Blog: The Viral Start to 2020 (Apr 2020)

We now truly live in perilous and Science Fictional times!

COVID-19 may indeed continue to wreak its havoc through this year and into 2021, perhaps in several waves. The last great pandemic – the so-called ‘Spanish Flu’ just over a century ago – had three major waves, the Second being the deadliest. For a local South African history of The Spanish Flu, look no further than Professor Howard Phillips, from the University of Cape Town, with his ‘In a Time of Plague: Memories of the ‘Spanish’ Flu Epidemic of 1918 in South Africa‘.

This plague will of course hit hardest with those who have the least, and who are not able to self-isolate. As William Gibson was reported to have said: ‘The future is here – it’s just not evenly distributed yet.The Vulture have listed their 20 Best Pandemic Books for reading during our current viral crisis. Our own story with this current virus follows a plethora of climate catastrophic events that do indeed seem to be heralding the End Times – is this Nature’s backlash, for all that has been wrought upon our fragile Earth, by humanity in the Anthropocene?

What should happen, I hope, once the painful cost of this pandemic recedes, is that it is no longer a case of ‘Business as Usual’. NO! Business has been steadily killing our planet, and ourselves along with it. Time for a new world, as Urula K Le Guin called for, not long before she joined the great SF Pantheon in the Sky – a better, more collective and equitable world. A world both of and beyond Water Must Fall (2020: soon to be released by NewCon Press); a world of brighter futures, some captured in short in my latest anthology, from the excellent Luna Press (2019) ‘Learning Monkey and Crocodile.

Or, the need for more HopePunk or SolarPunk or any other punk or non-punk visions – futures we can envision and collectively work towards, and the stories of hope and sweat that can carry us there! To a less lethal viral and fairer future for all, including our fellow animals, with whom we should be sharing this world more compassionately and equitably too.

Nick Wood (April 2020)

An Anthology of Best SFF including three new stories and three new essays!