Tag Archives: Surviving A Zombie Apocalypse

Libraries And Surviving A Zombie Apocalypse

17 Nov

When people think of where they’d want to hole-up in the event of a zombie apocalypse, they usually think of shopping malls, or prisons, or castles or warehouses – or maybe even getting out of the city altogether and heading for the hills, or sailing out to sea. Few would ever think of heading for their nearest library. That, I think, is missing a trick. Most library buildings, especially the larger reference libraries which can be found in most large cities, are impressive edifices, with large, well-built doors. They also tend not to have too may windows because too much direct light can damage books. There’s lots of space in them, and if you start to get bored, there’s always plenty to read. Yes, they might not come with a ready supply of food, but a few quick foraging trips should be enough to sort that out.

However, none of these are the reason why I would consider a library as one of the best places to try to ride out a zombie apocalypse. Instead, it’s because of the wealth of information contained within their fortress-like walls. Think about it. Think of all the skills you’re going to need to survive in both the short and the long-term. You might get lucky and find that within your survival group you have a surgeon, a mechanic, an electrical engineer, a military strategist and so on, but the chances of this happening are slim. Instead, it is likely you’ll be surrounded by people who have about as much knowledge as you do about the intricate workings of an internal combustion engine or the human body or a 12 volt DC electrical system. This means that if you’re going to survive, you’re going to have to learn an awful lot very quickly, and just how are you going to do that?

Now, with the way the world currently is, the chances are if you wanted to find out any of this type of information, you’d simply turn to Google and start typing, but how long is Google going to survive once the dead start to rise? My guess is not very long. Even if it does, how are you going to access it? The phone lines will probably fail within a few hours, mobile phone reception is likely to follow soon after, and the electricity won’t be far behind. We’ve got so used to having a little device tucked into our back pocket or backpack that we can simply whip out and find the answer to any question we can think of (and a lot we can’t!), that we’ve forgotten what a privilege this is. Yet, this system is surprisingly fleeting and fragile. It requires so many links in the chain, all unseen by you, to get the information you want from where it resides and into your hand so you can read it, that makes it incredibly vulnerable to even the smallest disruption, so you can imagine what would happen in the event of a zombie apocalypse. This information delivery system would collapse sooner than you could type ‘How do you start a chainsaw?’

So what’s the alternative? Well, the answer is, of course, to find somewhere where all this information is written down in an easy to access format, and this format is the book. You need no electricity to get at the information contained in a book, no servers half way round the world, no fibre optic networks crossing entire ocean basins, no wi-fi or phone lines. You just open it up and start reading. And where would you find the books which would contain the information you’d so desperately need? In a library! If you can find just the right library, it will contain a copy of pretty much every book that’s ever been written, or at least it will contain a good proportion of them. You might not know it, but book publishers in most countries have a requirement to submit, free of charge, a copy of every book they publish to a national book repository.

In Britain, this is the hallowed halls of the British Library, and within its walls, you can find all the information you’d ever need on just about any subject you could ever want. You wan to know how to develop a vaccine for a zombie virus? The British Library will tell you how. You want to build a nuclear bomb? That information will be in there, too. You want to study military strategy so you can work out how to out-flank the zombie hordes? No problem, just go to the military history section. You want to find out how to start a chainsaw? It might take a while to find it, but I bet that information will be in there somewhere too.

Now, in the age of the internet, more and more politicians are arguing that the very concept of the bricks and mortar library is an outdated anachronism that’s had its day, and that public money is better spent on more important things (like paying politicians more money to pass laws that give more power to corporations and less to the individuals who elect them!). This is, however, short-sighted. Libraries are the beating heart of our collective knowledge built up over hundreds of years. They’re the store houses of human creativity and ingenuity. Yes, we have the internet, but we need something else in case the internet ever fails. We need a backup plan in case the web collapses. In short, we need libraries. So, remember to support your local library, no matter how small, even if it’s for no other reason that, in the event of a zombie apocalypse, you might suddenly find you need it, and the knowledge it contains.



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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.

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I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside … Even In A Zombie Apocalypse

16 Sep

In a zombie apocalypse, there are two main struggles for survival. One against the zombies and the other to get enough food to survive. Believe it or not, one of the best places to be to ease both these struggles is where the sea meets the shore. Humans have always prized such locations because of the protection they can provide and the abundance of food they offer. We know this because throughout the world, we find evidence of ancient middens made up of the shells of millions of discarded oysters, mussels and other seafood. These middens were created by humans over hundreds and thousands of years as our ancestors foraged for food. Their sheer size and the length of time over which they were laid down show just how important these habitats have always been for human survival.

