Picking your team

A New Recruit Arrives..

Apocalypses come and go, but there will always be people needed to survive. You see, if no one survives an apocalypse, how do we know we’ve had one? I mean, until we get *clever*, and start digging around in the dirt for things, uncovering evidence and all that… Which is great, if the apocalypse you’re looking into is off the back of a huge chunk of frozen space metal hurtling into the planet, causing earth-wide devastation…

Times have moved on since then.

I rather suspect that more recent apocalypses have gotten a bit more sneaky in their approach…


Enter stage left.

A pink haired, doc marten wearing, emergency go bag carrying gal walks into view. You get am immediate sense that she doesn’t take kindly to crap, and has a veteran look about her. Oh yes. Definitely been around the block a couple of times and seen some things, this one. Her eyes expertly rove around the room, mentally checking off a list, though you aren’t quite sure what that list is; good points for duck and cover, who’d be easiest to kill, or simply what shopping is needed to make dinner; in any case, it’s a little unsettling.

After a few moments, she seems to have made up her mind, and the boots come off, and she makes a cubby in the corner of the room, still watching, and waiting on the coming storm….




Cockneys v Zombies

Oh, you knew it was just a matter of time! Looky there, Avenger and Bond Girl (and overdue for GGSA Idol status) Honor Blackman stars with stalwart Richard Briers and the legendary Alan Ford — and a bunch of young folks — in the latest zombie apocalypse with a twist and a few guffaws. You can bet the Apocalypse Gals will be there!

Cockneys v Zombies: the trailer (h/t to Lochee for the heads up!)



~Katemandi, Last Girl on Earth

Shoot to kill and can ’em up!

Viking victim photo by Katemandi

by The Shloo

Shoot to kill and can ‘em up.

That’s it in a nutshell. There are few philosophies smarter because when the world’s getting its apocalypse on you have few other choices. Best you get your head round that from the get-go.

I started shooting when I was eight years old. Air rifles mainly, but by ten I was shit-hot with a bow and arrow. Mum always said they’d make the best weapon anyway – when the bullets run out, who’s going to be making new ones? Arrows, on the other hand, are relatively easy to make. I can shape a bow out of a piece of willow  – or pretty much any tree with enough bend in it  – in less than three minutes. A clutch of arrows will take me another five, tops. Robin Hood would weep at the skill in my fingers.

And I never miss.

Our bunker’s pretty sweet. There’s a room full of bunk beds that are more comfortable than they look, a pretty well-equipped kitchen, a library, a bathroom, a canning room – my Mum’s mantra is ‘waste not want not’ – and a big communal living area. Dad and Zeke worked hard and it paid off. Speaking of Zeke, my brother and I were both trained in and for almost anything you can imagine: hand-to-hand combat, gas attacks, nuclear fallout, weapon making, foraging, first aid – you name it, we went over it. Sewing’s my weak point, truth be told, but at least I’ve stopped sewing stuff to my jeans and Mum says I sew a pretty strong stitch. That’s what matters.

Of course, I’ve not had what you might call a normal life.

Hardly a surprise, is it? Survivalists? Maybe, but we call ourselves “sensible” – what else would you call those not blind to the inevitable? I was picked on sometimes at school, but after the suspension – and the scrum half’s snapped wrist (thanks Dad, for those self-defence drills) – I was left alone. I didn’t go to dances, never been for a sleepover, never even sat with anyone else for lunch. I didn’t get to do any of that ‘normal’ stuff. Getting attached to people only makes it harder in the long run. It would have made me sad once (I’ve got hormones and hopes just like anyone else), but you’ve got to focus on what’s important.

To hell with normal anyway!

Is it normal to sit and wait for Johnny Mutant to come eat your brains? To wait while the nuclear fallout burns through your guts and your brain spills out the bottom of your spine? To pretend there’s hope, that someone out there’s coming to save you? They’re not, y’know. If you don’t want to end up a splatter-fest of ex-human, then you’d better get wise.

