Apparently, I thrive on anxiety, and the very real possibility of a globe-spanning illness has upended my to-be-read and to-be-watched lists.
And it’s not just me. The twitter-verse is filled with mentions of re-watching and re-reading old pandemic-themed fiction. What does it say about human nature that we are so drawn to the very things that scare us?
Horror has always been about confronting, exploring, and engaging with fear. It peels back the skin of a visceral reaction and looks at what makes it work — physically, emotionally, and socially. I would argue that the disaster/disease/apocalypse genre is similar. It explores how people (as individuals, communities, or society at large) react in adverse situations. It explores what happens when the rules and structures holding us together break down.
I’ve always enjoyed this kind of fiction from a purely anthropological point of view. What happens when society comes apart at the seams? This is the zombie genre through-and-through, and as I’ve said before, I stand by my argument that a good zombie story is never really about the zombies. Rather, a good zombie story is about what happens to humanity when everything we take for granted is stripped away. Pandemic and outbreak fiction often explores the exact same thing.
On a more immediate and personal level, I guess watching and reading these stories is one of the ways I process my own fears and worries.
So here are some of the things I feel like reading and watching right now: