Categories Uncategorized Today’s Interesting Conversational Snippet, Presented Largely Context-Free Post author By John Scalzi Post date December 7, 2008 57 Comments on Today’s Interesting Conversational Snippet, Presented Largely Context-Free Me: Are we ready for the zombie apocalypse? Athena: We definitely need more guns. Share: By John Scalzi I enjoy pie. View Archive → ← What I Did This Afternoon → A Story For a Donation: Fiction to Help Save an SF Writer’s Home 57 replies on “Today’s Interesting Conversational Snippet, Presented Largely Context-Free” Let us know how the maggot launchers work. She does have a point… Everywhere I look these days, it’s zombies this and zombies that. I’m getting more than a little freaked out. Athena’s right. We need more guns. I always figure it’s more ammunition and an easier reload mechanism that is necessary as well as a defensible position with adequate supplies. That’s the one that gets me – adequate supplies. How much is that? That’s why I just keep buying huge bins of weightlifting protein powder. I have a 7 year supply at the moment. Here’s to hoping the oncoming zombies are the old-style slow zombies, and not the new creepy-fast ones. John, Next time you’re in Arizona, I’d be happy to let you play with my zombie gun: http://www.chrisbyrne.com/images/guns/DFMASComplete.jpg It’s great fun to shoot. Machete. Or a shotgun–and not full of bird shot. Unless you’re able to kill with a single shot, you want something that’s going to stop a zombie in it’s tracks, preferably by blowing its entire head off. Of course the problem with firearms is that they alert the other zombies to the fact lunch is nearby. But really, you ought to help Athena brush up on her machete skills. It’ll be her best defense. That and running really fast. In response, a snippet from Exile today, completely context free: Goat #2: When you kill all your psychos, that’s not a very nice thing. Guns, guns, guns. It’s always guns. Has anyone even ever tried to make a deal with these things? Do we know for sure they wouldn’t accept, say, a garbage bag full of Beanie Babies — including three Waves the Dolphin! — to just go away? Or something to eat besides warm guts. Do we know they wouldn’t prefer a box of Bugles? I think that’s why they hold their hands out like that. They want someone to put Bugles on their fingertips. There aren’t really a lot of cases where “more guns” was the decisive factor that defeated the zombie hoards. I mean, the big z’s are dead flesh and the guns are only slowing them down a tiny bit from the imparted momentum. If the answer had been “more flamethrowers” or “stronger locks”, she’d be onto something. But now I’m thinking your family might as well just hang out an “all you can eat” sign, because it doesn’t bode well. This is the problem with the current education system. Even in such an obvious case where guns aren’t the solution, the kids today simply aren’t prepared. It makes me sad. Kind of obvious there, Dad; with a zombie invasion, you’d need fewer guns? Don’t forget ammunition. See, now guns aren’t that great. Noisy, hard to maintain, reliant on manufactured ammo, not too great at close quarters…. The truth is that, if we’re going to be serious about surviving a zombie onslaught, we’re going to need an arsenal. For close-combat work, well, is it going to be something sharp or blunt? A nice samurai sword would be handy, but requires skill, maintenance, and would be hard to use in melee. A chainsaw has much the same problems as a gun, as well as being heavy. Me, I’d go for a nice sharp, hefty hand-axe and either a cricket bat or, if possible, an aluminium baseball bat. Oh, and be sure to wear good leather gloves and clothing that will protect you from casual bites, scratches and accidents. Brass knuckles or similar would be a good idea, too. As for long-range, my feeling is some kind of hyrbid catapult-crossbow would be ideal – ammo would be anything you could find around, and the range would be pretty good too. This is important, people! I’m with Patrick M @ 4 – one way in which Hollywood has really let us down is by never showing just how long it takes to get all those clips and magazines loaded with ammunition. I mean, really? It has to be at least a couple of minutes per clip, doesn’t it? My thinking: chain-fed machine gun. Usually packs quite a punch, and since you’re defending a fixed position mobility isn’t really a concern. And, really, reloading is a snap (I think, anyways). Just pop the box, lay the first round in the chamber, clap it closed, and you’re zombie free for another (20rps x 500rd belt = hmm) ooh, 25 seconds! Jam would suck, though. S’pose that’s the downside… I suggest the Cold Steel Two-Handed Machete Which can be found at http://www.coldsteel.com/twohama.html Controlled bursts with the .50 is all I’m sayin. Knock enough parts off and you’re golden. You might also need more tupperware. It’s well known that surviving a zombie apocalypse is made easier by an overabundance of tupperware. I don’t know why, but the tupperware lady that I bought tupperware from the other day said so and I’m inclined to believe her because she was carrying