My Literary Zombie Apocalypse Dream Team

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Black and white photo of a zombified man in a suit holding a woman's unconscious body bridal-style

It’s a discussion as old as time itself: in the event of a zombie apocalypse, with whom would you hope to be stranded? I know I’ve given this a lot of thought (I am, after all, a very serious and presently unemployed intellectual with way too much time on my hands), but lately I’ve been cogitating upon—in the event a cosmic interdimensional crisis somehow renders all my favorite literary characters real—which fictional favorites might afford me the best chance of riding out the guts, the gore, the chaos and savagery of a civilization fallen.

Here’s my winning line-up, tentatively team-named The Stealth Zombers (in no particular order)…


Black and white drawing of a man on a boat holding a fishing spear

“For all his tattooings he was on the whole a clean, comely looking cannibal. What’s all this fuss I have been making about, thought I to myself – the man’s a human being just as I am: he has just as much reason to fear me, as I have to be afraid of him. Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.”

Featured in: Moby Dick by Herman Melville.

Why He Makes the Team:
[X] Fiercely loyal.
[X] Sweet harpooning skills.
[X] Swell bedfellow.
[X] His practice of fasting and prolonged periods of silence ideal for post-apocalyptic zombie survival.
[X] Knows how to build a coffin.
[X] Wanderlust befitting of nomadic lifestyle.

Risks Posed: His lack of shame in practicing cannibalism may make fellow survivors nervous.

Drawing of a small girl holding a bottle labeled "Drink Me"

“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”

Featured in: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

Why She Makes the Team:
[X] She’s already a survivor of one illogical landscape riddled with mind-boggling horrors.
[X] Unafraid to dive through rabbit holes.
[X] Has been known to believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

Risks Posed: Chronic curiosity may get her ass killed.


Drawing of a woman in a dark green cloak and fanciful hat riding a horse

“Experience, even if there were no other authority in this world would be grounds enough for me.”

Featured in: The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.

Why She Makes the Team:
[X] Incredibly gifted storyteller whose tales would be verily welcome when there’s no more TV or video games.
[X] Takes no shit from anyone ever.
[X] A wealth of experience regarding human interrelations, having been married five times.
[X] Capable of rhetorical cartwheels.
[X] Sexually liberated; will inspire joyful procreation throughout the entire group.
[X] Won’t abide a dominant, controlling man whenever he tries to lead the group by default.
[X] Can ride a mean horse.

Risks Posed: Antiauthoritarian streak may result in group splitting often.


Drawing of a man sticking his hand out of a window

“He was a fine, tall, slim young fellow, with black eyes, and hair as dark as the raven’s wing; and his whole appearance bespoke that calmness and resolution peculiar to men accustomed from their cradle to contend with danger.”

Featured in: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.

Why He Makes the Team:
[X] Understands what it’s like to live in a waking nightmare.
[X] Sweet rapier skills.
[X] The original thrill-seeker.
[X] Capable of infinite patience.
[X] Calculating.
[X] No stranger to beginning again.

Risks Posed: May hold a grudge.

5. ATTICUS FINCH (Mockingbird version only)

Black and white still from a movie showing a man with his glasses pushed up as he loads a gun and prepares to shoot

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”

Featured in: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Why He Makes the Team:
[X] Upholds the integrity of the law at all costs.
[X] Soothing paternal demeanor good for group dynamic.
[X] Exhibits perpetual decency.
[X] Serious rifle skills.
[X] Won’t hesitate to put down a zombiefied comrade like a rabid dog.

Risks Posed: May become uncharacteristically racist when older?


Still shot from a movie showing a man ripping a sink and cabinet unit from the ground in a bathroom with water shooting upward from the floor

“I been silent so long now it’s gonna roar out of me like floodwaters and you think the guy telling this is ranting and raving my God; you think this is too horrible to have really happened, this is too awful to be the truth! But, please. It’s still hard for me to have a clear mind thinking on it. But it’s the truth even if it didn’t happen.”

Featured in: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey.

Why He Makes the Team:
[X] Best candidate for documenting the fall of the old world and rise of the new.
[X] Can lift and throw enormous water consoles.
[X] Master of mercy kills.
[X] Underestimated by pretty much everyone he ever meets.

Risks Posed: Not a great conversationalist.


Black and white photo of a Black man with chains around his neck connecting to a chain wristband on a white arm

“I‘m gonna stay alive!”

Featured in: Roots by Alex Haley

Why He Makes the Team:
[X] Understands better than Edmond Dantes what it’s REALLY like to live in a waking nightmare.
[X] Staggering perseverance and unfathomable willpower.
[X] He’s a proud Mandinka warrior.
[X] Next to surviving an American legacy of oppression and all its inherent horrifying atrocities, zombies aren’t that bad.
[X] He was a real person whose experiences were real, not fictional – a symbol emblematic of the suffering and indomitable spirit of an entire race that continues to fight to this day a tradition of deeply entrenched, institutionalized hate.

Risks Posed: None. Will out survive everyone.


Black and white drawing of a man in full body armor riding a horse with a large spear

“Destiny guides our fortunes more favorably than we could have expected. Look there, Sancho Panza, my friend, and see those thirty or so wild giants, with whom I intend to do battle and kill each and all of them, so with their stolen booty we can begin to enrich ourselves. This is nobel, righteous warfare, for it is wonderfully useful to God to have such an evil race wiped from the face of the earth.”

Featured in: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes.

Why He Makes the Team:
[X] Comes equipped with full armor.
[X] Hopelessly committed to wiping out all foul beasts and upholding justice.
[X] Endlessly in search of adventure.
[X] Comes equipped with a sidekick.

Risks Posed: May be off fighting windmills when actual zombies are imminent.


Black and white photo of a man leaning over a globe with a pipe in his mouth and a detective's cap on his head

The game is afoot.”

Featured in: Sherlock Holmes series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Why He Makes the Team:
[X] Greatest living detective with unparalleled capacity for deductive reasoning.
[X] Can shred on the violin and entertain the group.
[X] May prove instrumental in helping cure the world by determining how the zombie apocalypse initially began.
[X] Expert at Bartitsu.

Risks Posed: Has a bit of a drug problem.


Photo of an ancient sculpture of a man holding a wild animal

“Becoming aware of himself, he sought a friend.”

Featured in: The Epic of Gilgamesh.

Why He Makes the Team:
[X] As a “wild man,” understands intuitively the behavior of zombies.
[X] Knows how to live off the land.
[X] Skilled wrestler.
[X] Craves companionship, making him loyal to the group no matter how the dynamic shifts.

Risks Posed: May disappear for six days and seven nights at a time while he gets “civilized” in the love arts by temple prostitutes.