These are crazy times we’re living in, booknerds! Forget 2019, 2018 and 2017. If you thought those years were bad, 2020 busted in like “hold my beer!” I swear to Thor, when Donald Trump was elected, we crossed over into some fucked up multi-verse timeline and it has been tripping me out for nearly four years. I’m so tired.
Just in the first three months of 2020, World War 3 was nearly upon us, half of Australia burnt to the ground, Kobe Bryant died and now we’re in the middle of a pandemic, the likes of which I can’t remember ever happening before in my lifetime. And I am old enough to remember the SARS outbreak, but honestly, that sticks out in my memory mostly because of Peter Sarsgaard’s SARS Guards.
As of yesterday morning, Ontario is officially in a state of emergency. I still have to work, because you know mortgage payments and shit. But I’ve spent most of today running around updating systems to allow people to work from home. Shout-out to my company for being super flexible during this time!
Not to tempt the universe, but seriously, what the fuck is next? An Avengers-like alien invasion? Part of me thinks just let it happen because this episode of Black Mirror fucking sucks. Let’s just end it. Start over. Maybe next time we won’t screw everything up so badly.
That said, does Coronavirus have you sufficiently terrified? Are you self-isolating, quarantining or social-distancing? Have you used so much hand sanitizer that you can now see all the bones in your hands since your skin peeled away? (Seriously, I am running out of moisturizer.) Are you hoarding toilet paper like a fucking idiot? I certainly hope you’re not sick or otherwise closely affected by this illness, like my dear, sweet, beautiful Idris Elba.
WHY GOD WHY! WHY HIM!? TAKE ME INSTEAD!
*clears throat* I digress…
I have to admit, I wasn’t social distancing as much as I should have been. I was still going to the gym regularly until its doors closed indefinitely on Monday. I mean I get it, but what? Now I have to work out at home, like by myself?? Without equipment??? It’s almost as if this virus just does not care that I’m trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and that I prefer convenience.
Oh wait, that’s exactly what it does not care about.
I’m not sick. I don’t know anyone who is and the confirmed cases are in the single digits for my area, so I guess we’re doing something half-way right (I’m going to look back at this point in weeks, months or years and laugh at my naïveté, I just know it.) It can only get worse from here! Bright side, it’s a great time to be an introvert.
The kid is officially out of school for three weeks. He was supposed to travel across the border to southern New York for March Break, but that trip was cancelled on Monday. If I don’t have COVID-19 now, I sure as shit would if the people in my house were to step one foot into the U.S. Get your shit together down there already. It’s embarrassing, like Americans have the world’s most incompetent trumpy president… oh, hey! They do!
As of Monday, my family switched gears from paying attention, but not really caring, to full-on isolation mode. That means we bought extra groceries that should keep us from leaving the house for two weeks, if not three. We are set with streaming services, games and books. Though I am kind of bummed that I didn’t check out more books from the library before if closed. Overall, this isolation business is in no way an issue for me because I’m severely introverted. As long as I have Netflix and cheese, I’m good.
Seriously, you should see how much extra cheese I bought last night.
With this blog, I’m not really in the habit of trying to make people feel better about the scary things in life. If that’s what you’re looking for, maybe try a blog that has rainbows or tea cups or bunnies in the header. What I’m doing here is really more of a “read your fears” kind of vibe.
With that in mind, I thought what better books would there be to read while in quarantine then books about epidemics, plagues, outbreaks and general pandemonium? RIGHT?! Listen, this shit is so serious, we need a break and maybe some crazy fiction on the subject is exactly what will give us some perspective.
Let’s take a step away from all the doom and gloom and have a little fun with it instead, because I said so.
If you’re looking to scare yourself a little bit more, or maybe pick up a pandemic pointer or two from pure fiction – because at this point, isn’t that what 2020 is? – here is my list of 19 books (get it? COVID-19? I’m a GENIUS!) that are perfectly on theme for social distancing during the Corona Virus lock down.
🔪 The Stand by Stephen King
Release Date: Anchor Books | 2011 (1978 originally)
Filed Under: Apocalyptic Plague
Viral Score: 🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠
Back of the Book: A patient escapes from a biological testing facility, unknowingly carrying a deadly weapon: a mutated strain of super-flu that will wipe out 99 percent of the world’s population within a few weeks. Those who remain are scared, bewildered, and in need of a leader. Two emerge–Mother Abagail, the benevolent 108-year-old woman who urges them to build a peaceful community in Boulder, Colorado; and Randall Flagg, the nefarious “Dark Man,” who delights in chaos and violence. As the dark man and the peaceful woman gather power, the survivors will have to choose between them–and ultimately decide the fate of all humanity.