a clove of garlic around her neck. Apparently vampires are on the rise these days too… *wipes tear of joy from eye* John, you’re raising her right. That is the paradox of preparing for zombie invasions. The people smart enough to handle the situation have the tastiest brains. As every good zombie knows, intelligence equals flavor. It the people that barely surpass Zombie IQ to begin with that are truly the safest. I heard George Bush won’t even be evacuated from the White House. Who doesn’t? Maybe a little less Left 4 dead in the Scalzi compound? More zombie apocalypse fun? Try em>The Walking Dead comics. And finally, I call for a return of the “Preview” option. “Dear Santa, For Christmas I would like a Pancor Jackhammer and 2000 rounds of 12-gague pumpkin-ball. As you never let me have Bratz stuff anyway.” Setting zombies on fire is far more fun and effective. It generally scales better, as well, and a good fire can keep out one or a hundred zombies. With a garden hose and petrol, you can easily deal with an entire backyard full of zombies. There is a reason why we cremate bodies. You never see urns open up when the dead start to walk. Clearly, Athena has been taught well ;-) What does she want to be when she grows up? (At her age, I wanted to be a lifeguard… because Baywatch was my favorite show…) Real conversation, overheard by my husband: Gary, to his son: Stephen, what’s in your skull? Stephen, who is 3: My brain. And zombies like to eat those. Guns do take time to reload. As Mas Ayoob pointed out, “Sometimes the fastest reload is another gun”. lol… you took the quiz that’s been floating around, didn’t you? Athena is right. And succinct. You don’t really need that many guns… You DO need more bullets. A cricket bat and several boxes full of vinyl records. C’mon! John, I think you and Athena need to focus on effectively utilizing available materials. Or did you actually dispose of the metric shedload of stuffed toys, a fraction of which was shown occupying all available surfaces of your kitchen some months back? Y’see, inexpensive stuffed animals¹ make great do-it-yourself incendiary rounds. A half-kilo of fake fur, plastic eyes and stuffing (preferably synthetic) isn’t just a cuddly buddy; it’s a handy equalizer when the undead come a-drooling. Plastics and synthetic fabrics yield almost as much energy of combustion per unit mass as crude oil … and when it hits a zombie, it’ll stick to its decaying remains and it’s gonna burn, baby, burn. In the hands of a skilled zombie-slayer, armed with little more than a katana, an improvised sling, a Zippo lighter and several boxes of stuffed animals, one flaming plush toy = one fewer shambling horror. That said, if Athena’s preference runs to firearms, good on her. I’m confident she’ll get full training in whatever weapon(s) she prefers. ____________  N.B.: Cheapness and an utter lack of materials safety compliance or product standards are essential here! Anything with a popular marketing label is right out: Barney® the Dinosaur™ doesn’t burn worth a damn, more’s the pity.² If you need to stock up, your best bet is to hit a flea market near the end of the day and look for really garish colors piled on a blanket.  Anyone happen to know the relative flammability of Bratz™ dolls? Fresh liquified pig/cow/monkey brains and a hand-pumped pressure sprayer. That way you get the Zs chomping on each other… My first thought was Dragons Breath rounds, ’cause nothing says crispy critter like Dragons Breath. But that would require me to get close enough to the zombies to use a shotgun and I don’t want to give the li’l shamblers a chance to nom nom nom on my BRAIIIIIN, thank you very much. So, I’d take a high position with a good field of fire, a trusty rifle with explosive rounds, and blow their little zombie heads off. Like exploding melons. Failing that: napalm. *shakes head* I’ve clearly done far too much roleplaying… My grandma always said that you can’t go wrong with a ton of crushed rock salt mixed with her special herbs and and a simple club. The salt was for the traditional zombies. It broke the spell that raised them. The herbs were for the traditional undead. Ramp (which is stronger than garlic) was the main one and the reason you see so few vampires in WV. And the club was for the slowly shuffling zombies. Even if they can’t feel pain a properly busted knee can keep a dead man down. Of course she never lived to see the modern fast zombies. She spent most of her life in the hills with a graveyard at the mouth of her hollow. Fathers and daughters don’t DO anything together anymore. Nice to see the two of you are an exception. The family that slays together, stays together? I would second that two-handed machete, but it’s a little short. You have to be fast enough to get right up in their face and survive. The same company is having a nifty sale on pole-arms right now. Nothing says stay back like an axe head on an eight foot pole! I’m with CJ; a nice halberd solves both the decapitation and range problems all at once. You can hole up and just poke the zombies back out of the doorway. By the time they’ve broken through enough of the house to get past you, you’re either long gone or they’ve knocked out the walls and you have room to swing. Here’s what you need: At least one handgun. 