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Thursday, 26 March 2020

Fiction versus reality

What a strange situation we find ourselves in: spring is here, summer well on its way, and we are confined indoors for fear of dying.

Meanwhile the very people we are counting on to save us, are packed like sardines into public transport, expected to do their jobs, exhausted, and without the protective equipment that could ensure their safety - the world really has turned on its head.

There are a lot of phoney soothsayers around, telling all and sundry that they or someone else they know, prophesised this, that it is God's will, that it's all in the great plan. Believe that if helps you - I'd personally rather stick to the science.

But whatever your beliefs, there are some things that are undeniable. One is that all of us are going to suffer some loss - a family member, a friend, a colleague... The other is that our world will be forever changed.

There are some fears that don't just ever go away - the bogeyman under the bed, the mad axeman in the woods... Covid-19 will remain in our collective conscience long after it's claimed its last victim. Like the bogeyman, it will alter our perception of what's safe and what isn't. Probably forever.

When I wrote The Owners series and in particular Storm Clouds and the subsequent volumes, it was this sort of scenario I had in mind.

Set in the almost present, it depicted a world in panic over a series of devastating superstorms and the damage to the whole structure of civilisation which ensued. But more than that, it was a tale of humanity - of the people who were elevated by their situation and of those who used it for their own selfish needs. Isn't that exactly what we're seeing now?

Of course Storm Clouds is an apocalyptic tale and the volumes which follow it therefore, post-apocalyptic, and I hope with all my heart we don't follow that into reality but the motives of the people in my stories and in real life are the same...

Keep safe everyone and please be respectful and considerate. And hopefully we'll come through this together.

Happy reading. xx

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