Is the zombie genre instructive to preparedness or of no value?

  • Yes, it is actually very helpful. Here is why ...

    Votes: 5 17.9%
  • Yah, it sort of is, but not wildly more than any other disaster genre.

    Votes: 8 28.6%
  • Kinda-sorta. Maybe an occasional "hmmm".

    Votes: 4 14.3%
  • Naw. Its just fun.

    Votes: 5 17.9%
  • No and it is a stupid genre.

    Votes: 5 17.9%
  • Oh no, I just searched Youtube for "Thriller"!

    Votes: 1 3.6%

  • Total voters
    28
So, I picked up a book entitled American Zombie Gothic: The Rise and Fall (And Rise) of the Walking Dead in Popular Culture, by Kyle William Bishop (McFarland, 2010) that, as the title suggests, is a survey of zombie genre over the decades in our culture. Due to an insane schedule as of late, and being occupied with with other study fronts, I haven't made much headway, and might leave it in the pile to read in the autumn months. Nonetheless, though not a "preparedness" book, I've found the little I've read thus far somewhat interesting. Not the least of which how the particular genre often echoed the country's fears at that time and/or focused on some of the uglier elements of American society (e.g., mindless consumerism, racism, militarism, etc.) Many, though not all, also depict a breakdown in civilization.

Broadly, the author placed the genre into three subcategories, though I am using my own terminology:

  • "Voodoo Zombies". In this genre, the "zombification" is in the form of black magic, drugs, or both. The societal breakdown narrative is not as prevalent as the others, but it does share some similar themes. Examples: The pre-code White Zombie (1932), Revolt of the Zombies (1936), et al.
  • "Romero Zombies". The causative agent in this subset is usually a microbe that reanimates the recently deceased victim, who in turn rises with an insatiable appetite for human flesh. A partial or complete collapse of civilization is often present. Examples: Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978), et al.
  • "Fast Zombies". The origin of the "zombies" in this one is usually a microbe, but there are other means, depending on the work of fiction. The ghouls in this one are still alive, though radically changed by the infection, chemical agent, etc. Depending on the picture, some retain higher level intelligence, while others are mindless and hostile. Examples: The Last Man on Earth (1964), 28 Days Later (2002), et al.

The last outbreak, if you will, of the genre seems to have been in the 2000s. It was a very common theme on firearms and preparedness venues for a while. Exploration of said ranged from lighthearted, to practical, to, frankly, way over the top. I'm aware of at least two government agencies (FEMA and the CDC) that published guides for the zombie apocalypse as a means of conveying emergency preparedness concepts.

Now, naturally, the reoccurring theme in zombie films, books, video games, etc., is a rapid and often complete breakdown in the normal functions of society and essential services derived from said. However, other disaster literature often includes such narratives, and are based on events that have or could happen (i.e., thermonuclear exchange). What is, perhaps, unique about the zombie genre is it includes both fully human antagonists, as well as, literally, hordes of mindless, destructive human-like beings.

  • Do you think the genre offers any good material for those interested in being as prepared as possible? Or, conversely, is it only largely irrelevant, fictional nonsense?
  • If you answered in the affirmative, how so? Have you made any real world preparations, investments, etc., due to your findings?
  • Which works of fiction did you find the most effective at sparking preparation plans?
  • What about the zombies, specifically, do you attribute your insights to? Put another way, all sorts of disaster fiction has a society thrown into chaos, but only the zombie genre features the walking dead; what about that factor really stands out?
  • With the three different subgenres listed above which one(s) do you find the most interesting or instructive? Why?
  • Any other thoughts to add?
Thank you for allowing me to pick your brrrraaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiinnnns ... :)
 
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I don’t know if prepping for a zombie apocalypse is much different than just generally being prepared for any other calamity. Maybe it’s a way to begin to think about the possibility of having to shoot marauders during hard times, without thinking of them as fellow humans?

But the zombie genre does seem to scratch an itch (in some people more than others) for that ‘scare-me-to-death’ feeling that we had as kids, telling stories around a campfire.

I converted a guitar case into a zombie-rifle case a few years ago. I don’t think that case is being made anymore. But here’s a picture of it:

1619C291-0860-4E1E-AEAC-86B97161560C.jpeg


Have you ever seen that short film, “Night of The Living Bread”?

