The weblog of Joshua Drescher

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Undead blast from the past.

November 16th, 2005 · 2 Comments · Misc.

I randomly found a nearly two-year-old cached copy of a forum discussion earlier today. We were arguing about how best to survive the inevitable zombie apocalypse. Apparently, I had a lot of free time that day.

In response to the assertion that America would be a bad place to be during an flare-up of undeath:

The best country to live in is whatever country I am in. I am prepared for zombie attacks in ways that I cannot reasonably discuss in public, but let me just guarantee that I sure as shit won’t be waiting around inside a building hoping the menace dies off on its own. I’m so well-prepared, in fact, that I regularly hope for an outbreak of some kind as I’m getting sick of not having a chance to prove myself and rise to the rank of “King of the Post-Apocalypse.”

This - of course - led to challenges from the other folks involved in the discussion. As such, I was forced to lay out My Plan:

Fortifications never work. Let’s run through the list and WHY they fail:

Farm house

Strengths: Easy to come by, usually have decent supplies and weapons available. Basements work well in a pinch.

Weaknesses: Easily surrounded. Limited supplies. Neighbors likely to swing by, undead or otherwise.

Probable outcome: Lone survivor makes it out alive, only to be shot by hillbillies.

Fences, walls, moats, ditches surrounding your compound

Strengths: Easy/quick to build. High visibility. Moderately defensible.

Weaknesses: Visibility on your end means the undead can see you as well. As long as they know you’re there, you’re in trouble. The large size of the facility makes it hard to properly monitor/defend the entire compound around the clock. Nighttime is especially risky. Succeptible to natural disasters - one strong storm and your fence goes bye-bye. The undead smell horrible and you’re gonna know it once they start hanging around outside. Also, that drifter you let in will PROBABLY wind up raping people.

Probable outcome: The undead have numbers on their side. Even something like an electrified fence will eventually be overrun as the zombie bodies pile up and provide a ramp/bridge leading straight into the compound. Barring that, someone (most likely that drifter again) will probably go nuts and let the zombies in in a fit of utter madness. Once they’re in, you’ve got nowhere to run.


Strengths: If God exists, you’re more likely to get His attention there.

Weaknesses: If God exists, chances are good that He’s pissed at you, as is evidenced by the fact that the dead are walking the earth. Churches don’t have much by way of supplies. A few gallons of holy water, a moderate supply of cheap booze, some bland crackers.

Probable outcome: Everyone gets eaten by a zombie nun.

Malls, shopping-centers and enclosed urban facilities

Strengths: Readily available. Tons of supplies. Moderately defensible.

Weaknesses: Everyone else has the same idea.

Probable outcome: Even if you keep the undead out, you can bet that other humans will screw the whole thing up somewhere along the line. You’ll either be nice, letting survivors in as they arrive, leading to the rapid consumption of limited supplies or be a dick, lock survivors out and wind up with a roving biker gang breaking down your doors, unleashing the waves of undead that have been congregating outside.

Bunkers/underground fortresses

Strengths: Very secure barring human error. Nearly impenetrable.

Weaknesses: Extremely hard to come by.

Probable outcome: On the surface, this looks like the ideal option, if one is available to you. With space and facilities for a massive supply of provisions and nuclear-grade protection, a large number of people can survive indefinitely down there in relative security. Sadly, history shows us that this is not the case. Something about bunkers makes people do asinine stuff - like capturing zombies and bringing them into the facility for “research” or insisting on going outside to look for survivors. Regardless of how it happens, the bunker will eventually drive everyone insane, leading to mass chaos, a huge influx of zombies and inevitable disaster.

The Island

Strengths: Evidently, zombies can’t swim, so if you find a zombie-free island, you’re set.

Weaknesses: Somehow, there are always zombies on the island already.

Probable outcome: You’ll never make it to the island anyway. Don’t even try.


Location: Holding still is a bad idea. Get to some place that’s sparcely populated where the average zombie will be exposed to especially harsh conditions. A dry zombie is a flammable zombie, so aim for deserts. Bebop around for a while, clearing out population centers, grabbing supplies, etc. then get your ass out amongst the dunes. Ideally, the handful of zombies that DO lurch out your way will get eaten by vultures long before they find your camp.

