Can we all calm the fuck down a bit? For all the yowling and yammering, this new flu doesn’t seem to be any more alarming than any other year’s flu – remember the bird flu and swine flu flaps of the last decade? We’re mostly still alive, aren’t we? (In fact, I had a lovely range of badges when swine flu was the panic du jour: ‘Sneeze Like A Pig’ and ‘Oink If You Got Flu’ being a couple of them. Only the panic was over long before I sold them all…)
I appreciate that some people are anxious because they have chest problems or compromised immune systems – or their close friends or family do – but most of us are low risk, and most of those who actually catch coronavirus seem to recover fairly quickly. At the moment, the people suffering most in the UK are probably those who run Chinese restaurants – it might be nice to show your local one some love, if you have the cash to spare and no food issues that would make it impossible.
You might be thinking about rereading The Stand, or Station Eleven about now, though I wouldn’t call either of those particularly good instruction manuals. Pandemics and illness in general probably aren’t the first topic that comes to mind for the erotica author, but that’s not to say they’ve never been covered. The wonderful Lust In The Dust anthology, published last year, contains a range of stories about if – and how – people will conduct their sex lives at the end of the world. If you haven’t read it, you can get it from the DSW online bookshop as well as the usual places. Glorious as the stories in that volume are, it’s not the case that they specifically eroticise symptoms of world-ending plagues, so much, even though the book does contain a story called The Basque Of The Red Death.
While I was once privileged (if that’s quite the word) to read a piece of flash fiction where the author had been challenged to come up with a sexy story about norovirus (YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHO YOU ARE) the only story I can think of which genuinely portrays fever as something sexy is one of the ones I included in the second Rule 34 anthology. Vol 1 and Vol 2 are still my favourites among all the anthologies I have edited, just because of the way all the authors rose to the challenge of producing something that was weird, sexy and a cracking good story, all at the same time. Vol 2 also eroticises brutalist architecture, toothpaste and a section of the Bible that you won’t have thought of in that way before… But you’re going to have to wait another six weeks or so to get your hands on a copy of that one, as publication date is April 1st. By which time I rather expect the corona chaos will have settled down and there will be something new to worry about…
Various titles on offer in the bookshop, why not stroll or scroll along and have a quick look?