Here’s a link:

 
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Some of the more recent "serious " zombie movies and shows put a lot of critical thought into details that seem instructive to me. This was done to maintain suspension of disbelief, which I always appreciate in my chosen fictional entertainment.
" The walking dead " did a great job of keeping a very human element in many of it's various sub-plots for the first few seasons. One specific element that was always handled in a very realistic way was sanitation, illness, and medical emergencies. Having the zombie element constantly present , even when it was off screen, makes these critical components of basic survival seem more urgent. This drives home the importance of little things that might be overlooked or assigned lower priority. Like being absolutely certain that your water supply is clean.
322fd294a2ab71d4f1b250375509d661_400x400.jpeg.jpg The-Walking-Dead-2-Episode-4-The-Walker-in-the-Well-Scene.jpg
 
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I have always thought of zombies as in a similiar genre as vampires, mummies or werewolves, but it's not really my type of entertainment or reading.
Well, there aren't limitless hordes of vampires, werewolves or mummies. That's a problem specific to zombies. On the plus side, you don't need special bullets or stakes to kill zombies. ;)
 
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I have always look at the Zombie thing as a training aid to a small degree. I do the same with all disaster movies as well.

Like some have said the first few years of the walking dead was a great example of this for finding food, medical and shelter and noise discipline and looking for an answer as to why and how it happened.

As the folks adapted several characters started to run Silencers to keep the noise down and not attract more Z's to the area.

Humans always what to know why, it's just something we do to explain our existence, I guess

Some of their methods were very good others just Hollywood magic but still ideas to consider. MacGyver was also fun to watch for ideas…lol

I also looked at the human aspect of the first few years as it did show the emotion of each person as their lives where turned upside down and survival became a real thing each day.

We all say what we think we would do and could do but until you are in that moment you really do not know if you are the person, you think you are.

Many folks train/prepare for bad times physically but not mentally and the mental part will get you just as fast and being in poor shape.

Now the other side of the Coin is the Zombie craze really came to fruition because of the gaming world and first-person shooter games.

There was talk of trying to ban first-person shooter games as being too violent and teaching kids to kill because many school shooters played these games at that time.

So, to fix the problem they created first-person games where the Zombies were the bad guys, as they were already dead and there was no "rights group" to stand up for the Zombies and protect them.

That's when we got all the Zombie ammo, guns and knives on the market that came out just in case, it became real.

The last aspect of the Zombie craze in my mind is If folks say they hate their government it sends up a flag but if they say they hate zombies no one cares or at least no one can prove they might be one in the same or so I have heard!

Every day life is a learning experience but so can disaster and Zombie books and movies in their own way.
 
While I like reading or watching a good zombie book or film....

Instruction /prepardness wise....way too many of the characters do things that make me wanna shout :
"WTH...Ain't you ever seen a horror or zombie movie before ...Why are you doing that?!!!!!"

With that said ...
Four end of the world books that I like and make me think are :
The Stand...Steven KIng
I am Legend...Richard Matheson
Final Blackout ...L.Ron Hubbard ( Before he got weird :D )
Alas Babylon...Pat Frank

Not a zombie movie...
But Dog Soldiers is a excellent horror / last stand movie.
Andy
 
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So, I picked up a book entitled American Zombie Gothic: The Rise and Fall (And Rise) of the Walking Dead in Popular Culture, by Kyle William Bishop (McFarland, 2010) that, as the title suggests, is a survey of zombie genre over the decades in our culture. Due to an insane schedule as of late, and being occupied with with other study fronts, I haven't made much headway, and might leave it in the pile to read in the autumn months. Nonetheless, though not a "preparedness" book, I've found the little I've read thus far somewhat interesting. Not the least of which how the particular genre often echoed the country's fears at that time and/or focused on some of the uglier elements of American society (e.g., mindless consumerism, racism, militarism, etc.) Many, though not all, also depict a breakdown in civilization.

Broadly, the author placed the genre into three subcategories, though I am using my own terminology:

  • "Voodoo Zombies". In this genre, the "zombification" is in the form of black magic, drugs, or both. The societal breakdown narrative is not as prevalent as the others, but it does share some similar themes. Examples: The pre-code White Zombie (1932), Revolt of the Zombies (1936), et al.
  • "Romero Zombies". The causative agent in this subset is usually a microbe that reanimates the recently deceased victim, who in turn rises with an insatiable appetite for human flesh. A partial or complete collapse of civilization is often present. Examples: Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978), et al.
  • "Fast Zombies". The origin of the "zombies" in this one is usually a microbe, but there are other means, depending on the work of fiction. The ghouls in this one are still alive, though radically changed by the infection, chemical agent, etc. Depending on the picture, some retain higher level intelligence, while others are mindless and hostile. Examples: The Last Man on Earth (1964), 28 Days Later (2002), et al.

The last outbreak, if you will, of the genre seems to have been in the 2000s. It was a very common theme on firearms and preparedness venues for a while. Exploration of said ranged from lighthearted, to practical, to, frankly, way over the top. I'm aware of at least two government agencies (FEMA and the CDC) that published guides for the zombie apocalypse as a means of conveying emergency preparedness concepts.

Now, naturally, the reoccurring theme in zombie films, books, video games, etc., is a rapid and often complete breakdown in the normal functions of society and essential services derived from said. However, other disaster literature often includes such narratives, and are based on events that have or could happen (i.e., thermonuclear exchange). What is, perhaps, unique about the zombie genre is it includes both fully human antagonists, as well as, literally, hordes of mindless, destructive human-like beings.

  • Do you think the genre offers any good material for those interested in being as prepared as possible? Or, conversely, is it only largely irrelevant, fictional nonsense?
  • If you answered in the affirmative, how so? Have you made any real world preparations, investments, etc., due to your findings?
  • Which works of fiction did you find the most effective at sparking preparation plans?
  • What about the zombies, specifically, do you attribute your insights to? Put another way, all sorts of disaster fiction has a society thrown into chaos, but only the zombie genre features the walking dead; what about that factor really stands out?
  • With the three different subgenres listed above which one(s) do you find the most interesting or instructive? Why?
  • Any other thoughts to add?
Thank you for allowing me to pick your brrrraaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiinnnns ... :)
Meth-zombies….. they’re real, and they’re here. ;)
 
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Essentially the preps are the same for any TEOTWAWKI scenario. Food, power water etc all cut off and hordes of hungry whatevers wanting what you have with many willing to do violence to get it.
I was going to say something similar. When the SHTF, the “zombies” are the ones that didn’t get ready.
 
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Zombie fiction is quite different than other apocalyptic fiction in that the focus is on the non zombie survivors and their interactions with each other. It is a better reflection of human survival psychology as there is no focus on the zombies except as a vehicle to drive the interrelationships of the other characters. It strips away much of the unpredictableness of the antagonist so a deeper look at how humanity reacts is possible.

A lot of prepper info I see posted and talked about here and elsewhere revolves around "stuff", and massive thoughts are put into this area, with human interactions much less detailed, thought out, and mostly as me vs the raiders mentality.

Zombie fiction turns this around, and says, (correctly in my opinion), that stuff isn't of prime importance, but human interactions are. It also shows that adaptive thinking will always win out over detailed planning, as no one can plan for everything, and every plan turns to crap at the first contact with disaster.

Just some basic, initial thoughts to ponder.
 
Zombie fiction is quite different than other apocalyptic fiction in that the focus is on the non zombie survivors and their interactions with each other. It is a better reflection of human survival psychology as there is no focus on the zombies except as a vehicle to drive the interrelationships of the other characters. It strips away much of the unpredictableness of the antagonist so a deeper look at how humanity reacts is possible.

A lot of prepper info I see posted and talked about here and elsewhere revolves around "stuff", and massive thoughts are put into this area, with human interactions much less detailed, thought out, and mostly as me vs the raiders mentality.

Zombie fiction turns this around, and says, (correctly in my opinion), that stuff isn't of prime importance, but human interactions are. It also shows that adaptive thinking will always win out over detailed planning, as no one can plan for everything, and every plan turns to crap at the first contact with disaster.

Just some basic, initial thoughts to ponder.
I was thinking the same and then thinking back to the start of covid lockdowns and the sheer volume of people complaining about being lonely, depressed, cabin fever...and we all know that suicides and negative mental health outcomes went up.

I wonder how many in the prepping crowd or adjacent communities couldn't keep up with sanity or happiness while living in their own house after a few weeks..let alone months (or years, as some end-of-world scenarios would have you).

That was an interesting dry-run in my opinion...far more people than I would have thought were completely and mentally trampled by those pseudo-lockdowns.
 
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I appreciate the genre' - and I think this applies.
When everyone turns into a zombie... No infection required. But almost equally scary because it seems way to close for comfort.

The Road.

The-Road-2834944169.jpg
 
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Read this years ago as well for fun. Quite the contrast of subject matter given who his father is.
Really! I bought Max Brooks' book Zombie Survival Guide thinking it would be funny and comical. It was not a joke at all but sort of a primer for his World War Z which, IMO is the best zombie novel ever.
BTW, Other than the title. the movie World War Z had almost nothing in common with the book. That was a big disappointment.
 
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I appreciate the genre' - and I think this applies.
When everyone turns into a zombie... No infection required. But almost equally scary because it seems way to close for comfort.

The Road.

View attachment 1230985
That book was way worse than the movie. It’s borderline disturbing honestly.

I enjoy doomsday genres. Zombies can be enjoyable when done right. World War Z was a good read. I prefer societal collapse and EMP or Nuclear types myself. Looking to start another series by Harley Tate which deals with a nuclear attack.

As for zombie genres. There are two types I think. Sensational fiction and semi-fiction. I prefer the semi-fiction ones myself as they tend to be more realistic. Those that are more sensational have almost zero value in terms of learning anything of use for one’s own survival needs.


Then again it never hurts to switch up genres once and awhile. I picked up Dune as it was at a store on the coast during our last weeklong camping trip. Good read so far. Zero survival-prepping notes are to be had from it.
 

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