The virus is spreading faster than ever now. Many people are still in denial, yet the dead mount up. Most of the governments of the world have started taking measures they should have implemented at the beginning, but it’s too late. There can be no eradication now. This deadly thing is part of life in the new epoch, a thing the survivors must learn to live with, knowing many more will continue to die.”
Have you ever wondered how Apocalyptic fiction became a popular genre? It’s fairly depressing on the whole, contemplating end of the world scenarios. Yet by examining how to survive a major worldwide disaster, perhaps reading about a brave hero who transcends all of the attendant hardship, we learn to consider the unconscionable, the worst case scenario, and still to have hope.
Many stories written in the 1950s and 1960s scrutinized the wider effects of nuclear war on the planet. These books were written at a time when the very real threat of the U.S. and U.S.S.R getting into a missile exchange might have left our planet uninhabitable.
More recent stories depict a variety of possible end times scenarios; a large asteroid hitting the Earth, and EMP knocking out all power, climate change causing extreme weather conditions beyond what humankind can survive and even reviving dinosaurs who happily eat members of our puny species because we were never meant to live in the same era.
The majority of virus scenarios lead into a zombie apocalypse, but the above passage comes from a story that could be talking about the present battle with Covid-19. While plagues are nothing new to the human species, a particularly virulent strain with a high rate of infection would present a significant threat, certainly to life as we know it.
The good news is that like the Spanish Flu, these plagues tend to evolve and mutate into strains that more people can survive. We are, after all, the organism’s hosts. This leaves room in the story for a happy ending, or at least a scenario where humankind continues to survive. A well-written story will probably have a hero or two as well, beating odds against other humans who have responded to the breakdown of society by hoarding supplies, taking control of the local area or become violent for a reason related to the other two.
Or the hero might beat the conditions themselves; survive the lack of power or hungry beasties, then carve out a new way of life.
As we begin another year with the battle against this century’s big plague… Year Three you might say, the virus stories are on the increase, including in the Thriller genre where possibilities of how it all started are given free reign to speculate through fiction.
What I would hope for, were I to read these stories, is that message of hope to show us that we can survive whatever this year has to throw at us. What about you? Do you read Apocalyptic Fiction? What scenarios draw your interest? Do you like to keep it obviously fictional, like a zombie apocalypse, or do you live dangerously and read stories that *could* actually happen?
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