“Steve and Fred” — Max Brooks

Max Brooks is one of the kings of contemporary zombie fiction. He is the author of World War Z—which is currently in the process of being adapted into a feature film—and The Zombie Survival Guide, both of which were huge international bestsellers. Brooks has also published a graphic novel, The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks, and he’s had short stories in the anthologies The New Dead and Dark Delicacies II. Prior to becoming the world’s foremost expert on zombies, he worked for two years as a writer for Saturday Night Live.

There comes a point in life when you must look in the mirror and ask yourself certain basic questions: Who am I? What am I doing with my life? And most importantly: How will I fare when the zombies come? As you survey the vast landscape of zombie fiction, you must appraise each character and ask: Would that be me?

Maybe you’ll be the coward who locks himself in the basement and refuses to help fortify the house, and refuses to let any strangers into your domain, all the while ignoring obvious signs that your child will soon be among the undead. No? Then maybe you’ll be the strong leader of your enclave of survivors who goes mad with power and turns into a sadistic monster more horrifying than any zombie.

Don’t think so? Of course, you know exactly who you’ll be: The hero, the one who perseveres when all others have succumbed. You’ll have the weapons, the car, the steely determination, the girl. You’ll ride into town like a white knight and sort the local zombie problem right out, and ride off into the sunset as the weak gather in the dusk and wave and wonder about your name. That’s the way you’ve always imagined it, right? Well then, our next story should be right up your alley.

Think you know exactly who you’ll be when the zombies come? Well, so do we. You’ll be exactly like the main character in our next tale.