5 Apocalyptic Lessons to Learn From TV

Art imitates life or Life imitates art depending on how you choose to live. No living person has been able to explore the depths of apocalyptic life the way television has– and we could learn a few lessons.
From the human on human violence of 28 Days Later to the choices made in The Walking Dead, we could learn a thing or two about some of the choices we might have to make in a post-apocalyptic world.

Continue reading “5 Apocalyptic Lessons to Learn From TV”

Author Feature: John Xero.

Long-time readers may remember John Xero from his brilliant short story Ragestorm Requiem. Well, those of you who liked it will be pleased to hear he has a book out. This is The New Plan is a collection of his short stories and flash fiction, and what’s even better, most of them are apocalyptic or dystopian in some way.
As for why I’m not reviewing this, John Xero is actually a personal, real-life friend of mine, so I don’t feel like I can. Still, taking that into account, I still think it’s a bloody good book. Just bear in mind I’ve known him for long enough that I pretty much have to say that. (No, seriously, it’s great.)
We asked him some personal questions, because we’re always secretly judging people by their answers.
 

 
 

1. Who are you, I mean, really?

Presumably this is where most people say, “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.” The truth is so numbingly boring you’d probably kill yourself just from hearing it…
And so I become this adventurer, I travel to worlds, chat with gods and spacemen, witness wars and births, dance with stars and mourn over broken cities. And do I send you back a ‘wish you were here’ postcard or a lame ‘I <3 the Multiverse’ t-shirt? No. I bring you back stories.
That doesn’t really answer the question, does it? 😉

 
2. What is it that you do?

When I’m not stumbling into timeslips, lunching with deities (minor and major), or practicing my interstellar cartography, you mean? 😉
Well, OK. I play games, I read comics, I sell books, I write. My day job is bookselling, I run the science fiction and graphic novels sections for a branch of Britain’s biggest bookselling chain. And I get up extra early every morning to write.
Writing is my great passion. I love stories and storytelling, and I just want to give back some of the excitement and thrills other writers have given me over the years.

 
3. When did you first realize you wanted to do that thing?

Ah, I kind of made this difficult to answer now, didn’t I? Let’s start with the bookselling…
I dropped out of university the first time round, struggled to find a job, and ended up in data entry. Yay. Then I applied for a job in this awesome little SF and cult shop called Kulture Shock, and I got it. Surrounded by the stuff I love, all day, and getting paid for it? Yes. OK. I can do that. And have, ever since.
I started writing in my late teens. Told myself it was worth pursuing if I could stick it out and write a book.
I wrote a book.
I daren’t look at it, I do have it somewhere, but I’m sure it’s awful. It started me on the path though. I fell in love with writing. I’m not in a rush to get anywhere, but I’m slowly getting somewhere, I think, and that’s fine.

 
4. Where are you from (and how do you feel about that place?)?

I don’t really know the answer to this. I’m mostly English with a dash of Scottish, but then English is a medley of so many things already. My dad built roads, so we moved around a fair bit. I guess you could say I grew up in East Anglia, I’ve settled in Norwich though, just about the most parochial city you’ll ever find, but it’s a beautiful place and I’m happy here.

 
5. Why would you make a good apocalypse party member?

Why do tribes need storytellers and shaman?
Do you want your party to be the one that descends into savagery or the one that sparks the rebirth of civilisation?
Need a modern set of moral and cautionary tales for living in a dark and dangerous new world, ones that maybe incorporate the ideas of a golden age and a bright future? Come to me.
So it probably helps that I’m a thinker and a problem solver. And I’m physically fit and capable, so I won’t slow folk down when there’s running to be done.
And basically, I’ve already walked the dusty grounds of a thousand apocalypses in my mind, you need my experience…
 
Blogs at xeroverse.com
Tweets at @xeroverse
Editor at 101Fiction.com

Post-Apocalyptic Would You Rather

Would You Rather is a game where you’re tasked with choosing between two terrible things you don’t want. Today’s Theme: The Apocalypse!

Would You Rather is a game where you’re tasked with choosing between two terrible things you don’t want. It’s usually nasty things like, “seeing you parents have sex or your parents seeing you having sex.” Ew. Not a game I like playing.
So I changed it up a bit. I’m curious about what everyone thinks is a better or worse apocalyptic scenario. Keep in mind, my day job is in market research so I’m kind of curious and inquisitive by nature AND training.

