QSFer Grace R. Duncan has a new dystopian sci fi book out: Overcoming Fear.
It’s been four years since a global pandemic has ravaged the world and almost a year since Mark and Duncan had their fateful meeting at a tiny pharmacy. Duncan has spent that time doing everything he could to ease Mark’s fears of losing him—fears that go beyond the normal danger of their new world. When a minister and his wife seek out Mark for help, Duncan sees an opportunity to show Mark another level of commitment—if Mark will dare to take it.
A huge thank you to Queer Sci Fi for hosting me today!
Overcoming Fearis part of my Pandemus Chronicles series. This story takes place some four years after a global pandemic and approximately nine months after the last story involving the same characters, Mark and Duncan.
One of my favorite books of all time is The Standfrom Stephen King. I’d been decades since I first read it and I can’t count the number of times I’ve read it since. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of a huge reset button. Would we, as a world, do things better the second time around?
I still haven’t answered that question yet, not entirely, though there are hints in all three of the Pandemus stories. I also didn’t specify the disease, though I based it on the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus. It’s feels a lot like the flu, based on the symptoms but proceeds to pneumonia in most cases. Compared to the version in Pandemus, SARS on the CDC website describes symptoms much milder than what ended up killing most of the population in Pandemus.
Then again, most fictitious viruses start out that way. It’s not always a big ugly death, nor is it as immediate. In a lot of cases, it’s a slow building and mutation, which is what happens in my world. It starts out innocuous enough, uncomfortable, but not deadly for most. But despite the urging of the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, people refuse inoculation. They’d heard it all before. And they’d been tainted too long by the anti-vaxxer crowd.
So when the CDC insists they stop travel, the ignore it. Say they feel fine. But how long would it take a single plane of people getting up close and personal, to spread a virus? I can’t count the number of times I’ve been breathed on, sneezed on, touched while on a plane. If you assume at least a good portion of them are not carriers who get on another plane and spread it to everyone they touch there. Then they make a connection—touching and sneezing along the way—and get close to people on yet another flight… how long would it take to spread?
In this case, it also mutated. So the initial vaccine that was developed doesn’t help for long. And so, despite the warnings and pleas, it spreads. It spreads much farther and much faster than anyone expected it to.
The pandemic was not responsible for all the deaths. As would happen—and has happened—when the infrastructure of a country breaks down, rioting and anarchy ensued. If there are no more cops to stop them, there are plenty of people willing to do whatever they want or, at least, feel they must to survive. Many of the deaths—probably another twenty percent—came about because of the rioting.
When the dust settled, the world was left with barely twenty percent of its original population. And a huge question mark.
Thank you again to Queer Sci Fi for hosting me! I hope you enjoy Overcoming Fear!
WHEN HE heard a shout, the first thing Duncan did was reach for the Glock that was never far from him. He checked it to make sure it was loaded, then glanced at his partner, Mark, before crossing to the window.
“Hello, the house!” The man outside looked tall but lean—probably because of how hard nutritious food was to come by—and wore jeans and a simple green flannel button-down shirt. His dark hair likely hadn’t seen scissors since before the pandemic hit and was pulled back, though Duncan couldn’t tell how. The man had his hands up in the universal pose to show he held no weapons.
Duncan frowned through the window. A woman stood next to the man, dressed similarly, except for the sneakers on her feet instead of boots. Even from that distance, Duncan could tell something was wrong with her. With a deeper frown, he threw another glance at Mark, opened the door, and stepped out onto the porch.
“Oh thank God!” The man lowered his hands. “Is this where the nurse lives? My wife needs help.”
A creak sounded behind Duncan, and he turned as Mark stepped out onto the porch, though still mostly behind him. “I’m the nurse. What seems to be the problem?”
Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination. She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.
A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States. She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.
As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics. She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.