“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.



PUBLISHER: Berkley UK | RELEASE DATE: Sept 2011 | BUY IT: Amazon UK / Amazon US

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?

Website | Facebook | Goodreads


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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Carolyn created Book Chick City in July 2009 due to her love of books. A Brit chick obsessed with zombies, kick-arse chicks and sexy heroes. She's also seriously addicted to chocolate, shopping, and coffee. Her favourite genres are Urban Fantasy, Romance and Zombie Lit... Brrraaaaiiinnnnsss!


Melanie November 5, 2012 at 2:25 pm

You Joan are HILARIOUS!
That was very amusing.

If there ever is a z-poc I am going to head to my Mom’s and get her to cook up some soup to feed the undead horde. Its been known to almost take out most of our family with G.I.D so think it would probably make a zombie implode.


Anne L November 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm

I have always liked to think that in the event of a zombie apocalypse I would become a machete wielding survivalist.
However I have insulin dependant diabetes. I’m usually fairly well stocked up on insulin. But I would inevitably run out, the local pharmacies would be looted. Then I’d either starve to death trying to keep my blood sugar down or become a sweet treat for the zombies to chew on after I fall in to a diabetic coma.

So Mr Scientist if you could find a cure for type 1 diabetes before you unleash your dead raising virus it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks


Marie-Claude November 5, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Sadly…….it would not be to long to my inevitable death…..because I am not a fighter.


Mel S November 5, 2012 at 3:58 pm

I doubt I’d survive long in the end of a zombie apocalypse… l’ve spent too long reading rather than training for the end of the world so unless a brisk walk will be quick enough to avoid the hoardes and I don’t need to aim at anything, I think I’d be one of the first to go! :-(


Christine Fridlington November 5, 2012 at 6:18 pm

I would not last long as I’m too polite not to open the front door when someone calls. So all the zombies have to do, is figure out how to ring the doorbell and that’s me gone!


sherry fundin November 5, 2012 at 8:05 pm

by the time i believed it, id probably already be dead. lol


Melissa (Books and Things) November 5, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Um… I’m not sure Hinduism and proselytize have ever been in the same sentence before. :)

Oh I’m going down. I’ll be down in the first wave. I’m trying to just figure out how to best get at those brains! :)


Jessica Bronder November 5, 2012 at 8:17 pm

I think I have an advantage because my favorite thing is zombies. If you read enough books and watch the movies you have a head start on knowing the enemy. I also had being around people and have learned how to hunt and gather.

Sadly I’m a huge klutz. I will avoid the zombies but it’s going to be something like a trip and fall that cracks my head open that will be my demise.


Jennifer H. November 5, 2012 at 11:28 pm

I have a bum ankle so I can’t run when necessary. I give myself a few days.


Rachel at theJeepDiva November 6, 2012 at 3:04 am

I am a fighter but I ma also out of shape so not sure how long I would last. I would definately go down fighting though.


Michelle Miller November 6, 2012 at 6:03 am

I’m just going to lay it all out for you. I’m pretty overweight and so, cannot run very fast. I don’t think I would last very long. Now, if I lose all my weight before the apocalypse, it may be an entirely different story. LOL!

Thanks for the giveaway!


Megan McDade November 6, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I watch so many zombie movies and programme I think I know I would be able to survive but frankly I would be too scared to do anything and would run and hid so I might survive awhile as all I would do it hid LOL


Srivalli November 6, 2012 at 10:56 pm

The specific reason I would be doomed because I would be sleeping when all this is happening. But then when I wake up, all this may be over. Can Zombies distinguish the sleeping from the dead? If not, sad for them.


jenn November 7, 2012 at 12:05 pm

I’d love to think I’d last but I’m a heavy sleeper so I think that would be it for me. I’d maybe last a few days and then it’d be all over because I’d be napping and then I’d be lunch… :)

Great giveaway question, BTW.


Emma Jackson November 7, 2012 at 4:34 pm

I think I’d be too squeamish to fight back :’)


keith November 7, 2012 at 7:23 pm

hmmm i`d be a prime target with my pot belly 😉 , i mean its the same as putting a huge pizza in front of a diet club lol! sadly i`d perish way too quickly :-)


val November 7, 2012 at 10:37 pm

I wouldn’t last very long, I would be sat in the corner with my eyes closed denying anything wrong. If I can’t see it it’s not happening, lol!


Solange November 8, 2012 at 9:34 am

I’m too lazy. I just couldn’t be bothered to fight back. I’d get my brains eaten pretty quickly.


Brian November 10, 2012 at 10:29 am

I’d be dead in the first five minutes. Unless I could find a big strong woman to look after me.


Devon November 12, 2012 at 3:23 pm

I would rather just get the inevitable death over with as fast as possible


Ashley snyder November 13, 2012 at 12:40 am

lmao. wow. I am always saying that if the zombie apocalypse ever happened, i would be the first to go. first of all, my family are of the mind set “I dont have to outrun the zombie hoarde, i just have you outrun YOU” and I cannot outrun these people. lol. plus, i would be all freaking out trying to save my dogs. Come on, Donnie! Bear, no! haha. I would be helping my mom because she would be trying to save the dogs too. I would just be screwed. lol


Selinda November 13, 2012 at 2:57 pm

I am in no shape to run for days upon days!


Adam Robinson November 15, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I think my dog would be the death of me. He’s deaf and likes to thing he’s in charge. Unfortunately it means him being in front of us when walking but constantly looking behind himself to check we’re still there. And then walking into everything. I doubt he’d be the faithful hound saving me lol.


Jenn November 17, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Knowing myself and all my klutziness, I would probably be the one to start the zombie apocalypse.


hannah oneill November 18, 2012 at 7:32 am

I wouldn’t last long, I could fight but I figure if there was a zombie apocalypse we’d nearly all die anyway!


Penni November 18, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Oh I had a post on my Facebook during Halloween for some fun that reminds me of this! I will share here!

A zombie apocalypse has broken out in your neighborhood and you need to go and save someone you really care about. You can pick one melee weapon, one long distance weapon and a song on your iPod to slay zombies to. What are they and why?

For me the weapons are an easy choice… Melee weapon would be the 3 foot metal pipe in the garage because its metal and won’t break easily and has a decent reach…. My choice of ranged weapon is a compound bow and my reason for this is two part. The first part is because of my accuracy with a bow is near on perfect, and secondly its quiet so I can kill from a distance and the rest of the zombies won’t hear me. And last but not least my song of choice for killing zombies would have to be Drowning Pool- Let The Bodies Hit The Floor

hehe sorry that makes this a long post! In all reality I would probably one of the first to bite the bullet as I would have my nose stuck in a book and not even realize zombies are taking over!


Robert Banning November 18, 2012 at 9:49 pm

I am a real negative thinker and would probably give up on trying to survive within hours.

“Game over, man!”


Annabelle H November 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I suffer from anxiety so I’m pretty sure that would be the death of me. I would just freeze up!


Julz November 25, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Not believing/noticing that there were Zombies probably!


Peter Gilby November 27, 2012 at 11:17 am

over confidence would kill me probably a survivor friend would kill me because i turn into a megalomaniac! I still think i would live through it though :)


bn100 November 29, 2012 at 9:33 pm

don’t know how to handle zombies


Annamarie Riddiford November 29, 2012 at 9:42 pm

I’d hole myself up in a castle thinking I had the perfect survival situation. I’d stock up with loads of food and wine BUT there would be a huge flaw in my plan…… I’d only last as long as a van of chocolate takes to eat and then I’d be doomed opening the gates to get MORE


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