9mm is decent, not so much kick that it scares people from not using it, plus allows for higher capacity. On the other hand, a .38 caliber revolver is very simple, no need to deal with loading a magazine. One bolt-action rifle. I use the .270 Winchester cartridge. Great flat trajectory, perfect for reaching out and touching someone. From as far away as possible. One semi-automatic rifle. The AR-15 has really matured into a robust system these days, but an Ak-47 or a H&K would be nice too. Because sometimes the zombies come in waves. At least one shotgun. Because sometimes the zombies make it INTO your house, and when they get that close, you don’t want to mess around with “aiming” so much as “point and shoot”. BTW, I now know why you picked the location for your house, it is PERFECT for the zombie apocalypse. On a slight rise, cleared out with lots of open ground that the zombies will have to cross. When it goes down, I’m coming to YOUR house. I’ll bring guns and ammo, help you set up interlocking fields of fire, help lay out some (improvised, sadly) minefields. The zombies won’t be getting into the Scalzi compound. Was my daughter a bad influence at LosCon? Because that sounds like Morrigan whenever we discuss the Necropocalypse. Although we have enough guns and ammo. Now we need more fighting positions and bulldoze some clear fields of fire. As for reloading magazines, the M16/M4 or the civilian version AR-15 can be reloaded quite quickly as long as you’ve prepared. Basically, you have the ammo pre-loaded on what are called stripper clips, 10 rounds at a time, then there’s a little device you use, which basically lets you load all 10 rounds into the magazine in a second or so. So do that 3 times for a 30 round magazine, and you’re back in business in under 20 seconds. Most magazine-fed weapons have speed loaders available for them, although the only ones I’ve ever bought are the aforementioned ones for the AR-15, and a speed loader for 22LR for my Ruger 10-22. MZW: Nah, Morrigan was a delight and Athena loved spending time with her. I think they’re just both naturally of the same mind on the subject. Ramp (which is stronger than garlic) was the main one and the reason you see so few vampires in WV That’s why my hideout will be the Greenbrier. The great Warren Zevon always said to “bring lawyers, guns and money. The sh** has hit the fan” I know that there are lawyers on the site so bear with me. Lawyers to help you acquire the guns, (especially the kinda illegal ones) and keep you out of jail after you use them. The Guns of course And the money to buy the supplies and reloads you’re going to need if the zombie conflict is prolonged. Thought I was gonna say “use the lawyers as shock troops to buy time” dintcha! 8D I do like the liquefied brains and sprayer idea. Get them to do most of the work for you. A daughter who kicks that much butt needs the proper equipment. Because of the plethora of zombie movies in our modern culture that has sparked discussions of zombie invasions scenarios all around the world, I’m amused to think that a fair segment of our population would rapidly be able to adjust to fighting off actual zombie hordes. @JAJ in #39: Mines aren’t going help much unless you can manage to separate head from body. If that’s your aim, I’d go for the rigged 105mm artillery shell. Mines should always be regarded as a method of slowing down the horde, not as a way of eradicating them. If mines are in short supply, I recommend a block of C4 rolled in 1/2″ ball bearings until they stick to the surface, then wrapped in a sheet of roofing nails. I’ll second the napalm idea, provided that it is not used in an area where burning zombies can shamble into the side of your house/fortress and send the whole place up. Because then, you’re not only surrounding by zombies, but half to two-thirds of them are on fire, and that’s going to be a bit of a pickle. By the way, this topic may be out of date, at least according to http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20081108/news_1n8vampire.html Tastes in monsters change but I never noticed the political connection before. Brian at #14 and Skip at #41. For a semi-automatic rifle or handgun, all you need is one or more spare pre-loaded magazines. Reloading is then a matter of a second or two. Stripper clips are applicable to M1 Garand and weapons of similar design. A stripper clip is a thin piece of metal which has parrallel grooves running down each side, which can be used to hold the base of each round in place. each round is visibile and the rounds, as a whole, are pushed into the rifle’s built in, hard fixed magazine. This is normally done by using your thumb and applying a lot of pressure against the magazine’s spring. Their secondary function, after loading the magazine, is to ruin your thumbnail, when the rifle’s bolt slams home prematurely. The M16 and the AR15 (civilian version) is a magazine fed weapon, as are most semi-automatics made today. The magazine is not hard mounted and instead dropps when