Why is this? Well, twice a day, driven by the power of the moon, the sea recedes, revealing a bounty of potential food items ranging from crabs to oysters, limpets, cockles and even small fish. With even the slightest amount of effort, you can easily gather enough food to survive in just a few quick minutes, and that beats having to fight other survivors for the last remaining can of spam in some suburban supermarket.

Of course, not all shorelines are equally productive, and you need to select just the right kind of beach if, after the end of the world, you’re going to set up camp and live off the sea like so many of our ancestors once did. At first glance, you might think that a broad, sandy beach would be best, but while they are attractive to look at, they’re like marine deserts. There’s food there, but you’ll have to work hard to find it and you’ll struggle to scrape enough together just to keep you alive. Instead, you’d want to head for a rocky shore because it’s here that the real bounty lies. This is because, clinging to the rocks is seaweed, and where there is seaweed, there’s life in great abundance. When it’s covered with water, this seaweed sways majestically in the currents, and forms the marine equivalent of a tropical forest. Once the tide goes out, this forest collapses, but it pull back and you’ll see the abundant life that lies below, just waiting for you to harvest it. In as little as five minutes, you can have enough to feed you all day, leaving you plenty of time for that other crucial element, surviving the zombies themselves.

As it happens, rocky shorelines are also great places for building a safe and easy to defend camp, especially if they’re littered with small islands. It’s no accident that such islands have been used as places of safety by humans since before recorded history began. The water acts as a defensive barrier that is harder to breach than anything you could build yourself, and even marauding zombies will struggle to cross it. Why? Because, as everyone know, zombies can’t swim.

Of course, the occasional zombie may still reach an island, and that means you’ll need to have some sort of defensive structure to which you can retreat whenever danger threatens. In my native Scotland, ancient buildings, known as brochs, bare testament to how others have solved this problem in the past, but in the event of a zombie apocalypse, it is unlikely you’d have time to build such structures yourself. Instead, you’d be better off seeking out a structure that’s already there.

Luckily, rocky shorelines and islands are just the place to find a type of building that would be just perfect. What buildings are these? They’re lighthouses. Built to withhold the worst that the sea can throw at them, lighthouses are build to last. They also have a single point of entry, and small windows, often set high above the ground. Add to that a viewing platform at the top from which you can pick off any zombies which make it to your island base, and you can see why they’d make a great place to seek refuge.

So there you have it. If you select just the right location, rocky shorelines can easily meet all your zombie apocalypse needs: Food, shelter and protection, and if one were every to happen, you can bet that’s where I’d be heading. And even if there isn’t a zombie apocalypse, they’re still worth checking out, especially if you have young children. They’ll enjoy the thrill of pulling back the sea weed to see what wonders lie beneath, and while they’re having fun, they’re also learning how to forage for their own food – should the need ever arise.


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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.

Why the waters’ edge is the perfect place to survive in a zombie apocalypse. Plenty of food (especially on rocky shores highly tidal areas, more than capable to supporting populations – as indicated by ancient shell middens laid down over hundreds of years by hunter gatherers). Can escape out to sea if attacked by zombies (assuming zombies can’t swim!) or other people. Larder opens twice a day, and on top of that fishing as well as setting traps for crabs n lobsters, spear fishing, Can find lots of potentially useful things by beach combing – the detritus of modern society washed up there, offering many useful things – what was once trash is now valuable to survival. Also makes moving around much safer (no ambushes etc) just as in days of old before land was claered and made safe

Why Do Zombies Stop Grass Growing, And Other Odd Questions Raised By Zombie Movies

24 Jul

The zombie apocalypse: It’s the end of the world, right? The end of civilisation, the end of easy to cook ready meals which you can just zap in the microwave, of dry cleaners and hairdressers, and hot water on tap. Yet, in almost every zombie movie you’ll ever see, people wear the same clothes throughout, and while they might get a little grubby from time to time, it hardly qualifies as getting dirty (I can end up dirtier than some of them just by looking at my back garden!). How do they keep them so clean?

And is there something about the sudden appearance of zombies amongst us that makes clothes last forever, too? Because the don’t get worn through, or ripped or torn. The clothes the zombies wear often end up in tatters, but not those worn by the humans. Look at Rick in The Walking Dead: he seems to have been wearing the same shirt all day, every day for I don’t know how long and it’s still looking pretty good. I wish I could buy my shirts from where ever he go his, it would save me a fortune. What on earth is it made of?

