Exclusive: Author Simon Monk Talks The Maker’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse

Back in early September we told you about Simon Monk’s The Maker’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, available October 25th from No Starch Press; and to help get you ready for the book’s release in just a few more days, we have an exclusive Q&A with Simon to share.  Read on to learn more about The Maker’s Guide and what else author Monk has up his sleeve.

Dread Central:  Your background is in hardware and electronics; you have a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and Cybernetics and a Ph.D. in Software Engineering.  What in the world made you decide to combine that knowledge with the zombie apocalypse?

Simon Monk: I have always found the idea of post-apocalyptic survival fascinating. I’m no warrior or leader, but I would be able to do useful things with technology to make life more comfortable and keep my group safe. I feel that the engineering aspects of post-zombie-apocalypse survival have been ignored for too long!

DC:  Zombies are so popular now – but you’ve certainly taken a different approach in writing about them.  Can you describe your process of incorporating real-world technology into a fictional scenario like the zombie apocalypse?

SM: I am a big fan of “The Walking Dead,” and when thinking about projects for the book, I always try and think of how the project would work in “The Walking Dead” world and also where you would get the parts. For example, it’s pretty easy to rig a trip wire alarm with a car battery, microswitch car horn, and some wire — all things that are readily available for scavenging in a post-apocalyptic world.

DC:  Are you yourself prepared for such an event?  Do you have supplies stockpiled “just in case”?

SM: No. It’s fiction! However, I do have everything boxed up and stored — just in case.

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DC:  What are some of your own favorite zombie tales, and how have they influenced your writing in The Maker’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse?

SM: As I mentioned before, I am a big fan of “The Walking Dead.” I also love a good zombie film. I thought World War Z was very good, although the book is even better.

DC:  Are you a fan of the horror genre?  Do you plan to return to it again for future books?

SM: I enjoy a good horror film, but I am not a hard-core fan. I prefer horror-comedy — Shaun of the Dead, Cabin in the Woods (I watched that again the other night), and Severance are my favorites. This was a really fun book to write, and although I don’t have any plans to write another horror-related book, there are still project ideas that could be useful post-apocalypse, so who knows… there could be a sequel some day.

DC:  The Maker’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse: Defend Your Base with Simple Circuits, Arduino, and Raspberry Pi will be out just in time for Halloween.  Does your family celebrate the holiday in a big way?  I imagine this year will be a memorable one!

SM: We live on the edge of a country park surrounded by woods, and this year the park is hosting an event called “Moonlight Zombies” on Halloween so I expect there to be hoards of zombies and victims roaming around the neighborhood.

DC:  Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?  What’s next for you?

SM: Although the book is themed around a zombie apocalypse, it’s equally useful for other types of apocalypse or even for people who just want to learn a bit more about technology and how you can do small-scale electricity generation and use tools like Arduino and Raspberry Pi to make projects.  Next up, it’s back to the core electronics maker community for me with Make: Action: Movement, Light, and Sound with Arduino and Raspberry Pi (Make) and new editions of Practical Electronics for Inventors (McGraw-Hill Education) and Programing Arduino (McGraw-Hill Education).

Big thanks to Simon for his time and to Anna Morrow at No Starch Press for facilitating our interview!

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Synopsis:
In this indispensable text, expert hardware hacker and zombie anthropologist Simon Monk gives readers all they need to survive an undead uprising. The Maker’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse: Defend Your Base with Simple Circuits, Arduino, and Raspberry Pi covers everything from identifying basic zombie types to crafting essential electronics. Artwork is by Miran Lipovaca.

Take charge of the environment:

  • Monitor zombie movements with trip wires and motion sensors
  • Keep vigilant watch over the compound with surveillance cameras
  • Power anti-zombie systems with car batteries, bicycle generators, and solar power

Escape imminent danger:

  • Repurpose old disposable cameras for zombie-distracting flashbangs
  • Open doors remotely for a successful sprint home
  • Prevent disasters with fire and smoke detectors

Communicate with other survivors:

  • Hail nearby humans with Morse code
  • Pass silent messages with two-way vibration walkie-talkies
  • Scan radio stations with an automatic frequency hopper

Founder Bill Pollock, last seen barricading his office door with Commodore 64s and crates of bourbon, was unavailable for comment. However, a flash drive unearthed in the rubble of the No Starch Press office had this to say: “The Maker’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is for any survival-minded maker who wants to learn how to utilize their surroundings, use salvaged parts, generate their own power, and develop maker and survivor skills.”

For anyone from the complete beginner to the keen hobbyist, The Maker’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is an essential survival tool and will be available everywhere this October 25th.

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