Saturday, December 4, 2010

Zombie Outbreak Simulator

I have always wondered how a zombie outbreak would spread.  When I came across the "Zombie Outbreak Simulator" by Kevan Davis I just had to have it for Zack's World!  It is a JAVA applet that models an outbreak in an urban environment.  The simulator starts with a single infected human (green) amongst 4000 normal humans (purple).
It's fascinating to watch as Zack infects and infests every accessible space.
If the simulation stops it means there are no humans left or the humans successfully killed off the infected.
Clicking on the simulation will let you restart or change the city by:

  • Pressing space to uninfect all but one zombie.
  • Pressing 'z' to draw and populate a new city.
  • Pressing 'p' to toggle complete panic.
  • Pressing 's' to alter the simulation speed.
The simulator was written by Kevan Davis with Fight/Flight code and other additions by Matt Cordes.
Click here for Kevan Davis' original version.  More information on what is happening is available here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Happy Birthday! LIZW is 1 year old.

September 12 is the one year anniversary of Life in Zack's World!
Alas there is no sign that the shuffling hordes are being thinned out at all.
To celebrate(!?!)   I have re-posted the first story I put up here a year ago, the Tell Tale Heart.
This version is illustrated by Liz Jepson.

Check it out here:
Illustrated Tell Tale Heart

Enjoy and thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sounds like a good idea... NOT

An entertaining look at what "everybody knows" about dealing with the rise of the undead.
From back in September 2009 

5 popular zombie survival tactics that will get you killed

Monday, June 7, 2010

Business Continuity Planning and...Zombies?

Now here is a fascinating way to look at disaster planning...

Zombie Attack!
Author: Buffy Rojas June 2009

A real risk? Maybe not, but there are actual lessons to learn from this fictional threat. And using a zombie attack as an exercise scenario or the kick-off for a brainstorming session might help make business continuity cool (gasp!) or even fun for change.

“Zombie Attack: Applying Business Continuity Professional Practices to Attacks by the Undead” was a surprise hit at the 2009 Continuity Insights Management Conference, with speaker Scot Phelps (see pages 8 and 34) receiving rave reviews for his session based on the New York Times bestseller World War Z. The talk was especially timely as the book’s zombie outbreak was the result of a virus.

World War Z’s basic premise is that the world is overrun by the undead. They don’t bleed, breathe, or think. They don’t plan. They aren’t organized. They are a threat but don’t target anyone personally. They just want to eat flesh. To kill one, you must destroy its brain. The zombie outbreak begins in China, which tries to keep mum and control the spread. That, of course, fails miserably, the virus spreads worldwide, and most countries (including the U.S.) also fail miserably in their response, moving slowly, getting hung up on politics, and relying on familiar tactics rather than fresh thinking.

“Everything in World War Z is based in reality...well, except the zombies,” says author Max Brooks. “But seriously, everything else in the book is either taken from reality or 100 percent real. The technology, politics, economics, culture, military tactics... it was a lot of homework.”

Monday, May 3, 2010

Zombie Awareness Month

The Zombie Research Society  reminds us that:
May is Zombie Awareness Month.

Many films important to the evolution of the modern zombie are set in the month of May, from the original Night of the Living Dead, 1968, to the well received Dawn of The Dead remake of 2004. 
Also, because Spring naturally brings with it a sense of renewal and hopefulness, May is the perfect month to emphasize continued vigilance in the face of the coming zombie pandemic.

So wear those grey ribbons with pride!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


By Alastair Robertson
Photos by Alastair Robertson

“There is no fog, baby.”

 Alex turned to see a young woman. She was pretty.

 “It’s just ‘cause your eyes are changing.” She said.

 “Who are you?” He asked.

 “Lisa, baby. It’s me.” She was pretty but she looked sad.

“Lisa.” I don’t remember anybody named Lisa, Alex thought, but she seemed nice. He looked out the window again. The fog was getting closer. A wall of muted grey swallowing trees and silhouetting houses.

“There’s a fog coming in.” He repeated.

“You just can’t see as far as you used to, baby. You got bit.”

The pretty girl was changing a bandage on the back of his leg. Blood poured out of the wound like a damn had burst. The person started crying, saying something like they just couldn’t do it anymore.

“I’m bitten?” He asked. But the person he was talking to was gone.

The brightest sunlight provides no warmth in memories. A boy and his sisters running through the park, a man and his comrades running for their lives. The past gets jumbled. The reality is replaced with homes that glow white and sunshine pouring through mom’s hair as she holds an infant. A time when we were so helpless and fearful is made adorable and cherished. Does this mean we will sometime be nostalgic for now?

Alex watched as his sister cut her hair short, each lock falling faster until it’s just a blur and no one knows what she looked like before. He wanted time to stop, to keep her beautiful. To stop time and go backward, to keep them safe before the bad guys come.

There is a monster in the closet.

There’s a body on the bed. It was dead and Alex was very nervous. He approached knowing it could attack at anytime. It was an old woman, motherly and sweet in life he was certain. She hadn’t been turned. Possibly the last person to go from birth to a natural death. The monster that got her was time. And it is as unthinking, unfeeling, cold and relentless as all other monsters.

