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

Henry VI, Part 1 by William Shakespeare

LibriVox logoHenry VI, Part 1 (often written as 1 Henry VI) is a history play by William Shakespeare (1564-1616), believed to have been written in 1591, and set during the lifetime of King Henry VI of England. Whereas 2 Henry VI deals with the King’s inability to quell the bickering of his nobles, and the inevitability of armed conflict, and 3 Henry VI deals with the horrors of that conflict, 1 Henry VI deals with the loss of England’s French territories and the political machinations leading up to the Wars of the Roses, as the English political system is torn apart by personal squabbles and petty jealousy. (Summary by Wikipedia)

My contribution to this collaborative effort is the (minor) character of “John Talbot” (during Act 4).

This way to the download locations & the book text…

World War Z notes; Warnings chapter 7

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 1. Warnings; Chapter 7, Saladin Kader

Such an emotionally charged account; both politically & racially explosive, an older & perhaps wiser Saladin Kader recounts his pre-war life at age 17. A time when he thought he knew everything and was about to be recruited (at his own instigation) by the “Children Of Yassin” in Kuwait City.
It seems he thought very little of his docile father, but the eldest Kader had seen not one but two results of the African Rabies virus. Which just made him most determined to evacuate his family to, what seems to be the only country willing to believe in the threat of “African Rabies” (as some have called it, but I’m not keen on this name for the zombie plague). Even if it means heading toward a country that the family consider the enemy.

I love the moment that Saladin’s father, in a moment of desperation and blind fear of losing his son forever, suddenly transforms from the timid, soft father he knew into a lion protecting his cubs.
As he recounts, where had this man come from.

Some martyr I turned out to be, I think I cried all the way to Cairo.

Fear is a most potent weapon and his father used it to save his life. Such is a strong and powerful love parent can have that is overpowers all rational thought, in this case deservedly so.

Once the family arrive in Cairo, Saladin sees that the Israeli quarantine without prejudice. If the dogs don’t like what they smell, that person is removed. Ordinary injuries are dealt with normally but the infected are escorted away from the rest of the population.
The Israeli government reacted to the virus by taking all reports regarding it seriously. Disappointingly, they only let people of a certain background into their borders. I’m not sure I understand why, certainly a virus couldn’t care less what nationality of person it infected. It disregards all religious preferences. Gender? Who cares! Sexual persuasion? What’s that?!
Saladin’s opinions are polar opposite to the Israeli government, but just as racist. Continue reading this post

World War Z notes; Warnings chapter 6

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 1. Warnings; Chapter 6, Jurgen Warmbrunn

This Einstein lookalike, self professed old spy is a very interesting person. If he were real, I would be most interested in meeting and conversing with him.

Jurgen comes across, not as a James Bond styled spy, but more like a Sherlock Holmes.
The idea of having ten spies, nine agreeing on a particular subject and the tenth having to play Sherlock and dig for the truth, no matter how unbelievable, seems like a good no-nonsense scientific approach.
The truth though, is a will-o-the-wisp and everyone’s definition of truth can be vastly different. Even honesty can be just as hard to define. So digging for the truth sounds absolutely life consuming.
However, Jurgen digs and deeply. Learning not only of the accounts of the previous chapters but also cases dismissed by other organisations, some of which are global.
He successfully correlates all the gathered information and sees the viral outbreaks of zombies as a harsh fact.

Of course, at this point he approaches other government agencies, other spies and finds he is not alone in his conclusions.
His long time friend Paul Knight not only came to the same conclusions but his files are just as weighty as Jurgen’s and probably just as in-depth.
Together they write the Warmbrunn-Knight report, but Jurgan is quick to point out the real amount of people who had worked on the plan in this report, a motley crew from vastly different fields, all with valid and important information to impart.
It’s just a pity too few officials seemed to have taken the report seriously, at great cost it seems.
Which goes back to what Jurgen said at the beginning of his account to Mr. Brooks.

Most people don’t believe something can happen until it already has.

By which time, it’s usually too late.

World War Z notes; Warnings chapter 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 1. Warnings; Chapter 5, Jacob Nyathi

Max’s meeting with Jacob begins with Jacob’s ship. The “IS Imfingo”. A fantastic, futuristic vision of what wind power could do for humanity. I’d love to see a fleet of those floating out of port.

Jacob’s account is not so inspiring. I’ve always had difficulties grasping a post apartheid South Africa. Envisioning this country that, only recently, pulled itself back together, a people getting used to the idea of being united, now having to deal with a horrendous outbreak of a yet unidentified disease. To me spells a recipe for disaster.

The authorities are clueless, I guess they treated the outbreak in Jacob’s home as a riot or an uprising. A horrible thought and I don’t like the fact that I thought of the word uprising, but perhaps the police force in a post apartheid neighbourhood would think exactly that.

The idea that these people may be fleeing for their lives, is so totally foreign a concept that the police shot on sight, without a second thought.
This was Jacob’s fate, shot in the shoulder and rendered unconscious.
When he comes to, I can understand the amount of arguments he (somewhat hazily) overhears.
Doctors don’t expect their patients to react to bullet wounds in such a brutal manner.

