While most would agree that death and disease are not laughing matters, they provide plenty of fodder for fiction writers.
Aside for the drama of life and death stakes, pandemics have played pivotal roles in human history. Europe would probably still have a feudal system if it wasn’t for the Black Death. World War I might have dragged on for longer than four years with both sides still eagerly engaged in chemical warfare if it weren’t for the Flu Epidemic of 1917-1918.
With these epic changes to draw upon, writers can take that ‘what if’ scenario to unexpected places, especially when the villain of the piece is something invisible to the naked eye and nearly impossible to fight.
To many who pen action adventure stories these kinds of events are like locked room deaths to mystery writers. I’ve used them twice now. Once in my current Sci-Fi novel and the second in my fantasy novel Dancing in the Kitchen, after all what good is a death stone to an evil sorcerer if he/she doesn’t use it?
In my defense, I’ve worked as a microbiologist in a pharmaceutical company and government for years. So I drew upon what I knew and combined it with my love of horror, history and natural disaster movies, documentaries and books.
Listed in no particular order are some of my favorite microbe related movies:
I am Legend
The Hot Zone
Night of the Living Dead