May 24, 2013

Staying Alive in a Zombie Attack: City or Country?

Staying Alive in a Zombie Attack:

City or Country?

by Christine Verstraete

Just as circumstances and environment have an effect on human lives, so they must play a part in the life - or un-life - of a zombie. How they, and us, survive (or not) has a lot to do with environment.

City dwellers, for instance, have more resources at hand. The bigger the city, the more guns and weapons to be found, the more food, groceries, and places to hide out - and the more people to deal with. In a compacted area, that can mean more prey for the zombies, especially in big-city neighborhoods where one house is located right next to another.

But with populations on the run, or people barricaded and unreachable in a specific area, that means zombies may have to roam further to feed. Yet with no workers left and no maintenance, cities eventually turn into crumbling wastelands overrun with rats - the four-legged and two-legged kind. The criminals, though, will have to either form their own society, leave to overtake other communities, or implode from within.
And if the people are gone, what then? That depends on what role you think animals play in the whole apocalypse thing. In a world where chaos reigns, where humans are hunted and normal life has vanished, what about the animals?

If the virus or infection can spread to different species (bird flu anyone?) then you not only have hordes of undead people, but crazed, weird animals or dying, infected animals (think mad cow disease.) If not, would animals be food for zombies who may be attracted to anything living and moving, if not always human? Then the unthinkable could occur - besides wandering farm and wild animals you have populations of former pets left to fend for themselves or grabbed by the undead. City-dwelling zombies also may have the advantage as garbage festers and the rodent population grows.

The same may hold true for humans in some kind of shelter. After how many months will the food run out? When there is ostensibly nowhere else within reachable distance to find new food sources beyond the canned goods, MRE's and Twinkies, what then? Do humans compete with the zombies for food? Does everyone end up hunting animals and rodents--and each other?

Living in the country can have some advantages, one being the population is spread out enough that there simply is not enough life to attract zombies or keep them hanging around long, especially in the more rural areas with miles of acreage and nothing else. Wild animals then would play a role in both human and undead sustenance. But once the local animal population is gone, would you have the same scenario? Would the countryside be filled with roaming bands of hungry humans - and zombies - fighting over food until no one is left?

Of course when all the food is gone, when nothing is left, it's not only the Donner party that may turn to the unimaginable. Apparently even the starving Virginia settlers in 1609 turned to feeding on the dead to survive. Of course in this instance, you'd need the dead to stay dead first.

When the dead walk, there really is no advantage to where you live, city or country, at least not in the long run. Cheery, huh?

Christine Verstraete 
is an award-winning journalist and fiction writer. 

Her book, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie, will be published in August. 

Visit her website: 
or stop by her blog:  GirlZombieAuthors.


  1. Hmm.. Good scenario and not one I'd really thought about. I'm a city girl at heart, but the last 7 year's we've lived 'very rural' and I can see the pros and cons for both. I think it will be worse in the metropolitan areas initially where the fight for food and survival will be most severe. Many people in more rural areas grow at least some of their own food and might have more of an advantage.

    At least I hope so as that is what I choose to believe because we do live in a less-populated area, we do grow some of our food (although not all by any means) and we do have some canned, dried and frozen staples.

    Thanks Christine for the 'question of the day' to give me something to ponder on! (Now, where did I put my chainsaw and my pruning shears!)

  2. Thanks for inviting me. Nice blog. Hope it gets lots of interest.

  3. Well glad I gave you some "food for thought..." heh-heh. I'm semi rural and in any disaster, I'd much rather be where I am and not in a big city...

  4. While you make make some very interesting points about country vs city, there's a third option too, and it's one that I favour: head out to sea. Plenty of food (in the form of fish, crustaceans and molluscs), if you have a sailboat you don't need to worry about fuel, and as everyone knows, zombies can't swim! Of course, you do need to be able to sail a boat (which is a bit of a limitation).

  5. Good idea, but... what happens when the water is gone? (Water water know the rest...) ha!

  6. Looks like I better buy that shotgun I've ben thinking about before the government outlaws them.

    Nice blog Christine

  7. Luckily, since the days of the Ancient Mariner, some clever people have invented a machine that turns sea water into fresh using reverse-osmosis so there's no need to worry about running out of drinking water any more...although I still wouldn't risk killing an albatross!

  8. Ah.... forgot about that.... yes if you are smart enough to pack that ahead of time!