Dissecting Dragons: Episode 162: Bring Out Your Dead - Sickness and Pandemics in Speculative Fiction
Episode 162: Bring Out Your Dead - Sickness and Pandemics in Speculative Fiction
Sweeping pandemics turn up often in fantasy and sci-fi, whether they form part of the back drop or the main thrust of the plot. There is something about a plague that captures the imagination and short cuts our survival circuits in a way that other natural disasters - Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Volcanic eruptions - just doesn't touch. So what is it about a good pandemic that grips us? From post apocalyptic fiction discussing the dual nature of morality, such as Stephen King's The Stand or Kirkman, Moore and Adlard's The Walking Dead, to epic fantasy looking at the creation of anti heroes, such as Scott Lynch's Gentleman Bastard series or Give the Dark My Love by Beth Revis, a deadly plague hits our deepest fears where other acts of god just don't reach. This week the dragons take a tour through pandemics in speculative fiction, starting with the history and epidemiology of The Black Death and The Great Plague in Europe, following the scars that exist on our racial memories even today and following the trail to its conclusion in SFF. A wild ride and not for the squeamish!
Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic