Review: The Official Zombie Survival Handbook by Sean Page

by thiszine

by Sean Page

Severed Press
(July 2010, $12.95, 202 pages)

The ever-growing zombie genre has given birth to a sub-culture known as zombie survivalists. These are people who seriously discuss and debate the possibility of an undead outbreak, and the various outcomes of such an event. As a result of this movement, several zombie guides have been produced, in an effort to make the general public aware of the danger zombies may pose. Unfortunately, depending on the personal background of the authors, most of the books do not contain practical guidelines that can be applied internationally. Consequently, new guides are being published, tailored to individual countries and their laws.

Sean Page, the author of The Official Zombie Handbook (UK), has taken it upon himself to write such a manual for his fellow Britons, as well as foreigners who may be able to adapt some of the concepts for use in their own countries. In the manual’s introduction, Page explains why other books like Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide are difficult to apply where it is nearly impossible to get your hands on a firearm for self-defense. He also points out that preparing for a zombie outbreak with his 90-day survival plan would appeal to the environmentally-conscientious with a “green” agenda (for example, self-sufficiency); as most zombiephiles know, if you’re prepared for an apocalypse, you’ll be prepared for any emergency.

Addressing the controversy over the various types zombies within the horror genre, Page defines a zombie as “a dead body that has been brought back to life by an as yet unidentified virus which leads to the body to behave in a low intelligent and cannibalistic way.” He emphasizes that the cause of an outbreak is not as important as keeping yourself alive. Beginning with the history of zombies and corresponding research, Page provides basic background information for those not already familiar with the field of “zombiology,” and walks readers through the science of zombie infection and transformation.

The UK guide quickly moves onto defense and disposal issues for varying levels of outbreaks, going so far as to address the concern that a zombie virus could spread from humans to animals. Readers are made aware of the tactical differences between land and water locations, while Page lays out the blueprint for his country’s national defense. He describes the complications that could arise if the UK government attempted a cover-up, illustrating this with a case study of one such incidence.

The most crucial section of this manual is Complete Zombie Defence [sic], which examines the barricades, provisions and skills required for a group’s survival. It tackles the who, what, why and how of the three main phases of the 90-day plan, taking lessons from past historical disasters, both man-made and natural, and including survivors with disabilities. There are a few diagrams, as well as a map of the UK, and critical details of every possible scenario are provided.

Even if readers have never been to the UK, or don’t intend on traveling abroad, there is still plenty of useful ideas to be gleaned from The Official Zombie Handbook for those who wish to prepare themselves for a zombie apocalypse.

~Ursula K. Raphael


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