(This edition includes all of the new and restored material first published in The StandThe Complete And Uncut Edition.)
☠️ My Fucking Thoughts: I have never read Stephen King and I am most certainly not going to start with a book that is nearly 1200 pages long, even if I am isolating indefinitely. That is just too big a commitment for me. But please feel free to do so yourself and let me know what’s up, because this book sounds completely on theme with today’s issues.
🔪 The Strain (The Strain Trilogy, #1) by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Release Date: William Morrow | 2009
Filed Under: Vampiric virus
Viral Score: 🦠🦠🦠🦠
Back of the Book: A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Ephraim “Eph” Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.
In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing.
So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city – a city that includes his wife and son – before it is too late.
☠️ My Fucking Thoughts: I tried watching the TV show version of this book series and it just wasn’t my thing. But let’s be real, I only watched one episode. Did I make a mistake? Let me know. But, all the eye stuff was a little too *butt-hole clenching* for me. The book series is a tempting read right now. If you love Guillermo del Toro, you can’t pass up reading this while you’re locked in your home, scared of other people.
🔪 Severance by Ming La
Release Date: Text Publishing | 2018
Filed Under: Biblical plague
Viral Score: 🦠🦠🦠
Back of the Book: Candace Chen, a millennial drone self-sequestered in a Manhattan office tower, is devoted to routine: her work, watching movies with her boyfriend, avoiding thoughts of her recently deceased Chinese immigrant parents. So she barely notices when a plague of biblical proportions sweeps the world.
Candace joins a small group of survivors, led by the power-hungry Bob, on their way to the Facility, where, Bob promises, they will have everything they need to start society anew. But Candace is carrying a secret she knows Bob will exploit. Should she escape from her rescuers?
A send-up and takedown of the rituals, routines and missed opportunities of contemporary life, Severance is a moving family story, a deadpan satire and a heartfelt tribute to the connections that drive us to do more than survive.
☠️ My Fucking Thoughts: It’s like zombies, but without the “eat your brains” terror, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. I’ve heard this called a apocalyptic satire meets character study. It won’t work for everybody, but it’ll work for some. Maybe a chill pandemic novel is just what you’re looking for to keep your zen.
🔪 The Andromeda Strain (Andromeda, #1) by Michael Crichton
Release Date: Vintage | 2019
Filed Under: Alien microorganisms
Viral Score: 🦠🦠🦠
Back of the Book: From the author of Jurassic Park, Timeline, and Sphere comes a captivating thriller about a deadly extraterrestrial microorganism, which threatens to annihilate human life.
Five prominent biophysicists have warned the United States government that sterilization procedures for returning space probes may be inadequate to guarantee uncontaminated re-entry to the atmosphere. Two years later, a probe satellite falls to the earth and lands in a desolate region of northeastern Arizona. Nearby, in the town of Piedmont, bodies lie heaped and flung across the ground, faces locked in frozen surprise. What could cause such shock and fear? The terror has begun, and there is no telling where it will end.
☠️ My Fucking Thoughts: This is a Big Bang Theory style epidemic novel (not the sitcom, the scientific theory) that is heavy in scientific technical speak that might turn some people off. But if that’s your thing, you’ll love this novel. It’s medical chaos and a science fiction classic that will totally fit the ambience of our own global medical chaos right now.
🔪 Cold Storage by David Keopp
Release Date: Ecco | 2019
Filed Under: Zombie Fungus
Viral Score: 🦠🦠🦠🦠
Back of the Book: When Pentagon bioterror operative Roberto Diaz was sent to investigate a suspected biochemical attack, he found something far worse: a highly mutative organism capable of extinction-level destruction. He contained it and buried it in cold storage deep beneath a little-used military repository.
Now, after decades of festering in a forgotten sub-basement, the specimen has found its way out and is on a lethal feeding frenzy. Only Diaz knows how to stop it.
He races across the country to help two unwitting security guards—one an ex-con, the other a single mother. Over one harrowing night, the unlikely trio must figure out how to quarantine this horror again. All they have is luck, fearlessness, and a mordant sense of humor. Will that be enough to save all of humanity?
☠️ My Fucking Thoughts: Fungus hitches a ride with a returning space mission and basically mutates into a 100% lethal green menace and only one man can stop it. You know… that old story.
🔪 The Companions by Katie M. Flynn
Release Date: Gallery/Scout Press | 2020
Filed Under: Deadly Outbreak
Viral Score: 🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠
Back of the Book: In the wake of a highly contagious virus, California is under quarantine. Sequestered in high rise towers, the living can’t go out, but the dead can come in—and they come in all forms, from sad rolling cans to manufactured bodies that can pass for human. Wealthy participants in the “companionship” program choose to upload their consciousness before dying, so they can stay in the custody of their families. The less fortunate are rented out to strangers upon their death, but all companions become the intellectual property of Metis Corporation, creating a new class of people—a command-driven product-class without legal rights or true free will.
