Saturday, 26 February 2011

Review: The Official Zombie Handbook (UK) by Sean T. Page

Since pre-history, the living dead have been among us, with documented outbreaks from ancient Babylon and Rome right up to the present day. But what if we were to suffer a zombie apocalypse in the UK today? 

Through meticulous research and field work, The Official Zombie Handbook (UK) is the only guide you need to make it through a major zombie outbreak in the UK, including:

· Full analysis of the latest scientific information available on the zombie virus, the living dead creatures it creates and most importantly, how to take them down - UK style 
· Everything you need to implement a complete "90 Day Zombie Survival Plan" for you and your family including home fortification, foraging for supplies and even surviving a ghoul siege 
· Detailed case studies and guidelines on how to battle the living dead, which weapons to use, where to hide out and how to survive in a country dominated by millions of bloodthirsty zombies.

Packed with invaluable information, the genesis of this handbook was the realisation that our country is sleep walking towards a catastrophe - that is the day when an outbreak of zombies will reach critical mass and turn our green and pleasant land into a grey and shambling wasteland. Remember, don't become a cheap meat snack for the zombies!

I love zombie films. I also love zombie books, and there are many of these around at the moment as zombies seem to be the in thing in YA literature right now. I also know many boys at school who have seen and loved the likes of Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, The Walking Dead, and a smaller handful who have seen some of the classics of the genre, even though technically they are too young to have done so (do any parents pay attention to movie certification  these days?). And yet can I get these reluctant readers to read a zombie fiction book? At a push, I have managed to convert a small number of them to the joys of reading Charlie Higson's The Enemy books, although many are a little daunted by the number of pages, but that's where it ends. So, armed with the knowledge that many reluctant reader boys can be sucked in by non-fiction I am going to give this book a try next term: The Official Zombie Handbook (UK) by Sean T. Page.

Sean contacted me out of the blue a while back asking if I would be interested in reviewing a copy of his book. He explained that although when writing it he had been aiming it at an older audience, when he was out signing books a significant proportion of buyers were much younger than this. This doesn't surprise me at all, as even when struggling with fiction boys will often happily pick up a non-fiction book, happy in the knowledge that they can dip in and out of it at their leisure, often picking pages at random, and not have to worry about picking up a plot line later on.

I have seen a number of these books in book shops or online stores, but having flicked through them I found many of them to be very US-centric. Sean Page's book differs from the norm in that it is very much UK focused and therefore British readers will find it very easy to relate to the advice given. And this book is full of advice - in simplest terms it is a survival manual for what you should do should the zombie apocalypse ever occur in modern day Britain. An implausible concept? With all the advances in modern medicine and biological warfare I am not so sure - perhaps it is only a matter of days/weeks/months/years before we wake up to find the walking dead roaming our streets. And if that does happen, thanks to this book our young people could be the most prepared to survive it.

The Official Zombie Handbook (UK) is chock full of information on how to survive a zombie apocalypse in the UK, including establishing a 90 day zombie survival plan, the best modes of transport to use, the best places to hole up in order to survive, the best melee weapons, and so on. It is a very text heavy book with a small handful of simple black and white illustrations so I doubt many boys will want to read it cover to cover, but I am sure they will love dipping in and out. They will also enjoy reading the details of previous outbreaks that have occurred throughout history, and the What If...? case studies that demonstrate how the authorities might react should an outbreak occur at a major British port or airport.

My thanks go to the author for sending me a copy to review. Sean also very kindly sent an extra signed copy which I will be giving away as a prize on a contest sometime in the next few weeks. The Official Zombie Handbook (UK) is published by Severed Press.


  1. Suitable for the Lower School Library???

  2. Hey, it's not a blood & guts book but there are some scary things in it. The big idea is to get them thinking about survival, the environment, sustainability as well getting their scary story juices flowing...

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