I am currently juggling two books related to what was once known as survivalism but is now rather euphemistically called "prep culture." The first is 'The Disaster Diaries' by Sam Sheridan and the other is 'The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World From Scratch' by Lewis Dartnell.
The topic is of obvious interest to zombie fans and 'Walking Dead' fans with George A. Romero's 1978 classic 'Dawn of the Dead' arguably providing the boiler plate for the survival horror genre.
Sheridan's book charts his research into a variety of subjects that he felt would be directly related to he and his family safety in the event of TEOTWAKI (the end of the world as we know it). Sheridan travels across the country taking to people ranging from car thieves to wilderness EMTs as he gathers knowledge on subjects as diverse as Hollywood stunt driving and starting a fire without matches (it made me wonder if Jack London's short stories would qualify as survival horror). Fictional anecdotes in which Sheridan and his family dodge aliens, zombies, bandits and cannibals book end the chapters and illustrate the key points. It is a breezy read that, while it does contain good information, serves more as a snapshot of survivalism.
I discovered Sheridan through my interest in MMA and combat sports (he wrote two books on these subjects -- 'A Fighter's Heart' and "A Fighter's Mind'). He tends to cover a broad spectrum of topics in each of his books that at a glance seem oddly unrelated. It serves him well here.
Dartnell's book is a drier work less concerned with pop-cultural references. He uses considerably more plausible scenarios to speculate how civilization could collapse, focusing less on individual preparedness and more on how humanity can rebuild society. There is even a website that readers can use in conjunction with the book.
I intend to cover these books and other works on this topic in future columns.
Next Week: A review of the RPG Outbreak: Undead!