What would you do before a zombie apocalypse?

This was a fun discussion Josh and I once had, inspired by a question Josh got in a consulting interview.

You find out that in one week, a virus will be released that will quickly spread all over the world. You stumbled upon this secret and absolutely convincing information, but unfortunately the evidence was lost/destroyed as soon as you saw it. You know it’s too late to stop this virus from being released, or the subsequent rapid spread. This virus will turn everyone it infects into a zombie, who will then try to basically turn normal humans into zombies, and kill/eat normal people. Other than that, you don’t really know what the zombies will be like (whether they’ll die after some period of time, be stronger/more durable, retain intelligence, etc), but it’s highly likely that the extent of the pandemic will reach apocalyptic proportions.

What would you do given that information? Post what your plans would be, and at the end of the week we’ll post what we came up with originally.


Follow-up post here.


3 thoughts on “What would you do before a zombie apocalypse?

  1. I should quickly acknowledge my debt of appreciation to Max Brooks’ rather exhaustive treatment of the topic in his Zombie Survival Guide (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Zombie_Survival_Guide). Anything mentioned here is likely to be in considerably less detail and probably unlikely to contain any new information.

    Obviously, the basics need to be covered — food, water, and shelter capable of shielding one from the Zombie Horde.

    However, in this situation, the answer is rather easy. With a whole week to prepare, I would sell everything I owned, borrow as much money as I could, stock up on basic toiletries (maybe even a portable generator too), foodstuffs, and medical supplies, and then book a series of flights for me (and anyone I could convince to come with me) to some remote Pacific Island location. It is my understanding that uninhabited islands do exist, and were such an island remotely enough located, it is unlikely that Zombies would ever make it there. If I had time, I would also set up a series of radio beacons directing any roving bands of survivors to my intended co-ordinates, so that my new society might grow over time.

    From there, I would try to convince as many attractive women as possible to mate with me to ensure the survival of humanity. For the sake of the cause, though, I would probably be willing to mate with just about anyone (just like my Friday nights… hey-oh!!).

    Since all my friends are smart, progressive people, I could likely help begin to reconstitute society based on sound principles of reason and political theory. Ultimately, I would hope to build a Utopia in a sunny tropical locale, and slowly ponder all of the political headaches that would have been solved. That, and I would listen to my iPod collection, complete with every album I could ever want and digital versions of my favorite television shows.

    In other words: sign me up!


  2. Here goes (very stream of consciousness)…

    First: Should I attempt to go public with the information in spite of the lack of evidence? Probably not — even if I do manage to convince some private individuals out there if I get to go on TV or something, the government won’t buy it (or would react far too slowly) and any media attention I attract will probably just impede my own preparations. Second: How many people should I team up with? I’m someone who tends to operate alone, but I also have faith in the strength of a community. A doctor, for example, would be very helpful to have. My family is definitely coming with me and whichever of my friends (and presumably their families) I can convince. The more people, the more skills, the better. I think the benefits of a larger group here are worth the risk that some people in the group will be more of a liability than asset or that the group will splinter due to personal differences.

    Where to Go: I will sell all my possessions and take out all the loans I can and try to buy a place / bunker down in rural upstate NY (subject to change, but definitely some place rural). I did consider the remote island thing, but I ultimately decided against leaving the continental U.S. Why? Two reasons: 1) In the event a safe zone is set up in the U.S. in the future, I think I would like to try and rendezvous with the rest of the survivors. I can drive a car but I can’t pilot a plane or a boat to traverse a body of water. A remote island destination is essentially a point of no return. 2) As much as I’d like to think I could thrive in the wilderness (My Side of the Mountain was a favorite book growing up and Bear Grylls rocks), that’s probably just not true. More likely that not, I would simply die at the hands of nature. (Incidentally, I also hate tropical weather and beaches as a matter of personal preference). Anyway, I’d rather take my chances in more familiar (and civilized) territory where there will at least be deserted supermarkets I can scavenge instead of hunting/gathering my own food.

    Supplies: I doubt that the internet will immediately go down, so I’ll invest in an iPhone/iTouch and get everyone else in my group to do the same to keep track of how the zombie virus unfolds and how the govt is dealing with it (portable devices in case the bunker idea doesn’t work out and we’re on the move). I will seek to obtain guns and ammo and learn how to use them (I hesitated at first, but I ultimately think it’s better to have them). I’ll also get a few spare pairs of glasses made up for me (I’ve seen “Time Enough at Last,” thank you very much…a near-sighted person’s worst nightmare). Same with stocking up on medical supplies and toiletries, food, water for a few weeks(though I’m banking on supermarkets to raid). Will also take survival items like waterproof matches, iodine tablets, swiss army knives, and everything else in my brother’s Boy Scouts arsenal (if the zombie problem gets really bad, I will take to the woods).

    Laying down some ground rules for the team: among other rules that should be discussed at the start, one big one would be that if you’re bitten or you suspect you may have been infected, you notify the group immediately and we’ll tranquilize and isolate you. I thought about shooting them immediately, but that would decrease people’s incentives to speak up as soon as they’re infected (they may be in denial and all that). More importantly though, we also don’t know whether the zombie virus is actually terrible for you. See the alternate ending of I Am Legend: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Am_Legend_(film)#Alternate_ending (you don’t need to see the movie to get it — I didn’t). It could be the zombies have retained their humanity or consciousness and I don’t want to start out being a trigger-happy moron and regret it later.

    Thinking long-term: I don’t really have a long term plan yet. I think it heavily depends on the nature of the zombies and how widespread the virus is, so it’s something to play by ear. I would hope that the U.S. government is able to set up some sort of safe zone, but if not, I guess we’ll have to start building our own society.

  3. Pingback: Cryogenics – Stonesoup Readers Say – Not Really Crazy « stone soup

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