Do you know what I realized the other day? Whenever I talk about the zombie apocalypse with my friends, I’m always assuming it is possible. I never think for a moment that something so absurd would be impossible. Then again, I do write about zombies, so how weird is that?
Back in May, I wrote a Monday Mayhem post called Zombie Apocalypse: Causes. In the post, I detail reasons why I think a Zombie Apocalypse could happen.
But, what if? What if zombies suddenly rise from their graves because of some freak event and we’re right there in the middle of the mess? Do you honestly believe these walking disasters have a chance of carrying out their diabolical plan to rip our cerebral cortexes from our skulls, all the while their moaning and grunting betray their physical locations?
Before y’all jump me at once let’s say this together. Raise your right hand: I know a zombie apocalypse is possible but I won’t beat Jack senseless for thinking otherwise.
Once you’ve said that three times, you can go on ahead and read why I’m entertaining thoughts contrary to an undead global meltdown.
Elements of Nature—How long do you think zombies would survive in the middle of our Canadian Winter? One day? Two days? On February 18, our weather here in Ontario dropped from 0°C/32°F to -16°C/3.2°F. That’s a sixteen-degree differential in the span of one day. In December 2012, we had a full week of sustained temperatures below freezing. I hope zombies dress warm if they ever decide to invade in the middle of winter. In June, floodwaters ravaged townships in Alberta leaving them desolate and empty. In Calgary, the city came to a standstill as chest-deep waters flooded the downtown core. Do zombies know how to swim? The list goes on, with a myriad of other natural disasters that have occurred this year ranging from tornadoes all the way to heat waves. If a zombie apocalypse has to take hold, it had better time it right. Mother Nature would have first dibs at the bodies rising, that’s for sure.
Animals Are the Zombies Second Worst Nightmare—I’d like to see a few of those belly suckers attempt to cross a cornfield in the middle of the day. First of all, they’d never survive a head on onslaught of crows nosediving from twenty feet in the air to peck out their eyes. Buzzards or turkey vultures are worse. Their six-foot wingspan allows them to travel 30-50 miles in search for food, and they can smell death a mile away. Their bills have a design to plunge deep within a carcass to retrieve its meal. Let’s not even talk about wolves. These pack hunting canine wonders of nature can eat 15-19% of their body weight in one sitting. If zombies should happen to make contact with any of these animals, it’s lights out.
We Are the Zombies Worst Nightmare—Let’s imagine for a few moments a world on the cusp of filling with a legion of zombies out to harvest our innards. Forget about World War Z’s fast zombies. As cool as they are, let’s think old school. You know, the roaming kind, lurching forward, arms drawn outward, smelling for frontal lobe delicacies. What are the chances they’d survive with us as their enemies? I’d say we’d have a pretty good shot at putting down the infestation right out of the gate. Think about it. We’ve got guns, knives, bullets, bombs, missiles, rockets, cannons, flamethrowers, heavy artillery, assault vehicles, battle fatigues and some of us even have martial arts training. What do the zombies have? Nothing. A couple of loose teeth, a few broken nails, and maybe those golden three hours after death between Primary Flaccidity and Rigor Mortis where they could do the most damage. Beyond that, we win.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.
Just for fun, can you think of other reasons why a zombie apocalypse wouldn’t work?
31 thoughts on “Zombie Apocalypse: Failure?”
I love this article – I don’t have much to add, because I think many have already brought up the salient points. I just love the frame of mind that should the worst happen, we are more than capable of recognizing it and taking those suckers out. I live in farm country. Those tractors are scary beasts. They could squish the zombies pretty effectively, I think.
Of course, the key to survival is information. A challenge to that access to information could be the death rituals of native cultures,, as well as the secrecy of oppressed and very poor countries. Those could be hotbeds for infection, but hopefully contained!
Well, I think a farm tractor adds a substantial amount of color to the discussion–even if it is red. I live in and around farm country as well and know what those mechanical monsters can do to a walking corpse!