Then there’s the perfectly consistent hair styles. They may get slightly disheveled from time to time, but they don’t change. Where do these people find the time to get their hair cut so often that it never seems to alter even slightly no matter how may zombies are besieging them? It’s the same with beards. Men may get a little designer stubble, but that’s about it. After that their hair just seems to stop growing. Is this another effect of the zombie apocalypse, just like it makes clothes last forever, does it also makes hair stop growing?

And what about skin care? These people are out in the elements all the time, yet their skin’s barely blemished – or even tanned. If that were me, I’d be as red as a lobster by the evening of day one and peeling so badly by the end of the week that I could quite reasonably be mistaken for one of the undead. Where do they get the time to slap on the factor 50 sunblock and keep up with their daily moisturising regime while all the time running for their lives?

Then there’s the fact that people neither gain or lose weight. You’d have thought with all that running around struggling to find even the most miniscule scrap of food, and the stress of having to fight of the flesh-munchers night and day, that the weight would be dropping off, yet they remain as they were just at the start, no matter how long the apocalypse goes on for. What’s their secret?

If that’s not bad enough, as one of my fellow blogger recently pointed out, no matter how bad the zombie infestation is getting, someone is still out there manically mowing every lawn in town because any grass you see is always perfectly manicured. Who on earth’s doing that? Or, just like hair, does the mere presence of zombies mean that grass stops growing?

And how come everyone always has a can opener? Every food tin you see has been carefully and neatly opened, usually with the lid flipped back. Not one has been mutilated by someone trying to open it by bashing it with a rock until it splits in two. I’ve been on camping trips where the tin opener got lost and had to resort to this. It’s not easy, and it’s not neat, but it gets you the food inside (eventually!) and when you’re hungry, you don’t have a choice. Yet, in the zombie movies, it seems that the first thing everyone did when the dead started coming back to life was rifle through the nearest cutlery draw and grab their can opener, just in case they ever needed it. Who would do that?

Why are zombie movies like this? It’s simple. Yes, this isn’t how things would actually happen, but they’re not meant to be. We, as viewers, expect the characters to remain looking basically the same throughout the whole story. We need lawns to be kept short so we can recognise the urban landscapes as being just like the one we live in. We don’t want to watch the scene where a character spends half an hour using a hammer to open a can of spam because he’s lost the only tin opener the group had with them. After all, zombie movies aren’t meant to be real. Instead, they’re meant to be allegories for the world we actually live in, and everything that’s wrong with it. In that respect, we can forgive the film-makers for ignoring these elements of our daily realities and focussing on the dramatic instead.

However, it would be nice if they did pay a little more heed to how things would change over time. The well-trimmed lawns are a good example. It would be nice to see them getting progressively out of hand as the story unfolds. It’s the same with the clothes. It would be an interesting change if we saw them start to become ragged and fall apart (just like the zombies clothes do!) and it would add an extra element to the story when someone gets excited about finding a replacement jumper that’s a perfect fit just as their own is on its last legs (or should that be arms?). Come the zombie apocalypse, I suspect finding new, clean clothes would be a joyous event, and that after a while, they’d be worth more than their weight in stale bread crumbs.

These are all little things, but when you spot them, it jars and takes you out of the story. It breaks the fourth wall in a way that can be very distracting. On the other hand, maybe it’s just me.


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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.

How Long Would You Survive In A Zombie Apocalypse?

25 Mar

Have you ever wondered how long you would survive if a zombie apocalypse were ever to really happen? What am I saying, of course you have, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this post!

So, how do you find out?

You could spend hours arguing over it into the small hours of the morning with your friends, or you could just do the ‘How Long Could You Survive THe Zombie Apocalypse?‘ quiz from the nice people over at Qualtrics.com.

My score’s shown below, see if you can beat it …

Zombie_Apocalypse_Survival_Test

… Anyone who does, wins a place on my zombie apocalypse survival team!



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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.

Why Should You Try To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse?

3 Feb

Most zombie stories are about the fight for survival in a world filled with the undead, but suppose a zombie apocalypse were ever to happen, should you try to survive, or should you just give in and let the walking dead win? If you were to look at the situation logically, you’d see that you’d be vastly out-numbered by a terrifying, and, some might say, unbeatable foe, and you would know there’s no way you could win. If that were the case, you might as well give up there and then. After all, struggling to survive would only be delaying the inevitable, and possibly making it an awful lot more painful and frightening into the bargain.

