What Would You Do If … Dilemmas In A Zombie Apocalypse: No. 30 – The Astronaut’s Dilemma

29 Nov

It’s the middle of a crew change-over and you’re the only astronaut on the international space station, circling some 220 miles above the Earth. You’ve just received a consignment of food and other supplies which will last for the next six months, and you’re waiting for word of when the next new will arrive. Suddenly, your radio crackles into life. It’s ground control and at first what they’re saying isn’t making any sense. There’s a lot of noise in the background, which sounds like people running around in a panic, but you definitely heard the word disease. You also thought you heard another word, but you can’t have. Did ground control really just say something about zombies? You ask for clarification, and they repeat that they said: there’s a new disease which is turning everyone into zombies, and that it’s spreading fast. Before you can get much more information, ground control stops transmitting. You try every other channel, but there’s nothing on any of them. It might just be a technical glitch, but it seems there’s no one left broadcasting anywhere on Earth. You look out the window, and you can see what looks like New York burning in a massive fire. A few minutes later over China, you see what looks like a nuclear explosion in Shanghai. There’s clearly something very wrong going on down there, but without any communications, you don’t know exactly what. You assess the situation: you have plenty of food, water and air, at least for the time being, but you also have an escape capsule which could take you safely back to Earth. What do you do?

As always, this dilemma is just here to make you think, so there’s no right or wrong answer. Vote in the poll to let others know what you do if you were in this situation, and if you want to give a more detailed answer, leave a comment on this posting.

This dilemma was posed to me by my girlfriend after we’d been to see the film Gravity. If you haven’t seen this film yet, I’d strongly recommend you go and see it on as big a screen as possible, and in 3D. There’s no zombies in it, but still a great disaster movie…

From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

2 Responses to “What Would You Do If … Dilemmas In A Zombie Apocalypse: No. 30 – The Astronaut’s Dilemma”

  1. Optimist 14/06/2014 at 18:05 #

    Hmm…that depends, is the zombie apocalypse after ten years, when I’m twenty-three or whatever legal age for astronauts and when I have given up on my current goal?

    If so, then I’d probably sit tight and wait until I have enough food/water/etc supply to last me a week and go back to Earth. After all, it would be similar to a quarantine, right? I’m sure by then most of the zombies would have died because of the decrease in food source and I’d have a better chance of surviving. I’d have a supplied week where I’d only have to worry about finding some sanctuary and other survivors.

    I think the real question is, how will we keep fit during these six months and what will we do to keep us entertained and sane? And where would we land? We could be the saving grace of a group of fleeing survivors in the form of a distraction falling from the sky in front of a horde of zombies. Or we could land in a country that is entirely ransacked and creatureless. Or a country that decides to self-destruct as soon as we get there. Or being killed as soon as I set foot on Earth by suspicious battle hardened survivors. And, of course, the possibility of being the only human alive, or the only creature alive.

    With no means of reproduction or entertainment, what would I do?

    (On a side note, that would be a terrific plot novel. Will you write it out?)



    PS: Would you save a teenager? I’m pretty upset because I’ve just turned the big 13 and feel cheated from my “Bait or Must Sacrifice Myself For Her” position since lots of quizzes ask if I would ‘save a child that hasn’t reached her teen years’, since I’m pretty tall (five feet two) and some people just seem to despise teenage children, particularly tall ones.


    • cmdrysdale 15/06/2014 at 10:06 #

      Hi Rin,

      As you have worked out, there’s no right or wrong answer here and all possible options would involve stepping into the unknown. Then again, that’s the very nature of a zombie apocalypse and why they make such great settings for theoretical dilemmas which allow you to explore different possible scenarios and to get you thinking about how you might deal with similar situations in real life.

      In terms of your question about whether I’d save a teenager, that is a very interesting question. As you are no doubt starting to find out, being a teenager leaves you in an odd position. There are times when you want to be treated as a kid, but you are expected to act like an adult (especially if you are tall for your age – I was like that as a teenager, too), while at others, you want to be treated as an adult, but those around you treat you as if you’re still a kid. A zombie apocalypse would, unfortunately, be no different.

      In the most part, I think I’d save a teenager just as I probably would a younger child, but I’d also expect them to take some responsibilities in terms of looking after themselves, or at least not getting themselves into too much trouble. I’m not too sure at what exact point, I’d expect a teenager to move from being a child to being an adult in terms of how they were treated within a survival group, and it would probably vary from person to person. However, this is an interesting topic to explore and I might just have to do a post on that (so thank’s raising this subject!).

      Unfortunately, growing up is a part of life, and that means your responsibilities and the way people treat you changes, not just as you become a teenager, but throughout your life. Even though I’ve reached what will seem to you as the unimaginable age of 42, I can still sympathise with your final statement as there as some days when I still feel like I don’t want to grow up! The only advice I can give is that no matter how it seems at any moment in your life, it’s always better than the alternative.

      All the best,


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