Ask The Experts | Chris Farnell

Welcome back to Ask The Experts 
Chris Farnell lives in Leicester and has therefore likely survived a few zombie apocalypses already, we have a fair few of them. He’s also a writer and here is a link to his book

What’s your favorite apocalypse scenario and why?
Well the Romero zombie apocalypse is obviously the classic for people who’d  like to think they’d survive the end of the world, but don’t want to have to do much in the way of actual running.  But I’ve got a soft spot for the really weird apocalypses, so I’m going to go with China Miéville’s The Tain, where our reflections rebel against us.  It creeps me out  because our reflections really hate us, they loath being forced to take our shape and copy our every movement, and then, one day, they just snap. Of  course, not all mirrors reflect our entire bodies either, so you’ve got  tonnes of disembodies hands and arms and eyes flopping about that were  reflected in small mirrors…

Name one thing everyone should do to be prepared for the end of the world?
If you look at most apocalypse stories, zombies, meteorite displays blinding everyone on the planet, alien invasion, our reflections trying to kill us etc. the apocalypse is always the thing that nobody saw coming (When Night  of the Living Dead came out there was no such thing as a zombie survival  plan). So the whole point is that you *can’t* prepare for it, because nobody  could have possibly predicted. You know, apart from catastrophic global warming.

Where’s the line between being prepared and obsessing over uncontrollable future events?
Well, I live in Norwich, where we almost felt an Earthquake once, so aside from keeping fresh battries in your smoke alarm, there’s no much reason to  be big on disaster preparedness (unless it snows, of course, then it’s every  man for himself). So the line between preparedness and obsessive is probably  around the place where you start up a blog about all the various ways  everyone could die.
(I think he’s implying we are nuts – Ed)

What’s in your survival “bug out” bag?
Bear with me here, but- Quilted toilet paper. Lots of quilted toilet paper.  As society burns people are going to set about hoarding food, and water, and medical supplies, but if you turn up a couple of weeks later with a bag full of Andrex (hidden at an undisclosed location nearby) you can be pretty sure  they’ll let you live like a king.

What three things will you most miss about modern society?
Being able to make a living from just sitting down and writing things. Seriously, it’s going to come as a massive shock to go from “sort of vaguely respectable person who runs his own business and is mostly a functioning  part of society” to “the guy we should probably eat first”.

Which cultural institution would you die to defend?
Electricity, the internet, printed books, etc Well, top of the list I suppose would be libraries and the NHS, but since they’re under attack now and the most I’ve done is tweet angrily about it and write a letter to my MP, I think it’s pretty safe to say I won’t be laying down my life any time soon.

What’s the most important thing the survivors have to remember above day to day survival?
That if we allow our sci-fi bloggers to die, the zombies/robots/aliens/plague/terrorists/killer reflection people etc. have  already won.

When do you open the door, i.e. how do you pick and choose between refugees, or do you leave them to their fate?
I’m pretty sure I’d be a total wuss about this. I’d let anyone in. Check them for weird infected bite marks and make sure the dogs don’t bark at them  for being a Terminator, but apart from that, the more the merrier! Hopefull my generosity will be remembered when the food runs out and they’re deciding who to eat.

How do you make sure you aren’t caught short when the day comes, i.e. avoiding “I left my apocalypse kit in another car”?
Whenever you’re in a public place always pay attention to where the fire exits are, which objects can be used as bludgeoning weapons and which other people you could realistically climb over to escape. For what person or thing would you break all the rules and go back anyway? Again, I’d be a total wuss for this. Friends, family, my Kindle, the hard drive with my writing on it, my secret stash of quilted toilet roll… Really, my survival chances are pretty narrow.

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