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How will Covid-19 change fiction?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Ban, Apr 2, 2020.

  1. The Dark One

    The Dark One Archmage

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    The govt in Australia is pouring billions into propping up society, but the fear is it will cripple the economy for decades.

    Of course, we are linked into the global economy so what we do here only matters so much.

    My hope is that this will be seen as a reset and that there will be years of growth to follow. I will not sell many books if no-one has spare cash to spend.
     
  2. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Inkling

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    The Spanish Flu pandemic (1918-1920) was seen as just one of the consequences of the First World War so it was largely forgotten. The Covid-19 pandemic is different because it isn't the consequence of something else. Thus, I expect it to have a major influence on fiction for many years to come. So, too, will the economic depression that will follow. How? I don't know. It could trigger more feel good fiction as people remember how it brought people together as well as more darker fiction as people remember how bad it could've been.
     
  3. Darkfantasy

    Darkfantasy Inkling

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    There might be a sudden surge of virus related epidemic stories (as if there aren't enough all ready lol). What worries e is how our countries will "rebuild" afterwards. But I think people will always buy books. It's hard to predict what the outcome will be and what industries will get hit hardest (beyond the obvious ones). Someone said they think art and the theater will suffer. No one will have the spare money. Movie sales will go up because people are stuck in. And, even when it's safe to go out, I still think people will be hesitant.
     
  4. The Blue Lotus

    The Blue Lotus Auror

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    I suppose, really, a lot will depend on what happens next.
    We are nowhere near the end of this epidemic yet. There is still room for a lot of crazy stuff to happen. Still room for widespread death totaling in numbers we've yet to even imagine in our modern world so far removed from the black death.
    I do think we will see a rise in both books that deal with widespread illness, and of great hope. Fight big evil, save world type stuff.
    This is an expected track for most people to take given the stresses we are experiencing from a psychological standpoint.
    People will do what they always have and work out their fears, anger, etc., in their art.
    The plague brought us slightly disturbing songs that kids still play to and sing today. What will our legacy be to future generations?
    Hopefully, something better than "Don't be stupid, it's not a hoax, wash your damned hands!"
    Maybe someone will dissect the events leading to the outbreak, from the wet markets in China to the downplaying and at times downright denial of governments across the globe. Perhaps they will do so with the help of experts who can shed some light on what we could have done differently, and how we can better prepare future generations for their next battle with invisible invaders. I would actually read that one... Hell, I might try to write it myself if I make it through this crapstorm.
    We should revisit this thread in a year or two to see who among us was correct though. It should be fun, like a mini macabre time-capsule.

    Cheers,
    TBL
     
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  5. Darron

    Darron Acolyte

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    I can tell you that my WIP with a virus outbreak originating in Washington that I started Dec 2018 seems retroactively insensitive now...
     
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  6. The Dark One

    The Dark One Archmage

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    Change virus to "dance craze" and you can probably salvage most of it...
     
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  7. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Inkling

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    Just keep working on your WIP and maybe add a few amendments to reflect just how effective (or incompetent) the leaders in your country have been in addressing the current pandemic, the shortages of medical staff and equipment and the strange things that people panic bought. (What's up with buying lots of toilet paper?) I suspect there's going to a whole lot of pandemic themed fiction coming out within a year or so on many countries.
     
  8. The Dark One

    The Dark One Archmage

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    Won't we be completely bored with pandemics by then?

    I sincerely hope so.
     
  9. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Inkling

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    Perhaps. I am not a big fan of pandemic fiction myself but who is to say how something as big as the current pandemic will impact upon fiction?
     
  10. Yora

    Yora Maester

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    Now that's something I can believe. Big simple evils with a face, that can be overcome by stabbing it with a sword would be very appealing in escapist fiction.
    Probably no great artistic contributions to literature and cinema, but popular and potentially very lucrative.
    Oh dear, that means another 10 years of Marvel superhero movies. (Though not comics, since the US comic market was in such a fragile state already that it's already collapsing after the only distributor stopped opperations and appears to have gone bakrupt, and the major publishers stopped producing material that can no longer be shipped.)
     
