Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Geeky Homage to Japan

As the stories about devastation in Japan first rolled in, I happened to be reading the most Japan-centered part of the novel World War Z (which is all a series of self-contained brief anecdotes, done as flashback oral reports from around the globe, about the zombie war).  The section builds up very gradually and subtly to a super hardcore-geeky premise (unlike the highly "realistic" tone of the rest of the book), without telegraphing strongly in advance that that's where it's headed, which ends up being beautiful in an Unbreakable sort of way. 

Basically, one of the personal histories recounted is that of a blind Japanese man, who hid in the forest when the zombies started killing everyone and the entire country of Japan had to be evacuated.  

And most of it is fairly low-key and just about him coping with his blindness, until, at the end: while in the forest, he gradually becomes adept at killing zombies who approach him with a shovel even though he can't see them...and then he learns there's one other guy out there alive, who agrees to assist him...and they have an old sword but little else...and it ends with the two deciding that if it's just the two of them left alone in Japan, one blind sensei with a shovel and his sidekick with a sword, with an estimated fifty million zombies against them...then it is still their duty to try to kill all those zombies and preserve the nation. 

And we are given no subsequent details about how things went...except that we know they survived to give the report.  And believed the gods were on their side. 

(More about World War Z in my Book Selections entry next month.  And on my Facebook page today: amazing Japanese bear-jitsu.)

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