10 things I’ve learned about the end of the world

The always-brilliant Leila Johnston (of Hackers, and Storywarp, and about a billion other things!) put on an afternoon of talks about the apocalypse yesterday. A variety of speakers talked about all sorts of things, from zombie contingency plans to the likelihood of space viruses and how to avoid eternal damnation in the final reckoning. Here are some of the things I picked up:

1. In the aftermath of a nuclear explosion, if you’re lucky enough to survive, stay the fuck indoors (and don’t flush the toilet).

2. Women’s Institute co-ordinators and Scout leaders have all the skills needed to rebuild society, post-apocalypse.

3. Some Puritans believed the devil visited them through their shoes.

4. Aliens probably wouldn’t be able to catch the common cold, even if they did somehow a) exist and b) land on Earth.

5. Zombie movies borrow an awful lot of imagery from photographs of concentration camps. (And I kind of wish I didn’t know this, because it’s horrifying.)

6. Super volcanoes are scary, but flood basalts are even scarier.

7. 37% of all projected zombiphobic violence will take place in the home.

8. You can use stakes on zombies as well as vampires, but with zombies you’ll have to aim for the brain, via the eyes. And they’ll probably bite you while you’re trying.

9. Using rhyming couplets or hieroglyphics damages your credibility as a prophet of the apocalypse.

10. No-one really cares what the Mayans believed.

There’s going to be another instalment of The Event this coming Sunday, although I think it’s sold out already. Probably worth checking, though.

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