Zombie Warriors: Apparel and Melee Weapons

apoc_soldiersFirst up, is the question of apparel, what you intent to be wearing when the fight begins…

Apparel:
As we all know, taking on zombies is a matter of protection as much as firepower. Nobody wants to step into the middle of the apocalypse naked or clothed in their basic street wear, especially if they dressed light! In addition, you also have to think about mobility, both in the getting around sense and the ability to move your limbs with comfort and ease. If you’re weight down, you’re likely to become a zombie’s meal. Using your physique as a template, select from the following items to see which would best suit you, taking into account various mobility and protection factors.

Body Armor:
Pros: Military issue body armor has a number of advantages when it comes to fighting zombies. For one, its loaded with kevlar plates that a zombie is going to have a hell of a time ripping through. Second, it covers your vitals, shoulders, crotch and neck from bites, while leaving your arms relatively free to fight. It’s also lightweight, which is handy since mobility is key in a zombie fight.

Cons: However, the downside to this armor is that it doesn’t provide protection for your limbs, which are often what the zombies go for. So in a close fight, you’ll have to keep moving to avoid that fatal bite and/or scratch. What’s more, it can constrict your mobility just enough to be considered an impediment. It’s great for protecting against bullet-fire. but in melee combat, it’s protection is limited. But of course, not all your enemies may be zombies. Just in case you have to go up against other hunters or certain “Governor” type forces, this suit could come in handy…

Fatigues:
Pros: If you’re looking for something loose-fitting and made for getting around, look no further! Army fatigues were specifically designed to give soldiers a full range of motion, which includes marching, running, shooting, hand-to-hand fighting, even rappelling. And the stitching ensures that you won’t have any embarrassing rip ups! What’s more, it covers your entire body which is great protection against zombie scratches.

Cons: However, the protection factor does not reach very far beyond that. The fabric is not strong enough to protect against bites, and a committed undead will be able to tear off a sleeve or a pant leg without too much effort. So while it’s great for mobility, don’t count on it saving your life when you’re in the thick of it!

Hooded Cloak:
Pros: True, the main advantages here are cosmetic, but damn it if those don’t count for something! Like Michonne’s mysterious cloak, this gives any zombie fighter that je ne sais quoi, that undefinable quality that makes others not want to mess with them. What’s more, its good cover for a sword or small arms weapon, which can come in handy when going up against the walking dead. And the cloak can even act as a weapon itself if its wearer is quick and uses the lapels to distract their opponent and then deliver fatal stabs.

Cons: Downsides are obvious. The cloak can be a liability when it comes to running and fighting. While it can conceal your face and give you a certain mystique, it can also get in the way in the middle of a fight. And of course, zombies can easily find their way inside it and get at your flesh. As your mamma may have told you when you were a kid “looking cool isn’t always smart”.

Kevlar Vest:
Pros: One has to assume that in the event of a zombie apocalypse, police gear will be suddenly available for civilian use, especially if you know the police HQ has been overrun. And as far as protection and mobility go, a Kevlar vest is not a bad option. While it may not provide any arm, leg, shoulder or neck protection, it still ensures that your midsection is well defended against clawing, biting zombies who would just love to get at your organs. What’s more, it does not constrict your mobility or weight you down.

Cons: But alas, armoring your midsection and leaving the extremities exposed might leave you wanting. Much like the full suit of Kevlar, this option is only partially suited to close encounters with zombies, but highly useful against opponents who have access to firearms. Again, it’s important to keep in mind that not all your troubles will stem from the undead.

Powered Armor:
Pros: When it comes to combining armored protection with enhanced strength and speed, the powered armor suit is the absolute tops! In addition to boasting armor plates in all the right places, it gives the wearer the ability to wield a power punch that could knock off a zombie’s head! And the enhanced leg strength allows for speedier running and higher jumping, which comes in handy in a pinch!

Cons: The armor suit has some drawbacks vis a vis its enhanced power, in that it requires you to wind up and let loose. If and when you find yourself set upon by hungry zombies, you won’t have the space to deliver a blow. And in this instance, the suit’s weight and armor can become a liability as well, proving heavy and cumbersome, and hence restrictive to movement.