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  11. Arranah

    Arranah Troubadour

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    Very few people choose to learn from the generation that came before. When we are young we usually think that those who came before us didn't know anything, or since they didn't grow up knowing what we now know, they are out of touch. None of the lessons from the 1918 pandemic were passed on to me by my family. My great grand aunt Lottie was born in 1903. I was close to her in her later years. She talked to me a lot about how things once were. She lived to be 97. She never mentioned the pandemic. Her sister, my grandmother was considerably older than Lottie was. Grandma and Grandpa never mentioned it either. People got sick and died. Death was ever present. Women died in child birth a lot back then. Mom told me that when her little sister died, before there were mortuaries, they put little Wanda in an open box on top of the sewing machine. They kept her there for three days before they buried her.

    Some things make it into literature and some don't. This pandemic will stay with some of us, but those who come after us will hardly know about it. In part this is because kids don't pay attention in history class. In part it is because after a time it will be a footnote. Most of what we as authors write now will be lost. There is the old saying, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

    As for me and my writing I stay home anyway to write. If we want to stay alive, we will do this as much as we can. If we don't pay attention to the valid warnings of the experts in the medical and scientific communities, we very well could be fatalities or be an unknowing carrier of the disease and "accidentally" kill others. I don't want to do that. I know I am not exempt. I know you aren't either. I won't be writing the pandemic into my stories. But there is always death on some level in my story-lines.
     
  12. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Inkling

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    Although the Spanish influenza of 1918 killed five times as many people as the First World War it didn't have a big impact on the popular culture at the time because it was seen as one of the consequences of the First World War. With so many other things happening at the same time it just didn't warrant so much attention.

    The impact of COVID-19 will not be forgotten as easily. The sheer amount of coverage through multiple media platforms, the intrusion of lock downs and restrictions in the lives of billions of people, the economic impact which will make the Great Depression look like a minor recession in many countries and the United States being the country with the highest number of infections & deaths and having the most incompetent response to it means it won't be forgotten any time soon.

    It''s likely that the pandemic will result in an outpouring of various forms of fiction after the pandemic is over but it will be muted somewhat by the drastic reduction of incomes and publishing companies that has resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.
     
  13. Arranah

    Arranah Troubadour

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    People do forget. Not the one's directly impacted by it or see the coverage, but just like the kids who weren't alive with the tragedy of 9/11, the ones who haven't been born yet will shine it on to history. They just won't pay attention. There are people now who are doubting the severity.
     
  14. Jordan

    Jordan Dreamer

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    I think that we’ll see more stories on the lines of the show The Leftovers (Damen Lindelof), which is One of the better dystopian stories for showing how people deal something that they can’t wrap their heart or their mind around. I think that we’ll get more stories about loss and disconnection than about pandemic and dystopia, because the experience, for people not working on the front lines, is not the apocalyptic event that we imagine before a dystopia is established.
    (Sorry for the short response and any typos or grammos, wrote this comment on my phone.)
     
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  15. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Inkling

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    Thinking more on this, the impact will depend a lot on what comes after. It's a terrible situation with a big direct impact on social and day to day life. But, once it's over then it will have simply been a disease. People die from diseases and other things all the time. It's a reasonably deadly disease, but on the grand scale of things, it impacts few people directly.

    If the economy bounces back and we can carry on like we did in 2019 then the impact will be minimal. Then 2020 will simply be this quirky year people can think back on and people will carry on and will forget about it.
    If on the other hand we end up in a major 1930's style recession which lasts years until things go back to normal then the impact will be bigger. Then it will be seen as the trigger for the recession and all the consequences that brings. Then it will potential lead to societal change and as a result a change in fiction.
     
