As it’s Christmas and I am still in the grey area between not believing in Santa Claus but because I have no religious leanings I figure might as well plump for an obese, overly generous, drunkard with a fetish for midgets and emptying his sack down chimneys; I thought I’d run a Christmas competition. Oh yes, I am talking prizes. Because it is the season to be merry and show kindness to all men, women and children – irrespective of race, colour or creed – I have decided that the competition theme is The Zombie Apocalypse.*
The term zombie was originally the name of a cadaver controlled by a voodoo spell in which a voodoo sorcerer conjurers the recently dead to reanimate and do his or her bidding – you know, pop to the shops or do the ironing. The obvious advantage of using zombies for labour is because they are technically dead they have no human or employment rights and can be used for the worst jobs on little pay and definitely no holidays or coffee breaks. Their most useful purpose is as hitmen as they are single minded and already dead so are a little bit tricky to stop unless you do something drastic. By drastic, I don’t mean change your career and get a new hair style; no, I mean set them on fire or chop their head off.
The modern, accepted, form of zombie is pretty much a amalgam of cult film director George A. Romero‘s zombies in his film Night of the Living Dead and Resident Evil‘s bio outbreak zombies in it’s series of films and video games. These zombies have been infected with a virus – transmitted by bites – which reanimate peoples who have snuffed it and then start shuffling around with a serious case of the munchies. They are slow moving but relentless and although easy to out-run and out-maneuver can be a touch tricky in large numbers. Apparently, the virus reawakens the central cortex and gives them basic motor skills and hunger (sounds like the aftermath of a stag night…) so the only way to kill a zombie is a head shot or decapitation – they’re a bit like a head of state in that respect.
The Zombie Apocalypse is very de rigour at the moment what with a slew of video games (Resident Evil, Left 4 Dead, Red Dead Undead Nightmare), films (Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later), TV series (The Walking Dead) and books (The Zombie Survival Guide, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) on the subject.
The reasons for this are three fold, I think. Firstly, zombies are a simple enemy. They don’t have an agenda or a religious credo muddying the waters of motive. They don’t have any racial stereotypes or national bias. In the age of Al Qaeda, suicide bombers and wars without borders they are a nice, straight-forward enemy with one motive (human flesh), no political agenda and they are completely and utterly disorganised. Secondly, they are sole remaining enemy the human race can be united against without causing block offense to some portion of society. Zombies and The Nazis, that’s all we have left. Finally, because they are such a shambling, clumsy enemy they are slow enough for ordinary people to fight with common household objects (see Left 4 Dead 2 and the strategic use of a frying pan) – they have democratized a global war.
Which brings me to the competition. I am giving away one copy of World War Z – An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks. It is the utterly compelling (fictional) history of the zombie war that starts off as a bit of fun but around half way through you think: I might just buy myself a crossbow…just in case. What I want from you is your best, full proof zombie apocalypse defense plan. Where you’re going to camp, how you’re going to get there and what you’ll defend yourself with. For example:
MrShev’s Zombie War Defense Plan
After toying with the idea of a suit of armour – a la Ned Kelly – i realised that defending myself and my family whilst clanking around like one of The Knights of Nee would be a bit of a bad idea so I think I’d opt for a Toyota Hylux (reliable, used in war zones) for transport and a riot gun and a samuri sword for defense with a couple of molotovs as bit of back up. The safe money would be to hole up in a prison or a mental hospital as both these places are hard to get into but the possibility of clearing out these places of zombie hanger-ons and/or psychotic maniacs/murderers/nutters would be too much for a greenhorn like me. So, I think I’d stay at home: we have a strong front door (with no glass), shutters and we’re on the first floor so I could use a ladder to shimmy up and down when we needed snacks. I’d obviously tip Nerf darts with sulphuric acid so that the kids could provide cover fire. Long term, I’d head to Tignes because it would be cold enough to freeze the zombies in winter (so that we could browse the adventure shops) and we could also ski – result!
*I watched The Walking Dead recently (brilliant BTW – Andrew Lincoin is great) and they holed up in a campsite – using tents! Seriously! What are they going to defend themselves with? Tent-pegs?! Bad language?! I ask you.