INTERVIEW BY ANDY CAPPERPORTRAIT BY TARA SINN, WITH A PHOTO BY DAN MONICK
Anybody who cares even an iota about the state of the world and what happens to people when disease and wars happen should readby Max Brooks. It’s a fictional oral history of “the zombie wars” and it ranks as one of my favorite books of the last ten years. And I know what you’re thinking: zombie wars—how corny.Nevertheless,
is the kind of book that has you constantly saying “This is amazing” out loud. Not only is it a work of horror fiction to rival the best, but it’s also a well-researched treatise (in disguise) on survival, human nature, and the tiny, teeny thread that separates civilized society from total fucking chaos.Max, the son of Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks, is a former. He also wroteand has a graphic novel based on it coming out. Max is the latest addition to the zombie cognoscenti—a small group of glorious men like George Romero, Tom Savini, and Lucio Fulci—and we welcomed the chance to speak with him recently.Vice: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, I’m a massive fan of your books.Max Brooks:London. East London. I’m in fashionable Shoreditch. It’s very fashionable here.What were you doing here?How did you like London?We’re back?In what way?We have Starbucks everywhere.I just wanted to find out what the first fiction you read as a kid was.What did you have to read?Which was what?The Hunt for Red OctoberWhat sort of science fiction did you like?The Day of the TriffidsThe British one?I liked John Wyndham’s novel.On the BeachMad MaxSo World War Z is being made into a movie.Why’s that?World War ZWhat if the movie is like really, really terrible?It’s the Babylon 5 guy, isn’t it? Michael Straczynski.So you like Babylon 5?Have you seen any of the recent zombie films?28 Days LaterTrainspotting
He was the first guy to bring zombies who can run into the mix.TrainspottingDid you see the Dawn of the Dead remake?There’s a theory that the new zombies that run are the studios pandering to the supposedly shortened attention spans of the audience.How was that?Dawn of the DeadSo I guess filmmakers who used slow zombies credited their audience with a bit more intelligence.Saturday Night LiveA sneak peak from Max Brooks’s forthcoming graphic novel, The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks, out in spring 2009.How was that?What was the show like when you were on it?SeinfeldRight.What book are you reading at the moment?WaldenSuch as?Do you think you’re going to write another zombie thing?The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded AttacksWhat’s his name?You’ve never met him? How does that relationship work?How about giving us a sneak preview of the graphic novel?Zombie Survival GuideIs it in black-and-white or in color?How long is it?Awesome.What’s this I hear about you touring the book?From the book?Saturday Night LiveYou’re the main zombie guy now.Do you have a merch stand? Do you sell t-shirts?Zombie Survival GuidesWow.What about World War Z?World War Z.You’ve got to come over to the UK soon!The Zombie Survival GuideWhat was the process of writing the Survival Guide like?World War ZDo you think if there is ever a zombie outbreak that Obama will be able to handle it?Young WinstonWow.Ha ha. And there’s a happy ending in World War Z.