Homer's Iliad opens with a plague visited upon the Greek camp at Troy. The Decameron (1353) by Giovanni Boccaccio is set during the Black Death.
The stories offer the listeners ways to consider how similar crises have been managed previously, and how to reorganize their daily lives, which have been suspended due to the epidemic.
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Over the history of Western literature about pandemics, much has been said in the way of catharsis, ways of dealing with intense emotion, and political commentary on how people respond to public health crises.
It is worth to peruse these texts to understand our reactions to the spread of this virus.
Some speculative novels written by indigenous peoples and writers of color are treating colonialism and the diseases that spread by the colonizers as the source of an ongoing apocalypse.
For many people in formerly colonized places, the apocalypse has already come - literally and metaphorically - and have destroyed their populations.
Transmissible diseases existed during humankind’s hunter-gatherer days, but the shift to agrarian life 10,000 years ago created communities that made epidemics more possible.
We started building cities and forging trade routes to connect with other cities, declaring wars with them; all these made more likely the existence of pandemics.
As a verb, “to zoom” means to move very quickly, particularly while making a humming or buzzing sound. In this form it was coined onomatopoeically in the 19th century, but it now has a new meaning owed to the videoconferencing corporation of that name, founded in 2011 but unknown to most till recently: shall I Zoom you? Can we Zoom? As an exclamation, says the OED, “zoom!” “frequently used to express a sudden swift movement or (figurative) a rapid change, as a sudden rise or fall in fortunes”, which is after all quite appropriate for these times, as well as for Zoom’s own stock price.
The ongoing pandemic is a once-in-a-century event that has put the feeling of comfort at a premium. One such unexpected source of comfort is the relatively new genre of cli-fi, that is the dystopian world of climate fiction: stories related to environmental devastation revolving around either the pre-apocalyptic ‘before’ or the post-apocalyptic ‘after’.
This genre is a rising trend, with novels that offer climatic doom or widespread ecological calamities becoming award-winning bestsellers.
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