How to Survive Miami's Zombie Apocalypse, According to Zombie Expert Jonathan Maberry

According to authorities, there's a good chance that last week's face-eating incident was the result of mind-altering drugs. (Just say no, kids.)

But according to the rest of us, it may signal the beginning of an inevitable threat Hollywood has warned us about for years: a zombie apocalypse. (Just ask The Miami zombie.)

Naturally, we're all a little concerned that the undead may choose our sunny paradise as their next city of smorgasbord. After all, the heat is nice and lubricating for their stiff limbs.

So, in the interest of being prepared, we spoke to zombie expert Jonathan Maberry, author of Zombie CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead on how best to survive a zombie apocalypse. Y'know, just in case.

Cultist: I'm sure you heard about the recent face-eating zombie attack in Miami. Any commentary?
Maberry: Within a few hours of the report hitting the news I was

inundated by emails, IMs, Facebook and Twitter posts telling me, in

essence, that the stuff I've been writing may not be fiction.

What would you say is the top rule of zombie survival?

be the dumb loudmouth in your group of survivors. These days, folks are

likely to feed you to the zoms and make their escape during the


What weapons or supplies should we procure to prepare ourselves?
In my series of teen post-apocalyptic zombie novels (Rot & Ruin, Dust & Decay,

etc.) the smartest object of defense isn't a gun or knife -- it's body

armor made from carpet. You can't really bite through it and there's

carpet everywhere. In the movies, the characters always run out into a

crowd of zoms wearing ordinary clothes. I'd tear up the carpet, secure

it with some duct tape (and we all have duct tape), and then stroll

through the crowd of frustrated zombies.

Can we ply them with any other food besides human flesh?

we accept the movies of George Romero as "zombie canon," then the

living dead eat everything -- humans, animals, insects. We can always

breed food for them. And it would provide jobs for farmers in a troubled


How do zombies react to hot weather?

would thrive in hot weather. The heat keeps them limber. Cold would

freeze them solid since body heat comes from blood flow. Of course, as

the temperature rises, the zoms would spoil pretty quickly. Smelly ...

but eventually they'd fall apart.

Can zombies swim?

wouldn't be a threat in the water. The freshly killed ones would sink

like a stone without air in their lungs for buoyancy. The rotting ones

might float because of gasses released by putrefaction, but they would

lack the coordination for the mechanics of swimming and couldn't

strategize on how to overcome tides and currents. So, a great way to

survive the zombie apocalypse is to strap on that Speedo and take a dip.

Are there different varieties of zombie?

are several classifications of zombies. The old-school zombies are the

raised dead used as slaves by priests of the Haitian religion of vodou.

Since the 1960s we've come to hang the "zombie" nickname on flesh-eating

ghouls of the Romero kind, and these are slow-moving, mindless corpses.

Then there are the fast zombies, as introduced first in the film Return of the Living Dead (1985) and made famous in the 2004 Zack Snyder remake of Dawn of the Dead. Then you have the "rage virus-infected," who are mindless humans

infected by a disease that makes them kill everyone they meet. They were

first introduced in George Romero's 1973 flick The Crazies, then later became wildly popular in Danny Boyle's 2002 classic, 28 Days Later and the 2010 remake of The Crazies. Oh, and Europe is famous for its demonically possessed zombies, and there have been a zillion of those films.

What's the most common misconception about zombies?

most common misconception about zombies is that the disease only

spreads through bites. However Romero established that everyone who

dies, no matter how or why, will rise as a zombies. Bites simply make it

happen faster.

So there you have it. Get ready to tear up that carpet and make a swim for it, Miami.

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Hannah Sentenac covers veg food, drink, pop culture, travel, and animal advocacy issues. She is also editor-in-chief of
Contact: Hannah Sentenac