Since I've been seeing promos for the movie, and the book has been on my to-read shelf for a while, I pulled the book off and read it. I prefer to read the book before I see the movie, if I know ahead of time that it's made from one. From the promos I can tell that all they've used from the book is the title and the fact that there are zombies. This would have been a tricky book to faithfully translate to film, but it could have been done with skill and originality. Oh wait, I'm talking about Hollywood. Not going to happen.
The promos look quite a lot like the movie 2012. Family in vehicle, trying to escape. Lots of chase scenes and explosions. I'll watch it - probably will wait for the dollar movie. Looks like a pretty standard action flick. I hope I'm pleasantly surprised.
The book, on the other hand, is written as a series of interviews with a wide variety of people after the war is over (for the most part - it can't really ever be completely over). Each interview, ranging in length from one page to ten, is from a different person and has a completely different voice. Person by person, they tell the story from Patient Zero to when humanity finally gets its feet under it and rallys. People from all over the world tell their piece of the story: heartbreaking, scary, self-deprecating, blunt. Along the way, bureaucracy, pride, government/military hubris, greed, and a host of other social ills get in the way. Talk about illuminating the human condition - the author illuminates and skewers virtually every social, government, and religious institution on earth. Every country. And without being obvious or preachy.
If you read this expecting a conventional horror or thriller, you'll be disappointed. But if you're willing to let a story unfold slowly, bit by bit, until it takes over the entire world and changes it forever, read this. It's an amazing book.