There’s no time for frills and fancy, there’s only one prize and that’s life – or at the very least dying on your own terms. I’m old enough to know that. The future is about survival. It’s all it’s ever about. I wised up to that the day I heard Dad telling Zeke that me and Mum were the weak link, that we were the ones who would most likely slow them down and that if he needed to get rid of us, he wouldn’t hesitate. I didn’t understand. I was a good learner, better than Zeke who was a lazy crumb. I was better with a bow and arrow and I could climb a tree in half the time he could. Just because he could dig earth for longer, I was the dead weight? Like digging a hole and carrying heavy stuff makes the difference when the chips are down? As far as I could see, the difference that marked us out in Dad’s mind was that I was a girl and Zeke was a boy – his boy. I was eleven years old and from that day on I hated my Dad, hated him for marking me out as mattering less because I’m a girl, for seeing me as an albatross and not an asset. It was also the day I decided one thing –

I wasn’t going to be left behind. You shouldn’t be either.

Ironic really that Dad was the first to get bit. I had to shoot him; Zeke froze like he’d learned nothing all those years. Typical. So I shot my Dad in the head and then when Zeke got violent a couple of months later – the isolation got to him bad – and went all frothing-at-the-mouth crazy, I shot him too. If he hadn’t tried for the door I wouldn’t have had to do it. We don’t know what’s out there. Still, at least his death won’t be in vain. Mum can pickle anything and what’s left goes in the cans.

So that was the last of our bullets. Mum and me? We won’t need them, we’re prepared.



    Visit The Shloo on Facebook or drop by her blog.


Handbook for the Apocalypse: Riddley Walker

by Katemandi, Last Girl on Earth

Apocalyptic fans the world over mourned this week: Russell Hoban has left us to our fates on this earth. Wordy wordy wordsmith Will Self has called Hoban his hero and called Riddley Walker “perhaps the post-nuclear-apocalypse novel sans pareil” and it is an epithet well-earned.

Told in the fractured post-nuclear apocalyptic English of a twelve year old just reaching his rite of passage, the novel offers an indelible image of the blighted world to come and demonstrates the importance of keeping your Punch and Judy puppets close to hand.

In its pages you will find optimum tips for surviving the apocalyptic future, making coal, hunting wildlife with a spear, exploring the archeology of the past world and of course, the undying importance of storytelling as the way we make sense of even the most destructive world.

Trubba not and watch out for the arga warga.

Apocalyptic Birthday Wishes

by Katemandi, Last Girl on Earth

Happy birthday wishes to our own Honeybadger, on whose baking the post-apocalyptic religion will be founded. Lift a glass, survivors, to our inspirational chief and kickboxer supreme — a woman who knows how to pick a good team!

Movie Week – Shaun of the Dead

by Katemandi, Last Girl on Earth

When the zombie apocalypse comes, will you be caught with a Cornetto stuck in your mouth? 2004’s Shaun of the Dead offers a hard-hitting look at the average wage slave’s preparation for game-changing mayhem.

The picture was not pretty.

Nonetheless, the titular character managed to survive despite his lack of preparedness through the fortuitous discovery of some important survival rules. Viz.:

1) Choose your team with care — okay, sure it included a lot of dead weight (best friend Ed) and annoying negativity (whiny David) as well as the dangerously injured and vunberable (his mum),  but let’s face it: when it comes to survival, you need some ‘broken wings’ to draw the fire.

2) Blend in — nothing helps you slip past innumerable hordes of shambling undead like the ability to mimic their lifeless stumble. A numbing job in retail can be your best training ground to ape the listless movements and dead-like expression of the revenants, although there is much to be said for factory work as well.

3) Surround yourself with sports equipment — this is helpful especially if you don’t actually play sports of any kind. While it may be encouraged to participate in athletic games and maintain a healthy lifestyle, this type of preparation may also lead to unhealthy levels of confidence and risk. Those who know themselves to be less well prepared and woefully out of shape maintain a reasonable level of doubt as to risky undertakings, leaving the heroics to those wearing their team jackets.

4) Trust the pub — The others pooh-poohed him, viewers doubted but in the end, Shaun was right. The pub was the right choice. Know your pub. Study it well. Get to know the owners and their possible assets (e.g. Winchesters). Make sure there are few enough entrances to control entry, but make sure they also have enough food to tide you over until the first break in the hostilities. A grocer’s or corner shop next door is definitely a plus — so is another pub (or in my case three, plus five more around the square).

Just stay away from the fruit machine!

Werewolves: Challenging Prejudice

by Katemandi, Last Girl on Earth

My esteemed colleague MadNad cast the werewolf as an unrelenting enemy of any girl’s survival of the apocalypse. I think this ancient prejudice must be countered with firm evidence. Just as their animal counterparts have been hunted nigh on to extinction in many areas, the werewolf too has faced unwarranted fear because of ancient propaganda. In the interest of historical accuracy and improved general relations, I hope to sweep away centuries of misunderstanding and enmity.

