“In the Unlikely Event Of….”:
How To Survive the Zombie Apocalypse in Eight Easy Steps
I’ve been asked to write about how I would survive a zombie apocalypse. Sadly, as I’ve heard both that the average apocalypse can be quite stressful and that my hypertension medications may not be readily available once it happens, it’s already a given I won’t. However, that’s no reason not to give advice, particularly as most of what I’ve seen elsewhere on the Internet (particularly this idea that zombies require an apocalypse) is, well, dead wrong. Therefore, in the public interest, I’d like to offer eight genuinely useful tips on how, in the universe of my own books–which, of course, contain the most accurate information on such things to be found anywhere, ever–to survive ordinary, everyday encounters with the undead.
1. Practice gun control. As you really should already know, bringing a gun to a zombie attack is as foolhardy as bringing a knife to a gunfight; even a direct cranial hit has little effect, and the only thing more dangerous than a hungry zombie is a hungry, angry, wounded one with enough strength to wrench your shooting arm clean off. Leave the firearms at home, not only because they offer false security, but because in these sorry times it’s not unheard of for someone fearing attack to shoot a friend or loved one and toss them to the undead wolves as a distraction. As the American Firearms Association slogan pithily states, “Guns don’t kill dead people, dead people kill living people, so plan accordingly.”
2. Be an ailurophile. It’s a common misconception that zombies only desire human flesh; all living creatures are tasty and nutritious, from songbirds and field mice up through the odd unlucky mastodon. There is one strange exception, however: The ordinary domestic Felis catus repulses even hungry zombies, and only outright starvation will drive them to eat one. Fluffy and Mr. Tibbles aren’t a zombie-proof guarantee, but their odor can still effectively drive zombies away–and petting them reduces the stress hormones that make humans smell particularly delicious. Find your neighborhood “crazy cat lady,” and cultivate her friendship.
3. Don’t wander around strange places like an idiot. It always puzzles me when people act like zombies have “suddenly” appeared from nowhere–anyone who didn’t sleep through high school knows they’ve been around throughout all recorded history, their numbers occasionally increasing to crisis point and then subsiding again, and scientists have never been able to discover why some corpses return to life and others remain abed. (You already knew, of course, that that whole “It spreads through biting!” myth is ludicrous.) My point is, the undead are out there, there’s no getting around it and your local Public Safety office offers those free Environmental Hazard Zone maps for a reason: Stick to your path, and don’t wander off it ever. The ZedZone iPhone app (15.99 USD) is also, I’ve heard, a literal lifesaver.
4. Move to a subtropical climate. For those who missed it in biology, the zombie “life” cycle has four distinct phases: initial rot, gas bloating, insect infestation, and a skeletal “old age” before the undead body finally crumbles into dust. Needless to say, hot humid air is ideal for accelerating decay, and the shorter a time zombies have to roam the earth the less chance there is of your stumbling into one’s path. Whatever you do, however, steer clear of Arizona and New Mexico: The dry heat of desert regions can mummify and preserve undead flesh for centuries past its time, and the sights of Santa Fe aren’t worth ending up eaten by your own great-great-great-great-grandfather.
5. Don’t study science. It’s not that science isn’t invaluable, but the problem is that if you acquire degrees in it you could be recruited by one of your nation’s elite thanatology laboratories, and despite the dangers of full-time field research on the undead almost nobody can resist the astonishing salaries on offer, and then you might get it in your head to use one of those state-of-the-art laboratories to try and “cure” the undead once and for all, and…well, you’ve read my account of what can happen then, or if you haven’t it’s sobering stuff. Consider sociology or drama instead.
6. Take lots of recreational drugs. I honestly don’t know if the adage that zombies, with their near-canine sense of smell, are repulsed by the odors of alcohol (too reminiscent of embalming fluid), marijuana, and hashish is really true, or a self-serving legend. That said, can’t hurt, might help, and if it doesn’t you’ll be too many sheets to the wind to know what hit you anyway. Don’t make the common stoner mistake of neglecting to bathe, however, because to the discerning undead nose sweat and B.O. are like gravy on brisket.
7. Got a light? As noted, bullets won’t help if you awaken one night to find the drool all over your pillow comes not from you, but the maggot-caked remains of your least favorite aunt. A flamethrower, however, is your best friend and Aunt Maggie’s worst enemy, so sign up for lessons at your local incendiary range and always, always carry a lighter–and, if you’re emotionally sensitive, earplugs to drown out Aunt Maggie’s agonized dying screams. And speaking of corpses and fire…
8. Convert to Hinduism, and proselytize. Hinduism not only permits cremation of the dead, but with very few exceptions mandates it to release the soul from bodily entrapment. I don’t think I need explain how different human history might’ve been, if only all cultures had embraced this theological doctrine and stuck to it, but as it stands now the “trad burial” lobby has politicians from every major party smack in its pockets. Genuine change, as always, only happens one hopefully-living person at a time.
I hope these tips prove useful to you and yours. Of course if they don’t there’s no point in crying to me because, as noted, I’ll already be dead and buried…at least, let’s hope so.
Joan Frances Turner was born in Rhode Island and grew up in the Calumet region of Northwest Indiana. She is the author of the novel Dust, a story of the undead as told from their own point of view and the first in her Resurgam Trilogy, and its sequel Frail, from the all-important human perspective.
She is currently working on the third and final book in the Resurgam trilogy.
Summary for Dust (Resurgam #1) – Jessie Porter is fifteen, orphaned, homeless, and undead. She lives hand to mouth in the Indiana backwoods with a band of fellow zombies, sleeping rough, hunting prey, fighting with rival gangs and waiting to slowly, inevitably crumble into dust. Her former life as a weak, despicable human being is nothing but an embarrassment, a long-gone dream…until her brother finds her, after obsessive years of searching. Until Jessie realizes she’s caught between her families old and new, and that both of them have been lying to her for years. Until a mysterious woman shows up in the woods, neither living nor properly undead, dying of a disease nobody knows or can explain. Until a chain of conspiracy, contagion and mutual hatred threatens the very survival of both humans and zombies alike–and Jessie herself may be the unwitting cause. Can she unearth the long-hidden truth about herself, her family and her world…before the world as she knew it ceases to exist?
Joan is kindly giving away a copy of Dust.
For entry into the giveaway please answer the following question then fill out the form below: Everyone likes to imagine they have what it takes to survive a zombie apocalypse. Everyone, of course, is kidding themselves. What is the specific reason you, personally, would be doomed in the event of a zombie apocalypse, and how long would it be before your inevitable death?
This giveaway is open to US/CAN/UK and ends 12:00am GMT 30th November 2012
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