy found a way to use his old skill-set to do some good for a lot of people who were suffering from ADS.
His landmark movie “Victory at Avalon: The Battle of the Five Colleges”, made quite the difference. It was not an immediate effect on the communities where the movie was shown, but it had the effect of a pebble in a lake. A ripple effect.

As it turns out, the very night after Avalon made its “debut,” ADS cases dropped in LA by a whole 5 percent!

That ripple effect only grew with time.
What is truly amazing about Roy is that he had no funding but his own money, no endorsement from the officials. The government either didn’t see the importance of what Roy was attempting or simply didn’t have the time & resources to plan it all out. They had a monumental task ahead of them and Roy’s proposition would have gotten lost in a sea of requests.
Luckily Roy had his own pool of resources to tap in to, namely his former associates of camera operatives, film editors, sound editors & so on.
With the growing success of his Avalon film, Roy then sought to expand. More films were made & like the first, produced en mass & distributed as far & wide as possible.
Roy and his colleagues had so much success with giving hope to the people that the government had no choice but to pay attention, not only to Roy’s films but to the ADS problem as a whole.
He was allowed access to the military and his film, “Fire Of The Gods”, Continue reading this post

World War Z notes; Home Front USA chapter 3

World War Z

Disclaimer: notes transcribed as is, no editing has been made so as to preserve my original feelings as I read the chapter.

Part 5, Home Front USA; Chapter 3, Joe Muhammad.

Joe is a “stand up for your rights” kinda guy and I like him all the more for it.
He’s in a wheelchair but still feels he has the right and is capable of patrolling his neighbourhood. Good for him, unfortunately he mentions yet more lingering social bigotry but he does his job as part of the Neighbourhood Security Teams & seems to do it well.
As part of this volunteer service, he willingly goes to all the training courses & lectures, he mentions some of the sensible rules and the lack of the Lobos that obviously hadn’t filtered down to them yet through the DeStRes programme. It hasn’t stopped Joe, he has a weapon, training and follows the rules laid down. Including calling for backup should he need it. All in all, he & his fellow NST’s help keep the neighbourhood, ergo his neighbours safe from harm. Zombies and hardened criminals aside, there isn’t too much trouble. The constant flow of refugees proved difficult but only for the first year, then things settled down.
That’s when he mentions the Quislings.

Yeah, you know, the people that went nutballs and started acting like zombies.

I guess the will to live, to survive isn’t very strong in some people. I can not imagine feeling the need to be like a zombie in this context. It’s not like getting a job as a movie extra. The real zombies don’t care if you’re a wannabe, you’re just food to them. The psychological damage to a living human being must be intense in the extremes.
Joe puts forward that quislings were the reason people thought wonder drugs like Phalanx worked, or the idea of zombies attacking each other. It makes sense, but how do you treat a quisling. He goes on, saying he’s heard the stories about Walla Walla, the prison.
If all the “Q’s” are incarcerated there, then it’s little wonder anyone could find the resources to deal with real criminals in the pre-war fashion.

I think the saddest thing about them is that they gave up so much and in the end lost anyway.

I agree.

World War Z notes; Home Front USA chapter 2

World War Z

Disclaimer: notes transcribed as is, no editing has been made so as to preserve my original feelings as I read the chapter.

Part5, Home Front USA; Chapter 2, “the Whacko”.

Whacko? That may be some people’s opinion of this man, but he seems fairly sensible to me. Just very passionate, which can sometimes come across as being a bit mental. For some odd reason.

I do wonder why the new president’s former boss was under sedation, maybe he or she couldn’t handle all the zombie problems. I’ve mentioned before that the very idea of a world war against the undead is a logistical nightmare, an unimaginable chaos.

Greed, fear, stupidity, and hate. I saw it before the war, I see it today. My boss was a great man. We were damn lucky to have him.

