Horror Fiction and the Next Pandemic

– by Josh Schlossberg, JoshsWorstNightmare.com 

Thank the dark gods for their mercy, but it appears we’re finally getting a handle on the virus that has seriously disrupted—and ended—so many lives around the world. This isn’t to say it’s time to go back to normal or to let our guard down yet, but it’s great to finally have some good news to celebrate.

Needless to say, the worst thing about COVID-19 is the loss of life and rampant illness. Of course, as we all know, the pandemic’s shadow doesn’t just loom over our physical and mental health but our livelihoods, our social lives, and our personal freedoms.

Yet, as with so many protagonists in horror fiction, I believe the challenges we’re enduring may ultimately make us stronger, more resilient, and dare I say, better. Perhaps what axe-wielding maniacs and shape shifting demons have done for our favorite horror heroes, the pandemic can do for us. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say that the coronavirus might be a catalyst for the most positive societal transformation the world has seen since the Enlightenment (or, contrarily, a global devolution, but let’s look on the bright side for once, eh?).

OK, that’s great, you may be thinking, but what does any of that have to do with horror fiction?

Simply that I feel horror writers such as myself have a duty to delve into the transformative potentials of this terrible pandemic. 

Don’t worry, I’m not saying I won’t keep writing stories about other things, or stories about nothing at all solely aimed at entertaining my readers. I just feel compelled to write even more than I already have about disease outbreaks, particularly how we allowed this one to happen and whether we’re going to prevent others in the future. 

If the virus has revealed anything it’s that we can no longer pretend to be isolated individuals whose actions don’t have ripple effects. Sure, we’ve all got our own things going on and our individuality must be respected and protected. But it’s never been more clear that we can no longer afford to ignore the interconnections between our species and other species, our nation and other nations, our culture and other cultures, ourselves and our neighbors.

And, as investigators of the shadow, who better than horror writers to explore the dark waters in which we now tread. 

One thought on “Horror Fiction and the Next Pandemic

  1. Indeed. I feel there is a reason for everything and this situation definetly brought families together (though there are some horror stories with families, too. )

    I feel this is a wake up call. For people to do those things that they’ve been only dreaming about before with their busy work loads.

    And yes, this is definitely a great opportunity for writers, and specifically horror writers. We can say we lived through this, saw how things progressed and declined and ultimately were overcome.

    Great insight.



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