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How to Survive Almost Any Sci-Fi Disaster


Michele Dutcher

Up here in the Saharan outback – I mean Louisville Kentucky – we're continuing to do battle with our four official seasons: Flood, Drought, Fire, and Frozen Solid. There is currently a curved line drawn by the weatherman meaning ‘Everyone below this will be sweating their bottoms off’ - and that dividing line is just north of Chicago. Once again weaker hearts have decided to abandon ship and lock themselves in their home's central air conditioning, to beat the latest weather doom and gloom. But nope, not me, not Miss ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the Midday sun'.

However, this turn of events has put me to wondering about all those Sci-Fi anti-heroes who just happen to be in the right place when a Sci-Fi Apocalypse happens…exactly where is that? – the right place to survive against all odds?

In HG Well’s tale, the War of the Worlds, the best place to be is heading out of town ASAP. The hero packs up his wife and runs to the countryside where he and she hide in the basement of a house.  So rule number one, run and hide, fast.  Anywhere is better than where you are now if 50-feet-tall aliens are trying to burn down your city with heat laser eyes (patent pending).

This ‘run inside a house and lock the doors’ technique also works if you are running from psychotic birds who are out to kill all humans – no, I didn’t understand the Hitchcock film either, so don’t ask me why they started killing people, or how blackbirds developed the brains to attack humans en mass.

In ‘The Day After Tomorrow’, three astronauts aboard the International Space Station are trapped because they see a huge storm system spanning the northern hemisphere. So the ISS is not someplace to be when the weather goes apocalyptic.  Sandra Bullock also found this to be true in the film Gravity.  So we can mark off the ISS as ‘right place’, however the New York Public Library does rate well as a survival venue.  There are lots of books to burn, especially now that everyone at the library are only using the computers so no one will care if you burn a lot of books to survive.  Vending machines are also a really good source of food – for like a week people, tops, hello!  Another place where people take refuge in the movie is Wendy’s restaurant: nice choice with a freezer full of meat and cans full of food.  Even if the ice age goes on for awhile and the power goes off, you can just stick the meat outside and the canned food will keep for a year or so.  Note to self; don’t run to a cellar, run to a Wendy’s.  Nice!

In The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton, there are only two survivors who manage to escape the viral wrath of a strain brought back from outer space.  One is a baby (ahhh) and the other is a sixty-year-old man who is drunk off his butt – which turns out to be the source of his salvation.  So if you can’t be a baby again, be an alcoholic – in a Wendy’s.  Nice!

Basements and holes do work in case of a short-term disaster like twisters – but only if they are not shark-na-does – because those sharks are REALLY mad and they’ll find you, and then the only way to survive is with a chain-saw, which is probably a good thing to have during any disaster, even a zombie apocalypse.

Wendy’s, drunk off your keister, with a chain saw. Nice!

Beyond the chain saw, I’d like to offer a slimmed down list of items to have with you during a disaster – based on a list by Dan Hollifield, editor at Aphelion webzine: 

 Several five gallon buckets with lids; first aid kits; oil lamps and lighters (makes sense but a flashlight might be nice too); dehydrated stuff, MREs, canned goods – like back at Wendy’s; water!!! – 3 days without and you are RIP, unless you can melt snow in the five gallon buckets; knives  - I always carry one with me, I live downtown; Machetes, firearms & ammo, hunting and fishing gear – once again, I always carry the first three with me as I live downtown; Flare gun, flares, mirrors, whistles, or other ways to signal for help – nah, that’s okay, I don’t need no freaking help; and finally: Camping gear! Sleeping bags, folding shovels, small tents, tarps- both plastic and canvas, compass, a hatchet, a Bowie Knife, bow saw, Space Blankets, light-sticks, magnifying glass, backpacks, file, claw hammer, a fist-full of big nails, knife sharpener, lots of rope, twine, a large spool of heavy-duty fishing line, picnic gear, lots of zip-lock baggies of several different sizes, Toilet paper, paper towels, and so on. You can set up a small tent inside your house to collect body and lamp heat.

And really the only person you do not want to be with is Charlton Heston aka The Ten Commandments, Planet of the Apes, Omega Man, Skyjacked, Return of the Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green, Earthquake, remake of The Planet of the Apes, and Armageddon.  If Charlton Heston shows up just shove him out the door, because he’ll be like a zombie, no really… he’d be a zombie. 

So in review: Wendy’s, drunk off your keister, with a chain saw, and in possession of all that stuff that Dan Hollifield suggested, and you’ll be ready to take a run at the next disaster, minus Charlton Heston, of course.

2014-07-15 09:07:42
micheledutcher - For Ironspider: Your comment on vegetarians warms my heart - thinking of others first...(first on the menu!)

2014-07-14 04:49:38
Ironspider - There are some stories - On the Beach for one - that posit scenarios where no human will survive. Some, such as The Death of Grass, are survivable, but leave a world I probably wouldn't want to inhabit anyway. And that's one thing you can't plan for - the psychological response of survivors. Even in circumstances when a person could survive, I suspect many lack the mental resolve to do so. And on a lighter note: in any survival situation where food is scarce and cannibalism beckons - eat the vegetarians first. It'll be a mercy...

2014-07-05 07:04:32
I was talking with the True Brothers yesterday and they were saying they'd be running if Doctor Who showed up, because that means 100s of people are going to suddenly die or disappear.

2014-07-02 05:57:41
micheledutcher - Charlton Heston is like Data on TNG - if he's featured, something B A D is going to happen. But with CH it'll be something of Biblical proportions - locusts, water into blood, frogs, with a side-effect of death.

2014-07-01 05:59:49
jessbaum - Zombie Charlton Heston, I would watch that movie! teehee

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