By Tara Fowler
"World War Z" is upon us: Are you prepared? Probably not, huh? Well, here are eight basic facts about surviving in this brave new world, but I highly suggest you refer to Max Brooks' "Zombie Survival Guide" for the full picture. You're lazy, you say? Too bad. You read or you die. It's that simple.
1) A zombie bite 100% fatal: And it's not the only means of transference. Humans can contract Solanum, the virus that causes zombieness (zombieism?), through any form of "direct fluidic contact." That means just brushing your oozing blister against a zombie's will lead you to contract the disease. Strangely, eating infected flesh will just kill you dead (as oppose to causing reanimation) — provided you don't have an open sore in your mouth. Though why one would want to eat zombie flesh is an entirely different question.
2) Power tools are not your friends: Yeah, a chainsaw may look badass, but a practical zombie-killing weapon it is not. Neither are guns. Sure, if you actually manage to hit a zombie square in the brains, then you're golden. Unfortunately, the average person is not John McClane. Fire is your best bet. Complete incineration is one of the only ways to "destroy a zombie once and for all." So grab your blowtorches and cans of kerosene before you go a-hunting.
3) The average zombie lifespan is three to five years: That's how long the body will function before rot gets the better of it. Many of the microbes that normally break down human flesh reject zombie flesh (that's why zombies don't just rot away in a few days or weeks, like a normal human corpse would), but fortunately for us there are certain species that ignore the "repelling effect of Solanum." Otherwise zombies would live forever. And that would be not good.
4) Long hair is a hazard: I don't care how much you love your luscious locks; long hair is likely to be the death of you. Do you want to meet a horrifying end because you insisted on keeping your three-foot-long golden curls? No. Even a ponytail isn't foolproof. In a zombie apocalypse, the bald man is king.
5) The ideal group size is three people: Not a band of nine, a la "Fellowship of the Ring." Travelling alone means no lookout while you sleep, while travelling in a giant group impedes mobility and raises the chances of detection (a literal moveable feast, if you will). No, three's best: That way you can protect each other's backs in a fight and keep a manageable watch rotation when resting.
6) Earplugs are a must: You don't want to be snuck up on, but listening to a constant barrage of moaning is its own form of psychological warfare. Perfectly well-off individuals have been known to "either kill one another or go insane simply from the incessant moan."
7) Exercise, exercise, exercise: This may be the last thing you want to do in the midst of an apocalypse, but trust me, you don't want to die because you couldn't run a few miles or hoist yourself over that fence.
8) Don't be a hero: Your goal is survival. Not earning Zombie Kill of the Week. Always run when you can fight, never punch when you can escape, and whatever you do, don't get cocky. Kevlar doesn't make you invincible, and you are not Brad Pitt.
Will you be checking out "World War Z" this weekend? Or boarding up your house against the infected?