World War Z
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Credit: Paramount Pictures

The Churn: Max Brooks' World War Z

Presenters
May 28, 2020, 1:00 PM EDT

What has two heads, four arms, and an unslakable desire for post-apocalyptic content? The hosts of SYFY’s The Expanse podcast, The Churn!

That’s right, while the premiere of Season 5 of The Expanse is still months away, Ana Marie Cox and Daniel W. Drezner could not stop thinking about how it might be diverting to apply their brand of political science-meets-science-fiction analysis to content that has, unfortunately, come very close to home: fiction that addresses world-threatening disease outbreaks. Thus was born The Churn: Pandemic Edition.

Now: A disease with its origins in China that the Chinese Communist Party covers up with bellicose actions on its borders. An infection that soon acquires a racist moniker. The pandemic spreads and governments either deny there is a serious problem or do the least amount possible to ward it off. Bureaucracies that try to combat the current conflict with tactics to address the previous conflict. Societies ranging from North Korea to South Africa respond with wildly different approaches.

No, this isn't about Covid-19, but damn it sounds familiar: it's the premise of what Dan claims is the best zombie novel ever written, Max Brooks’ World War Z. Ana and Dan discuss why the novel feels so real even though it's about a disease that reanimates dead people. Brooks, inspired by Studs Terkel's oral histories, crafts a gripping narrative that spans the globe (and outer space) with a cast of characters that range from a Karl Rove facsimile to a Japanese computer jockey-turned-samurai to a South African white supremacist with the key to defeating the undead.

In the second half of the episode, Max Brooks drops by to discuss the origins of his groundbreaking novel, his thoughts on the film adaptation, and what, in his opinion, is the greatest disease facing the United States in 2020.

Listen below!

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Click here for previous episodes of The Churn.

If you have questions for the cast and crew, tweet us @syfywire with the hashtag #TheChurn.

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