Personal Alignment: Early on, the best option is Mobile One Man Ass-kicking Machine. When running around, kicking ass, it’s important that you don’t accidentally become The Reluctant Hero. Don’t get caught up in other people’s problems. Don’t pick up hot chicks or adorable kids or kindly old people. Once you’ve established yourself as a badass survivor, you can start to parlay that success into the beginnings of a King of the Post-Apocalypse position. At least until I find you, then your options will be limited to Trusted Lieutenant and Corpse.

Transportation: Steal a high-performance German sports car - what it lacks in fuel economy it will make up for with speed and reliability. Since you’ll be in the desert most of the time, you’ll want something with dependable A/C. While it’s a tempting idea, constructing some sort of “super vehicle” always leads to unexpected problems (”Oh no! Bullets are ricocheting around inside our bullet-proof tank!” *everybody dies*). You waste valuable time while building the damn thing, during which your peripheral vision is shot because you’re all wearing welding goggles. And we all know that poor peripheral vision is a zombie’s best friend.

Strategy: Short term, your goal is to set up in the desert, far away from the zombies. You can live in the car for a while, but you’ll want some sort of decent camp to use eventually and that means you’ll need supplies. Ideally, grab them on your way OUT initially. Get a handful of tents, maps and a compass, some tarps, blankets and jugs for collecting water, as much canned food and ammo as you can fit in the car. A radio might be nice, but let’s face it - 99% of the time the “Government Camp” you hear about in emergency broadcasts is either a trap set by cannibals or it’s been overrun already. Then HAUL ASS to the desert! Don’t get to comfortable. Move regularly.

Long term, you might eventually want to start reclaiming territory. If you can’t stand the solitude anymore or you’ve got some irrepressible heroism in your heart or you just suck at desert living and ruined all your tents inside of 6 months, you might HAVE to go back to “civilization”. Please note that I STRONGLY advise against this! But if you must…

Whenever you decide to stop, get armored up, get as much gasoline as you can and start setting fires. Set the whole damn area AROUND your target location on fire. Go where you know the zombies will be - like outside of all of the malls, churches, farm houses and fenced-in-compounds. Burn those places down, taking the zombies with them. Zombies are creatures of instinct and instinct tells them to run away from fire. With that in mind, you can pick off a decent number of “escapees” by setting up a nice sniper’s nest once the fires get going.

Burn and snipe and move. Burn and snipe and move. You won’t get them all, but you’ll thin the horde.


Shopping: No matter how efficiently you packed during your initial escape, you’ll eventually need to restock. When resupplying, it’s always best to be aggressive rather than stealthy. Wait until dawn, then go in FAST and pacify the entire area BEFORE you decide to hop out and look around for medicine or booze or women’s underpants. Sneaking around SEEMS like a good idea, but you’ll just wind up getting devoured by an unexpected zombie who climbed into your back seat while you were looting the Piggly Wiggly.

Equipment: Avoid novelty weapons that are hard to wield quickly. Chainsaws look cool, but they require constant refueling and are hard to use. Crowbars, machetes and axes are better. Keep road flares around, somehow, they’re always useful in a pinch. Also, ignore the “always bring rope” rule. All it will do is tempt you to tie up the cannibals and sodomy bikers you come across instead of shooting them.

For firearms:

Flame thrower - YES, probably the best option for crowd control.
Shotgun - YES, big holes kill zombies dead.
Handgun - YES, easy to aim and quick to use.
Assault rifle - NO, hard to aim, wastes ammo, heavy.
Sniper rifle - Nice if you’ve got some time to kill and are relatively far from danger. Keep one in the car.

Final thoughts:

While it seems hopeless, bear in mind that you simply need to outlast the relative rate of decomposition for human corpses. Stay sharp for six to nine months and you should be golden.


2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Scott // Nov 16, 2005 at 5:23 pm

    I’m thinking high office buildings. Like, 30 stories and up. Zombies won’t be really motivated enough to climb 30 flights of stairs. I just know this somehow.

  • 2 Bryan // Aug 21, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    30 stories is a lot of stairs to lug supplies up. If the zombies follow you back they might be motivated to climb as many stairs as necessary when you’re just in front of them like a carrot on a stick.

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