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Texas Bill

Zombie Fiction or Something to Chew On

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I thought that was genius! Why wouldn't zombies retain some tactical capacity? It seems like we do a lot of things in our lives more because our bodies already have learned how to do them than because we're consciously thinking about them (look at how people DRIVE for goodness' sake!). And when you think of how many repetitions of each motion trained military fighters go through, why WOULDN'T they automatically hold a firearm in the ready position or be able to go through the motions of firing an RPG, even when their brains are no longer fully engaged?

 

Reminds me of when the velociraptor learned to open the door in Jurassic Park. Terrifying.

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Velociraptors scare the heck outta me, Breaker!

 

I just finished the As the World Dies trilogy by Rhiannon Frater. An amazing amount of character development for a zombie novel, with some really interesting ideas about fortifications and security against a possible horde of zombies. Not quite as much actual zombie fighting as you find in other novels, but still very well done... and when the zombies DO attack, the battles are intense. I also thought it was interesting that she avoided the usual "rushing out to bring war to marauding humans" scenario that has become practically a zombie novel cliche. Not that there weren't some humans doing despicable things, but it was handled in a different (and much more tactically sound, if brutal) way than it is in other books. Big thumbs up, definitely recommend to anyone who loves zombie novels!

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OC, I figured you would like that series by Rhiannon Frater. For another book with strong female characters, check out Year 50 by Geoff Bluske. Not one, not two, but three strong female characters doing the necessary by wiping out "Puppets" (alien infected zombies) in a world overrun by monsters fifty years after the Fall of Humanity. What people remain live in fear of the monsters and rely on folks like Calypso, Freya and Selene to go out into the Wilds to maintain contact and conduct trade between the scattered outposts. I am only a little over halfway through the book and so far it has been a blast. These young ladies are scary good at killing things since they have been raised from childhood for this very purpose.

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Sounds promising! You'd hope that the characters would be strong with names like that. Calypso was daughter of a Titan and kept Odysseus detained for years on her island. Freya (Freyja) is the Norse goddess of love, beauty, fertility, wealth, AND war and death. Selene is goddess of the moon, may be a version of the goddess Artemis, is sister of Helios, and is either daughter of a Titan or of Zeus depending on your interpretation of things.

 

I'm halfway through the newest installment in the SM Stirling series about The Change, which is much like all of the other ones have been. LOL Of course, I enjoy reading them in part because I can actually picture the places that are described there - most of it takes place in my backyard!

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Always very cool when someone writes about your neck of the woods, so to speak.

 

I finished Year 50 at lunch and it was very satisfying. Long for a novella but seemed short for a novel but maybe that was just because of how fast I tore through it. First in a series.

 

Last night I finished reading A Darkness Shattered by Bruce Clothier, a zombie book with a supernatural turn to it. It has some appealing characters ( a pair of teens molded and refined by the apocalypse) and of course the obligatory big friendly dog. I found it entertaining, anyway, and I am looking forward to the next installment.

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I read Zombie Crusade by J.W. Vohs and I gotta say, there is nothing subtle about this book. Hulk smash! This is a fun read and hopefully the first in a series. Short synopsis: a couple of Army Rangers survive a zombie outbreak in Afghanistan in 2002 that is hushed up by the government and both suspect it was an experiment gone awry. When they get back home, the two men and their buddies start planning for the inevitable outbreak. Seems zombies are particularly drawn to sound so gunfire is just as good as ringing a dinner bell, so they invest the time and effort to become proficient in using melee weapons. Turns out the mace and halberd do a pretty good job of scrambling zombie brains, and hilarity ensues. Actually, the outbreak burns through civilization like a couch potato on a hot pocket and our hearty band of heroes is all that stands against the storm. Not exactly Stephen Crane's Red Badge of Courage, but then I neve liked that book anyway.

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Well, save your money when it comes to Harbingers by J.S. Reese on Kindle. Looked good but rapidly devolved into a story where you are rooting for the zombies. Of course, I may just be lacking in patience since i only got 40% into the story before giving up, but come on. Who writes a zombie book and makes the main characters unappealing, completely clueless whiners? This is very disappointing because the zombies are way scary--faster, stronger and more savage than rabid badgers. On PCP. With a toothache.

 

OC, I think you would especially hate this book since so far all the female characters have managed to do is scream to attract unwanted zombie attention, scream when the truck goes too fast, scream when the male characters beg them to stop shrieking and run, and wander off unarmed to loot a jewelry store for a nice diamond necklace and earring combo. I am not knocking jewelry but the female character in question does it while forgetting to get diapers for her infant daughter. Not cool. Unfortunately, the males characters are not much better. I think the author wanted to portray his main characters as "normal" people reacting to completely crazy situation, but these folks constantly act like mentally deficient lemmings and still manage to survive.

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Oh, yes, Harbingers is definitely out for me, then. Yuck. It's always disappointing when they play to such obvious stereotypes - like hysterical women; hysteria was once thought to be an affliction for women caused by disturbances in their uterus (hence the name: "hystera" is Greek for uterus). And not that I don't believe there are a lot of people who will do stupid, panicky things when they have a crisis occur (whether zombie or other), it's just that I don't want to read about them. LOL

 

Did I mention that, in addition to my completely useful and practical political science major, I was only a class or two shy of a women's studies minor in college?

 

I just read Zombie Crusade because I was in the mood for a "Hulk smash" sort of read. LOVED IT. Tons of zombie action, some interesting and different ideas in terms of preps (not all of which I'd go for, but still - kinda cool), and while there were a lot more Army Rangers in the story than most of us will know, the non-military people were also given their due, and competence/incompetence wasn't decided by gender, or age, or any easy and obvious route. I also liked one of the themes, about how some people have a warrior instinct and some do not, and if you're smart, you'll make use of both types of people by letting them do what makes sense: non-warriors can provide needed support - communications, supplying ammo/food/water, etc. - while warriors do battle.

 

FYI, the latest in the Keely Thompson books by P.S. Power is out, called Mistress of Souls. I just started it this morning, and it's good so far. Of course, I'm also anxiously awaiting new releases in all of the other series - A Very Good Man and Gwen Farris especially, but also the Young Ancients and Infected series.

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Thank you Oregonchick and Texas Bill for reading my book and giving a shout-out for it! Your posts led me to this site and I like it a lot. We've been prepping as finances allow for about 4 years, but I've never joined a forum. I have a lot to learn, so look forward to following Survival Cache as much as possible. Zombie Crusade was my first zombie novel, and a sequel is already being written. I never know if anyone will like my stories, so thanks for the positve comments. I would welcome any comments or suggestions you have for future work, and I suppose you can message me in a number of ways. Thanks again!

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OregonChick, I read Mistress of Souls and found it disturbing but cool (there's a shocker). The Very Good Man series is supposed to finish up this month as well, so keep an eye out for that. One of the things I liked about Zombie Crusade was the attitude of the knights having to hold the line-- the later scenes reminded me about what I read regarding the formation of the Spanish tercios. As long as the line held, they could face even otherwise overwhelming numbers. There goes my own background as a history major (wrote a research paper on Wallenstein the military contractor as a business model).

 

Mr. Vohs, welcome to the neighborhood. Seems kind of funny to have a Zombie section, in a prepper site but their is a lot of tongue-in-cheek overlap. Please keep us informed on the milestones in your sequel and as always, I volunteer to be a beta reader for you. Also, if you have equipment questions or for your own prepping questions, just on in and feel free to ask. We have a lot of knowledgeable members and even more, the natives here are all friendly. No trolls or flame wars like a lot of sites I can think of offhand. As I like to say, there are no stupid questions, only stupid zombies.

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Thank you Oregonchick and Texas Bill for reading my book and giving a shout-out for it! Your posts led me to this site and I like it a lot. We've been prepping as finances allow for about 4 years, but I've never joined a forum. I have a lot to learn, so look forward to following Survival Cache as much as possible. Zombie Crusade was my first zombie novel, and a sequel is already being written. I never know if anyone will like my stories, so thanks for the positve comments. I would welcome any comments or suggestions you have for future work, and I suppose you can message me in a number of ways. Thanks again!