Riot Gear:
Pros: Another police issue, the riot gear outfit is perhaps the best armor option available to the zombie hunter. Made up of Kevlar, plastic and fabric that covers your core, shoulders, arms, legs, and head, this suit has all your bases covered. Unless they are able to swarm you, zombies will have a hell of a time finding their way through this suit or armor. If you’ve read the Walking Dead comic or seen 28 Days Later, you know just how effective this suit can be.

Cons: But of course, the likelihood of being swarmed increases exponentially when wearing this suit. Although the wearer is a veritable walking tank, running is very difficult in it and mobility is highly constricted. And in the end, some areas are still exposed to zombies clever enough to find them, such as your armpits, neck and chin. These, they’ll only find if they really search for them, but if and when they get you cornered, expect them to try!

Melee Weapons:
No zombie warrior is fully equipped without a melee weapon, which is both a weapon of last resort and a way to dispatch the undead in a way that is quiet, and up close and personal! Not only do melee weapons not run out of ammo, they do not make a significant amount of noise which will attract more zombies to your location. Just remember, the bigger and more deadly the weapon, the harder its going to be to keep swinging it. Choose wisely!

Axe:
axePros: As zombie-smashers go, an axe is a pretty popular option. A solid blow from one of these is sure to split a zombies head in half, and the size and weight are still manageable. This balance of size, weight and killing power make it a weapon that can be swung for awhile before the user will succumb to exhaustion, and the odds of it breaking on you are quite minimal.

Cons: Only downside is that this weapon is capable of getting stuck in a zombie’s face after its been used to split their skull. This can really screw you in a pitch battle where multiple swings are needed to dispatch wave after wave of incoming undead.

Baseball Bat:
baseball_batPros: Perhaps the most popular option for zombie-smashing, the baseball bat offers numerous advantages in a small, lightweight package. The blunt force trauma from a few good swings is likely to be fatal, and since zombie heads are often softened by necrosis, a single good swing can often deal death on them.

Cons: Only downside to a baseball bat is that extended use can break them. Being small and lightweight, repeated blows to zombie skulls can lead to a breakage.

Hammer:
hammerPros: Another favorite of the veteran zombie warrior, the modern hammer offers a lot of killing power in a tiny package. Especially the all-metal variant, this melee weapon is a boon at close range since it can offer blunt-force trauma from the head or punctures from the clawed edge.

Cons: A small weapon, a hammer is heavily reliant on the one who swings it. A good strong arm can wield it for extended periods of time and send zombie after zombie to the grave for good. But in the hands of a smaller person, it’s likely to have limited power.

Katana:
katanaPros: An ancient and powerful weapon, the katana offers zombie-hunters quite a few advantages, and makes the wielder look pretty damn cool in the process! The solid blade, sharp edge, and manageable weight give it some pretty awesome killing power. Not only is it capable of hewing off limbs with ease, an overhead blow can split a zombie skull in half.

Cons: But of course, the katana is not for everyone. Like all swords, it requires some training before it can be used effectively and efficiently. Its not like other melee weapons that can simple be picked up and swung willy-nilly. And those who try are likely to hurt themselves or make a mess of things!

Ka-Bar:
Ka-barPros: The standard issue of the Marine Corps, the Ka-Bar knife is an effective killing tool when re-purposed for zombie-hunting. Lightweight, easily wielded, and very portable, this knife is sharp enough to slice through any necrotic tissue, and the sturdy blade has been known to be able to punch through skull.

Cons: One downside to the knife is that it is not designed for repeated skull-stabbing. Using it in this way can lead to breakage or loss, especially if the weapon gets stuck in a zombie’s skull. The best option is to find another route to the zombie’s brain and stab there.

Longsword:
longswordPros: A one-handed medieval recreation, the longsword is an effective zombie-killing tool in the modern age. Made of tempered steel, razor-sharp, and possessing a few good pounds of weight, a single blow is likely to split a skull or remove a head with ease. At the same time, it is easy enough to wield with one hand.

Cons: Some training required, and given the balance of weight and the fact that it’s one-handed weapon, its really only useful in the hands of someone strong enough who can comfortably swing a five pound weight without getting overtired. Much like the katana, the weapon is not for everybody.

Machete:
machetePros: Lightweight, easy to wield and sharp as hell, the machete is perhaps the most balanced weapon in the zombie-hunter’s arsenal. As an edged weapon, it possesses many of the advantages of a sword, but its smaller size and lighter weight make it far more portable and much easier to wield.

