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Zombieholics Anonymous

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Wednesday Meeting: Could You Really Kill A Zombie?

Hello, my name is Julianne and I’m a Zombieholic.

(There’s a pause as the rest of the Zombieholics chant “Welcome Julianne.”)

Since exploring the idea of whether or not any of us could kill someone who had turned, the idea of actually killing a Zombie has been on my mind. The idea of a Zombie is an interesting concept. It goes against all that we know to be true about life and death. Even the term “Living Dead” is an oxymoron. Yet we’ve come to accept that it’s an actual possibility.

Let’s run this sucker down, just for fun.

We all like Zombies, right? We enjoy reading about them, writing about them, even watching them in films. Many of us even maintain that we would survive a Zombie attack if it were to happen to us. Under the right and favourable circumstances, of course. But is that the actual truth?

Could you really kill a Zombie?

Talking from a physical standpoint, I’m fairly certain that I could kill a Zombie. I have the requisite skills and the will to survive. On an emotional level, I’m not entirely sure that I would be able to look into the face of someone whom I once loved, a face that has transformed into one of undead horror, and pull a trigger. Bludgeon them to the death with a blunt object. Or decapitate them with a single swing of the Katana that I purchased a year or so ago.

Does that make me weak-willed? Possibly. If a Zombie Apocalypse were ever to happen, how many of us bona fide Zombie enthusiasts would really have what it takes?

My guess – not that many.

We are a society made up of caring and conscientious people for the most part. That’s not a bad thing, mind you, but does it give us any kind of edge in a dying world?

If the world as we know it was to end and the dead were to walk the earth, it would, by default, harden each and every one of us. We’d stop trusting each other, worried that the meager supplies we’ve managed to scavenge together may be a source of contention. Leery of each and every person that we didn’t know, there is the chance we would isolate ourselves into smaller groups. Smaller groups do have a higher chance of survival; fewer people to protect, fewer people to attract attention and fewer people to fit into a stronghold that you will have to secure. Having a plan in place is optimal, but you’re still going to need to remain flexible and adapt to any situation that arises.

To expound further on the idea of adaptability, it’s going to be of the utmost importance if you’re going to have any shot at survival. Conditions are bound to change drastically at the drop of a hat and if you cannot react quickly, it could mean your death. At any moment a horde of Zombies could come calling, and if you don’t have the stones to do what you have got to do to stay alive, you may as well join them. Emotions aside, you’re going to have to do it.

You may just have to stare into the face of a once innocent child and do the right thing.

So I ask you again, could you really kill a Zombie? If your answer is no, perhaps you’d better start praying that it doesn’t come down to a life or death decision for you.

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Julianne’s Monday Meeting: Survival Strategy According to Me

Hello, my name is Julianne and I’m a Zombieholic.

(There’s a pause as the rest of the Zombieholics chant “Welcome Julianne.”)

Thank you for joining me today as we will be talking about strategies to help you survive during a Zombie Apocalypse. What I have to offer is simple and is not going to include telling you to pack a bug out bag. That’s common sense and while important, it’s just not part of the scope of this session.

There are six main strategies and they are all important. As we have no idea when the proverbial sh*t is going to hit the fan, shall we get started?

Don’t Wait: Okay, I’ll admit that seems somewhat self-explanatory but it’s probably the most important. Waiting is only going to allow your city or town to fill up with hordes of those ravenous Zombies. Recognizing that there is a problem and reacting to it quickly is only going to help keep you alive. If you turn on your television one day and hear that the dead are again walking the earth, don’t wait. Waiting is bad. Get moving. Now.

Don’t Dismiss Travelling On Foot: We all know that travelling by car is faster, offers more protection and is more efficient. Zombies can only walk as fast as their oxygen starved, dying muscles will allow them to. So why shouldn’t you dismiss travelling on foot? Everyone is going to panic, get into their cars and head out of town. What is that going to cause? Gridlock. Accidents. Cars running out of gas and adding to the gridlock. It’s going to be hell on the roads and each moment that you are stuck in gridlock, unable to move away, is only going to allow the hordes more time to catch up with you. Moving on foot allows you more freedom. As long as you can walk faster than the horde, you’ll be okay. Just remember that a car is easy to navigate around while on foot, especially on a crowded roadway. The benefit to moving on foot is the fact that you don’t need to stick to roads either. The world is your oyster; let your feet help in your survival.

Avoid, Avoid, Avoid: If at first you don’t succeed, avoid. Seriously. If you don’t need to interact with the Undead, don’t. It’s fairly straightforward. You cannot get bitten if you don’t place your body within the proximity of their mouths. You cannot get infected if you never come into contact with them. Simply avoid them. Avoid at all costs. Avoidance will help to keep you alive.

Observe, Never Assume: One of the first things during Z-Day that will kill you is assuming that you know all there is to know about zombies. We have never faced down a horde of the living dead so how can we possibly know what is likely to happen? Sure, you’ve watched the movies and read the books but what you’re absorbing is only someone’s opinion of what could happen. Are you going to allow that to be the death of you? Absolutely not. Observe what the Undead are doing and how they are behaving. That doesn’t mean engage them either. Consider this strategy as one to be performed in conjunction with avoiding the hordes at all costs. Let someone else engage them and learn from their mistakes. Surviving is important, but surviving smartly makes you the expert.

Not Everyone Is Your Friend: Just because you meet someone while you’re out foraging doesn’t mean that you should accept their lip smacking invitation for dinner. If your instincts are not screaming “Stranger Danger”, they’re broken. Without an uncontaminated protein source, you just may end up the guest of honor at a feast with your seat just a little closer to the fire than may be comfortable. If you don’t get my meaning, there might not be any hope for you. Plain and simple, other survivors could represent a multitude of horrors. Piracy will be rampant as other survivors begin to covet what you’ve got. Cannibalism may become a little more accepted as hunger does strange things to the psyche. Hell, a member of their group may even be harboring the infection, getting sicker and sicker until death finally occurs…. BAM, you’re dead! Or worse, infected. If you find yourself being invited over for dinner, trust no one – trust me on this one.

Keep Moving: You may have found yourself the perfect place to wait out the end of the world. It’s got everything you think you’ll ever need; strong walls, unobstructed views for three hundred and sixty degrees, and a stockpile of food and ammunition. It’s perfect – or is it? What happens when the Undead come knocking… and trust me, they will find you. How are you going to kill them all without attracting more? Who knows if they can hear gunfire? Or if they have a sense of collective consciousness? Something else to consider would be the fact that your stronghold may actually belong to someone else. Someone with bigger guns and the desire to use them. The war between the living and the living dead is horrible enough. No need to go adding another war into the fray. The only way to get around this is to keep moving. Sure, you can replenish your supplies, I’m not against that. What I am against is complacency. It kills. Keep moving – that’s what the Undead are going to do.

Survival is important and frankly, optimal. Keeping these six strategies in mind will help you to survive. I don’t want you to wait or dismiss travelling on foot should the situation arise. If you avoid the Undead while observing them, never assuming that you know what they’re going to do next, you should be okay. Just remember that not everyone is your friend out there and that they may have less than honorable intentions. If you keep moving, you’ll always stay one step ahead. Good luck!

Meeting: What Would You Do?

Hello, my name is Julianne and I’m a Zombieholic.

(There’s a pause as all the other Zombieholics in the room chant “Welcome Julianne”.)

So what would you do if the dead rose? Would you be paralyzed by fear or do you think your survival instincts would kick in? It’s an interesting question and one I’m sure many of you have asked yourselves.

What would I do? Well, I’d like to think I’d attempt to survive. I do have a plan that involves packing up and going north into the relatively uncivilized wilds of Northern Ontario. Let’s face it, the cities are going to become death traps fairly quickly as the epidemic takes hold and people to try to escape. Utter, freaking chaos will rule the streets. Sure, some will be able to get out, but many will not, That’s just fact. And it’s fact that I will be avoiding areas like that.

While my plan is simply to head north, I honestly have to wonder if I’d be able to survive. I do have some skills: I can fish, collect wood, start a fire, be observant of my surroundings; but how would I truly last out there? Would I get bored too quickly? Scare the crap out of myself? All of these things are highly possible…

At the moment, my supply of weapons is limited, though I do have a few connections on my survival team – provided I can get to them or they can get to me after it all goes down. While I’m not worried, I guess I am a little. I have a few items that I feel are important and if push came to shove, I’m relatively certain I’d be able to kill a zombie (I’d give it a good go, that’s for sure), but could I kill lots of them? They make it look so easy on television and in movies, but getting through a cranium isn’t actually all that easy…

So tell me, what would you do? Would what you be willing to do if it meant survival? Let me know if the comments section—there’s strength in numbers, but that’s something they’ll have too!

Julianne’s Monday Meeting: Fast or Slow?

My name is Julianne and I’m a Zombieholic.

(There is a pause as the rest of the group chants “Welcome Julianne.”)

There’s been a lot of talk lately about what’s better: fast zombies or slow zombies. It seems like an odd question because better is such a positive term. If I had the choice, I’d really rather never meet a zombie in real life and I’m pretty certain that would be the case with many of you. (Liking the genre doesn’t mean we literally have to sacrifice ourselves to it and I understand there will always be the exception to the rule. But even then, I think the novelty of the living dead would wear off pretty quickly in a survival situation.)

So what are the ‘benefits’ of both? Good question!

