Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.



Ninety-nine pages in, and the zombie war is not going well — at least for me. As an “oral history,” the book constantly shifts interviewees — we’re listening to a former Pakistani now in Iceland, or a mercenary who high-tailed it out of Long Island, or a doctor in mainland China. This makes for a travelogue of adventures you weren’t invited to. With every new interview, I wish the book had been written as a straightforward novel, so that we could follow a handful of people and not only witness the events from their perspective — but also grow to know them through their experiences. Instead, this book is like speed dating: Just when you get to know someone, the bell rings.

If you’d like to see if you disagree, click here.

7 Responses to “Lurch”

  1. Rich Roesberg Says:

    From your comments and the reviews on the Amazon page you provided a link to, it sounds like the interview technique is something that works for some but not all. I can see where it might interfere with character development and the forward movement of the story. On the other hand, it could add scope and variety.

    What especially caught my attention is that this appears to be another example of a writer taking genre themes and trying to make them into something loftier. I’m not opposed to that in principle but, if you don’t do it with care and a personal approach, the results can become unwieldy. Sort of like marrying superhero comics to ‘serious’ themes. When it works you get “The Watchmen”. When it doesn’t you end up with costumed superfolk spending too many pages agonizing over their personal conflicts or inability to help everyone they try to save.

    Maybe I’ll take a look at “WWZ” when I’m at a bookstore to see what I think of it. And we’ll all be waiting for the movie.

  2. Lee Wochner Says:

    And I guess you already heard that Brad Pitt won a fierce bidding war for the rights. Given how little I think of the book, my son said he figured I wouldn’t go see the movie — but he’s wrong. I anticipate that the movie will straighten out the narrative, as well as focus on a handful of characters — thereby fixing the book’s flaws. Plus — it’s a zombie movie, and I see all of those.

  3. Rich Roesberg Says:

    If you’re serious about seeing zombie movies, have you seen “Shaun of the Dead”? I haven’t, but it got good press and is supposed to be funny. There’s also one being touted as the American answer to ‘Shaun’, called “Dead and Breakfast”, starring a couple of nobodies, but with several interesting people in supporting roles, including David I’m-in-every-fifth-picture-made Carradine. Of course, Dennis Hopper is in every FOURTH flick put out.
    Are you fond of character actors? I’ll watch any picture that includes Dick Miller, Roddy McDowall, Scatman Crothers, Terry-Thomas, Robert Morley, Conchata Ferrell, John Huston, Garrett Morris, Milton Berle, or anyone who’s ever played a judge. My definition of character actor is pretty broad. I also love it when stars do character parts, like Dustin Hoffman as the theater manager in “Finding Neverland”. Heck, I’ll settle for anybody at all doing a cameo. I’m not fussy.

  4. Lee Wochner Says:

    Have I “seen” “Shaun of the Dead”? Hey, given its trope — that mindless consumers are like the walking dead — we here in Los Angeles LIVE “Shaun of the Dead.”

    And — sorry — but if you’ll watch any picture that includes Garrett Morris you are indeed not fussy. (Although I will watch any Roddy McDowell flick that has him in ape costume.)

  5. Rich Roesberg Says:

    GM was great in “The Stuff”, as a Famous Amos type character. I enjoyed him in the Black Scorpian movies, though the pictures were otherwise bad enough that they’ve gone into my trade-in pile. He had a larger role in “The Census Taker,” a Kafkaesque/Hitchcockian black comedy that could be described with the words “co-starring Garrett Morris”. So there.

  6. Lee Wochner Says:

    Unfortunately, Netflix has never heard of “The Census Taker,” so there’s no way forme to check it out. Unless you’d like to send it to me.

  7. Rich Roesberg Says:

    I’ve only watched it on cable. Maybe they’ll wisely run it again. Couldn’t even find it listed in Leonard Maltin’s movie guide. Had to dig through a few of my cultish movie books to track it down, which means that it’s special.

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