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Last year, writer and journalist Lawrence Wright completed a fictional novel, “The End of October,” about the world being hit with a pandemic. Months later, his novel now reads like a front-page news story thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“A deadly virus spreading globally, scientists fighting with politicians, stock market plunged, even a vice president put in charge of the response,” Fox News host Chris Wallace said Sunday as he described the book to his audience.
“The virus in the book begins in Indonesia, then spreads to Mecca as millions of pilgrims arrive for the annual Hajj [pilgrimage] and doctors race to save lives.”
It’s like the real-life coronavirus pandemic, except that in Wright’s fictional world, uber-woke anti-Trumpists like Taylor Swift, Brad Pitt and Anderson Cooper don’t make it out alive. Well shucks …
Now watch below as Wallace speaks with Wright on FNC’s “Fox News Sunday” (disable your adblocker if the video doesn’t appear):
Wright first addressed theories that he’s some sort of prophet.
“It wasn’t prophecy,” Wright said. “It was just the question was what would happen if we had a pandemic, a really virulent, highly contagious one.”
He then addressed the similarities between real life and his book.
“It’s dismaying, and I hope it stops. My book is pretty bleak,” he said.
In the real world, the situation is admittedly less bleak, as an abundance of evidence has emerged showing that the coronavirus’s fatality rate is far lower than expected.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the current ‘best estimate’ for the fatality rate among Americans with COVID-19 symptoms is 0.4 percent. The CDC also estimates that 35 percent of people infected by the COVID-19 virus never develop symptoms,” Reason magazine recently reported.
“Those numbers imply that the virus kills less than 0.3 percent of people infected by it—far lower than the infection fatality rates (IFRs) assumed by the alarming projections that drove the initial government response to the epidemic, including broad business closure and stay-at-home orders.”
What’s truly “bleak” in the real world is the aftermath of the ongoing lockdown orders:
New study spotlights devastating toll coronavirus shutdown will have on America’s small business https://t.co/LQ4CGTPRjE
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) May 7, 2020
As the discussion on FNC continued, Wright explained why he’d sought to write about a pandemic in the first place.
“I was fascinated by the ingenuity and — as I saw it — the heroism of people like my hero who go out into these hot zones and face these novel diseases with so little preparation and no understanding of what might happen. To me, that’s just terrifying,” he said.
Indeed, but therein lies the irony: No horror in a book or movie can ever surpass the nightmares that exist in real life.
Wallace then addressed Wright’s hilarious but bizarre decision to kill off some notable celebrities but spare others one like him.
“Celebrities like Taylor Swift and Brad Pitt succumbed to the virus, but not everyone. So I’m reading your book, and suddenly I pop up grilling the Russian foreign minister. How did that happen?” he asked.
“I employed certain personalities in the book — some of them real, you being one. You’re lucky I didn’t kill you off like I did with Anderson Cooper,” Wright replied in jest.
Wallace continued: “Wright is no stranger to writing about disasters. He won a nonfiction Pulitzer prize for ‘The Looming Tower” on the rise of Islamic terrorism in the run-up to 9/11.”
But unlike “The End of October,” that book was non-fiction.
“A gripping narrative that spans five decades, The Looming Tower explains in unprecedented detail the growth of Islamic fundamentalism, the rise of al-Qaeda, and the intelligence failures that culminated in the attacks on the World Trade Center,” its Amazon book page reads.
“Lawrence Wright re-creates firsthand the transformation of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri from incompetent and idealistic soldiers in Afghanistan to leaders of the most successful terrorist group in history. He follows FBI counterterrorism chief John O’Neill as he uncovers the emerging danger from al-Qaeda in the 1990s and struggles to track this new threat. Packed with new information and a deep historical perspective, The Looming Tower is the definitive history of the long road to September 11.”
Interestingly, it turns out his latest book was inspired by another producer of fiction.
“Ridley Scott wanted me to write a script about how civilization would collapse, and I thought about nuclear war and so on, but I just thought pandemic,” Wright revealed to Wallace.
What he didn’t take into account in his novel is the spirit of survival within every person’s soul.
“I didn’t give enough credit to individuals for voluntarily sequestering themselves in their homes for months at a time,” he said.
But on that note, nor did he give enough credit to the idea that sometimes, the cure can and is far more deadly and devastating than the disease itself.
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