How to Survive Miami's Zombie Apocalypse, According to Zombie Expert Jonathan Maberry
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But according to the rest of us, it may signal the beginning of an inevitable threat Hollywood has warned us about for years: a zombie apocalypse. (Just ask The Miami zombie.)
Naturally, we're all a little concerned that the undead may choose our sunny paradise as their next city of smorgasbord. After all, the heat is nice and lubricating for their stiff limbs.
So, in the interest of being prepared, we spoke to zombie expert Jonathan Maberry, author of Zombie CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead on how best to survive a zombie apocalypse. Y'know, just in case.
Cultist: I'm sure you heard about the recent face-eating zombie attack in Miami. Any commentary?
Maberry: Within a few hours of the report hitting the news I was inundated by emails, IMs, Facebook and Twitter posts telling me, in essence, that the stuff I've been writing may not be fiction.
What would you say is the top rule of zombie survival?
Don't be the dumb loudmouth in your group of survivors. These days, folks are likely to feed you to the zoms and make their escape during the chow-down.
What weapons or supplies should we procure to prepare ourselves?
In my series of teen post-apocalyptic zombie novels (Rot & Ruin, Dust & Decay, etc.) the smartest object of defense isn't a gun or knife -- it's body armor made from carpet. You can't really bite through it and there's carpet everywhere. In the movies, the characters always run out into a crowd of zoms wearing ordinary clothes. I'd tear up the carpet, secure it with some duct tape (and we all have duct tape), and then stroll through the crowd of frustrated zombies.
Can we ply them with any other food besides human flesh?
If we accept the movies of George Romero as "zombie canon," then the living dead eat everything -- humans, animals, insects. We can always breed food for them. And it would provide jobs for farmers in a troubled economy.
How do zombies react to hot weather?
Zombies would thrive in hot weather. The heat keeps them limber. Cold would freeze them solid since body heat comes from blood flow. Of course, as the temperature rises, the zoms would spoil pretty quickly. Smelly ... but eventually they'd fall apart.
Can zombies swim?
Zombies wouldn't be a threat in the water. The freshly killed ones would sink like a stone without air in their lungs for buoyancy. The rotting ones might float because of gasses released by putrefaction, but they would lack the coordination for the mechanics of swimming and couldn't strategize on how to overcome tides and currents. So, a great way to survive the zombie apocalypse is to strap on that Speedo and take a dip.
Are there different varieties of zombie?
There are several classifications of zombies. The old-school zombies are the raised dead used as slaves by priests of the Haitian religion of vodou. Since the 1960s we've come to hang the "zombie" nickname on flesh-eating ghouls of the Romero kind, and these are slow-moving, mindless corpses. Then there are the fast zombies, as introduced first in the film Return of the Living Dead (1985) and made famous in the 2004 Zack Snyder remake of Dawn of the Dead. Then you have the "rage virus-infected," who are mindless humans infected by a disease that makes them kill everyone they meet. They were first introduced in George Romero's 1973 flick The Crazies, then later became wildly popular in Danny Boyle's 2002 classic, 28 Days Later and the 2010 remake of The Crazies. Oh, and Europe is famous for its demonically possessed zombies, and there have been a zillion of those films.
What's the most common misconception about zombies?
The most common misconception about zombies is that the disease only spreads through bites. However Romero established that everyone who dies, no matter how or why, will rise as a zombies. Bites simply make it happen faster.
So there you have it. Get ready to tear up that carpet and make a swim for it, Miami.
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