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COVID-19 Inspiration

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MonsterTamer

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Do you think this pandemic and the different scenarios playing out in an attempt to manage it will birth a spate of novels on the subject in the near-future?

Are you already working on one?
 

Woollybear

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Perhaps. Mine, of course, would have to do with emissions and the economy--not the virus and illness--and the global economy will be a big part of my trilogy's third novel anyway.

If you’re reading this at home—isolated because your company has mandated that everyone work remotely, lest you all spread the novel coronavirus—know that your loneliness may be good for the planet: Emissions are currently plummeting worldwide. In China alone, the economic slowdown has kept 200 megatons of CO2 out of the atmosphere, according to one analysis from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, a stunning 25 percent reduction in the country’s emissions. Industries wither as workers stay home, lightening the load on the electrical grid. Internationally, people are avoiding flying—big time.

A pessimistic optimist would say: Well, damn, this is how we save the world from climate change. Hobble capitalism, and the problem basically fixes itself. But a climate scientist would say: Sorry. If other global crises, like financial bubbles, are any indication, this is but a temporary dip in emissions. In fact, to make up for lost money, nations like China will roar back with capitalistic mania. Modern economies halt for no disease—at least not in the long term.

https://www.wired.com/story/coronavirus-emissions/

I'm not one to write pandemic stories. I bet many of us have been thinking along new lines, though. (Oh, I did change a skin disease to a respiratory disease, although not intentionally because of this.)
 
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Kjbartolotta

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Since I feel confident saying this is all gonna have a major effect on our culture in a couple of years, I suspect yes.

And actually, my current project just so happens to start with a number of destructive plagues bringing a society to the brink of collapse. Doesn't mirror our current situation as much as it sounds, but odd timing nonetheless.
 

MaeZe

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I picture a bunch of cheaply produced TV dramas coming out as soon as it's safe to shoot movies in the studios again.
 

Kjbartolotta

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I picture a bunch of cheaply produced TV dramas coming out as soon as it's safe to shoot movies in the studios again.

Gonna be a golden age for people writing, directing, and starring in movies shot in their bedrooms on their smartphones.
 

Roxxsmom

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Since I feel confident saying this is all gonna have a major effect on our culture in a couple of years, I suspect yes.

That's one thing I've been pondering--the long-term effects of this on our social norms, values, and political inclinations. The two most recent times this happened were 911 and the 2008 recession. Can't say I've liked the social changes those two events have engendered overall.



And actually, my current project just so happens to start with a number of destructive plagues bringing a society to the brink of collapse. Doesn't mirror our current situation as much as it sounds, but odd timing nonetheless.

I've also been wondering how it will affect entertainment, once this virus either peters out or becomes a normalized part of our lives as the population, and our institutions, adapt. I suspect people will start going to movies again, though maybe a portion of people will decide they prefer to get their entertainment at home, away from crowds.

For a while after 911, entertainment media about terrorist groups launching attacks at civilian sites in our country were considered too raw and close to home. Some projects were actually cancelled, as I recall. In the long term, though, tales about terrorists have made a comeback. And long-term interests about disasters tend to result in documentaries and semi-fictionalized accounts (like the recent Chernobyl miniseries).

Stories about plagues and outbreaks are already popular, of course, but I wonder if there might be a temporary lack of support for such projects. Long-term, it's harder to predict how it will change the way people write and interpret stories centered around disasters. I suppose current events might inform writers' knowledge of how society, and our public institutions, will react--with far less coordination and consistency as we expected. Tales set in speculative worlds, of course, can invent their own social systems and infrastructure, appropriate to the level of technical and social development.

I recently read Chuck Wendig's The Wanderers, which centers around a much more devastating plague with near 100% mortality. So it's parallels with this situation are pretty far removed. Still, I am impressed, in hindsight, at the things he predicted about the way our institutions and populace respond during the early days of an outbreak, when case numbers are low and people are mostly in denial.

Denial is a common theme in fiction too.

Gonna be a golden age for people writing, directing, and starring in movies shot in their bedrooms on their smartphones.