Many have noticed the black ooze that the re-animated have dripping from their various wounds, what is left of the infected person bodily fluids. Although the victim is no longer alive, it has been put forward that infected organs & blood from living donors can spread the zombie virus. Can the congealed, dead blood that is the black ooze also spread the infection, a bite is enough to transmit the virus. I can’t help but wonder how many cuts & grazes have been infected. Easily done in Jacob’s home of a shanty town, with so many people escaping from their makeshift homes. So much rubbish lying around, so many homes made from old salvaged wood & corrugated iron. So many sharp edges.

World War Z notes; Warnings chapters 3 & 4

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 1. Warnings; Chapter 3, Stanley MacDonald

Stanley MacDonald, veteran soldier of Canada’s army, first witnessed a “zombie” in Kyrgyzstan. Strangely enough, the transport from Nury’s account carrying Armani-man was headed for this same area. Stanley seems like a good man and a good soldier, helping to stamp out world terrorism’s financial support – drugs.
He reveals a macabre story. Following some massacre a lone survivor must have managed to escape. Stanley describes following the blood trail, the spot where the tracks inexplicably and radically change, the same spot where a right Nike shoe is found.
The trail leads to a cave. Carnage and mayhem are all that Stanley’s troop find. A one-sided fire fight, men succumbing to their own booby traps. They must have fled in panic to do so, a huge scramble to escape the atrocities against nature going on inside the cave. What Stanley describes is nothing short of a blood bath. His descriptions are not graphic by any means but the mind unhelpfully provides the necessary missing information.
It is after Stanley leaves the medical unit, where the left Nike shoe is found, that the soldier meets his first zombie.
He thought he was helping a survivor, but survivors have never been known to try and eat their rescuer.
A single shot to the head and the bewildered soldier is free from the clutches of the infected person.
Unfortunately, as Stanley was the only witness to this he then has to cope with his home country’s way of denying what he saw.
PTSD, exposure to chemical agents and other fancy plausible causes, because who could believe that the dead should try to consume the living. Stanley’s subsequent “evaluation” must have been seriously damaging to his psyche.

It is only interrogation when it is the enemy

Continue reading this post

World War Z notes; Warnings 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.

Part 1. Warnings; Chapter 2, Nury Televaldi

Nury Televaldi describes himself as an importer.
His definition of an importer is somewhat unscrupulous, his practices downright immoral.
He openly admits to importing boys & girls along with the usual drug trafficking and presumably anything else he can sell.

He mentions how he made many officials rich via his “business”, I’m sure he also made a pretty penny.
It seems Nury, and others like him didn’t think too much about any outbreaks. Not even near his old home in Kashi.
Max Brooks questions Nury about his practices and “air transport”. How to fool the officials if you are infected, thereby helping to spread the infection to other populations.
Hellfire! the way he talks reminds me of a human strain of bird flu some years back. Air travel was one of the worst culprits, purely because the signs of illness didn’t show until the person was already a continent away. Nury’s tale of a couple escaping to Paris is a classic example in how air travel works in favour of the contagion.
Nury than goes on to speculate that the infected husband may well have been the source of the Paris outbreak.
Gee, what a thoughtful couple. As Nury states, they must have thought the “West” had a cure.
He also mentions this event happened before Flight 575, although this obviously important flight is not elaborated on.

Okay, what he says makes sense here; if you escaped from some place, possibly dangerous, where better to hide than in a ghetto where people come and go everyday, or even disappear outright. A ghetto, even in a major city like London or New York are the perfect places for the infected to hide. A virus is an unknown factor but an infected bite mark – you can’t not know about the infection, hence escape with the hope of a cure. When that cure proves to be unattainable, hide. Continue reading this post

World War Z notes; Introduction and 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.

Max Brooks makes a good argument to his superior regarding the human factor. Reports shouldn’t just be about cold facts & figures, especially regarding any kind of human event, global or localised. It is important to remember what the human cost is on a personal level.
How else are we to learn from our mistakes, “our” meaning the entire human race.

Part 1. Warnings; Chapter 1, Dr. Kwang Jingshu

35 million+, reduced to 50,000.
That’s one heck of a dent in China’s population. What a way to open a chapter!

Dr Kwang Jingshu begins his account on the war with somewhat nostalgic reminisces on pre-war China, it’s politics and what average doctors were expected to treat.
A far cry from what is to come.
He muses about trying to find a village that technically doesn’t exist, in the dark, in deep rural China.
It doesn’t sound like an easy or comfortable drive but Kwang, being the good & concerned doctor he is, finds his way.
Although his mood suffers in the process.

This better be damned serious

Be careful what you wish for.
The villagers are afraid of the sick, Kwang’s grand cultural criticism may have some valid points but at least he doesn’t direct his anger at the villagers themselves.
He is a doctor first & foremost and proceeds to tell a most disturbing account, not only of the sick in their makeshift, cold & damp quarantine shed, but also of the boy.
We never learn of his name, only that his father is missing, his mother may be one of the weeping and that the boy himself is patient zero. The father is Continue reading this post