Survival of the wittiest

August 06. 2014 7:49AM
By Kacy Muir Weekender Correspondent

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In 1990, at only 4-years-old, I met my first fear. Short enough to fit under the kitchen table, I was found tightly gripping onto a wooden leg as I screamed: “The tomato is coming! The tomato is coming!” I loved vegetables, but I had no idea they could be this angry. Crazed winds opened windows as our old house moaned, its strength now seemingly diminished by an uncontrollable force. In only a matter of minutes it was gone, and I realized I had not survived a tomato fury, but instead, a tornado.
Life has always coexisted with these types of occurrences — natural disasters, virus outbreaks, and flesh-eating bacterium. Yet, sometimes there is only one way to improve our situation. Author, Andrew Shaffer, has done just that. In Shaffer's latest fictional survival guide, “How to Survive a Sharknado and Other Unnatural Disasters: Fight Back When Monsters and Mother Nature Attack,” he manages to, in vivid detail, inform and entertain.
Shaffer, under the pseudonym of Fanny Merkin, first received success with his parody, “Fifty Shames of Earl Grey,” which focused on the pervasive concerns that plagued E. L. James's series, “Fifty Shades of Grey”. Shaffer's new work, while certainly a parody and ode to many of the ridiculous Syfy films viewers have seen throughout the years, is all about outsmarting the unrealistic.
Just in case you have yet to prepare your own sinking ship manifesto, but find yourself in the middle of a “Sharknado” or “Stonehenge Apocalypse,” Shaffer comes to the rescue. The guide illustrates complex catastrophes and monsters while seeking to enlighten and most of all, prepare readers to turn into the most worthy of opponents. In other words, we learn how to become monster-slaying, disaster-eradicating heroes.
As you might imagine, most of the work is tongue-in-cheek. Still, Shaffer manages to take tales of absurdity and spin them in such a way that the fiction remains sharp. The breakdown of the book includes two parts: Unnatural Disasters and Monsters. The sections are then broken down into further subsections: Fighting Mother Nature and When Earth Attacks (Part I) and Death If by Land and Destruction If by Sea (Part II). Particular favorites from the work include: “Arachnoquake,” “Polar Storm,” “Mongolian Death Worm,” and “Sharktopus”.
While the guide ranges from outlandish to witty, Shaffer's introduction continues to echo to the conclusion of the work. As Shaffer puts so delicately: “No matter what we do, it's too late to stop unnatural disasters and monsters. All we can do is survive them.”
The Weekender Rating: 4.5 W's

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