Wonder if this thing will improve book sales if it goes on for months and months? People stuck at home and under house arrest will be looking for entertainment, right, and if fewer new movies are released, and if the new seasons of popular shows are delayed, then people will be desperate for something to consume. Plus, writers already work from home (as do many agents and editors), and most books are now available in e-format, which doesn't even require a delivery driver to come up to one's door. It's already wreaking havoc on the con circuit and on in-person writers' workshops, though. Will there be a move to make some of these experiences available remotely? It won't feel the same, though, as being able to walk up to your favorite writer and shaking their hand.
 
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Kjbartolotta

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One-person sock puppet reboots of Hollywood classics.

The next big thing. Trust me.

Reggie Ray's been out there innovating on this for years. Mostly reality TV and R&B reenactments, but still.

Wonder if this thing will improve book sales if it goes on for months and months?

People are already buying books like crazy at my store, mostly because it's kid's lit and all the schools are closed. But I think publishing will benefit.

As for how everything else is gonna be affected, I genuinely cannot say.
 

MaeZe

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Novel was written before hand, comes out in a couple months.

The End of October, by Lawrence Wright.
ABOUT THE END OF OCTOBER
“An eerily prescient novel about a devastating virus that begins in Asia before going global . . . A page-turner that has the earmarks of an instant bestseller.” —New York Post

“Featuring accounts of past plagues and pandemics, descriptions of pathogens and how they work, and dark notes about global warming, the book produces deep shudders . . . A disturbing, eerily timed novel.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A compelling read up to the last sentence. Wright has come up with a story worthy of Michael Crichton. In an eerily calm, matter-of-fact way, and backed by meticulous research, he imagines what the world would actually be like in the grip of a devastating new virus.” —Richard Preston, author of The Hot Zone

“This timely literary page-turner shows Wright is on a par with the best writers in the genre.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

In this riveting medical thriller–from the Pulitzer Prize winner and best-selling author–Dr. Henry Parsons, an unlikely but appealing hero, races to find the origins and cure of a mysterious new killer virus as it brings the world to its knees.

At an internment camp in Indonesia, forty-seven people are pronounced dead with acute hemorrhagic fever. When Henry Parsons–microbiologist, epidemiologist–travels there on behalf of the World Health Organization to investigate, what he finds will soon have staggering repercussions across the globe: an infected man is on his way to join the millions of worshippers in the annual Hajj to Mecca. Now, Henry joins forces with a Saudi prince and doctor in an attempt to quarantine the entire host of pilgrims in the holy city . . . A Russian émigré, a woman who has risen to deputy director of U.S. Homeland Security, scrambles to mount a response to what may be an act of biowarfare . . . Already-fraying global relations begin to snap, one by one, in the face of a pandemic . . . Henry’s wife, Jill, and their children face diminishing odds of survival in Atlanta . . . And the disease slashes across the United States, dismantling institutions–scientific, religious, governmental–and decimating the population. As packed with suspense as it is with the fascinating history of viral diseases, Lawrence Wright has given us a full-tilt, electrifying, one-of-a-kind thriller.
 

Helix

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Do you think this pandemic and the different scenarios playing out in an attempt to manage it will birth a spate of novels on the subject in the near-future?

Are you already working on one?


A mob of books and films came out after Richard Preston's The Hot Zone was released. The book went viral.
 

Roxxsmom

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Keep The Schools Open Because We Don’t Want The Kids To Spread The Coronavirus says everyone who isn’t an actual teacher.

Oh, they're little virus reactors. They'll pick it up and bring it home to their parents and maybe grandparents with barely a sniffle of the kids' own in most cases. But if we close the schools, at least some kids still have to be in daycare, so they'll swap it around there too.

It's a conundrum.

A mob of books and films came out after Richard Preston's The Hot Zone was released. The book went viral.

Snerk.
 
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frimble3

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And, kids with working parents will have no place to go during the days. Little kids, pre-school, sure, if there are any spots open, but what about older children and pre-teens?
The Boys and Girls Clubs will be swamped, and, again, how do you get children to 'socially distance' themselves?
And, not enough time to vet all those newly unemployed people for safety and competence, even if they could take a couple of kids each. Although, if someone you trust is in that position (and likes kids)...

Keeping schools open isn't the perfect solution, but it's inexpensive, already organized and the kids are used to it. Considering that children seem to be relatively immune, or, at least less likely to have severe cases, it's better than sticking them with grandma.
 
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Elizabeth George's book Write Away