I have not read nearly enough young adult dystopian novels to do this post justice. But I do love zombies, so maybe that will make up for it. Zombies became an item of interest for me that night in college when the student union showed Dawn of the Dead in one of the large lecture halls. There was one scene where a character was surrounded and in a seemingly inescapable situation. Raising the gun to his head, it looked like he was about to end it all. In a sudden change of heart, he blasted his way out into a suicide run, bound for the life-saving helicopter. I’ll never forget how the audience erupted in cheers when he chose to go down fighting, to die trying. Of course, he makes it out alive to die another day, but the emotional reaction from the crowd was not centered on his survival – it was all about the nobility of the struggle.
Struggling to survive is something that Fia, the main character in Soul Search and Soul Scent, has deep expertise. While zombies are not her particular problem, she is under constant assault by grasping, needy earthbound spirits, as well as the economic hardships faced by new adults. The novels follow her journey from neophyte to competence in both the unseen and mundane worlds. To quote the Beatles, Fia gets by with a little help from her friends. Whether it’s to solve the mystery of why a spirit cannot move on to the afterlife or if she needs help making this month’s rent, Fia’s friends are there to see her through.
Friendships aside, the struggle to survive in a hazardous environment might give us introverts the societal permission we need to hole-up away from the madding crowds. One solution to a zombie infestation is an off-grid, UFO-style floating home. Near as I can tell, zombie’s can’t swim, so the homeowner could evade the voracious dead by languidly cruising about the ocean at a top speed of 4 mph. The zombie survivor would power both their locomotion and their home needs through 430 square feet of solar panels mounted on the closable lid atop the structure and through above- and below-deck wind and water turbines. Sea water would be converted to fresh water by an on-board generator, and could either be ingested or shared with a vegetable garden located on the deck that surrounds the structure. This food supply could easily be supplemented by fishing. Food, water and shelter, all in one convenient, self-contained little structure. This floating idyll is a beautiful thing, but based on my particular circumstances, one downside I can foresee is the constant smell of wet dog that would infuse my small, small living space. I suppose a person could get used to anything, so don’t let this dishearten you. If you’re interested in adopting this lifestyle in the absence a zombie apocalypse, the manufacturing company is currently seeking investors to build the first working prototype.
An alternative to a life at sea is a doomsday shelter. These structures are for those who seek a quiet, upper class bunker community to while away the post-apocalyptic years. Unlike the UFO home, these bunker communities are already in existence and, if you happen to belong to a high-net-worth family, you too can buy space at Vivos xPoint, billed as the largest private shelter community on earth. But lest you dive in and start contacting realtors, I should highlight that these communities are not introvert-friendly. The bunker community houses up to 5,000 people and the individual shelters are 26 feet in width and either 60 feet or 80 feet in length, enough for an estimated ten people and a year’s worth of supplies. Alone-time would be really hard to come by. That said, one real advantage of these bunker homes is that if we’ve guessed wrong and the apocalypse does not take the form of flesh-eating zombies, but instead comes to us in the form of a nuclear holocaust, these shelters are rated to be able to withstand a 500,000-pound blast.
I’m crossing my fingers for zombies making an appearance at the end times. This is mainly because the Homeland Security website Ready.gov warns that following a nuclear blast, you should wash your hair with shampoo, but not use conditioner. Conditioner can bind radioactive material to your hair and increase your exposure. If you go to my author website, you’ll see that I have crazy long hair, the kind that chokes dogs and breaks vacuum cleaners. I cannot do without conditioner for any length of time because of the risk of developing a terminal case of rat’s nest. It would be the height of irony to die of suffocation brought on by a rat’s nest, while the rest of the world succumbs to radiation poisoning. Uncool. Just very uncool.
Regardless of how the world ends and whether we wave to each other from crowded bunkers or floating UFO homes, know that I will come to your rescue in an emergency. Should the toilet in your shelter fail, I stand ready with my lame superpower to assist.
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