Joe McKinney’s zombie novel Apocalypse of the Dead is the January/February selection of the ZRS Book Club. We’ll be posting an exclusive interview with him right here next week, and then he’ll do a live twitter chat to answer all your questions early next month.  In the meantime, tell us some questions we need to ask him in the comments section below. And then check out this guest posting from McKinney himself about what it takes to survive a real zombie outbreak:


So, the door is barricaded. The windows are blocked by whatever scraps you could cannibalize from the furniture. Perhaps you’re even armed. Things look bleak, I know, but don’t be afraid. This is actually a time for celebration. After all, think how close you came to being one of that dead horde moaning and pawing at your front door. You made it! You’re alive!

But now it’s starting to sink in, isn’t it? This new world overrun with zombies is going to be a scary one, and your continued survival is going to be hard. At times, it might even seem impossible. Or worse, when you start to think of all the loved ones you’ve lost, your continued existence might even seem pointless. That’s the real danger right there, the pointlessness of it all. How, and why, should you go on living when everything you care about is gone?

You’ve got some soul searching ahead of you, to be sure. Can I give you all the answers? No, of course not. What would your life be worth, after all, if somebody could answer all the hard questions for you? But I can help. I can point you in the right direction. And to that end, I’m sharing my three rules for surviving the zombie apocalypse.

1) Think of yourself as a survivor

No matter what Zombieland has to say on the subject, rule #1 is NOT cardio. Rule #1 is to think of yourself as a survivor, as opposed to a victim. Physicality has very little to do with survival, actually. Sure, it helps. But it isn’t a deal-breaker. Your state of mind is, though. State of mind is where you live or die, because a strong will and a tenacious love for life creates the means for continued survival. Without that, cardio will do little more than give you a beautiful corpse.

2) Make solutions your business

Rather than wallowing in your misery for all that’s been taken from you, begin to build the world anew. Fortify yourself and those lucky enough to take shelter with you. Play defense for as long as you have to, but don’t make defense your survival strategy. Take the offensive by establishing a steady and reliable source of supplies. Teach yourself, and others, the skills you need to know to survive. And now that Wikipedia is finally gone, rediscover the joys of sifting through the library stacks. Books on everything from building a fire to planting a garden to splinting a broken bone await. Now is the time to study, and the time to get the job done.

3) Imagine the world ahead

Above all else, you need a clear picture in your mind of what the world will look like in the future. Motorcycle cops are taught during evasive driving training that the bike will go where they look. In other words, if you’re looking at that chair in the middle of the road, chances are you’re going to hit that chair in the road.  The same is true with surviving the zombie apocalypse. If you imagine misery, hardship and death in your future, guess what you’re going to find. The world will become what you imagine it to be. Just make sure when you imagine the future, you imagine yourself in it.

Good luck!

One comment

  1. Great topic! Think of yourself as a survivor – ABSOLUTELY!

    I have often thought of how to do this simple thing, and the one thing that can help you have the confidence that you can be a survivor is to be PREPARED! Prepared both mentally and physically, not to mention being fundamentally prepared gear and equipment wise.

    Have a plan. Pack your BOB’s (Bug Out Bags). Educate yourselves! Read books on how to survive. Know your local natural resources, and how in a survival situation, they can help you live; for example, edible plants in your area, where you may find sources of water, etc.

    I have notebooks, and a head full of knowledge and being an outdoor geek, I have the opportunity to practice my skill sets on a pretty regular basis. I know that I live far enough away from the big city (in our case Los Angeles), where I could be in the woods within a matter of hours and in the high woods and wilderness within a matter of a day or so. Be prepared! Doing so will help you be on the offensive and have the confidence to survive!

    Knowledge into action! Take what you read, watch, hear, experience, etc., and be able to use this knowledge to keep you alive in a real world survival situation. I know that Bear Grylls got a bad wrap by staying in the 4-star hotels, but if you watch his show (Man VS. Wild) you really CAN glean a ton of information, pulling out those little nuggets of information that can keep you safe, not just biting the heads off of small snakes and eating donkey balls (which he tends to do). Other really good shows to watch for information about outdoor survival are Survivorman (Les Stroud), and Dual Survival (w/Cody Lundin and Dave Candeberry). Cody also wrote a couple of books that are very well written, fun to read and chocked full of useful information. Your’s in Survival, B.

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