Competition Time: Baton down the hatches!

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 #45 #46*

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.


9 thoughts on “Competition Time: Baton down the hatches!

  1. The old elementary school up the street, three stories, small windows, easily defended. On a hill. Large straw bale fence surrounding it (20ft high). A buttload of sawed off shotguns. 12 gauge seems to be best. Easy access to roof, and flat roof so easy to keep lookouts. Raid pharmacy down street for all necessary medications, etc. Stockpile ammo. enough room to garden and we live in a place where summer is long enough. I know how to butcher animals, bake bread from scratch, grow my own yeast, can veggies etc so it’s all good 😉 I can also sew, shoot and have a HUGE set of balls on me. If you manage to get through ME, you have to face my husband, the walking mountain with a temper. LOL. But, alas and alack!! I already own a copy of the book.

    1. Sounds pretty foolproof but my inner zombie-killer says: straw bale fence? Me no likey…

      But, couple of questions: How do you grow your own yeast? How do you can your own veggies? I thought it was interesting in the book about heading to cold climbs so that the zombies freeze and you get a few months of freedom to forage / build defences / house-clear…

      Anyway, you guys sound like a couple of bad-ass mofos who need no help from me.

      1. well, LOL, see I was raised by my grandmother on a farm. Yeast occurs naturally in the environment, as does a number of things. Salt, etc. You can START with store bought yeast, and use that to grow more and more. Then, simply dry it out. Canning veggies is easy, grow them first LOL, then cook them, boil the jars, boil the rubber rings, boil the lids, put the hot food in a lite salt water solution (to prevent spoilage), pop into the jars, put jars in boiling water to the 3/4 level of the jars, heat, seal, increase water to over the jars, boil for about 15 minutes, bring out, let cool to room temp and store for up to 2 years.

        And actually, a straw bale fence is easy to construct, put together stacked with rebar and then sprayed with concrete. It is extremely durable, very strong laterally, 2 feet thick, unable to be shot through without close up armor piercing rounds, and very insulative as well LOL. There are straw bale homes on the northern plains which have withstood earthquakes of high magnitude, gale force winds, blizzards of monumental proportions, as well as anything else nature felt inclined to throw at them. Some of them are well over 200 years old.

        I like the idea of solar panels. Since the school has a flat roof, I could incorporate them easily and there is a HUGE basement for battery storage as well. Additionally, a hydroponic garden could be grown in the basement, with livestock in the fenced enclosure. The school is a large square building about 100 x 200 feet (guess that’s more of a rectangle isn’t it?) with two stories above ground and one half ground level, and then a subterranean basement as well. Since it’s only 2 blocks away….easy to get to, take over etc.

        It is now apartments, so there are lots of places for everyone to stay with privacy and is already set up for living, which is damn nice in my book. Additionally, our water table is very high here so drilling a well would be fairly simple. We already own a generator, an auger, etc….and a number of firearms 😉 so we don’t have to raid any armories to be defended…

        Yes, we have in fact, thought this through. In these political times, it’s very stupid not to isn’t it?

  2. It’s funny really. In any company I put forth the strong opinion that any MAN worth his salt should have a post apocalyptic survival plan in place that at a pinch would also serve as a Zombie survival plan. I get odd looks, I get sniggered at. In fact the only person who I’ve come across who has one is our friend Martin.

    To me it makes sense to have one you see.

    We have a water butt in the garden that will provide water for the jerry cans, and a selection of spades etc for immediate defence. My plan involves a dash for the nearby Toyota show room in our existing car. We’ll grab (ideally) a Hilux or a Land Cruiser, pack it full of our kids and kit raided from the local outdoor wear shop (I’ll already have packed my camping stove and other handy gear).

    Then we’ll head down to Dorset/Devon/Cornwall. Cornwall ideally as the population density and therefore number of zombies is likely to be lower but the weather wont be as brutal as Wales (and who wants to be attacked by a Welsh zombie?!). It’s important to live by the sea as short of butchering livestock (which will be impractical whilst watching for zombies), seafood will be the best and most easily attainable source of protein once the tinned supplies run out. I have seen Zombie Flesh Eaters, so I don know that even sharks can’t hold off a determined zombie but its easier than chasing sheep round a field.

    The ideal end point would be a remote stone farm house in the arse end of nowhere. For the short term, the ground floor windows would be planked over but mid to long term I’d look to put steel shutters up over all the ground floor entrances- hopefully the nearest large town will have a builders merchants we could loot for this sort of thing. Mid term, a 6ft mesh fence would be built around the farm and immediately adjacent land too, so that the kids have a safe outdoor haven.

    Being a rural community, I’d anticipate we’d be able to scavenge fire arms from the actual farm, if not, we’d journey to the nearest army base and see about getting some more hard core weapons. I’d certainly be looking for riot armour as a bare minimum for all four of us, probably from a police station en route.

    The guttering would be diverted into a series of waterbutts in the basement to provide a constant source of fresh water in case we were besieged by the walking dead. This would also contain as much tinned food as we could get and I’d set the children to start work on an escape tunnel pretty much as soon as we got in, shoring it up as they dug with timber scavenged from the barns.

    Over time we would have issues relying on the diesel generator that would be present in such an isolated environment. Not to worry though, as a network of solar cells would eventually be erected in the adjacent field. The complex irrigation system would be longer in the development but hopefully we’d be self sufficient in our farmstead in only a few years.

    1. I am liking this – sounds very foolproof.

      First issue is fishing. though. Dangling a rod in a river or the sea whilst looking over my shoulder for the undead seems like turning a relaxing activity into an adrenaline fueling stress-fest.
      Shutters are a good idea – but I think I’d just brick up the lower windows and be done with it or put bars over them.

      I was thinking chainmail instead of riot gear; more movement and probably bite proof.

      Escape tunnel is an excellent idea.


  3. It’s hopeless. I want a twelve-bore to shoot me and the family as soon as the shuffling fuckers breach the garden fence.

    28 Days Later zombies are a zipping joke that don’t even live that long, but my two well-established phobias are (1) people waving knives in my presence (not unreasonable, I feel) and (2) slowly ambling zombies, that go “Uuuuuuungh!”.
    As soon as the latter’s grasping fingers start rubbing aimlessly down my kitchen window I want a large firearm that will dispatch me and my beloved before we are torn (lethargically) limb from limb. I f*cking hate slow zombies. They petrify me.

    1. Slow moving zombies are something I reckon I could handle. Zombies legging it at me shouting so that I have to sprint everywhere whilst wildly shooting over my shoulder? Maybe this is some people’s reality already, but that petrifies me…

    1. Drawn with an H pencil and then scanned into the Mac and coloured using Photoshop. Wish I had the stones to paint it with watercolours or gouache but I am too worried about making a tits of it…

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