Friday, October 12, 2012

Repost: Top 5 Books for the Post-Apocalypse

(This article was originally published at

1. Atlas Shrugged
Lugging Ayn Rand's "masterpiece" through the burnt-out carcass of civilization might seem counter-intuitive, since it weighs roughly the same as three gallons of potable water. But that same 35lbs that will cost you calories on the long trek between abandoned super-markets will come in mighty handy when you're attacked by marauding zombies: simply abandon the weakest member of your party to their ravages, climb up a tall structure directly above your ersatz-comrade, and drop Atlas Shrugged on top of the zombie ruck. It's guaranteed to instantly kill whoever it lands directly on, and the aftershock from impact will at least daze everyone in a ten-foot radius.

Plus let's recall the importance of firestarter: each of those 1,168 pages is the beginning of its own campfire, to fry up those bean and gathered corpse-meat sausages.

And, finally, if you're fixing to kill-and-eat a member of your own party but you're having moralistic second thoughts, just read Fransisco D'Anconia's speech about the virtue of selfishness. Rand hated metaphorical cannibalism, but that was only when the poor were doing the eating. As long as you're stronger and more angularly-faced than your prey, well, dig in!

2. Moby Dick
First of all, Melville's magnum opus includes explicit, unabridged instructions for sailing and whale-hunting. If these skills don't come in handy after the demise of gas-powered engines and the rise of radioactive gerbil-mammoths, I don't know what will.

Plus--to return to the theme of How To Kill Your Comrades--the sections on abandoning Pip and slaughtering baby whales will surely steel your spleen. KILL!

3.  How to Make Friends and Influence People
 Dale Carnegie's perennial bestseller is so bent on fucking with people, even its title is a lesson in realpolitik. By "making friends" he means "recruiting allies," and by "influence" he means "manipulate."

How does one Make Friends and Influence them? Flattery, mostly. Do stuff like remember people's name and ask about their baby and pretend to listen to them blather for five minutes about their collection of I Love Lucy memorabilia, and they'll be addicted to your presence. I'm thinking about using his methods when I become a parent: I'll make my love implicitly contingent on my childrens' school-grades and table-manners. Positive reinforcement!

And of course if you listen to Billy-Bob's sob-story of how his entire family was devoured by a pack of rabid toddlers, he's likely to let down his guard. At which point you put down your Carnegie, pick up your Rand, and BASH THAT HEAD IN.

Dinner is served.

4. The Book of Mormon
Look, let's not beat around the bush: in the end times, insular social groups with well-secured buildings in a locale far removed from other major cities are going to survive. I.e. the Mormons will inherit the nuke-scarred earth. They do what they're told, and they've got the land and resources to withstand a first-strike on Washington DC or wherever. So you'll wanna be ready to convince them that you're one of them...

...So that you can lure them, one by one, to an isolated forest path. Then say, "Is that a Muslim over there?" and point to a spot behind them. When they turn to look, you know what to do: ATLAS STRIKE!

5. The Cannibal's Cookbook
Do I even need to explain this one?

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