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Zombie Survival Guide author charismatically entertains Case Western Reserve students

Adrian Waldron

Issue date: 10/17/08 Section: Focus
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The air inside Thwing Ballroom last Thursday morning was filled with anticipation. Students covered the room to enjoy a discussion with Max Brooks, author of The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z. As opposed to an average Case lecture, the room bustled with enthusiasm for the writer, with some students even skipping class to attend his talk. Perhaps the satirical nature of his work drew such a crowd. Maybe students came because they knew Max Brooks' speech would be more like a stand-up comedian's performance than a long drawl about a book that few actually read in the first place. Whatever the reasons, students showed up to Thwing on Oct. 9 in droves. Two students even dressed up, one as a bona fide zombie and another as an old timey news writer, press slip in hat and all.

Brooks interacted with over 120 students as he stood before the group. Pacing to and fro at floor level, he acted more as stress relief than a guest speaker. His speech was witty and engaging, mostly because there was very little serious area to cover. One line in particular cracked everyone up when he answered a student's question about when one should start reacting to a zombie outbreak: "Well, I mean, wait until your local and national news starts covering it. Don't just go out there like a vigilante and club some guy. If you see some dude walking out of a frat house moaning and stumbling, don't get overly enthusiastic and crush the guy's skull. That'll be hard to explain to the prosecution. 'I thought he was a contagious zombie' will definitely send you to jail...unless you plead insanity."

Going on with the subject, he made a hilarious political quip: "When CNN and all the news stations are telling you that the zombies have begun rising in number - Fox News will still be talking about stopping gay marriage, so just ignore them - then you'll know that it is time to gather up your supplies and get moving." Quick one-liners and silly quips caught attention, and Brooks had to pause frequently to allow students' laughter to cease.
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