Tuesday, 30 August 2011

#26 Zombie-Proof Housing: Property Guide to the Apocalypse

With house prices taking a dip there has never been a better chance to get into the market. And with the zombie apocalypse only being a matter of time, you want to make sure your new dream home is ready for anything.

The idea of buying your very own post-apocalyptic bolt hole is a staple of science fiction satire. Back when he was good, Ben Elton wrote a novel called This Other Eden which was about a company selling personal biospheres for people to move into to live out the looming ecological breakdown.

The videogame franchise Fallout is full of hokey 50s style adverts for massive underground vaults where you and your family can move into to avoid the bombs dropping. 

It’s fertile ground for satire- the idea of society facing its looming destruction by trying to sell yet more consumer goods is just the sort of over-the-top, extreme, exaggerated metaphor for consumerism that sci-fi does so well.

So, here are some reviews of real life post-apocalyptic residences that you can actually buy with real money.
Satire is dead.
And the best part is- they will only rise in value when they’re the only structures still standing.

1: The Safe House

If you’re a zombie nut who spends any amount of time on the Internet (and according to Google analytics, you are) you’ll have probably seen this place already. Built by Polish architects KWK Promes, the safe house looks like the sort of spacious, contemporary property you would expect to see lived in by a successful movie star or cocaine dealer. However, at the flick of a switch the building transforms Tracy Island style into a locked down zombie-proof fortress of doom.
Just don't get caught in the draw bridge.
The architects say: “The innovation of this idea consists in the interference of the movable walls with the urban structure of the plot. Consequently, when the house is closed (at night for example) the safe zone is limited to the house’s outline. In the daytime, as a result of the walls opening, it extends to the garden surrounding the house.”

What we say: Okay, this place is pretty secure, you’re probably going to be living a pretty luxurious life in there and there’s room for you and your whole family. There’s the problem. It’s not all that hard to make a home secure from zombies, with a bit of work you can make a farmhouse or even a pub a secure place to hide from the zombie menace. That’s never what gets you. What gets you is the people you’re with, the tensions, and rivalries, the silent power struggles.
How long do you think you’ll last through the end of days if you’re stranded with people you can’t make it through Christmas dinner with?
It keeps the zombies out, and the sound of screaming in.
2. Vivos Shelters
Terra Vivos’s facilities- advertised here in a video heavily influenced by Battlestar Galactica’s opening credits, are probably the closest thing we have yet to Fallout’s Vault-Tec facilities.

Their website is a masterpiece of marketing- few companies selling products this high end would have the balls to actually include a “Prophecy” section on their website, as well as a list for the most “viable scenarios” for your imminent fiery death (zombies aren’t on the list, but the 2012 predictions are). It even has helpful countdown clock to the 2012 apocalypse on the left hand side, like some sort Armageddon oriented Ebay.

The service they provide is called “Life Assurance” which is a bit like “Life Insurance”, and so sounds like a real, legitimate business.

But Vivos doesn’t just offer one shelter, oh no! In this day and age where you car, mobile phone and choice of music player say so much about you, would you settle for anything less than fully personalised salvation?

They say: “At 137,000 square feet, spanning four levels, this facility will be the largest, strongest and most defensible Vivos shelter in North America, accommodating over 900 people for up to one year of autonomous, underground survival.  It will also be the first Vivos shelter to come online, in early 2011.  Due to the massive size and economies provided by the scale of this shelter, Vivos is able to offer a limited number of membership spaces at just $25,000 per person.”

We say: That’s right, you don’t want to die because of some piddly family drama. You want to go what professionals call “The full Lord of the Flies.” Still, this looks like some pretty sweet digs, kinda reminds me of the laboratory they lived in in the Andromeda strain. Of course, the stuff that’s actually been built so far looks like this:

Which is less appealing. Still according to their timer as of writing they have 478 Days, 02 Hours, 36 Minutes, 08 Seconds Remaining, so as long as there isn’t an unexpected apocalypse before then, you’re laughing. The only real problem here is the price. They quote $25,000 per person here for their Nebraska facility, but at the Indiana facility prices are already at $35,000 per person, with prices set to rise to $50,000 once the initial spaces are sold. That’s a pretty hefty investment, and even if you think that’s a small price to pay to survive the coming hell storm, if you’ve got a family you need to seriously consider whether you love them that much.

And of course, the shelter is only designed to keep your sheltered for a year. If Fallout 3 taught me anything, it’s that if you live in an underground bunker through the apocalypse only to climb out onto the surface of a blasted Earth later, you’re basically going to get your lilly-white ass handed to you by all the Mad Max types who just stood outside and took their nuclear blast like a man.

They say:“Vivos is now offering an economical shelter solution for the average person and family. A recent survey of Vivos members revealed that nearly two-thirds cannot afford to purchase a share for themselves and their family in one of our First Class shelters. With our goal being to save as many lives as possible, Vivos is reworking one of the largest facilities to accommodate 1,000 people at a very affordable rate of just $9,950 per person. Now, virtually anyone can afford a boarding pass into an impervious Vivos underground shelter to survive whatever man-made or natural cataclysms may lie ahead.”

We say: Okay, so it turns out you did love your family that much, and so rather than spend 30 grand on living it up in 5 star cursed-Earth luxury, you decided to split it three ways and get a less flashy accommodation for you, your partner and the least obnoxious of your two kids.
For that, you get... well you get four bunkbeds and a curtain:
Pro tip: For maximum domestic harmony arrange a "Wank rota" where three of you will be out of the room at pre-arranged times.
Still, at $9,950 per person? With property prices the way they are now, I’d actually be up for that if they let me move in straight away.

3. My House
It has a lockable front door, barbed wire at the rear garden fence, a wide selection of garden implements for self-defence, plus a nice old man lives next door who owns and knows how to use a machete. Plus I’ve been reliably informed by the British government that the cupboard under the stairs is a perfectly adequate fallout shelter.
Yeah, I’ll be fine.

1 comment:

  1. that was pretty cool thanks for putting this together and im going to be doing some cool stuff involving zombies so ill keep in touch :)