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Fiction about pandemics and dystopian future

  • Published at 05:34 pm April 11th, 2020
Fiction about pandemics and dystopian future


Sales of fiction about epidemics have increased considerably in recent months, suggesting that readers are leaning to themes of the moment. The list below offers you a look at a few books prominent for their theme of a pandemic: 

Blindness by José Saramago

Blindness tells the story of an epidemic that spreads in a European city where the inhabitants start losing their sight. Like any mysterious contagious outbreak, this plague sets off panic, chaos and confusion, and violence. Government quarantines the early-infected people in an abandoned mental asylum and the army guarding it shoots anyone trying to escape. The quarantine camp soon becomes a living hell. The meager supply of food and civil amenities with no one to guide the inmates through their dark world reduce them to bare animals. But the real hell breaks loose when there is a fire in the asylum and the inmates burst forth. 

The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham

This novel is set in the rural China, the heart of a cholera epidemic in the 1920s. Unfaithful Kitty Fane, betrayed by her lover is compelled to go to China with her forgiving husband Walter Fane, who is a bacteriologist and physician. Walter dedicates himself to the service of the cholera affected people risking his life. He falls ill while experimenting on himself to find a cure for cholera and eventually sacrifices his life. 

The Painted Veil explores human being’s capacity to love, forgive, sacrifice and transform. 

The Plague by Albert Camus

Set in the plague-infested French-Algerian city of Oran in the 1940s, The Plague keeps faith in humanity and reaffirms that there is more to admire than to despise in humans. When two doctors approach the town authorities to warn that the town may be in the brink of an epidemic, the authorities fail to understand the gravity of the situation and take it as a false alarm. Eventually, situation worsens and the plague-decimated city is sealed off and the inhabitants are quarantined. Many people come forward to combat the plague, though their motivations differ. While some join the voluntary service being driven by religious principles, the others are motivated by code of morals. The main character of this novel, Dr Bernard Rieux does not serve the victims out of any altruistic or religious obligation. He relieves people’s suffering simply because that’s what his job is. 

The Stand by Stephen King

It’s a post-apocalyptic 1978 novel that narrates the story of a pandemic that wipes out most of the human race. It shows that a computer error in a defense department laboratory leads to the spread of a deadly super-flu. A patient escapes from a biological testing facility, unknowingly carrying an extremely contagious and lethal biological weapon that causes death of 99 percent of the world population. The rest are left to struggle to cope with this new world.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake is a 2003 post-apocalyptic dystopian fiction, the first volume of her MaddAdam trilogy. It tells the story of a world ravaged by genetic engineering. BlyssPluss, a wonder drug promising health and happiness, causes a pandemic that wipes out the human race. Snowman, presumably, the last surviving human being on earth, lives near a group of bioengineered primitive human like creatures called Crakers, named after their creator, Crake. 

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

“Plagues are like imponderable dangers that surprise people,”, the author of Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, told the New York Times in a 1988 interview. Set in the backdrop of cholera outbreak in Cartagena, this novel parallels between the symptoms of love and cholera. Dr Juvenal Urbino, one of the three major characters of this triangular love story, is committed to the eradication of cholera from the town. But there is another type of cholera that no medicine can cure. His wife Fermina Daza’s lover Floretino Ariza suffers from the sickness of unrequited love for 50 long years. Here, lovesickness has been compared to an illness, as debilitating and deadly as cholera.

The Eyes of Darkness by Dean Koontz 

Published in 1981, The New York Times Best Seller author Dean Koontz’ thriller novel The Eyes of Darkness tells the story of a mother grieving her son’s death. When she finds a strange message claiming that her son is alive, she sets off on a terrifying journey to find the truth. This novel mentions a biological weapon called “Wuhan-400” created in China aimed to wipe out an entire city or a country. This virus has a mortality rate of 100% and kills the affected in less than 24 hours. 


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