Sixteen-year-old Lilac is one of the less fortunate, leased to a family of strangers. But when she realizes she’s able to defy commands, she throws off the shackles of servitude and runs away, searching for the woman who killed her.
Lilac’s act of rebellion sets off a chain of events that sweeps from San Francisco to Siberia to the very tip of South America. While the novel traces Lilac’s journey through an exquisitely imagined Northern California, the story is told from eight different points of view—some human, some companion—that explore the complex shapes love, revenge, and loneliness take when the dead linger on.
☠️ My Fucking Thoughts: This is basically zombie robots? Or zombie AI? And why would humans ever want to do that? Oh, people are currently trying to do that? See this is exactly why we need to be wiped out. There is something wrong with us! Maybe reading this book is what we need to do to prepare for the zombie AI uprising.
🔪 The Passage (The Passage, #1) by Justin Cronin
Release Date: Ballantine Books | 2010
Filed Under: Government Experiment
Viral Score: 🦠🦠🦠
Back of the Book: IT HAPPENED FAST.
THIRTY-TWO MINUTES FOR ONE WORLD TO DIE, ANOTHER TO BE BORN.
First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear–of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.
As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he’s done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. Wolgast is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors, but for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey–spanning miles and decades–toward the time an place where she must finish what should never have begun.
☠️ My Fucking Thoughts: For some reason I thought this book was a religious book so I’ve been avoiding it, but apparently it’s something much friendlier than religion – it’s about the apocalypse! I’m not a huge fan of the grown-man/little girl dynamic in stories, and I hear that’s a heavy aspect of the plot. But it’s almost 800 pages, so there’s got to be lots of scientific doom to even things out.
🔪 Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Release Date: Knopf | 2014
Filed Under: Apocalyptic Nomads
Viral Score: 🦠🦠🦠
Back of the Book: Set in the days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.
One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.
☠️ My Fucking Thoughts: I’m specifically not reading this book ever, ever because it is so hyped up and everyone I see talk about it is basically so excited about it that it turns me off. What does that say about my personal psychology? I don’t want to know. But for you, it means you should read this book because it has glowing praise.
🔪 Zone One by Colson Whitehead
Release Date: Anchor | 2012
Filed Under: Apocalyptic Pandemic
Viral Score: 🦠🦠🦠🦠
Back of the Book: In this wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel, a pandemic has devastated the planet. The plague has sorted humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead.
Now the plague is receding, and Americans are busy rebuilding civilization under orders from the provisional government based in Buffalo. Their top mission: the resettlement of Manhattan. Armed forces have successfully reclaimed the island south of Canal Street—aka Zone One—but pockets of plague-ridden squatters remain. While the army has eliminated the most dangerous of the infected, teams of civilian volunteers are tasked with clearing out a more innocuous variety—the “malfunctioning” stragglers, who exist in a catatonic state, transfixed by their former lives.
Mark Spitz is a member of one of the civilian teams working in lower Manhattan. Alternating between flashbacks of Spitz’s desperate fight for survival during the worst of the outbreak and his present narrative, the novel unfolds over three surreal days, as it depicts the mundane mission of straggler removal, the rigors of Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder, and the impossible job of coming to grips with the fallen world.
And then things start to go wrong.
☠️ My Fucking Thoughts: If you’re looking for a zombie book that is more literary than horror, apparently this might be the one for you. I would check out the varying reviews on Goodreads though, just to see if this one speaks to you because it’s all over the place on likes/dislikes.
🔪 The Book of M by Peng Shepherd
Release Date: William Morrow | 2018
Filed Under: Surreal Pandemic
Viral Score: 🦠🦠🦠
Back of the Book: One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man’s shadow disappears—an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, it comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories.
Ory and his wife Max have escaped the Forgetting so far by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until one day Max’s shadow disappears too.
Knowing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to Ory, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up the time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memory disappears completely, he follows her trail across a perilous, unrecognizable world, braving the threat of roaming bandits, the call to a new war being waged on the ruins of the capital, and the rise of a sinister cult that worships the shadowless.
As they journey, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a new force growing in the south that may hold the cure.
☠️ My Fucking Thoughts: People’s shadows disappear. THEY DISAPPEAR. I mean, that alone makes me want to read it because I have to know how that idea comes to life and what it means, and do I need to be concerned? A dystopian novel that is super special and transcends the genre, if reviews are to be believed.
🔪 The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker
Release Date: Random House | 2019
Filed Under: Sleepy-time Epidemic
Viral Score: 🦠🦠🦠
Back of the Book: n an isolated college town in the hills of Southern California, a freshman girl stumbles into her dorm room, falls asleep—and doesn’t wake up. She sleeps through the morning, into the evening. Her roommate, Mei, cannot rouse her. Neither can the paramedics who carry her away, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital. Then a second girl falls asleep, and then another, and panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town. As the number of cases multiplies, classes are cancelled, and stores begin to run out of supplies. A quarantine is established. The National Guard is summoned.
Mei, an outsider in the cliquish hierarchy of dorm life, finds herself thrust together with an eccentric, idealistic classmate. Two visiting professors try to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos. A father succumbs to the illness, leaving his daughters to fend for themselves. And at the hospital, a new life grows within a college girl, unbeknownst to her—even as she sleeps. A psychiatrist, summoned from Los Angeles, attempts to make sense of the illness as it spreads through the town. Those infected are displaying unusual levels of brain activity, more than has ever been recorded. They are dreaming heightened dreams—but of what?
☠️ My Fucking Thoughts: This book has been on my radar for a while and now seems like the perfect time to pick it up and find out if being endlessly drawn to the cover paid off or not. I’ll take bets if you’re interested in putting some money on my whether I like something. I usually don’t, so betting against the odds could pay off huge for you. Just something to think about.
🔪 Wilder Girls by Rory Power
Release Date: Delacorte Press | 2019
Filed Under: Quarantine Horror
Viral Score: 🦠🦠🦠🦠
Back of the Book: It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.
It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.
But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.
☠️ My Fucking Thoughts: Also totally on my radar. I’ve seen this described as a perfect combination of beautiful writing and straight-up horror, and that speaks my soul. The only thing holding me back is that it’s YA and I am constantly, consistently, almost always disappointed every time I pick up a YA novel. #facts.
🔪 The Fireman by Joe Hill
Release Date: William Morrow | 2017
Filed Under: Flaming Spores
Viral Score: 🦠🦠🦠🦠
Back of the Book: The fireman is coming. Stay cool.
No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.
Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child.
Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads—armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.
In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman’s secrets before her life—and that of her unborn child—goes up in smoke.
☠️ My Fucking Thoughts: Is it strange that I’ve read Joe Hill but not Stephen King? Either way, I liked N0S4A2 enough. It was a weird, wild ride and I sure as hell had never read anything like it before. So that definitely intrigues me when it comes to other Joe Hill novels. Especially this one. The visuals of the way this virus leaves its mark is just *Italian kiss* But almost 800 pages??? I do not have time for that! (Yes, I do. I’m stuck inside.)
🔪 The Last One by Alexandra Oliva
Release Date: Ballantine Books | 2016
Filed Under: End of the World
Viral Score: 🦠🦠
Back of the Book: She wanted an adventure. She never imagined it would go this far.
It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens—but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it human-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them—a young woman the show’s producers call Zoo—stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game.
Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life—and husband—she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all her survival skills—and learn new ones as she goes.
But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways—and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing.
Sophisticated and provocative, The Last One is a novel that forces us to confront the role that media plays in our perception of what is real: how readily we cast our judgments, how easily we are manipulated.
☠️ My Fucking Thoughts: OMG I own this! For sure reading this now. It’s not totally virus related, I don’t think? But it is end of the world stuff and it’s totally vague about what the end of the world looks like in this situation, so for all I know the author predicted COVID-19 and we’re not even paying attention to the Nostradamus book sitting on my shelves!
🔪 A Matter of Days by Amber Kizer
Release Date: Delacorte Press | 2013
Filed Under: Virus Pandemic
Viral Score: 🦠🦠🦠🦠
Back of the Book: Their new reality begins in just a matter of days.
On Day 56 of the Blustar Pandemic, sixteen-year-old Nadia’s mother dies, leaving Nadia to fend for herself and her younger brother, Rabbit. Both have been immunized against the virus, but they can’t be protected from what comes next. Their father taught them to “be the cockroach”—to adapt to and survive whatever comes their way. And that’s their mission.
Facing a lawless world of destruction and deprivation, Nadia and Rabbit drive from Seattle to their grandfather’s compound in West Virginia. The illness, fatigue, and hunger they endure along the way will all be worth it once they reach the compound.
Unless no one is waiting for them . . .
☠️ My Fucking Thoughts: This one just seems depressing, but maybe that’s what you’re into. No judgement, that’s why I included it. We’ve got something for everyone! Also, another YA novel so I’m iffy.
