#Books – Virus Optimism
The recent announcement by Pfizer is fueling optimism, as the Covid-19 pandemic has been a tough and long experience for many people. As there is finally light at the end of the tunnel, let’s review classical books about epidemics.
The Plague – Albert Camus
In my opinion, Albert Camus is one of the best French writers of the twentieth century, and The Plague is one of its most famous pieces. The reader is exposed to a fictitious epidemic that threatens the whole population of Oran in the 1940’s. At that time, the city was part of Colonial Algeria. Contrary to common themes of sci-fi and fantastic literature, the emphasis is not put on a spectacular evolution of human societies due to the virus, but on how individuals adapt to such disruptive events and try to keep life going.
I Am Legend – Richard Matheson
Very different perspective. People may be familiar with the movie adaptation, with Will Smith as a leading actor. A mysterious disease has killed most of the human population and turned the remainder into “vampires”. However, at least one person has survived, Robert Neville. This book is all about the story of this man, driven by survival instinct despite temptation of despair, and who is about to learn that a new dominant specie has emerged. From that perspective, he is “legend”.
I Am Pilgrim – Terry Hayes
A great spy fiction written by former journalist and Hollywood screenwriter Terry Hayes (Mad Max 1 & 2). A former American intelligence agent is investing the case of a mysterious Saudi terrorist called the “Saracen”. This man, who fought during the Soviet-Afghan war, wants to destroy the House of Saud by attacking their main ally, the United States of America. And he has just managed to create a vaccine-resistant strain of the variola virus. A well-documented novel that leads to an epic manhunt and a breathtaking race against time.