  16. Yora

    Yora Maester

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    Aside from the stories writers are interested in telling, I now feel like the biggest impacts on fiction will come from the side-effects that are hitting the publishing industry.
    I don't know about the book market, and the movie industry is basically always in a state of panic. But I've been following the developments of the American comics industry for the past months and it very much looks like everything is getting leveled right now and nobody has any real idea what the industry will look like in the future. But there are already many people with hopeful anticipation that the near monopolies of the biggest players will disintegrate, which has a huge potential for smaller and independent publishers, and an expectation of a much greater diversity of releases, even if the total number of sales goes down. That's really painful for the biggest publishers, but new opportunities for the smaller ones.
    And that's not even going into how nobody has any real clue right now how the distribution system will look like. Previously all the publishers have been working with a single distributor, which delivered the issues to niche specialty stores, which have been declining for years and are expected to close down in large numbers in the coming months.

    Another thing is that the big movie theater chains are suffering badly, having pretty much no income but still having to pay rent and employees. They are expected to significantly reduce the number of sites in the future. And at the same time, studios are pondering options to release finished movies straight to streaming to generate at least some income now, instead of sitting on them to release them all later. Depending on how such experiments turn out, it also could have huge impacts on the distribution of movies in the future. And once the distribution systems are changing, then the movies themselves will undergo some adaptations to make the most efficient use of the media. A movie made to be primarily watched on a TV can be made differently than one made for theater screens with TV screens being only an afterthought. Perhaps that will make the appeal of IMAX seem less worth the cost, or in the opposite direction make studios focus more on it to make a greater distinction with TV.
    We've already seen with TV shows made for streaming that they are no longer bound to be exactly 45 minutes in length so you can have them on a hourly schedule with 15 minutes of commercials. Some episodes of a show can be of greatly different length than others, depending on how much time is needed to tell the respective story. No need to pad out a story that is only 38 minutes long, or aggressively cut down an episode that really would need 53 minutes to be complete.

    And then there's also the interesting fact that the near-monopolist of entertainment Disney is actually gaining the biggest shares of its income through parks and cruise ships. Which are all completely out of business for the foreseeable future but still requite constant maintenance. At the same time they are still trying to make back the 4 billion dollar for buying Star Wars, and they bought Fox for a mind-boggling 71 billion dollar, which most people seem to consider as completely overpriced. Disney is very unlikely to go extinct, but this time next year it will be a very different company that will have to manage its resources in completely different ways. And when Disney changes substantially, then this will affect everyone else as well.

    Really hard to predict what will happen in these industries, especially as an outsider. But I think in the long term the biggest changes will be to the medium, not the message.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2020
  17. Shonen

    Shonen Dreamer

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    I don't think it will change everything but it will definitely have a strong impact on a lot of people, staying home, virus, etc.

    It could make people write different things, events, scenes, how life is affect by something like this and how we can go back to think 2020 is a special year, it wasn't.
     
  18. nardken

    nardken New Member

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    After seeing The Invisible Man earlier this year, and to have this virus spreading, I think we will see many more stories involving fear of something you can't see. Whether it be something physical, mental, or spiritual. Also coming out of this time might be more intimate and personal stories, so maybe we'll see more indie movies thrive when released.

    Quarantine for many, including myself, gave time for a lot of self reflection. So inner demons could be a common trend in fiction in the future.

    Stories like Wall-E, Alien, The Invisible Man will be inspiration for this time we've all gone through (and are still going through). Even reality tv shows like Big Brother, The Circle, and Solitary will serve as inspo.

    And to bring it back around another fear that some people cant see. The truth!
     
  19. ascanius

    ascanius Inkling

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    The most incompetent response, that's laughable. Americans are not the only people to exist. Italy still hasn't recovered from the 2008 recession, incompetence has been their entire political system for the past 50 years. Or greece, where the few people who work have to support a welfare system so massive as to be impossible.

    No, the wuhan virus is going to fundamentally change Europe. The eu as we know it may not survive, hopefully it won't.
     
  20. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Hey All--I appreciate the discussion around COVID-19. Please stay on-topic with respect to the writing issue at hand and avoid debates around contemporary politics.

    Much appreciated!
     
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