Cons: Interestingly enough, the advantages of this weapon also present some downsides. The lighter weight and small size means it has less killing power than a larger, heavier edged weapon. While a good blow is likely to take off a zombie head or hew a limb, its more likely to get stuck and has a shorter effective swinging range.

Truncheon:
truncheon
Pros: Another blunt-force trauma weapon, the truncheon is a common law enforcement tool that is popular when re-purposed for zombie-killing. Composed of metal, collapsible, and easy to swing, the truncheon is very handy in a close fight with a horde of undead. It can also be used for extended periods of time with little training and requires little upper body strength, making it highly versatile as well.

Cons: Unlike other blunt-force trauma weapons, this small and lightweight weapon is not likely to smash a skull with a single blow. While useful when deployed against a person, zombies feel no pain and aren’t deterred by stinging blows. Lucky for users that its light, because many swings will be needed to take your enemy down!

Time to pick and choose folks! Get your gear on and select your zombie-smasher of choice. And stay tuned for the next few posts in my series of Zombie Warriors! Next up, we talk about guns and ranged weapons! The zombie apocalypse doesn’t stand a chance!

More News!

zombie_graveyardGood morning all! Once more, I have some good news from the world of publishing and zombie writing! First up, my newest book to hit the shelves, Whiskey Delta, has just passed 650 sales. Woohoo and woohoo! And yet, I am mourning the fact that the people I dedicated it to are unable to read it yet. C’mon people, you got to get on that! Uh, but you might want to wait until I finish with all the edits.

Speaking of which, the creation of Whiskey Delta’s 2nd edition is coming along nicely. My trusty editor and I have polished the first quarter of the book, which seems to account for the majority of the typos and errors.  But of course, we won’t stop until it’s done. And then I plan to get on the second installment and make sure it is in prime shape before it’s release. I am hoping it is received well, since the sequel came up in more than one review.

And in other news, I just bought a copy of World War Z. It only seems fair that I read the book of the man who got me off my ass and made me publish this work (with Rami’s help of course). It was actually during a conversation with a teaching colleague of mine that I finally decided to buy a copy. I was telling her about my story, and she brought up Max Brooks. As I waited for her to finish, I began chuckling to myself. She paused asked me what was so funny, to which I replied “you’re going to laugh”.

I then proceeded to tell her how a friend of mine (hi again Rami!) mentioned me to Max Brooks and how he went on to mention my name and the name of my story in his speech. She laughed, and then told me exactly how awesome his book is. I’m only a few sections into it, but I can tell you she was right. The book is a work of genius, much as the reviews would have us all believe. If y0u”re looking for a good read and a twist on the zombie apocalypse, I say invest in a copy!

Whiskey Delta Published!

Whiskey_DeltaOh yeah, I went ahead and did it! Lord knows I wanted more time to get some spit and polish in her, but some things wait for no one. And in a lot of ways, I’m happy it came to this because there are times I need a boot in the ass! So my thanks to Rami for giving me that push, due in no small part to the fact that he did the mega-solid of mentioning my work to Mr. Max Brooks!

Yes, the author of World War Z himself recently visited Rami’s stomping grounds of Ohio State University to talk about writing, horror, and his fascination with the undead. And in the course of his talk, Mr. Brooks did me the honor of mentioning my name and the title of my book, as part of his shout out to authors who also tackle the zombie apocalypse. Who am I withhold publishing this book now that the name has crossed the lips of someone who’s actually famous?

So check it out, available on Amazon and Kindle in both paperback and ebook formats!

Amazon.com

Pappa Zulu Complete!

zombie_goreAnd it’s done! The second installment of my zombie apocalypse is finally complete, and I’m set for a break! My thanks to those who’ve been following the story for lo’ these many months, and my hopes that you will be available when it comes time to start work on the third and (presumably) final chapter. But we’ll see how that goes. Could be this series is more of a “trilogy in four parts” kind of thing. You never know 😉

Anyway, onto the business of this novel. This one was even longer than the last! At 305 typed pages and 109,442 words, compared to Whiskey Delta which weighed in at 261 pages and 93,746 words. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America guidelines specify that a novel is any book with 40,000 words or more. At what point does a book become a tomb?

