Friday, December 29, 2006

Pass the Katana, Please

Title: The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead
Author: Max Brooks

"The dead walk among us. Zombies, ghouls--no matter what their label--these somnambulists are the greatest threat to humanity, other than humanity itself. To call them predators and us prey would be inaccurate. They are a plague, and the human race their host. The lucky victims are devoured, their bones scraped clean, their flesh consumed. Those not so fortunate join the ranks of their attackers, transformed into putrid, carnivorous monsters. Conventional warfare is useless against these creatures, as is conventional thought. The science of ending life, developed and perfected since the beginning of our existence, cannot protect us from an enemy that has no 'life' to end. Does this mean the living dead are invincible? No. Can these creatures be stopped? Yes. Ignorance is the undead's strongest ally, knowledge their deadliest enemy. That is why this book was written: to provide the knowledge necessary for survival against these subhuman beasts."

Shortly before the Class Four Solanum outbreak known in the annals of history as "World War Z", a modest little book was published that purported to be a survivalist guide for an undead attack. In great detail, it discussed strategies and techniques that everyday citizens could utilize to protect themselves from zombies, whether encountered singly or in hordes. Various weapons and modes of transportation were compared and contrasted, and the best ways of fortifying one’s residence were analyzed. For historical context, a section detailing recorded zombie attacks was also included. (Have you ever wondered about the real reason Hadrian’s Wall was built?) Sometimes, the relevant information was imparted in easy-to-remember aphorisms, such as "Blades don’t need reloading" and "Use your head: cut off theirs."

Mere survival was the manual’s entire focus, and it’s information was presented in an efficient and straightforward manner, with simple illustrations when appropriate. But despite the guide’s practical utility, it was dismissed at the time and mocked as foolish paranoia.

Today, after the death of millions and the destruction of entire countries, we all know better.

Although somewhat dated, Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide is still the premier resource for sensible individuals willing to face facts and prepare themselves for battling the undead. Brooks’ ability to predict what defenses would be most effective is disturbingly prophetic. Which weapon dispatches Zach most efficiently -- a chainsaw, semiautomatic rifle, Molotov cocktail, or Shaolin spade? During an outbreak, is it best to travel by camel, armored car, helicopter, or motorcycle? The answers to all these questions, and more, can be found in this small, easily portable guide. For maximum utility in case of an outbreak, I would suggest the handy, plastic-encased waterproof edition, which has the kind of durability that you just can’t get with an ordinary paperback.

But remember -- this is a civilian guide only. The focus is entirely upon protecting oneself and one’s family. Do not look here if you’re interested in the wider concerns of how an entire society and economy can prepare for another Solanum outbreak. You will not find the answers you seek.

We won World War Z. However, this is no time for the ordinary citizen to lapse into complacency and sloth. Our manner of life has been changed forever, and never again can we leave ourselves as unprepared as we once were. Remember what Brooks himself said: "The zombie may be gone, but the threat lives on."

Truer words have never been spoken.


posted by Elizabeth at 9:56 AM


Blogger Kat said...

Wow, Elizabeth, this sounds like an extremely useful book. I feel compelled to add it to my library's collection. Definitely a must-have in these scary times.

1/02/2007 4:44 PM  

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