However, that’s only what logic says, and, despite what you might think, we humans are far from logical creatures. Instead, we are hard-wired to keep ourselves alive for as long as possible, regardless of the odds we’re facing or the chances that we might not succeed. As long as we think there is even a sliver of light at the end of the tunnel, we’ll carry on, and it is this innate instinct that will push us on and keep us going, even on the darkest days of a zombie apocalypse.

I think this is a quality which we can all relate to, and I think this is one of the reasons that we find post-apocalyptic literature so appealing. We can empathise with the characters as they do all they can to keep themselves alive; and we can think about whether we’d have done the same, or whether we’d have done it differently when faced with the same situation.

Of course, there’s another innate instinct which most of us have, and this can cause a conflict with the drive to survive, no matter what. This is our natural inclination not to harm those we know and love. And, again, this conflict is part of the attraction of post-apocalyptic stories. We can be shocked when someone choses their own life over that of another, even when it means condemning them to certain death; or we can think someone stupid for risking their own life to save someone we might deem less worthy. We can also recognise when a character makes the ultimate sacrifice for the benefit of the group, and while we would wish that we would do the same if faced with the same situation, we shift uncomfortably in our seats, knowing that in reality, most of us would put our own survival first and this would stop us doing anything so heroic and altruistic.

This, then, lies at the heart of surviving in a zombie apocalypse. We would find ourselves pulled in different ways by our instincts, and our conscious mind would become frozen as it tries to decide between the two. However, in end, for almost all of us, the desire to survive would win, and we would do whatever it takes, no matter who we’d end up hurting. Of course afterwards, we would do our best to justify our actions to ourselves, and claim that it was the only thing we could do, but deep down, we’d always know we could have done more, if only we hadn’t put ourselves first.

Or am I being too pessimistic about true nature of the human spirit?



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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.

Vertical Farming: Could This Help You Survive A Zombie Apocalypse?

27 Jan

In any zombie apocalypse survival situation, one of the biggest issues you will face is getting enough food. Indeed, if you can survive the initial outbreak and find yourself somewhere safe to hole up, it’s the need to find food which will most likely cause you the biggest problems. This is because you’re most likely to encounter the undead when you’re out and about looking for supplies. So what’s the answer? Well, you could try to build up a big enough stockpile that you rarely have to go outside, but this is always going to prove difficult and in may ways it’s only delaying the inevitable.

An alternative is to try to grow your own food. In principle, this is a great idea, but in practice, at least using traditional techniques, it will prove difficult to implement. This is because you will not only need to find a suitable place to grow your crops, you will also need to be able to protect it, and enclosing a sufficiently large area of land with zombie-proof defences to grow enough food to keep you alive will be a mammoth task.

This is where vertical farming comes in. What, I hear you ask, is vertical farming? Well, it’s where you grow crops not in large flat fields out in the countryside, but instead grow them in buildings, often in the middle of cities. With the right set up, you could simply wall yourself into a skyscraper or other large building, and never have to venture outside again.

So how do you set up a vertical farm? Well, there’s many different ways, but the one which would be of most use in a zombie apocalypse would be some kind of hydroponic system combined with a passive system for ducting light into all the dark little corners. The water within the system can be recycled, making it highly efficient, and, while you might not like the sound of it, human waste can be used as your fertiliser. Done right, and if you choose the right crops, you can have a continuous supply of fresh food. And of course, if you fancy a bit off meat too, it would be easy enough to add chickens, fish, and possibly even the occasional cow into your set up, feeding these animals on the left-overs of whatever you grow.

Of course, this is all idle speculation, but there is a serious side to this too. With each passing year, more and more of us are flocking to live in cities, and getting enough food into these cities to feed everyone is a becoming an ever more difficult task which soaks up more and more of our rapidly diminishing resources just to transport the food from where it’s grown to where it’s eaten. Vertical farming promises to revolutionise this outmoded food supply chain. With vertical farming, food can be grown right where it’s needed, with no need to waste resources on transporting it half way across the planet. In fact, within many cities, there’s more than enough space to grow vast amounts of crops simply by giving over the upper floors of each skyscraper over to vertical farming.