Would You Rather: Aliens or Robots?

Aliens could swoop in and just burn this place to the ground, or they could infiltrate and slowly destroy us from the inside out.

Robots, usually through some failing or hubris or man, would likely become a vital part of our societies then snap like JLo in Enough.
[poll id=”6″]

Would You Rather: City or Country?

Surviving in the City would not only mean scavenging and crumbling structures, but also pre-made everything to use or live in.
Surviving in the country would mean starting from scratch, catching or growing food, and braving the wildlife.
[poll id=”7″]

 Would You Rather: Slavery or Rebellion?

Both seem like so much work! At least with slavery you have food and shelter and consistency. On the other hand, rebels can take naps and drink and fornicate at will.
[poll id=”8″]

Would You Rather: A Dictator or Anarchy?

While I never paid much mind to government, I hear dictators make it their business to be touch the lives of all their subjects in some way. Fall in line and it could be a good way.
Anarchy could be chaotic and upsetting, or you could just slip out the back and go check out the country living. And when the bandits come to raid your homestead you’re free to shoot them and string them up as a warning to any who come after.
[poll id=”9″]

 Would You Rather: Lose everyone at once or Lose everyone over time?

It’s like pulling of a band-aid, do it fast and then get over it.
Alternatively, you could utilize the skills and build relationships with people overtime.
Both would probably drive you mad. *shrugs*
[poll id=”10″]

Would You Rather: Eat People or be a Vegan?

They both have their downsides. Murder on the one hand and being Vegan on the other…
[poll id=”11″]

Would You Rather: Lose an Arm or Lose a Leg?

Things are going to fall, lasers might be fired… Which do you value the least, your arm or your leg?
[poll id=”12″]

Would You Rather: Survive with your Mom or you Dad?

Yup. When you think of people the least likely to survive an apocalypse, you’re parents are probably on there. Mine are. Bare in mind that you’ll probably have to watch them die when they lose their glasses or stop and ask a bandit for directions.
[poll id=”13″]

Would You Rather: Your Co-Workers or Your Neighbors?

Honestly, I wouldn’t know my neighbors if the walked up and punched me in the face. They don’t look especially durable…
Co-workers, well, I spend eight hours a day with them and certainly don’t go home and miss them…
[poll id=”14″]

Would You Rather: Candy Forever or Dehydrated Fruits and Vegetables Forever?

Imagine you and your band of survivors come across a factory that you can defend and live in. Inside is a nearly unlimited supply of food… Kind of.
[poll id=”15″]

Would You Rather: Be Hunted and Loyal or Be Safe and a Traitor?

So say there’s an antagonist, be it the government, or aliens, or an oligarchy, or Amazons. This antagonist finds out that you and yours are not playing like they’d like you to be.
They offer you a choice, give up the goods and help them find the others or take a head start and try to protect your neck.
[poll id=”16″]

If you have any suggestions for other tough choices or would like to elaborate on your decisions above, talk to us via the comments below.

Meta-Post: Writer-Type Announcements.

Now, this isn’t strictly speaking apocalyptic, but if you like my writing style and you want to read my opinions about games, gaming and the games industry, you could do worse than pop over to PlanetIvy.com now and again, as I now write for them. My first post can be found here, and trust me, there are more where that’s coming from.
Planet Ivy like gonzo-style journalism and opinionated people, so if you like those things too you’ll fit right in.
I hope to see you over there!

Storing food for the post-apocalypse

So my husband will be going on a week-long backpacking/hiking/camping trip in the depths of the Canadian Rockies. Very soon. Which means, of course, that he’s in the middle of preparing for this week of torture trip into the wild.
Since he, you know, doesn’t want to survive on pine needles and berries, he’s packing food. Enough food to last him a week. Which, when you have to carry all this food on your back, can add up to a lot of weight. (It also added up to a lot of dollars at Mountain Equipment Co-op, but that’s a totally different story.)
Anyway. All of Hubby’s trip preparation got me to thinking: what’s the best way to prepare (food-wise) for the post-apocalypse? Now, I’m not talking about making sure your bunker is fully stocked with canned goods and other non-perishables. I’m talking about that possibly lonely trek on a possibly long, lonely road through a possible wasteland (lot of possibles, here). I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that if/when you’re making that trek, you probably don’t want to be carting around three cases of Alphaghetti and two cases of KD. Plus a box or two of instant ramen. And maybe some Girl Guide cookies.
My husband is not taking cans of Alphaghetti. Nor is he taking a bunch of watermelons and half a tub of grapes, like that one guy did last year. Instead, he’s taking those freeze-dried camping meals (well, at least I think they’re freeze-dried). The last time he did this hike, he brought a backpack full of MREs.
Apparently, MREs weigh more than the freeze-dried meals, even though they obviously weigh less than cans of Alphaghetti and a watermelon.  Instant ramen would be pretty light, though, so maybe a desperate person could take those? (With Girl Guide cookies. Because to be perfectly honest, I’d miss Girl Guide cookies. Especially the mint ones.)
So now I’m wondering, is it a good idea to stock up on MREs and freeze-dried camping meals? What do you think?
You tell me: What would be your preferred trekking-through-a-post-apocalyptic-wasteland food supply?