SLOW ZOMBIES: Many purists would argue slow moving zombies are really you’re only option. When thinking about physiology, a decomposing body just isn’t going to move quickly. And then you need to take into account the fact no oxygen would be getting to any of the muscular tissues to help break down lactic acid as it’s built up with muscle use. And it’s reasonable to expect that lactic acid will build up as the glucose already present in the muscle tissue is used up for energy production. It’s also reasonable to expect this will increase the rate of decomposition. Not great for individual zombie longevity, but great for your average survivor.

There’s also a sense of hope that exists when you’re dealing with the slow zombie. And hope is an important thing in terms of psychology. If you knew you’d never get away, why would you even try? At some point your psyche would kick in and you’d give up. But slower moving zombies, give you appearance of a chance and no one can tell you that’s not an important aspect.

FAST ZOMBIES: Sure the fast zombie makes movies more interesting if you’re looking for action and gore, but what if you want a story too? Yes, that’s a bold statement, but a true one if you really think about it. If everyone succumbs to the fast zombie, either by chance, getting caught out in the open, being too out of shape to escape, or because your mind gets too tired to fight and just stops.

In my opinion, the fast zombie shouldn’t really be able to exist, but different vectors of disease could cause a multitude of different ways zombification could occur. That being said, anything really is possible, and those possibilities scare me. Does the fast moving variety make for a better thriller? In some cases yes, but I have to say I’m not going to want to come up against a horde of them.

So fast or slow, they each have their ‘benefits’ but I’d rather stick with my slow ones, thank you very much! What about you?

Meeting with Christopher J. Starr

Hello, my name is Christopher and I am a Zombieholic.

(Hears the chorus of other Zombieholics in the room chanting “Welcome Christopher”)

I might as well face it, I’m addicted to zombies! (If you haven’t already, re-read the last few lines of the previous sentence to the tune of Robert Palmer’s 80’s hit. Go ahead, I’ll wait.) I’m going to start from the beginning, to gain a better understanding of why I am here today, and how to cope with my affliction… or affection.

Although George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” is the granddaddy of them all, in regards to the present day zombie, I’m more partial to Dan O’ Bannon’s “Return of the Living Dead”. It was around 1987, and I was roughly 14 years old when I had watched the film at my then best friend’s house. Now, let’s consider the O’ Bannon undead: Zombies that ate brains; that could, and did run fast; and a bullet to the head of these zombies did not get the job done…this absolutely blew my young mind, not to mention, create a new kind of fear. Oh! I failed to mention Tarman! Forget the “Thunder Gray” face make-up and “black circles around the eyes” zombies, Tarman was ooey-gooey and most of all S-P-O-O-K-Y! In the movie, the graveyard was “awakened” by the contaminated rain, which contained the resuscitating chemical “245 Trioxin”, that seeped into the ground. By the time the movie was over, I had to walk home, as it was a school night, and I, like most kids at the time, had a curfew. That night, I may have had the best form for speed walking ever, as it began to thunder, with streaks of lightning jutting across the night sky. All I could think of… storm, rain, zombies!!!! That is when my love for zombies was established.

Nearly 30 years later, I have watched numerous zombies appear in film, television, and books. A lot of the zombies featured in those works between then, and now, somehow reflect elements of those featured in “Return of the Living Dead”, especially when referring to eating brains. Others, obviously taking their cue from the “Romero” style zombie. Either way, anytime that I watch a zombie movie that I haven’t seen, some part of me, for a moment, hearkens back to when I was a kid, hurrying home to avoid the possibility of my cerebellum becoming a ghouls snack.

***

photo (2)ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Working as a project engineer by day, Chris spends his time in the darkness of his dungeon, doing anything from watching horror movies, creating spooky illustrations, tinkering with music, catching episodes of “The Walking Dead”, “American Horror Story”, and “The Munsters”. He also enjoys reading anything from Poe to Brian Keene. Spending years submersed in the horror realm, he has recently taken up writing, and became a Supporting Member of the Horror Writers Association, in the hopes of advancing in membership.

Chris attended The Art Institute of Pittsburgh receiving a degree in Industrial Design; The Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online Division receiving a diploma in Digital (Graphic) Design earning a 4.0 GPA; and is currently taking additional classes online.

Julianne’s Monday Meeting: Why?

Hello, my name is Julianne and I am a Zombieholic.

(Hears the chorus of other Zombieholics in the room chanting “Welcome Julianne”)

I’ve been asked by a few people in my life why I love zombies so much. To me the answer seems simple, but I can see why others may question it. Look at the subject matter – decaying husks that were once the family and friends of people in the world. Who could love that? But I think one needs to look deeper.

Sure zombies gross and at times terrifying, but you need to look at what they once were, who they once were. Us. That’s terrifying and if you can’t see that, I think there might be something fundamentally wrong with you.