a button is pushed. You can reload by either: 1) reloading the original magazine, 1 round at a time (which can take a minute or two); or, 2) insert a pre-loaded spare magazine in its place. I have never seen a stripper clip for an M16 or AR15 and it seems like it would be a waste of time, effort and thumbnails to use them. Just change magazines and you (and your thumb) will be a whole lot happier. Revolvers can use speed loaders or loaded one at a time, as you prefer. If using a speed loader, the rounds are pre-placed in a circular plastic container (with the rounds held in place, kinda of a circular stripper clip) and in a position corresponding to the revolver’s cyclinder, so that all six rounds (or five, in smaller revolvers) can be inserted in the time it takes to load one round. The down side is that revolvers reload slightly slower then semi-automatics, even with a speed loader, as each rounds casing expands after firing and they have to be ejected prior to placing the new rounds into the cylinder. Steve at # 27: Agreed. Two guns are always better than one. And three are better than two, etc… If I were in a zombie apocalypse, I would want a pistol vest like El Duce in the Boondock Saints. Three pistols per side of the vest. No need to reload, even during a prolonged gun battle. Pah. Magazines! Even a stalwart like you Bren gun would have an issue with the sustained fire needed to sweep a few rugger pitches clear of the rotters. (Aha! Rotters! See? Wit! Laugh, damn you!) No, you can’t go too far wrong with a selection of good, water-jacketted Vickers machine-guns. Water-cooling, belt-fed and have enough of ’em that with a bit of discipline Johnny can always blast them back to he’ll while Tommy’s reloading. And a good solid slug to blast them into a slurry, too. Not quite alive and not dead enough in August – lovely rosebed come May. Wait, wait wait. I thought it was “zombocalypse?” I’d have thought that you, as a writer, would appreciate the value of negotiation. And if you can’t talk them to death (death? zombies?) you can at least delay them long enough for your neighbours to get them surrounded. What’s the thing about Americans and guns? Don’t get me wrong, nothing like a good shotgun to stop the Undead Horde (@Chris Byrne: what a beauty!!!) but the main thing is preparation. Build you defenses with one easy access to get them where you want them and then use blades. Maybe an alley big enough to use a combine harvester? Or wall mounted scythes in the cities? you get the idea. Silent, reusable and remote controlled. Only get eye to eye with them if you really have to. And avoid to set them on fire! It take some time to burn enough flesh to eliminate them as a threat. Remember, they don’t feel pain or shock. And find a way to get rid of the bodyparts and remains. Their smell will pull other hordes. If you have the possiblity: find some remote valley in the mountains and hunker down. Burn the bridges (quite literally) and start to bulid a community. If you can grow your food, you will be save, even the “creepy fast zombies” are lousy mountaineers. So much from Germany, we are ready for them too! Skip: I have 100 and 120 round drums for the ARs, 75 round drums for the AKs, and two belt fed weapons with 2000 rounds each, linked and ready to go. Obviously, the kids can’t reload/link more as fast as I can fire, but they can likely prolong it. Then I have the world’s ugliest bayonet. Even Zombie Squad thinks I’m a little off:) John: They seemed to have a good time. Hopefully we’ll make Penguicon again. But more important than number of guns, as we learned from Night of the Living Dead, is a good defensive position, proper movement and cover, and communication, communication, communication! stevem: You’ve mixed up the en bloc (packet) clip of the Garand, Gewehr 98 and Manlicher with the charger loader (stripper clip) of the Mauser, SMLE and more modern rifles. The former is inserted “en bloc” while the latter is stripped into the magazine. Only the Garand is a poor enough design to endanger the thumb. It was the first of its kind, though. Stop me before this becomes one of my forum threads where we form camps and hurl insults:) Michael at 55: No, thanks for the additional information. I will look into it. I own a M1 Garand and have busted my thumb on it many times. I also own an 8mm Mauser, which I love. I’ve never considered using stripper clip on the Mauser, but, as it isn’t a semi-auto, I can imagine it wouldn’t endanger the thumb as the bolt would have to be manually engaged. Correcting me on gun issues is never cause for forming camps and hurling insults. Knowledge is good, especially if we are to survive the coming zombie apocalypse. Belated reply: SteveM: There are stripper clips and adapters for loading AR15 magazines. The bandoleers include them. Three 10 round clips per magazine. Civilians don’t get them much, but they are common in surplus ammo, and they’re standard for military loading. It does save your thumb. Masterthief: Morrigan made Time Magazine with her pink rifle: : http://www.time.com/time/today-in-pictures/0,31511,1889745,00.html?iid=picturesmodule Comments are closed.