 

Welcome, Mr. Vohs! I genuinely liked your work and look forward to the sequel (and any subsequent ones you write after that). While zombie fiction obviously has to have some elements that are constant - such as humans turned into mindless cannibals - it seems like a lot of them fail to focus on the actual battle with zombies and instead become sagas about fighting other (crazed, murderous) survivors or vast conspiracy theories about the origins of the pandemic or the government/figureheads trying to gain absolute power. Granted, those things might happen down the road, but it seems like the first priority would be creating a safe haven and killing off as many zombies as possible. Your characters were smart enough to do that, which made me like them even more! I also appreciate that your story was well-written and thoroughly edited, which some Kindle books are not.

 

Hope that you find some good ideas for your own preps and possibly for your novels on this forum!

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OregonChick, I read Mistress of Souls and found it disturbing but cool (there's a shocker). The Very Good Man series is supposed to finish up this month as well, so keep an eye out for that.

 

It's interesting to watch Keeley's progression from human to demon, isn't it? She's kind of scary in the way she's adapting so well to her powers, to the point where she seems to get some satisfaction from having her little crew of minions. I am getting tired of the "have to eat" theme; seriously, have they never seen the kinds of supplements that you can find for athletes at a health food store? There are all sorts of powders, concentrates, etc. that will add literally hundreds of calories to any food you eat, which seems like it would resolve a lot of their problems. Oh well. LOL I am really looking forward to seeing how A Very Good Man wraps up.

 

One of the things I liked about Zombie Crusade was the attitude of the knights having to hold the line-- the later scenes reminded me about what I read regarding the formation of the Spanish tercios. As long as the line held, they could face even otherwise overwhelming numbers. There goes my own background as a history major (wrote a research paper on Wallenstein the military contractor as a business model).

 

I thought that was really interesting, too, and well described. You could definitely get a sense of how effective it would be when it held, and also how badly it could turn out when the line failed (as it did a few times).

 

I do have to admit, between reading The Novels of the Change series and Zombie Crusade, I'm now beginning to wonder if my "when I win the lottery" plans for a BOL should include Norman-style fortifications. Big house on the hill part, I'd like. Itty-bitty windows? Not so much. I'd also worry about having something obviously fortified prior to TEOTWAWKI, since that could encourage people to seek sanctuary at your location; I wonder if you could come up with some kind of panelized fencing that could be stored on-site in an outbuilding, but only posts along the perimeter would be permanently installed... Then you could fairly easily erect a large perimeter fence when it was needed. Hmm. Worth considering, as fencing and fortifications are clearly useful in a zombie apocalypse!

 

Just for fun, here's an amusing description of Norman castles by the BBC:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/primaryhistory/anglo_saxons/normans/includes/activities/pdfs/a_castle_eye_spy.pdf

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OC, the modular fencing idea sounds good. Looking too good may make you a target at worst, a center for others to shelter at best (or worst as well). That is another reason to have someplace waaaaaaay out in the boonies once you will the lottery.

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Out in the boonies, and don't be obvious about it. Got it. LOL I really do want my property to mostly look like a somewhat normal country house with a few outbuildings... once you're on the property. Mostly, I would prefer it to be out of the way enough that nobody drives by, but if someone gets lost, I want them to just see trees. It's one of the reasons NOT to have permanent fencing up ahead of time, IMO - makes people curious about what's being protected/hidden there.

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Nah, get you some mean goats and put them out front and nobody will think twice about the fence. Plus, tell the neighbors you have a rare breed of flesh eating goats and I'll bet your drop by traffic will be pretty low.

 

I just downloaded the last of the Dead End series from P.S. Power but i have not had a chance to read it yet. However, I did read some zombie story entitled Second Bane that was pretty good right up until the end.

