Coverage: Max Brooks Zombie Preparedness Lecture

Zombie epidemics are serious business; the Center of Disease Control says so. On October 14th, the CDC released a “graphic novel” explaining zombie outbreak preparation. The CDC says the comic is to prepare “You…any kind of disaster, even zombies.” Could this be proof the government has invented a contagious zombie virus?! Probably not, but…

“I don’t think there’s anything remotely funny about being eaten alive by zombies,” said Max Brooks, zombie expert and New York Times best selling author of The “Zombie Survival Guide” and “World War Z.” Brooks gave a lecture on zombie preparedness to about 250 listeners, Tuesday night at the Illini Union.

“Zombies don’t obey the laws of conventional monsters,” Brooks said. “Since humans have rose to evolutionary dominance, we need to go out and find creatures that will eat us…[If you get eaten,] it’s your own fault. You just a crocodile hunter.”  Zombies break the “laws” because they come directly to you–and they come in droves.

“That’s why I’ve spent so much time and energy figuring out zombie survival,” Brooks said. “A real zombie apocalypse isn’t going to be like a video game…there’s no random weapons or ammo…[or] magic red boxes that heal you when you touch it…Real disaster preparedness is made up of little details.” In Left 4 Dead, your worst threats are Boomers and Smokers; in real life, your worst threats are dehydration and dysentery.

“You have to go into nature!” Brooks said. The most important thing to do during a zombie outbreak is leaving populated areas; places that had people will become places that have zombies. The second most important thing is finding a weapon.

“This is America, we have to talk about guns. It’s in the Constitution,” Brooks said. He went on to explain that if you want to kill zombies, guns aren’t your best option. Instead, choose a close range melee weapon, like a crowbar, sledgehammer, or machete: they’re silent, multifunctional, and don’t use bullets. Next, you’ll need a way to get around. Perhaps a Hummer?

“No one has ever invented a car that runs on fear,” Brooks said. Cars have the disadvantage of needing gasoline–which, as Mad Max shows, will be a coveted rarity in an apocalyptic landscape.

“How about a bike?” Brooks suggests. “It’s light, easy to repair, and something you can pick up if you run into barracades. Plus, a bycycle does run on fear!”

Reception was mostly positive to Brooks lecture.

Drew Podlewski (DGS as of Spring 2010), ” I didn’t know how much personality he had! He’s really funny. I thought most zombie or horror novelists would be dry and boring. I’ve never seen a presentation like this before, it was really cool.”

Mitchell Paglia, director of enriching programs for the Illini Union Board, agrees.

“I’ve read the Zombie Survival Guide twice, and it was fun to hear the tone behind the words, so to speak,” Paglia said.

Brooks said his humorous approach to zombies lures people to preparing for the zombie outbreaks early. When will zombie infestation occur?

“We don’t know where viruses come from…we just know that they happen….my concern is how we react to them,” Brooks said.



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