This new president is cool and thoughtful, Whacko reckons they made a good team. Light & heat indeed.
It seems the combination was put to good use, there were some awful decisions to make and only a few of us would take the higher moral ground.
Their solutions to the crime, extremists and other human living enemies are inspired and many in today’s society would agree to bringing some of these tactics back. There’s nothing like shaming a criminal, and giving him or her a taste of the fear they inflict on others.
I even agree that it may work better than any prison, certainly in this zombie infested world it makes sense.
I do pity those that have been abandoned, those communities to the West of the Rocky Line. Obviously the new regime tried to support them with experienced soldiers and supply shipments, but that can’t have made the residents of these places feel secure or cared for as is a governments duty.
All of this is done at great personal cost to the new president, I wonder if he ever found out the fate of his relatives in Jamaica. I’ll bet it weighed heavily on his mind and caused a sleepless night or two. Instead he focused solely on bringing America back from the brink.

I don’t know if great times make great men, but I know they can kill them.

World War Z notes; Home Front USA chapter 1

World War Z

Disclaimer: notes transcribed as is, no editing has been made so as to preserve my original feelings as I read the chapter.

Part5, Home Front USA; Chapter 1, Arthur Sinclair, Junior

During the war, Mister Sinclair was director of the U.S. government’s newly formed DeStRes, or Department of Strategic Resources.

DeStRes, it’s job was to find those people who had the skills and talent to help maintain the survival of the refugees. Stock brokers, politicians, bankers; all these kinds of job descriptions were of little use any more. Arthur had to find people who were plumbers, bricklayers, bicycle menders. Practical skills. Those people who had been fixing their own household appliances to save what little money they had, rather than getting someone in to do it for them like the rich, power-playing folk do. Used to do, they are the ones learning these essential life-skills now. Even if they don’t want to.
Some of these former power-players have found new job satisfaction in their new average employment. There’s a lot to be said for the “I did that” factor. A natural rush, a self-satisfied pride that is deserved.

Arthur’s job was not made very easy though. He explains about his father and how he wished he had listened to him while he was living. His father, having lived through the FDR period of World War II, had these life-skills. Knowledge is the real power in this world but so few seek to attain it, it’s easier to just rest on one’s laurels, so to speak. One of my favourite phrases – “Knowledge is like manure, it’s of little value unless you spread it around”. Most of the world’s knowledge is also aimed at the left brain way of thinking. The right brain of thinking is when we get creative with out problems.
Creativeness, inventiveness; these are skills that most have forgotten how to use.

“Necessity, who is the mother of invention” – Plato, Greek author & philosopher in Athens (427 BC – 347 BC).

For Arthur this phrase is most true, he pools his human resources with relative intelligence. Deals with people who are stubborn & short-sighted with insight & patience.
Even he is surprised from where some of those great ideas have come from. For example, old myths about the jar-head marines; dispelled by some smart recycling & creativity.

Not that I’m saying his new job role was easy. Easy couldn’t be further from the truth. He also had to deal with sorting these people into different categories, depending on their level of usable skills & create a re-training program for those with, essentially, no skills. Deal with the millions of refugees in camps spread all over the mountains and coastline, the inherent problems that accompany such mass camps, like disease & starvation. Despair.
Then there is the racial & social bigotry to contend with,
in most countries there is at least some class-ism. High class, middle class, lower class who are sometimes referred to as working class. A high-ranking stock broker would probably never even talk to the person who cleans his/her office, it’s just not done. Now imagine this cleaning person being your new teacher, there’s bound to be a few people who feel degraded by this role reversal. Or even contempt, fury even.

All of this had to be accomplished quickly or the refugees would be doomed. Arthur had the fun job of having to learn new skills himself, since he did not listen to his father, he relied on the written word. A new book under his pillow every night. Must have been rough going on him, but it seems he relished his new vocation and even though he admits to making mistakes, he has learned from them. An important lesson in itself.
He mentions the time when Travis D’Ambrosia became chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He had in Travis, someone whom he could trust, someone whose opinion was thoughtful. Who could provide an insight Arthur himself could not see. I hope there are many people like that, with the re-training programme there ought to be more Travis’s and Arthur’s walking around.