This has nothing to do with my being in love with a werewolf: that’s just coincidence!

There is abundant evidence of the positive traits of werewolves. Down through the ages have demonstrated their very human side: which is to say that some are good and some are bad, but as a group they are no worse than the humans they begin life as. For every Stubbe Peter, there is an elegant and noble Bisclavret.

Not only are werewolves not your enemy, but they can make a brilliant addition to your post-apocalyptic survival team — you just need to take sensible precautions around the full moon. How will the werewolf help your team?

1) Superb strength and agility
2) Teeth ripping action
3) Tracking abilities
4) Element of surprise
5) Extrasensory capabilities
6) Warm fur/high body temperature
7) Loyalty

Befriend the wolf: you won’t regret it. But you might want to be careful about wearing that red hood…

Picking your Team #5 Wagons Roll

by Honeybadger

The wheelman/woman is an all important member of your team. Regardless of your apocalypse you may need to use vehicles to escape and you need someone with versatile skills.

This is not popping round the shops in your Ford Ka, ‘Daisy’. This is life and death, who knows what the conditions are out there or what will be available? Maybe the only safe option is to get off this island. How many people do you know with the skills to drive a tank (quite a few actually), a boat or a helicopter?

You need someone who can be a leaf in the wind behind any set of controls, someone for whom driving heavy machinery is like breathing so they can do it even while they are freaking out, eyes closed and screaming (in this case, you fearless leader may need to shout navigational instructions).

Ideally, you’d have someone who might even be able to work out the controls for an alien craft from pure fighter pilot instinct, but I’ll settle for someone who can drive like a zombie squishing maniac without getting the rest of the team killed in a hideous collision.

As it happens, I might even risk it in a Ford Ka called ‘Daisy’ because her owner has mad survival instincts.

Honeybadger out

Goddess of the Apocalypse

by Katemandi, Last Girl on Earth

I know there’s a lot of folks associate the apocalypse with the fire-and-brimstone old Testament sort of beardy god, but when it comes to a real apocalypse, you’re going to have to dig deeper. Go back tot he ancient Egyptians to find the goddess of the end times, of divine retribution and of war.

Sekhmet is her name (praise it!).

Head of a lion, body of a woman, she’s the eye of Ra and his daughter — but wait! Divine conundrum: she’s older than the oldest god. the people speak of her as “Lady of the Place of the Beginning of Time” for older than time is blood.

Sister to Bastet — she of the kittens and the sistrum, of music, hearth and sex — Sekhmet shows the catlike anger that seems absent from her regal twin. It only makes sense: Bast represents the clam happy kitty of warmth who sits on your lap purring you into an hypnotic state of calm. She is that patron goddess of LOLcatz!

Sekhmet, however?

How about “Flaming One” or “Lady of the Scarlet Garments”? Why do you think they’re red? Sure, she’s “Great One of Magic” and “Lady of Enchantment” but what kind of magic calls forth her vengeance? “Victorious One in Battle” and “Overcomer of All Enemies” — she’s also “Ruler of the Deserts” as well as “Lady of the Bloodbath” and “Mother of the Dead.”

I know who I want watching my back come the apocalypse. Raise a glass of red beer to her name: SEKHMET!

[h/t to MrTumshie for the suggestion of my cool nom d’apocalypse]

Picking you team #4 – Feed me Seymour

Ana Pascal gets mad

by Honeybadger

Ok it’s easily overlooked and usually is in the movies but the fact is when canned food runs out you are going to need someone who knows how to do more than heat a can of Staggs chilli. Well done, you caught a rabbit or a fish, now what do you do with it to make it edible?

Monica Gellar can out arm wrestle giant bunnies, then into the pot.

You need a chef. Someone who can take raw ingredients and feed the team. You never see it two years on in the moves when little societies get going in quiet areas, crops coming through just fine, live stock producing again and all the cans long gone and non one knows how to make bread or cheese. Anarchy people. Society is built on shared meals, you have to have a chef.

Obviously because this is the apocalypse they do need to be reasonably capable of handling themselves and quick on their feet, but mostly they need to be able to feed a hungry team after a day of fighting off zombies, with something that isn’t going to send them all to sleep.

Do not overlook the importance of a good cook in your long term planning.

Honeybadger out.