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What If: No One Could Speak?

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Every Wednesday, we’re asking a what-if question – how would our world be different if something were changed? Today’s question is from QSFer Scott: What if most humankind lost its ability to speak (maybe via a virus)? How would that change the world? And what about those who still could? Share your serious scientific analyses, your off-color jokes, and random thoughts on the topic on our FB and MeWe Groups: FB: MeWe:

WHAT IF WEDNESDAY: What if All the Grass Died?

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Every Wednesday, we’re asking a what-if question – how would our world be different if something were changed? Today’s question is from QSFer Julie Garrett: What if something killed off all the grass species in the world? Share your serious scientific analyses, your off-color jokes, and random thoughts on the topic on our FB and MeWe Groups: FB:

FOR READERS: reading the Virus

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FOR READERS Today’s reader topic comes from QSFer Scott: Are you one of the folks who runs toward this crisis by reading fiction or watching shows and films about viruses and epidemics? If so, which ones do you find most compelling? Writers: This is a reader chat – you are welcome to join it, but please do not reference your own works directly. Thanks! Join the chat: FB: MeWe:

SCIENCE: Yaravirus Is Unlike Anything We Have Ever Seen


Our planet is teeming with mysterious microbes. Now, in the waters of an artificial lake, scientists may have discovered one of the most mysterious of all: a brand-new virus with genes that have never been seen before. A couple of years ago, the group collected water samples from the creeks of Lake Pampulha, an artificial lagoon in the city of Belo Horizonte in Brazil, in search of giant viruses — or those with massive genomes — that infect single-celled organisms called amoebas. But when the team went back to the lab and added these samples to amoeba cells to try … Read more

SCIENCE: Catching a Zombie (Virus)

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There’s no way around it: Viruses are scary. They’re invisible to the naked eye, they can be difficult to get rid of and many are capable of spreading quickly. That’s why it’s important to detect a disease-causing virus before it has the chance to infect so many people that it’s impossible to contain. Failure to detect and contain a deadly virus early enough to prevent an outbreak is a key component of the story in AMC’s sci-fi series “Fear the Walking Dead” (which airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. EDT/8 p.m. CDT, starting Aug. 12). The show, now in its … Read more

FOR WRITERS: The Coming Plague

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FOR WRITERS Today’s writer topic comes from QSFer J. Scott Coatsworth: We’ve had Ebola scares over the last few years, and now we have “superbugs” to worry about. But what will the next deadly virus epidemic look like? And how might it impact the future queer community? Join the chat

ANNOUNCEMENT/GIVEAWAY: Omen Operation, by Taylor Brooke

Omen Operation

Taylor Brooke has a new queer sci fi book out: An epidemic hits the country, and Brooklyn Harper is stolen from the life she knew. Implanted in a rural camp, Brooklyn and her friends are severed from their families and the outside world. Each day is filled with combat training to assure their safety against a mysterious virus and the creatures it creates—violent humanoids with black blood. Two years later, Brooklyn’s cabin-mate, Dawson Winters, finds a letter that shatters the illusion they’ve been living in. There is a world outside Camp Eleven, and the virus that supposedly destroyed their country … Read more

SCIENCE: Ancient Virus May Be Responsible for Human Consciousness

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You’ve got an ancient virus in your brain. In fact, you’ve got an ancient virus at the very root of your conscious thought. According to two papers published in the journal Cell in January, long ago, a virus bound its genetic code to the genome of four-limbed animals. That snippet of code is still very much alive in humans’ brains today, where it does the very viral task of packaging up genetic information and sending it from nerve cells to their neighbors in little capsules that look a whole lot like viruses themselves. And these little packages of information might … Read more

ANNOUNCEMENT: Barricade, by Lindsey Black


QSFer Lindsey Black has a new MM sci fi book out: The Barricade is all that separates the Northern Russian Empire from what remains of the world’s plague-decimated population. Snaking 8921 kilometres across Eurasia, the Barricade is crafted from the New World’s nanotechnologies. Breathing, thinking, constantly regenerating, it sustains those charged with defending its districts from those desperate to find refuge in the north. Atop the battlements of District 666, Sasha Stepanova and his team ruthlessly suppress heavy insurgencies, but at a cost. With the loss of one of his men, Sasha feels isolated and adrift. The bitter snows are … Read more

Discussion: Future Virus


Last year, we saw some fringe folks blame the Ebola outbreak on the gays in various ways – too much funding/focus on LGBT issues and not enough on Ebola; Ebola is God’s Wrath; etc. We’ve been through this before with HIV/AIDS, when an entire population was demonized because of a virus. Ironically, it also caused the community to get serious, standing up for their own rights, and arguably eventually led to marriage equality. So my question today – what could the next virus look like? And how would it impact the future LGBT community, if at all?