 

 

 

SPOILER: Ending sucked and you find out the guy you have been rooting for is a whackjob psycho who can control the zombies. Author also manages to kill off every sympathetic character in the story, yet leaves with a cliffhanger ending. Sorry, I will pass on Book Two.

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Oregonchick, thanks for the compliment on the editing; my English-teacher wife is my editor and she's a stern taskmaster! Texas Bill, I too am a history major, and while I don't know a lot about Spanish Tercios, I did watch a clip on Youtube that depicted them fighting the Dutch in the 16th Century. Now that I think about it, you are absolutely correct! The warriors in 'Zombie Crusade' resemble the Tercios much, much more closely than any fighters from the Crusade era, or even for several hundred years afterwards.

Oregonchick mentioned the desire for a fortified house, and believe me, I sit around and daydream about what I would create if I won the lottery. One thing I'm certain of though, since the invention of TNT no defense has been created that cannot be breached if an attacker has enough high explosives and the will to use them. I think a great example of this is found in 'Patriots' (which BTW, I recommend to any prepper that hasn't read it), where pseudo-Rawles and his group must ultimately take to the mountains when faced with a military/paramilitary force with plenty of firepower. Everyone they know who stands their ground ends up dead. Texas Bill, have there ever been better defensive positions than those built by the Japanese on Okinawa, or the Germans in Normandy? Ultimately they were overrun and destroyed, and they had many more toys to defend with than we do! Yeah, if zombies appear I want to be on the 2nd floor of a stout home, and if human gangs show up I want steel doors and shutters surrounded by sandbagged walls, but rogue military and paramilitary units heading my way mean it's time to head for the hills. Even if you have a large enough group to defend against a major attack, such as that which occurs in 'One Second After', the casualties are very high with their early 20th Century medical system. Ideally, I would like a well-fortified home on the edge of a large wilderness area such as the Boundary Waters. What do y'all think?

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Well, those fixed place defensive positions of the French at the Maginot Line did not do much to save their bacon, either, when confronted (or not confronted as it was) by the flexible German blitz tactics when they just oozed around the flank. IMHO, stout stone wall defenses are good for raiders and zombies, not good facing off against organized military force. There, I think you need to consider a strategic withdrawal and have a secondary bugout location set up. If you fight, better to go with guerilla tactics.

 

Mr. Vohs, I was just thinking about the tercios because of the way you had your knights at the second battle of the Castle holding the front line with their pikes and spears while the second line poured out the firepower, like the Spanish did with their bows and arebesques (not sure I recall the spelling correctly for this early firearm). The "hedgehog" style lets your second ranks armed with firearms to reload more safely behind the line while the front line continues hacking. If your shooters are taught to target shots out to a set distance, say twenty yards, this would also serve to break up the zombie charge by so that it arrives in waves rather than a steady push. Not only do you get zombie kills with the shots and a bit of breathing space for your front line, you also get the use of the corpses as trip hazard to get some trampling action going, too. Also, you might want to think about arming your folks with Calico rifles with the 100 round magazines just to avoid frequent reloads. At that range, a 22LR is pretty effective and your troops can literally carry thousands of rounds without much trouble.

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Oregonchick mentioned the desire for a fortified house, and believe me, I sit around and daydream about what I would create if I won the lottery. One thing I'm certain of though, since the invention of TNT no defense has been created that cannot be breached if an attacker has enough high explosives and the will to use them. I think a great example of this is found in 'Patriots' (which BTW, I recommend to any prepper that hasn't read it), where pseudo-Rawles and his group must ultimately take to the mountains when faced with a military/paramilitary force with plenty of firepower. Everyone they know who stands their ground ends up dead.... Ideally, I would like a well-fortified home on the edge of a large wilderness area such as the Boundary Waters. What do y'all think?

 

I think you're right on two fronts: one, that if you pick a good location (away from likely "traffic" at TEOTWAWKI) and that it's fortified, you'll be able to withstand MOST of the bad stuff that could roll your way, and two, that sometimes you have to remember that retreating with your life is a much better decision than making a stand at any cost.