Agreed. I think knowledge is power. The more informed a society is, the more prepared they will be when faced with a truly apocalypse of the undead kind!
Really entertaining post. I’ve a question though. If the zombies transmit their disease with but a single bite, would not their flesh additionally be infected? So, for instance, if a wolf or a vulture decided to snack upon a zombie, would they not become infected? Or am I over thinking what should not be over thought?
Actually, this is a good question because it’s something that’s been touched on before in a George A. Romero movie. The movie 28 Days Later even goes into monkeys with the rage viruses infecting humans making them zombies. We don’t see a lot of that lately. I suppose it isn’t as cool as one might’ve hoped. I still would have loved seeing a movie with zombie dogs…but if you have a look at Hulk, the dogs in there were comical at best.
I think the zombie apocalypse could be possible as how some diseases through virus had spread out. (I know AIDS, correct me if Im wrong, is a man made disease.) But not to the point that deads will wake up form the grave. Virus, I think can only penetrate the living. Deads’ body systems and organs has been decomposing (just like computers, virus cannot affect them if they are shut or power off).
With regards to animals to eat the dead, surely if they are able to eat someone who’s infected they will be infected too. Like how Ebola virus or bird flu or rabies which are viruses from animals can infect and be so harmful to humans.
Most Zombie apocalypse I’ve watched is not a natural catastrophe but human made. The question is how powerful could that virus be, will it just make an old school zombie which I bet I could kill by myself, or zombies that are as fast as those in the World War Z or as intelligent as the Dead Zone who really thinks on how to attack their prey.
I can’t believe we’re even talking about this, but I’ll humor you.
The point about animals is definitely valid. I can imagine that they would easily take a chunk out of the zombies (pun intended), however they would have to destroy the brain in order to actually kill them.
The weather, I think, is a tricky one. While subzero temperatures would freeze zombies making them immobile until spring, I believe once the thaw came they would be no worse for the wear. UNLESS, we took advantage of our impressive arsenal to incapacitate them while they were frozen. That would be good thinking.
If we were organized when the zombie apocalypse began, it certainly wouldn’t take long to establish perimeters around major cities, etc. The idea of a long struggle definitely makes for a better story though. 🙂
Humor is a good thing!
True, but a zombie head without a body wouldn’t be much of a threat, don’t you think?
Agreed. I’m thinking Terminator 2 where liquid nitrogen freezes the T-1000. Unlike the movie though, shattering the corpses into a billion pieces will not bring them back to life. 😉
Very true, LOL I would hate to find a dead zombie after the snow had melted.
Hey, I’m safe until fall when the turkey buzzards leave. We have about fifty flying all around our farm most of the time.
Interesting article, Jack. Having read my blog (and maybe my book on The Common Cold), you will know I have given this some thought. Some other ideas:
At the poles of the world there are fish that have adapted to the sub-zero salt water, coming into contact with icebergs – in neither case do they freeze. They have developed a glycol-like substance in their blood that enables their freezing point to be substantially lower than their environment. Even if zombies could adapt like this, they would be guaranteed to be slow movers. Unless they come from Pluto which is jolly cold already, or so I’m told, our cold will be like going to the Caribbean on your holidays 🙂
All in all, a large number of capabilities and luck would have to come together to make an apocalypse happen. But as they say about probability, put enough monkeys in a room with type writers for long enough and one of them will eventually write a Shakespeare sonnet, word for word correct!
I believe …
Fascinating to read about the glycol-like substance. Zombies would be dangerous if they too develop a similar mode of defense to counter freezing cold temperatures. I’d venture to say they’d have serious advantage over us.
I like Shakespeare 🙂
You know the old apocalyptic prayer, ” May your zombies be slow, may your machete stay sharp”!
BTW – learnt about fish and glycol at Uni – I knew my Marine Biology degree would come in handy 🙂
I suppose the real footage seen in the movie Titanic makes sense now. Those crabs couldn’t have survived in freezing temperatures, 2.5 miles below sea level without some sort of scientific explanation. Glycol makes sense now!
