"Nuclear War?" you say. "Pfah! Didn't we leave that in the eightiesalong with red braces, shoulderpads and all the TV action shows that I am too young to remember but pretend to anyway so I can appear all post-modern and ironic by making references to Mr. T?" It is a common misconception that since the end of the Cold War, the threat of nuclear war has considerably lessened, but do not be lulled into a false sense of security by this kind of misconceived, wooly thinking. Nuclear bombs are now so easy to buy or manufacture that vast quantities of them are now in the posession of rogue dictators, militant extremist groups, terrorists, and quite likely that funny-looking man with the thick glasses who lives down the street from you. As such, nuclear war is definitely something that you should be terrified of, planning for, and having recurring nightmares about - unless, that is, you want your family to die. Do you want them to die? Do you? Because they will, if you don't do exactly as this guide tells you to, and their blood would be on your hands, if it wasn't reduced to ash along with the rest of them. Murderer!
MODULE 1: PREPARATION
It is healthy to maintain a sense of vague worry and anxiety at all times, regardless of whether there is a specific threat or not. Afterall, we live in a dangerous world, especially since the dictators we sell arms to continue to insist on actually using them to kill people, instead of putting them to agricultural uses like they told us they would. This is why we keep having to go and make examples of these people by sending soldiers to blow up the weapons we sold them. That's a matter for the army, but you're on the home front, and what do YOU do when a hundred-megaton airburst comes knocking at your door? Invite it in for tea and biscuits? Of course not. You tell that shockwave to stick it where the sun don't shine - which is ironic, as the million-ton dust cloud disgorged into the troposphere by the blast will blot out the sun for several centuries to come!
Still, although the indomitable John Bull attitude that saw us through the Blitz is admirable, it will be of little use to you when the only remaining trace of your existence is a haunting ashen shadow of your evaporating body contorted into a sickening pose of ultimate horror. What you'll find altogether more useful in this situation is the Government-endorsed SinisTech Defence Corporation Portable Nuclear Refuge©. A spacious and affordable safeguard against the coming devastation, the Refuge© has space enough for your whole family and contains a ten-year supply of dehydrated caviar, champagne and prostitutes. A snip at £*, you quite literally can't afford not to buy one!
* We apologise for the error in the text, but it appears the price of the Refuge© is too high a number for your peasant brain to adequately comprehend. Nonetheless, if you live in London, add several more zeroes to it. For those people on a tighter budget and who generally are not referred to as "Your Majesty", read below.
If you're a low-income family or a black or a gay, you can apply online for a free portable nuclear shelter from the Government. This bunker is slightly less comfortable than the Refuge©, but don't worry, it works. We wouldn't be giving them away for free if we weren't 100% certain they would preserve your expendible lives. The shelter can be applied for during any Imminent Blast Alert and will be delivered within six to eight weeks. In the event of a nuclear explosion, follow these steps carefully to guarantee your survival:
1) Pull the shelter firmly over your head.
2) Poke some air holes in it if you have trouble breathing.
3) Stick your fingers in your ears and hum God Save The Queen.
MODULE 2: ATTACK
There is not very much you can do during the actual nuclear attack apart from cowering in your shelter, quietly weeping, reading the Bible, frantically copulating or singing along to a few Max Bygraves numbers from the "Hits of the Blitz" CD enclosed with this guide book. Try to look on the bright side: Remember, due to the inefficient nature of the rudimentary chemical explosives used during World War II, your grandparents had to go through this humdrum routine every night as the Germans dropped bomb after bomb after bomb - but thanks to the modern wonder of weapons that can boil an entire city into vapour in seconds, you'll only have to do it once, leaving you with time to enjoy the important things in life.
MODULE 3: AFTERMATH
If you're safely ensconced within your SinisTech Defence Corporation Portable Nuclear Refuge©, there isn't really much point coming out for at least a decade after the blast, as the contents of your Refuge© are a thousand times more appealing than what will be going on outside. Just kick back, relax in front of the widescreen television and rehydrate a couple of hookers. Enjoy, and thanks for reading.
