Angela Yuriko Smith
As the world as we know it reshapes around us, horror, science fiction and fantasy are vital for our survival. Stories are roleplay. They help us brace ourselves to confront the things we fear. Speculative fiction acts like the mirror Perseus held up to face Medusa. In looking at the reflection of our fears, we can safely study how best to defeat them.
As I write this column we are in deep. I don’t mean just readers of this magazine or fans of speculative fiction. I don’t mean writers, artists, poets and creatives. I mean all of us, the true citizens of space and time—a.k.a. humanity.
The truth is, it’s scary out there. As I tap out this message the global economy is in shock, financial markets are in freefall, the death toll from CORONA-19 is rising and the World Health Organization has just given the current crisis the official label of pandemic. Yes, scary. But…
These things are nothing new to fans of this genre. It’s scary, but we dream in scary. Our nights are filled with dystopian dreams. Our days are spent contemplating monsters. Even this pandemic comes as a cheap repeat of The Eyes of Darkness by American author Dean Koontz. His 1981 novel refers to a coronavirus-like outbreak and called it “Wuhan-400.” In Sylvia Browne’s End of Days she predicts “a severe pneumonia-like illness” that spreads throughout the world “in around 2020.” Her book was published in 2008. Reality is plagiarizing.
Our brain is our best tool for survival, and fans of spec fiction have been practicing and role playing for this scenario as long as we’ve been reading. We’ve survived Voldemort. On paper, we’ve survived nuclear warfare, multiple pandemics, extraterrestrial attack, impact events, cybernetic revolts, technological singularity, dysgenics, supernatural phenomena, divine judgment, climate change, resource depletion, black magick and the Dark Side of the Force. Read the book, wrote the review.
Citizens of Space and Time, we’ve got this. We know where this story is going and we are the best equipped to write it. Stay safe.