I liked the way the book World War Z handled it, along with the survival guide. The zombie apocalypse would be successful because of the internet and our disbelief. At the end of the day, there are few people who actually believe the zombie apocalypse would happen. In the right country there would be overt media cover ups. In more sophisticated ones it would be denial because that couldn’t possibly happen. When it did break, there would be the media circus confusing reports and what does or doesn’t work against a zombie bite. There would be drug companies trying to make money with phony cures. There’s something in the disease that makes animals stay away, though they said weather was an issue as zombies would freeze in colder climes, making far northern regions very resilient.
If you didn’t think it could happen, you wouldn’t be writing about it 😉 I don’t write about it, and I still have a plan in case. That and raptors.
I agree, those drug companies would find a way to make a buck somehow. I’m thankful I live in Canada, but our climate has changed considerably so even we might not be safe.
Good one, Paul! I like exploring both sides of an issue. 🙂 I love raptors also!
That’s exactly what the zombies want you to think! Never let down your guard… But seriously, I think it would all depend on how quickly the “contagion” could spread and how quickly we reacted to the situation, as with any outbreak.
I am in th “It COULD happen” camp. Maybe not in the traditional movie/book way, but in a way that already exists in nature. There is some bug, I don’t have my notes with me, that attaches itself to ants. In turn the ants become a basic zombie. Now if the military or some “mad scientist” figures out how to turn that process into a bio-weapon, we are doomed. 🙂
Yes, I’ve heard of it. It’s called Ophiocordyceps unilateralis. Very cool, yet very creepy, too.
I just got new data on zombies and why a zombie apocalypse could not happen. This new data is actually a post on cracked.com. Some of the reasons as to why it won’t happen? Predators ( lions ant tigers and bears ) would find a slow, unthinking human-ish thing easy prey. Also weather, too cold, frozen zed. Too hot? Rotting flesh and bacteria in our bodies would make for a fast decomposition. FLIES!? They would lay eggs then the maggots would eat us because a zed wouldn’t be caught dead, swatting a fly. Hehe
Love your blogs, Jack. You’re the best. What if the zombies aren’t dead, but something is messing with real peoples minds; swiping away all inhibitions? Would this up the terror a notch?
Looking out of my window at the folks passing by I’m starting to think that whole zombie apocalypse thing has happened already but nobody bothered to tell me.
Bahaha. I feel that way watching the crowds walking to work in the morning, too 🙂
Oceans and the internet. The chance of the zombie apocalypse starting all over the world is low unless it’s a slow-working disease that gets carried by airplane travel. Still look at SARS and how that got quickly stopped. For the most part, the zombies would be contained and the internet allows quick communication to other countries. A quarantine would happen rather quickly.
As for swimming, I think they simply walk along the bottom since they don’t have to breathe. Still, many of them would be taken out by sea predators or fall into trenches. The pressure would take out a lot of them too.
Yes, you’re absolutely right, Charles. I’d forgotten about Marianas Trench. If the seabed pressure will not kill them, the fall itself will do something wild and wonderful to their brains.
I’m wondering about the animals though. Would they become zombies if they ate them? Zombie sharks might pose a problem.
I agree with your first statement. Zombie plague would be relatively easy to contain (unless the virus was airborne or an act of terrorism in which large areas were affected at once or if the army was targeted first.) I liked the whole bit in the original post about crows and turkey vultures being attracted to the dead flesh (but what if they could zombify? Whole new world of hurt right there). <-resident evil did that last bit, they also had zombie lions. That was serious.
Airborne could still be slowed down while a cure is being found. I always wonder how a worldwide zombie epidemic happens.
I read a series in which EVERYONE was infected with a virus that would turn you into a zombie. But it was dormant. But if you died, got bit (and such) by a zombie, or you could spontaneously amplify, there you were, zombie. So it never started out as a couple corpses here and there. And there’s always the idea that the government could be in on it, too, so there’s no one really looking for a cure. Try to decimate the population to combat global warming or something.
Why do I remember something like that from ‘The Walking Dead’?