Fiction always responds to, and reflects, the context it is created in. In the year of our lord 2023, we’re several years deep in what one might politely call Historic Times. COVID-19, and the social context surrounding it, is gradually making itself known in various genres.
Jodi McAllister’s rom-com Here For the Right Reasons (2022) asks what might happen if a cast of reality TV contestants were suddenly trapped together by a snap lockdown. Emily Gale’s middle grade novel The Goodbye Year (2022) explores how the already weird, transitional phase between primary school and high school is disrupted by the first, scary wave of the pandemic in 2020. Contemporary YA novels are increasingly having to decide if, and how, they factor more than a year of remote learning (and a boatload of collective trauma) into the high school experience of their characters.
Alongside these texts that address the realities of COVID times, though, seems to be a rising wave of speculative fiction that responds to the pandemic. And I don’t mean sci-fi thrillers about post-pandemic post-apocalypses—quite the opposite vibe, in fact!Continue reading