 

The Boundary Waters would have a lot to offer in terms of natural resources, plus it's vast and has enough wilderness (especially in terms of bogs and marshes) that you could establish a pretty significant "home field advantage" by being familiar with the area around your BOL and setting up boobie traps/ambushes for those would do you and yours harm. It has many of the features that I like about the foothills of the Cascades here in Oregon, actually - with preps, a certain amount of knowledge, and of course a bit of hard work, you could make a pretty great life without the trappings of modern society and it is remote enough to ensure you aren't quickly overrun when TSHTF. My only concern with the Boundary Waters would be whether growing crops would be feasible - lots of rock, lots of cold. You should check out the location-related section of this forum - lots of good discussion there.

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Yeah, the BW environment is definitely fierce. The growing season is short, and you would have to work at developing good plots. Winter is mid-October to April, and the nights are very, very long. Surviving long-term out there would be brutal, but trying to chase down a guerilla band in there would be next to impossible for non-governmental military forces. There are always compromises when choosing retreat or bug-out locations. I live in Indiana, and I know why so many settlers filled this area: great soil, water everywhere, and manageable weather extremes. I once had to be plucked off of a Utah mountain, as I was dying of dehydration, and I am a bit obsessed with access to water! Hey, Oregonchick, I saw that you have read The Change novels by S.M. Stirling. A lot of that story takes place in the Oregon area. Sounds like a decent location for TEOTWAWKI.

Edited by vohsjw01

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A fierce BOL is not a bad thing when you are protecting you and yours. And I completely understand the water thing (especially if you have had the horrible experience of NOT having it when you needed it most) - you can compensate for almost anything else, but if there's no water to be found/had, then at some point no matter how many preps you've socked away, your BOL will become SOL. One thing I probably won't have to worry about in my neck of the woods, although lots of water is obviously not the same thing as lots of drinkable water, but that can be rectified with filtration, or heat, or sunlight, or drops.

 

Yeah, I loved The Change novels in part because some of the places described are some of my favorite places in Oregon (example: there's a great trail to walk/hike near Silver Falls, which is the home base of the Rangers). Honestly, Oregon (and Washington, and parts of Idaho and Montana) already attract a fair number of survivalists, off-the-grid hippies, cults, militias, and other fringe groups because of the abundant resources here. I think the Arayan Nation once suggested that this would be the perfect place to make a stand "when the race wars start" not only because of our farms and forests, but because we're pretty far from diverse (I believe they've since discovered that the overall population isn't quite as receptive to being their neighbors as they might have hoped, common skin color or not). Some of the more radical green movement types have pointed out that, given how easily things grow around here, this would be the place to be when there's no more oil for transportation. And with all of the vineyards, microbreweries, and marijuana growers around here, it's sure to be one of the most fun places to live at TEOTWAWKI. ;)

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I love S.M. Sterling but I just wish he could have gone somewhere other than Authurian legend with The Change books. Sounds like beautiful country though.

 

Mr. Vohs, I have been back and forth to Indiana several times this year for work, mainly around Indianapolis but as far north as Fort Wayne. Some pretty farmland out there once you get out from the big city lights.

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I love S.M. Sterling but I just wish he could have gone somewhere other than Authurian legend with The Change books. Sounds like beautiful country though.

 

I do agree - I wish it had stuck to more of a "real" survival fiction story as opposed to moving into fantasy. But I'm even willing to over look the Lady of the Sword (or whatever) just to enjoy the battles, castles, and scenic descriptions. LOL

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Completely off topic here but my wife and I saw the new Resident Evil movie over the weekend. After it was over, my wife turned to me as we were walking out of the theatre and said, "If the zombie's ever really come, we are so screwed. You will never have enough ammo for that kind of horde."

 

My response: "I will if I can get my hands on that Umbrella Corporation-issued submachine gun Alice was using." She must have burned through at least 500 rounds and never needed to reload! Say what you want about how evil the Umbrella Corp. may be, but they make one heck of a high capacity magazine.

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