And much like before, I prepared a write-up and a cover for it’s eventual release in ebook and paperback, which I want to run by people now. As you can see, the cover is a mish-mash of army colors and a scene of paratroopers on the attack, while the back sports my usual “bio” pic and a small blurb on the book itself. Here’s what it says:

“Men rise from one ambition to another: first, they seek to secure themselves against attack, and then they attack others.” -Niccolo Machiavelli

In the barren deserts of New Mexico, the war against the Whiskey Delta continues. After years of fighting, the “Mage” and his Rattlesnakes have managed to get the upper hand on the undead, while back at their base, “Doc” Cooper and his team are getting close to producing a vaccine from the Patient Zero strain. But things quickly change when a new opponent enters the arena. Ever since their encounter with rogue forces in LA, the Mage has worried that there are military forces back East, people who owe allegiance to another master and want the Patient Zero strain for themselves…

Pappa_Zulu

Now comes the next part… At this point in time, I still need to finish doing edits for a Mr. Rami Ungar who’s made it clear he wants his new book Reborn City, to make the birthday deadline of November. In addition, I’ll be busying myself with the Yuva Anthology, which has expanded in recent months to take on more authors and now comprises five full-length short stories.

And once that is all done, I think I’ll get to work on that Apocrypha tale I’ve been reminiscing about. And of course there’s the matter of keeping up with all the cool science, tech, entertainment news and book reviews from the wide, wide world of science fiction. No slowing down over here! I’m just that awesome! Yeah, not really, but I do what I can… stay tuned!

“Bath Salts” and the Zombie Apocalypse

zombiesI hear it more and more these days: “Is this the Zombie Apocalypse we were warned about?” Or is this just one of those rare occasions when pop culture and real news come together to create a sick, existential joke? In either case, I think we all know what I’m talking about. A little incident involving a naked man and some face eating? Yes, that one!

In that case, police indicated that drugs were involved, a strange new psychogenic named “Cloud Nine”. This drug is apparently a form of MDPV cocaine, also known by the street name “Bath Salts”. The “zombie man” Rudy Eugene was apparently loaded on the euphoric amphetamine when he attacked Ronald Poppo, bit half his face off, and then threatened to eat the police.

According to numerous stories on the subject, this product is a perfectly legal form of bath salt that is meant to provide an invigorating bath experience. But given its recent link to this and other incidents , that’s likely to change! Shortly after the first “zombie attack” took place, police in Miami began reporting similar incidents where people ere either biting or threatening to bite other passerby’s. Here too, the behavior was attributed to Bath Salts.

And now it seems that a similar incident has happened here in the Great White North. For those not familiar with the Luke Magnotta story, allow me to elaborate. It began a few days ago when two political party headquarters in Montreal began receiving body parts in the mail. This was followed shortly thereafter by more body parts appearing on the doorstep of Vancouver Police Department, which appeared to belong to the same victim.

Magnotta, crazy-ass freak!

It took no time at all for authorities to identify the guilty party, a 29 year old man by the name of Luke Magnotta who was apparently a gay porn actor. After committing the grisly crime, he had fled to Germany where authorities found him and arrested him. According to the police reports, he was in an internet cafe reading about himself online. It also took them no time to identify the victim, a Chinese student named Lin Jun, a 33 year old man who was having a relationship with Magnotta.

RIP dude!

Based on their initial investigation, police revealed that in addition to cutting his former lover up, Magnotta also engaged in some cannibalism with the body parts and video-taped the whole thing. He posted these and other gruesome tidbits on the web, hence why it was not hard to catch him! He is being extradited as we speak to Canada to stand trial. No indication has been given yet whether or not Bath Salts or some other drug was involved, or if he was just bat-shit crazy.

Granted, this is not the first time that drugs have been linked to cannibalistic behavior. In fact, cases have been reported where people high on PCP/”Angel Dust” have engaged in these and other totally messed-up behaviors. Still, the way this has coincided with the recent zombie craze is nothing short of sickening and frightening!

Just in case, I think it might be a good idea to start researching Zombie guns. I’m not condoning the whole “Zombie Apocalypse” theory, I’m just saying that it might not be a bad idea to have a contingency plan just in case this behavior starts to… you know, spread! In the meantime, I’m thinking it might not be too late to re-evaluate the “Just Say No” policy either, especially where Bath Salts are concerned. I know we all love a good, invigorating bath, but it aint worth becoming a zombie people! Stick to aromatherapy, lotions and luffa; or better yet, do what I do and just have a hot shower. Thanks for listening, and in the meantime, protect your exposed flesh!