In that same room a scared little boy tries to wake his grandma and cannot. He wants grandma to protect him and explain why his mother, who once held him and let him play with her sun drenched hair, had changed. Why she couldn’t hear his voice anymore. Why her eyes changed from green and white that rewarded him with love to terrifying red and yellow that didn’t recognise him at all. For the first time in his life she had hit him. And it scratched his face so badly that he was bleeding. He was now doomed and too young to understand it. He would go from birth to unnatural, abominable  death in just 8 indifferent years.

His only instinct was to hide in the closet, to close his eyes very tightly, and pray someone big and strong would come. And someone did, but it was too late. His only instinct then was to attack and feed.

An outbreak in the dorm sent 11 young people out into the brave new world together. By the time they reached the farm house outside the city, there were 6. Alex had fought monster and man in order to protect his remaining sister and she would try her best to repay him after he was bitten. He had taken the group out of it’s way to find her, to save her. She owed him that much at least. Never mind he knew about the 3 week old life in her womb and had kept it from the group so she wouldn’t be seen as a liability, a burden, a selfish bomb waiting to drop.

His companions were already gathered at the van waiting to depart. He knew they would have to discuss shooting him.

It’s not fair he had to die for such a tiny wound. but it would bleed and bleed. It would bleed forever. Even after death as microbes started to manipulate the unconscious systems of the brain to make him rise and move, to kill and spread the virus, it would bleed. It would bleed through every bandage Lisa could put on it. And he would be a threat, an accidental saboteur, to his only remaining friends in the world. He stood stoic on the porch and everyone sensed something was wrong. They probably all had the virus too, dormant in their systems from environmental exposure, lurking in their hearts and lungs, waiting for them to die. Who were they to end his life? They were just as dead as the boy in the closet, the woman on the bed, the body under the ground, and the child yet to be born.

“I’m bitten.” He said, but the people he was talking to were already gone.

A paralysis was spreading through his body, and he fell writhing to the floor. He could only see about 10 feet in from of him, and only in black and white. Soon he wouldn’t be able to see anything really, just detect motion. Only to smell fresh blood, only to hear cries of terror, and to feel... nothing. Mind slowing, dying, the body turning to a shell. A spectre to haunt this place.

The barest fragments of a mind left, he saw something moving around him.

The bandage person?

No, it’s three people. Gas masks, goggles, guns... initials on their vests.


A fourth person.

Different from the shock troops.

Syringes, taking blood. badge...

Department of Post-Human Resources.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The City in Winter Part 1

by Kevin Jepson

The snow is actually white.

Like the snow I remember as a kid, bright white with a hint of blue.
Thick and fluffy, yet crisp, crunching and squeaking beneath my boots.
The air is clear, like glass, calm, not a breath of movement. There is a snap to it, an edge, a bite.
High above me the sun shines with that bright yellow that only a midwinter sun can display.
Amazingly, the sky is actually a clear icy blue too.

The first snows that fell, after all hell broke loose, were dirty and grey, falling from sooty, smoke-like clouds. The snow was almost the same colour as the skin of the undead.  A dead grey, a mottled, blasted grey. The drifting remains of a million flaming buildings, funeral pyres, destroyed refineries and the blasted cities of Iran and Pakistan. They had been convulsed in mutual nuclear annihilation even while the dead rose up and walked from the still-flaming ruins.

But now, a month after Christmas, a thick, clean, snow blanket lies undisturbed across the streets and buildings of Calgary.

We are pretty well off in the Centre downtown, even with some 35,000 people in the theatres and concert halls.  However, one has to take advantage of the hard freezes when they happen. When that first grey snow fell and the temperature plummeted, we were able to scavenge through the streets of downtown and stock up.  Zack, as the Americans call the re-animated plague victims, starts to slow down when the temperature gets much below 0 Celsius, and he freezes solid at about -10C. That, plus nearly every major building in downtown Calgary being connected by covered walkways 5 meters or more above street level, means that we have a pretty good place to ride out the war with the undead.

It’s been well below the ghoul-freezing point for more than a month now so they decided to send some of us further out of downtown to do a little scouting.  I'm working my way towards the Southern side of the city, looking for any grocery stores or warehouses that might still have food or supplies of one sort or another.

I tromp along what was 5th street, heading for the bridge over the Elbow River.  It is silent, except for the crunch and swoosh of my boots in the snow.

The street is covered, maybe half a meter thick. There isn't a trace of anything having passed. No vehicle tracks, no boot tracks, no ski trails, no rabbit tracks even, nothing.  Beautiful and eerie at the same time. 

For a city that once had a population of more than a million, such a scene is uncanny. 

A million people!

Growing up in small town Alberta, I could never really get my head around that many people in one place. The city always seemed to press in on me. Coming in to town, from a day skiing with my aunt and uncle’s family in the mountains to the West, there was a spot on the highway where we came over a ridge and we saw, and felt, the city. It was like a constant pressure on my face.

Not anymore. 

Most of that million people are probably still here, but they're dead, and waiting to kill when the temperature starts to climb.