Interview with Sean T. Page, CEO of the Ministry of Zombies
Sean T. Page is a researcher in the growing realm of zombie science and survival; as the Head of the UK’s Ministry of Zombies, he’s dedicated to helping the human race survive the forthcoming zombie apocalypse. The author of two survival manuals— The Official Zombie Handbook UK, War Against the Walking—and the co-author of the novel Metahorde with John McCuaig—he’s a zombpcalypse expert who recently sealed himself inside a Cold War-era bunker for five days. According to his research, we’re due for a zombie invasion by 2050.
He has recently teamed up with Haynes publishing to complete a fully illustrated hardback Zombie Apocalypse Manual.
The UK’s leading zombie survival expert stopped by to share some information that can help us survive…
Vincenzo Bilof: Your hometown is overrun by zombies; you wrote the Official Zombie Handbook UK, so what’s the most important rule you’ll need to follow to stay alive?
Sean Page: I looked at real events to dig out the answer to this one in my books. We’ve not yet been overrun by zombies but we can look at civil disturbances, riots & viral outbreaks. And, these suggest that if you are in a secure location such as your own home & are well-stocked up then staying put is the best policy. If you are out & about, you should have your bug out bag with you. If you can’t reach your home location then fortify where you are. Most people will be eaten making desperate dashes to the supermarket or airport. The roads will be gridlocked & phones down. It won’t be the time to travel particularly if you live in a city.
VB:We’re curious about the process involved in writing the Handbook; what kind of experience or research did you call upon to produce a manual that can help us survive?
SP: I’ve always been a ‘prepper’, so interested in survival issues – what to do in the worst case scenario etc so I used all of this research & overlaid a zombie outbreak on it. Folks such as Survival Weekly review my books – they have a laugh at the zombie stuff but they know that the survival content is real – the food ration guidelines etc are all accurate. The information will be useful no matter what scenario people face!
VB: It’s possible for us to fight back against the walking dead because your groundbreaking research was used to write the War Against the Walking Dead manual. Share an important tidbit of zombie science that can help us overcome the undead.
SP: The first 90 days of a zombie apocalypse will be about survival & be assured – humankind will survive a major zombie outbreak. The real challenge will come as we try to take back the planet from the dead. I have theorized that over time zombies will horde together in ever greater numbers known as ‘meta-hordes’ – if survivors don’t start the fight back or just sit back happy that have survived the open months, then we are in trouble. We must defeat the walking dead within 2-3 years to avoid meta-hordes.
VB: Zombie fans are familiar with many different scenarios that involve emergency procedures in case of an outbreak; once the outbreak occurs, is it better to find an organized shelter/group, or hide in your home?
SP: As I alluded to above, preparation is the key. If you have well-prepared & fortified home, stay there & stay quiet. My research indicates that most organized or government shelters will collapse at be overrun very quickly. If you have a close group of family or friends then by all means work with them.
VB: It seems like in a group of zombie survivors, more than one person wants to be a leader, and this can lead to conflicts in the group. What’s an important trait that would make someone a better leader in a zombie apocalypse scenario?
SP: Knowledge certainly deserves a mention – you must fully understand the threat & the challenge survivors are facing. Get this wrong & folks will get killed. But, the most important trait is decisiveness – you will need to make quick decisions; know when to stick with them & when to innovate. A sparkling personality may also help!
VB: Everyone seems to have their preferred melee weapon in case zombies start eating people; what’s your favorite, and what do you think is the most practical?
SP: For us Brits, we don’t have a lot of choice with firearms so melee weapons get a lot of attention here. Myself, I prefer the classic style of the cricket bat although my head has been turned by a metal baseball bat as well. A favorite amongst those of us ‘on the edge’ is an ice-climbing axe – it’s something you can easily carry in a bag & explain away if questioned. It won’t get you into trouble if the police find you with it & importantly, it does the business when it comes to ghoul bashing.
VB: According to your research, are there any popular melee weapons that would prove to be useless while zombies are roaming around the neighborhood? (A lot of people want to use a katana, a chainsaw, a baseball bat, etc.)
SP: In the testing I’ve done with the Ministry of Zombies team we found golf clubs to be worse than useless. Most modern ones are high-tech graphite jobs which bend on first contact. Surprisingly, hammers weren’t as useful as we first thought as many are small & you end up putting your hand through the rotting skull, leaving the danger of infection. I actually saw someone demonstrating with a Samurai sword – it was fine for cutting fruit but if we put anything hard in its way – it struggle. Turned out, it wasn’t a real sword – just one of those display versions.
VB: You’ve taken zombie research to the next level; George Romero might be credited as the pioneer in the study of zombie behaviorism’s, and this field of study is more relevant than ever before. Why do you think zombies are so interesting? (In other words, why did you choose zombie research, and why do people in general like zombies, in your opinion)
SP: Zombie fans tend to be interested in the end of the world. It’s not that we’re a depressed lot, it’s just such a fascinating exercise. Zombies are the medium that I prefer but I write other stuff with similar grim themes. I suppose a love of the films started it all for me. I don’t buy into all this psycho babble about zombies being a parable of what’s happening in the real world – that’s too smart for me. I just love the survival angle & zombies are great monsters, far better than crappy vampires or flea-bitten werewolves.
VB: The zombie apocalypse is not an isolated incident in the Metahorde novel; you’ve included an international contingent of survivors fighting to preserve humanity. In your opinion, what would be the last country to fall if it really happened?
SP: Good question. In Metahorde we wanted to give it an international & particularly a European dimension. I was hoping it would be of interest to American fans – seeing how NATO in Europe would fair. So, the last countries to fall would certainly be those least dependent on modern technology, those highly armed with a population used to growing its own food – so lawless states such as Somalia, Chad & Afghanistan would be best placed in my opinion. Some people talk about North Korea with its policy of isolation but North Korea would collapse in weeks without its food imports from China. Also, I’m not saying these countries are the best holiday destinations – it wouldn’t be laugh a minute being trapped during a zombie outbreak in Somalia. To be honest, it wouldn’t be a barrel of laughs at any time.
VB: Let’s talk about your decision to isolate yourself in a Cold War bunker; why’d you do it?
SP: Honestly, it was just a personal challenge & I write about it so much I thought I’d better trying it. The opportunity was there so I grabbed it. Then I realized the scale of the challenge. I think sitting there on my first evening alone, realizing I was sealed in, it dawned on me how tough it would be. So, that’s 5-6 days alone & isolated. My only contact was the short video blog I uploaded on a daily basis. You can see this on my website. Things get strange around Day Three.
VB: Give us a tease from your blog; share a harrowing moment from the bunker.
SP: No question about it, it was Day Three. Watch the video blogs & you’ll see a crazed dance routine & a disturbing power cut…
VB: What can readers expect next from Sean T. Page and the Ministry of Zombies?
SP: More zombie madness of course but my new book is a big A4 sized hardback, called the Zombie Survival Manual: From the dawn of time onwards. It’s fully illustrated & is a much funnier take on the zombie apocalypse but with a stack of real survival details.
Copies of my books always go out to folks such survivalweekly.com so although it is funny, the survival content is for real.
You can check out Sean’s Cold War bunker blog here: www.ministryofzombies.com