I moved back to the US in 2003 and was staying with my family in Florida when the blackout hit New York. Watching the news I thought about how the people up there were getting by. The very real thought of millions of people in a relatively small area who were suddenly without the usual services really highlighted to me how vulnerable humans are to their environments and how incapable we are of surviving without help.
At least I am.
And frankly, I think most people are pretty much the same. Part of the appeal of the disaster genre is the idea that we would be able to make it. We see hardened self-reliant bad asses on screen and think to ourselves, “Yeah, I could do that.” In fact most people in a situation like that would probably have no idea what to do.
So one day, with the realization that I couldn’t really take care of myself, and the total disbelief that I would ever have to, I picked up a copy of the Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks.
It’s actually been quite a while since I read it but one thing that stood out at the time which popped up again later in his book World War Z was the problem with seasonally recurring breakouts. As a zombie fanboy I had thought about zombies walking around the way they are in the movies and not as they would be in real life. The effect of the elements on the undead had never occurred to me until I read this and has been one of the main things I take into account when watching zombie films etc. now. Brooks points out that it’s possible for zombies to be frozen, and then come back again in the spring when they thaw.
The Zombie survival guide is a must have for any zombie fan and will definitely add a nice heightened sense of reality to your own zombie nightmares. It’s also a great bathroom read for the occasional hiker so don’t be shy about picking up a copy for yourself.