Zombie Training – Guest post by Jamie Gibbs

Regular readers will know Jamie, as he’s one of our most prolific commenters. Based on that, I assumed he had enough time to send us a guest post on Training for the Zombie Apocalypse… and he did!
The zombie survival workout – 4 workouts you need to not get eaten
The Buddhists say that your body is a temple. The Buddhists are liars. Your body is no more holy than my browser history is free of questionable Google searches. Don’t listen to them. Your body isn’t a temple.
Your body is a weapon.
And when the proverbial world fan is spinning the proverbial shit everywhere, you’re going to need your weapon in tip top shape. Don’t bring a butter knife to a gang war and don’t bring an overweight, wheezing sack of meat to a zombie apocalypse. Here’s how you fine tune that body of yours, from head to toe, against the oncoming hordes.
Rule #1 – Cardio
Yes, Zombieland rules apply here. Fatties do indeed die first. Before you even think about slaying zombies en masse, you’re going to need to be able to outrun them. Not only that, but you’re going to be doing a lot of walking across the desolate, post-apocalyptic landscape, so you need to be damn sure that your stamina is as high as possible.
So what do you train for; distance or speed? Surely it’s better to outpace zombies for the first few hundred metres and then slow down once they give up chasing you. That’s a good point, except for one thing. Zombies don’t give up. They don’t get tired. You will, sooner or later. And that’s when they’ll make you an entree. Always opt for long distance walking and running when you train. If you can, spice it up with hill climbs and interval treadmills work. You’re likely to hit the countryside at some point, and those inclines are tough.
Your general survival completely depends on your ability to outpace the undead all the friggin’ time. Throw in a sprint every now and again during your workout so you can be sure you can rely on that extra burst of speed if a shuffler gets too close for comfort.
It’s all in the shoulders
I’ve seen enough zombie movies to know that if you want to properly down a zombie, you need to use blunt force trauma. Unless you’re a master at decapitating bodies in a single stroke, avoid sharp weapons and opt for your sledgehammers, crowbars and cricket bats. Most zombies are the slow, shuffling type, indicating that the only part of their brain that is active is the basal ganglia, the ‘reptilian brain’. That little sucker is buried deep inside the brain tissue so you’re going to need a lot of force in order to cave in the skull and keep a zombie down for good.
Strength training for using these big, blunt weapons needs a lot of work on your back and shoulders. If you think that biceps are the way to go, think again. What are you, applying for Mr. Universe? The force of your swing and the strength you put into it comes from the shoulders, so make that a priority when strength training. Pushups and overhead presses will give you the strength you need to swing a bat with enough force.
Tighten the core
If you’re anything like me, the weekend pizza and beer sessions have left you with a slight paunch, making you more than a little front heavy. If you need to make a quick getaway or are knee deep in flesh-hungry undead, this will give you some disadvantages, the biggest of which is you dying a hell of a lot quicker.
Get shot of that beer gut as soon as possible and tighten up your core – your abdomen and back muscles near your spine. Every athlete knows this is one of the most important sets of muscles to train, as once you sort that out the rest of the body starts to fall into place. Sit ups and squats are your best friend in building up your core muscles and losing that belly.
State of mind
Even though blunt objects should be your weapon of choice, the one thing that you need to keep sharp is your mind. Complacency leads to stagnation, which leads to you getting eaten. The last thing you want is for stress to get the better of you and for you to freeze up mid swing, leaving you open for attack. Throughout your workout, add in some stretches, yoga and meditation to keep your mind focused and clear. Your brain is the biggest advantage you have against zombies (hence why they find it so damn delicious) so use it.
Jamie Gibbs is the overweight, wheezing sack of meat that is doing his best to get into shape before the zombie apocalypse finally hits. You can find him on his fantasy blog Mithril Wisdom by day, and brooding over the city rooftops at night (that last bit might not be entirely true).