🔪Lock In (Lock In, #1) by John Scalzi
Release Date: Tor Books | 2014
Filed Under: Murder & Viruses
Viral Score: 🦠🦠🦠
Back of the Book: Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent – and nearly five million souls in the United States alone – the disease causes “Lock In”: Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.
A quarter of a century later, in a world shaped by what’s now known as “Haden’s syndrome,” rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann. The two of them are assigned what appears to be a Haden-related murder at the Watergate Hotel, with a suspect who is an “integrator” – someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a Haden client, then naming the suspect for the murder becomes that much more complicated.
But “complicated” doesn’t begin to describe it. As Shane and Vann began to unravel the threads of the murder, it becomes clear that the real mystery – and the real crime – is bigger than anyone could have imagined. The world of the locked in is changing, and with the change comes opportunities that the ambitious will seize at any cost. The investigation that began as a murder case takes Shane and Vann from the halls of corporate power to the virtual spaces of the locked in, and to the very heart of an emerging, surprising new human culture. It’s nothing you could have expected.
☠️ My Fucking Thoughts: On my list of nightmares, being locked inside my body and not being able to do anything while being totally aware, is somewhere on the list. Definitely in the top 20. Even now, with my ability to talk and engage whenever I want, not correcting idiots is like the hardest thing in the world for me to bite my tongue on. I can’t image the pain and horror of being locked in and having no choice but to let idiots persist.
🔪 Parasite (Parasitology, #1) by Mira Grant
Release Date: Orbit | 2013
Filed Under: Tapewormy Goodness
Viral Score: 🦠🦠
Back of the Book: A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease.
We owe our good health to a humble parasite – a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the tapeworm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system – even secretes designer drugs. It’s been successful beyond the scientists’ wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them.
But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives…and will do anything to get them.
☠️ My Fucking Thoughts: I’ve tried reading Mira Grant before and I find her writing to be very explain-y, like just too much explaining and not enough doing. But I know sci-fi readers really enjoy her, so for this moment in time, maybe this is the best book of hers to read. Plus, tapeworms? *shivers*
🔪 Infected (Infected, #1) by Scott Sigler
Release Date: Crown | 2008
Filed Under: Bioengineered Parasite
Viral Score: 🦠🦠🦠🦠
Back of the Book: Across America a mysterious disease is turning ordinary people into raving, paranoid murderers who inflict brutal horrors on strangers, themselves, and even their own families.
Working under the government’s shroud of secrecy, CIA operative Dew Phillips crisscrosses the country trying in vain to capture a live victim. With only decomposing corpses for clues, CDC epidemiologist Margaret Montoya races to analyze the science behind this deadly contagion. She discovers that these killers all have one thing in common – they’ve been contaminated by a bioengineered parasite, shaped by a complexity far beyond the limits of known science.
Meanwhile Perry Dawsey – a hulking former football star now resigned to life as a cubicle-bound desk jockey – awakens one morning to find several mysterious welts growing on his body. Soon Perry finds himself acting and thinking strangely, hearing voices . . . he is infected.
The fate of the human race may well depend on the bloody war Perry must wage with his own body, because the parasites want something from him, something that goes beyond mere murder.
☠️ My Fucking Thoughts: This sounds like such a good time, are you kidding me? A virus that makes us all homicidal? YES PLEASE. Fiction wise, at least. I’d rather not die violently, to be perfectly honest. I heard this book is pretty gory and can make readers with more sensitive stomach a little queasy, so reader beware!
🔪 Wanderers by Chuck Wendig
Release Date: Del Rey | 2019
Filed Under: Epidemic Sleepwalking
Viral Score: 🦠🦠🦠
Back of the Book: A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope.
Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and her sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.
For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them–and an ultraviolent militia threatens to exterminate them–the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unraveling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart–or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.
☠️ My Fucking Thoughts: I own a different Chuck Wendig novel about ants I think? Killer ants, maybe? Either way, this kind of sci-fi theme seems to be his shtick, and we should all be listening to the experts in times like this, right?
There you have it, nerds! My list of quarantine novels that you should definitely read if you’re masochistic during this wild moment in time.
After today, I’m packing up my computer and working from home for the foreseeable future now that I have other colleagues up and running. Things have slowed way way down, so I expect to be doing a lot of reading on my couch while I double check that my worklist, queue and inbox are still empty (they will be.)
What on this list have you read? What do you recommend?
Let me know in the comments! I mean, what else are we going to do? Go outside? No. We’re going to read blogs and get our social interaction through the internet.
Stay safe! Be kind. And wash your fucking hands!
Later, Booknerds! 🔪✌️