This, therefore, is the future, and while it might seem unnatural first, it is potentially a lot more environmentally friendly than traditional farming. The food miles vanish, the need for expensive fertilisers is eliminated, and, since it’s all done inside under carefully-controlled conditions, there’s no need for pesticides or any other chemicals. It may take a little time for us to shift our perception of what a farm actually is, but in the end, we’ll need to accept it as a suitable, and environmentally sound, way forward. And of course, if there was ever a zombie apocalypse, having a few ready-made vertical farms at your disposal might prove advantageous to your long-term survival!



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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.

Six Uses For Duct Tape In A Zombie Apocalypse

30 Oct

Duct tape is widely recognised as one of the most important tools for making rough and ready repairs, and you find it in use everywhere, but is duct tape also something you should think about packing into your survival bag in case there’s a zombie apocalypse? In my opinion, it’s a resounding yes, and here’s six reasons why:

1. Makeshift Armour: Human teeth aren’t well-adapted for biting and tearing through flesh. This means that even fairly thin armour can offer you a lot of protection. In fact, using duct tape, you can make a pretty effective zombie proof armour out of something as simply as empty cardboard boxes. How? First, open up the cardboard boxes and lay them flat on the floor. Cut out a piece which you can wrap around your torso and then cut holes for your arms. Next, cut sections which will fit snuggly round your upper arms, your forearms, your upper legs and your lower legs. Now, use duct tape to tape these pieces in place around your body. This will already provide a lot of protection, but you can do better, Run strips of duct tape across the gaps between the different pieces, but remembering to leave enough space to allow yourself to move freely. Finally, wrap duct tape around the cardboard until it’s fully covered. This both water-proofs the cardboard and re-enforces it, making it almost impossible for human teeth to bite through (go on give it a go, see if you can bite through it!). Finally, make yourself a helmet in a similar manner (making sure you have a long flap at the back to protect your neck), and use duct tape to connect it to the torso. Again, make sure these are loose enough to allow you to turn your head. There you have it, a fully zombie-proof set of makeshift armour thanks to duct tape.

2. Taping Zombie’s Mouths Shut: Okay, this one is risky, but if you can neutralise a zombie’s nashers, then they can’t bite and infect you. A strip of duct tape strapped across its mouth, and wrapped around its head, and a zombie can’t hurt anyone. Great for when you need a zombie to study so you can learn more about their habits, or as a last line of defence – but not really recommended under most circumstances!

3. Improvised Tripwires: Imagine this, you get caught out in the open and you need to set up camp for the night. How will you be able to tell if any zombies are coming? Easy. Find a wooded area and set up your tent. Next, walk 30 metres out into the wood and tape out a circle around your camp by wrapping the duct tape around the tree trunks at about knee height. Repeat this again at about chest height. Duct tape is tough enough that most zombies won’t be able to break through it either quickly or quietly, and you’ll be alerted to any that blunder into it in the night. This will give you plenty of time to get away.

4. General Repairs (To Your Equipment And Yourself!): In a zombie apocalypse, speed is of the essence, and duct tape can be used to repair anything from your shoes to your backpack, or even a flat tire, in seconds. I suspect you could also use it as a quick way to stop blood loss from cuts and injuries which might otherwise result in death and buy you enough time to get somewhere safe where you can deal with it properly. Duct tape is also the perfect thing for making rudimentary splints to help fix broken bones. Just get a couple of pieces of wood and fixe them in place on either side of the afflicted limb with your trusty roll of duct tape.

5. Restraints: While it may seem unpalatable, there will be times in a zombie apocalypse when you need to restrain someone. This might be someone who’s been bitten or it might be someone who’s causing trouble. Either way, duct tape is the perfect thing to securing them quickly either on their own or by securing them to an object such as a bed. Do it well enough and they won’t be getting free any time soon.

6. Re-Enforcing The Windows Of Your Vehicle: At some point you’ll almost certainly have to move from one location to another, whether it’s because you’ve been over-run, or whether it’s because you need to find food or supplies, and when you’re on the move, you’re always at risk from those pesky biters. Moving around in a vehicle will reduce that risk, but all vehicles have a weak point and that’s their windows. Duct tape is the perfect thing for reinforcing them. Simply stick strips across the windows to form a grid and you’ll find the window is much less likely to break, and even if it does, the tape will hold the shards in place, stopping the zombies reaching in.

So there you have it, six reasons why I’d make sure I always had some duct tape in my post-apocalyptic survival bag, and I’m not the only one who sees how useful it could be. Joerg Sprave (he of the toilet brush gun which featured in a post last week) thinks so too, and he’s posted a nice little video titled How To Weaponise Duct Tape on his You Tube channel. Watch and learn.



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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.