Your Post-Apocalyptic Tribe: Dress for Success

Does anyone remember that show The Tribe about all the kids left over after a disease kills all the adults? They kids banded together in tribes based on their needs, interests, and location (e.g.: The Mall Rats). You could tell a lot about a person in that world based on how they looked and what they wore.
In the post-apocalypse you might want people to know who you’re allied with or where you’re from. It could mean the difference between being shot on sight or welcomed with open arms.
Now, I wouldn’t recommend tattooing your affiliation post-apocalypse. While it’s the permanent method that many gang members and sub-cultures seem to be fond of nowadays, it’s also potentially fatal if not done by a fully sanitized and licensed professional. You want to go through all the trouble of finding a group to belong to and then dying of tetanus right after your initiation? Not a good look.
Colors, also a gang favorite, are another great way to show your affiliation. But colors are going to be hard to find and be selective about come the end times. Also, if you’re team chooses red and their team chooses blue, the robots will still find all of you way more easily than if you all wore army green and hid in the forest.
Where you choose to hide, or set up for the long haul, will heavily impact not only who you’re associated with but also how you’ll need to dress to survive that environment. We here at In Case of Survival are all about practical[1. Psyche, we’re the least practical bitches on the earth.] survival.
If you’re residing in the sewers, you should have some goggles and a wrench and some sturdy boots for wading through muck and tightening drippy pipes. If you’re in the forests, you’ll need flexible shoes for climbing and stealthy movement, also a lot of form-fitting clothes so they don’t get caught on things.
More to the point of post-apocalyptic tribes, you’ll need to consider how to merge both recognizably and practicality.  If everyone looks like a hobo then no one likes someone you’d trust. Would you invite a hobo into your house, campsite, or country club?
Well maybe you’re a better person than I am, but I sure as shit wouldn’t.

Dos and Don’ts When Dressing Your Post-apocalyptic Tribe:

DO dress for your environment– both weather and terrain.
DO make room for weapons relevant to your environment and any enemies you might encounter.
DON’T go for garish colors or accessories– this is how the robots will spot you. Everyone in bright colors will die first.
DON’T let the tribe members get too flexible with the dress code.
DO have something that’s difficult to replicate in a pinch like being black, or bald or tall or … Well those aren’t really feasible. Hair dye! Nail Polish! Piercings (though, like tattoos, there is a health risk involved).

Any other suggestions for dressing your post-apocalyptic tribe for success?

Feature: GeekChic cosmetics

One one of my forays into the internet, I was pleased to discover GeekChic cosmetics. I immediately clicked on that link. I love makeup, I love being a geek. Fortunately, the name lived up to the expectations.
GeekChic produce a makeup range that not only is cruelty-free and allergy friendly (important things), but also has one of the best range of nerd-culture inspired colours I have ever seen. The eyeshadows range in colour from delicate, light, pretty shades all the way through to deep crimsons and true blues. Every single eyeshadow is named after a geeky thing, and the collections are named after TV shows and Games. For example, go take a look at the Geeks vs Zombies pallette, and tell me if it isn’t just the most perfect thing you’ve seen. Not only that, but GeekChic’s foundations have a good range of colours as well – it’s one of the few makeup brands where all three of the ICoS girls would be able to buy a foundation that blended.
Not only that, but as everything at GeekChic is based on mineral formulations, it’s good for your skin too – and it keeps, unlike liquid foundations, meaning that if you stock up you can be made up well into your post-apocalypse lifestyle.
We asked the GeekChic girls a few invasive questions, and we give you their answers for your files.

1. Who are you, I mean, really?

What an exestential question. I’d like to think that I am awesome, but awesomeness is subjective. As far who Geek Chic Cosmetics is, we are an organization 4 like minded people who have a passion for gaming and all things glitter. We are die hard workaholics, and spend way more time with each other than we probably should LOL. It doesn’t hurt that we all have a common goal. that is, to make really awesome products and make them the best we can. Oh, and we are all really close friends!