If you opted for the free shelter and are alive to be reading this, take the stupid bag off your head and thank your own dumb luck that your component molecules are, somehow, still in the same place they were before the explosion. You will probably have lost some or all of your body hair and skin in the blast. Look on it as less of a loss, and more of a free tan and full body wax. See, it's not all doom and gloom!
It is likely that during the attack, one or more of your family members may have passed away. Should this happen, deposit the corpse outside where your house used to be, in the special wheely-bin your local council will have provided you with. It's the one with the laughing death's head stencilled on the lid. Dismemberment may be necessary for the bin to accomodate taller or fatter relatives. Corpse collections will take place weekly on Thursday mornings, providing there are any bin men left. Should there be none available, you will have to dispose of the remains in whichever way seems most suitable to you. Remember that food will be a primary concern now. There's no shame in cannibalism, and in fact some people find it quite fashionable.
Life after the attack will be hellish. Palls of ashen grey cloud will loom over the totally lawless and chaotic concrete skeleton of civilisation, gangs of psychopaths will roam the land killing at will without fear of punishment, and travel will be incredibly hazardous. In short, things will mostly be back to normal if you live in the North. Some things, however, will have changed drastically. To prepare you for the challenges of your new lifestyle, this last section is given over to general information and advice on the post-nuclear world.
Think of fallout as a pleasant wintry snowfall. Right now it may seem strange and disconcerting that tiny specks of radioactive material are falling from the sky and settling on the ground, but in a few months' time it'll feel quite normal to sit on a park bench and watch your adorable hairless children ride sleighs down steep banks of fallout and build cancer-inducing "snowmen".
One of the more enjoyable side-effects of the radioactive mutating effect of the nuclear aftermath is the humble undead zombie. Huge in numbers, slow-moving and extremely entertaining to run away from or kill with improvised weapons. Make a game out of it, and while away the Nuclear Winter competing with your friends to see how many zombies you can kill within a set time limit. Award bonus points for any cool one-liners uttered when killing a zombie. Mutants, on the other hand, are far more hazardous. While they have been horribly disfigured like the zombies, they have lost none of their cogniscent abilities, and will be understandably full of murderous anger, which they will be delighted to vent upon those humans lucky enough not to be growing an extra set of genitals out of their foreheads. Although if you were to ask me, I'd find that quite useful.
Cruelly Disfigured Landmarks
As we have learned from watching lots of post-apocalyptic science fiction films, most of the world's great iconic structures will be left at least partially standing after a nuclear blast, to illustrate just how irreversibly buggered civilisation is. Plan your next holiday accordingly to take in as many ruined landmarks as possible. We highly reccomend you check out the following: Statue of Liberty Submerged Waist-Deep In the Ocean, Eiffel Tower With the Top Blown Off, Big Ben With the Clock Face Shattered, Mount Rushmore With One Of the Presidents' Heads Knocked Off, and Taj Mahal With the Dome Cracked Open. Oh, and US Capitol Building Overgrown With Vines and Creepers seems to be quite popular too.
Of course, one of your primary concerns after the war will be looking good. Important post-apocalypse social functions such as picking through the rubble for rats to eat, throttling someone over a bottle of uncontaminated water, or simply screaming at the horror of it all, demand that you look your best. For your fashion requirements, check out your local crashed airliner. There will be plenty of these available, because when civilisation collapses, it will cause all the airliners in the world to stop working for no actual reason and fall from the sky. Should you come across one such stricken aircraft (easy to spot because the tail fin will always be pointing directly upwards out of the ground), you should have no qualms about looting the dead passengers' wardrobes. Whilst they will no doubt have suffered some damage in the crash, clothing "borrowed" from aircrash victims will look fantastic compared to the roughly-hewn animal furs and thick coating of mud and faeces your peers will be sporting. You'll be the talk of where the town used to be!
Generally, you will be wanting to do as much of this as possible, even moreso than normal. Fortunately there should be a lot of it going around, partly because social inhibitions will no longer be relevant, and also because pretty much everyone will share your desire to "go out with a bang" as humanity faces the final curtain. Don't worry if you're horribly mutated - ordinary, attractive survivors will soon form fetishes for the "uglies". You may even get so much action that your friends will wish they'd been deformed too! Don't worry about unwanted pregnancies, as the massive levels of radiation will have rendered everyone sterile. Enjoy!