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Social organization of the non-undead.

I am a guest blogger over at Savage Minds for the month of July so have not been dedicating much time to my own blog. But I wanted to take a few minutes to put together a post about zombies and hiking. And also social organization, at least kind of. ☺

I am a big fan of Max Brooks’s book World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. I loved the fact that it brought the concept of the oral history—pioneered by anthropologists such as Elsie Clews Parsons and Paul Radin—to a general audience. And it did what I think the very best science fiction always does, talk about what we should see every day but never seem to bring ourselves to admit is there.

I recall when news of the film adaptation emerged and my friend and I spent a day’s drive casting the many characters for the adapted screenplay. I couldn’t come to a conclusion as to who I would cast as my favorite character from the book, Redeker. The movie turned out to be only loosely based on the book and few of the characters made their presence. Looks like there’s going to be at least one sequel, though! So it remains to be seen! And maybe we might just get a cinematic attempt at the zombie attack on the Chinese submarine…

But I digress. ☺ I ended up enjoying the film a lot. It was as smart as I would ever expect a big summer release to be and the action sequences impressed me. The 3D felt like a swindle to me, but it practically always does. It was balanced by the magnetic presence of the idf sergeant. *swoon*

My friend Dennis, a former active duty Marine (note that there is no such thing as a “former Marine”), saw the film a few days after I did and enjoyed it, as well. He proposed a Fourth of July hiking trip up to Connecticut’s highest summit to work on the unit cohesion of his Zombie fireteam and scout out a fallback position in preparation for a hypothetical Z-Day. I immediately accepted his offer. He told me to meet up no later than 0430 and that I would be taking point. Not running on a usmc internal clock, I parked at the trailhead and set an alarm for 0410. (I figured the rest of the party would show nlt 0420. They arrived at 0415.)

At 2323′ the elevation of the summit of Bear Mountain is hardly imposing, but the way up is steep and we had to swim through some swampy air to get there.

Taconics Appalachian Trail

The old tower base on Bear Mountain, 4 July 2013.

But the early (for me) start got us up there in time to see Sun start her trip across the sky.

Appalachian Trail

Sunrise in the Taconics.

Photos of photography. Ohh, meta!

Then we began our trip back down. As always, the descent was harder than the trip up.

Bear Mountain

First time I came down this way it was patchy with ice…

But of course we made it back down safe and sound. We were just doing a jaunt on the AT, not trekking the Karakoram! I had always imagined that if a zombie movie breaks out I would probably end up in a group with a smarmy local politician and a naggy Boomer instead of Sarah Polley and Ving Rhames. The thought of hunkering down against the undead in the company of two Marines and a musician makes even an apocalyptic future seem decidedly less bleak.

Mount Washington Road

At the CT/Mass state line post-hike.

On separate note, one of the things I enjoyed about World War Z was the way the human response to catastrophe was portrayed not as a turn to the individual (“Every [wo]man for her-/him-self!”) but rather as a turn to the group. At some point I think it would be fun to look at studies of non-fictional post-catastrophe situations to see how this has worked out in the real world.

Matthew Timothy Bradley


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