2. What is it that you do?

I personally wear many hats. I do all the packing and shipping, financials, taxes, graphic design, formulation, and management type stuff. On occasion I will answer emails too. Phil is our resident webmonkey and perfumer. Deb does all the nitty gritty production, filling, labeling, and a bulk of the product formulation. She also answers emails on occasion too. Gwynn is our resident Igor, she does all the PR stuff, and helps in pretty much every other aspect of the company. Basically whatever needs to be done that day, she has her hands in it. We all wear many fine hats!

3. When did you first realize you wanted to do that thing?

GCC was my brainchild a few years ago, and I knew that there was no way I could do it all on my own and Deb was the obvious choice as she is my best friend. As for the individual jobs we all do, we looked at our own personal strengths and assigned the jobs that were best suited to each person.

4. Where are you from (and how do you feel about that place?)?

I was born in Ogden, UT. I have really mixed feelings about being from Utah. I love that I have a family homestead that I can go visit to get back in touch with my roots from time to time, but I don’t care for the vibe in the state overall. It doesn’t really mesh with me as a person so well. But it will always be home cause that is where my family is.

5. Why would you make a good apocalypse party member?

I’m not convinced I would be a very good apocalypse member. I am pretty sure I wouldn’t last very long at all. I have a bum left leg and can’t really run so I think at the very least I would probably be the first to die. But I am very logical and can think of creative ways to do things so there’s that at least. I’d be useful for as long as I survived LOL.Prices start at $5.99 for an eyeshadow, though it’s usually cheaper to buy sets.

There's no power!

It won’t take long for the power to go out when the world ends. I bet you understand that, intellectually, but were you aware of just how much chaos there’ll be if the power craps out all in one go? Hell, the grid for my area went down for 20 minutes recently, and that meant two near-accidents and dozens of people wandering the streets looking confused.
“My TV is gone? Whaddido?”
I talked to my neighbours for the first time since moving in five years ago, that’s what I did. Then I sat on the sofa.
We’re so used to every element of our lives being technologically driven it can be hard for us to imagine life without it. Hell, unless you print our blog out, you won’t even be able to access it. And then what will you do when there are sentient badgers? (run.) No instant communication, no music on demand, having to rely on our own natural sense of direction and time sense… Not being able to write self-important comments on the internet (I think some people might just die at the thought. The internet is the only place they can think their opinion has weight and merit. Stop looking at me like that, I HAVE WEIGHT AND MERIT.).
They say civilisation is three meals from anarchy. Well, judging by the display of humanity the internet shows me on a regular basis, I think all it’ll take is a whole country unable to access funny cat videos for a day. I mean, these are the sort of people who care – I mean really, really care – if you liked a game they don’t, so much so they will threaten your life over it. That lack of self-awareness combined with that refusal to grasp proportion and the sheer level of mindless entitlement is a dangerous combination when something is taken away.
Trust me on this: People are awful, selfish monsters who are crap at disasters. You smuggos sitting there with ‘well I have generators and solar power’, what you gonna do when a whole load of people missing microwave popcorn come rushing down on you with makeshift weapons? The only good point is some of them are so babified by easy-use items that they’ve probably forgotten how to get out of the door. They certainly don’t REALLY know how to cook food found in the wild, or build a shelter, because shockingly for them watching re-runs of Man Vs Wild doesn’t give you practical experience. Neither does playing video games. So they’ll starve to death pretty soon waiting for the magic food pixies to come back.
And if my neighbours don’t come home and switch off their FUCKING alarm while I am trying to FUCKING concentrate I will find some way to shut down this whole city and watch it burn.
See? When humans are slightly inconvenienced, we respond as if someone murdered our dog and interfered with it’s corpse.
 
 

Training for the post-apocalypse

Now that my mind has re-injected itself into my body (the last few weeks have been rather hectic), I’m able to start thinking about post-apocalypse things again.
One of the post-apocalyptically focused things that have crossed my mind these past few days is the idea of training for the post-apocalypse. I know Anninyn has talked about it before, and she’s even got a training regimen already planned (and, you know, follows).
I, on the other hand, am nowhere near that organized. Or athletically inclined. I got a gym membership recently–and I’ve actually gone to the gym!–and have been working with a personal trainer. Which is all well and good and all that, but sometimes I have to wonder how effective personal training is when thinking about exercise in terms of post-apocalyptic survival.
Continue reading “Training for the post-apocalypse”