And I’m not taking that stance lightly either. Forget for a moment the different aspects of media we’ve been exposed to: books, movies, games, graphic novels, etc. Put yourself into a situation where you’re in a world with actual zombies.

Many say that will never happen, but what do we truly know? Perhaps it really is the future? So imagine yourself there, fighting tooth and nail for survival. Could you do it?

Could you kill a loved one if that meant your own survival?

I wrestle with that often. I look at my family and friends and wonder if the thoughts of who they once were would run through my mind as I stared them in their grotesque little undead faces. Would I pause? Would I hesitate in delivering the final blow? Would I leave one of them behind in order to escape?

I can’t answer those questions because it hasn’t happened yet and that’s what scares me. I’ve seen responses from people who maintain they’d have no issues dispatching those who they once loved, but I question that resolve. I’m not calling it a lie outright, they very well may be able to put a bullet through the head of what was once their child. What I am saying is that how can one truly know until they’re in that situation, holding a gun in one hand and trying to fend off a loved one with the other. Surely you can all agree there would be a war waging within each of us.

So that’s the thought I will leave you with today. Would you be able to do it?

Wednesday Meeting: Julianne

Hello, my name is Julianne and I am a Zombieholic.

(Hears the chorus of other Zombieholics in the room chanting “Welcome Julianne”)

Why do I write about Zombies? I get asked that question an awful lot, but there is a simple answer. I write about them because I love the genre. While many think it’s been done to death, the truth of the matter is, there’s a huge following of fans ravenous for new work. They want those stories of survival, they want to feel what it would be like to survive without actually having to experience it. And if I’m being honest, each story really is a new one, despite the fact it may see overlap in what the characters do and the fact they’re running from Zombies.

You can ask people if they have a Zombie plan and I’d say that about 65% of them would tell you they do. It might involve running, holing up in a centralized location or just laying down and joining the horde. I can’t say for certain what I would do until it actually happens but I think it’s safe to say I’d attempt to survive for as long as I could.

You’d likely find me studying them, trying to determine if there are any patterns that can be exploited. It’s just the way my mind works. But I find it interesting to consider if we’d really and truly lose all that was once us. Would we forget the quickest way to the store or the route home? Would we really not recognize our loved ones, and conversely those who we despised in life?

I wonder about things like this… What about you?

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Julianne Snow is the author of the Days with the Undead series and the founder of Zombieholics Anonymous. She writes within the realms of speculative fiction, has roots that go deep into horror and is a member of the Horror Writers Association. Julianne has pieces of short fiction in publications from Sirens Call Publications, Open Casket Press, 7DS Books, James Ward Kirk Publishing, Coffin Hop Press and Hazardous Press, and upcoming collections from May December Publications, 7DS Books, and Firbolg Publishing. The Carnival 13, a collaborative round-robin novella for charity which she contributed to and helped to spearhead was released in October 2013. Her collection of zombie short fiction, Glimpses of the Undead is available online at all major retailers.

Monday Meeting with Julianne, Founder of Zombieholics Anonymous

Hello, my name is Julianne and I am a Zombieholic.

(Hears the chorus of other Zombieholics in the room chanting “Welcome Julianne”)

It’s been way to long since I stood in front of you all and just talked. I’ll admit it, I love zombies. Everything about them. Admittedly, I wouldn’t want to meet one in a dark alley without some sort of weapon on me, but that’s for a different post.

So why did I start Zombieholics Anonymous? I wanted a place for others who can’t get enough of the genre to come together and share their experiences. If you’re a writer, it could be a place to share your work, and a place for the readers to connect with you. A place for everyone to discuss the different elements that exist within the genre and for you to declare, in front of the world what your favourites are.

Me? I love the original Night of the Living Dead. I think Romero had a lot to say with that film and while it was released 10 years before I was born, it speaks to me. I saw it when I was 6 and it opened up a whole new world – one that I am proud to call myself a part of. I write in the genre and currently have two books released with 2 more coming later this year. I run a very successful website that jump started my series and publish pieces of flash fiction each and every week. Zombies have been good to me and I’m not ashamed to say it.

So join a meeting, tell the rest of the community about your addiction. We’re all in this together. One shambling step at a time!

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Julianne Snow is the author of the Days with the Undead series and the founder of Zombieholics Anonymous. She writes within the realms of speculative fiction, has roots that go deep into horror and is a member of the Horror Writers Association. Julianne has pieces of short fiction in publications from Sirens Call Publications, Open Casket Press, 7DS Books, James Ward Kirk Publishing, Coffin Hop Press and Hazardous Press, and upcoming collections from May December Publications, 7DS Books, and Firbolg Publishing. The Carnival 13, a collaborative round-robin novella for charity which she contributed to and helped to spearhead was released in October 2013. Her collection of zombie short fiction, Glimpses of the Undead is available online at all major retailers.

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