The Coming Plague

I have never gotten rid of my 1994 hardcover copy of Laurie Garrett’s The Coming Plague–which for all its horrors offered one of my most memorably enjoyable reading experiences back then, I’ll never forget it. And now that I’m revising and editing The Last Man for modern readers, I think of it as a book that I wish Mary Shelley could have read.

The novel, as promised in the title, concerns a worldwide plague that wipes out the entire human race except for one person–the narrator. Like serious fiction of its time, it was published in three volumes. Thankfully, maybe, the plague doesn’t really come into the story until the middle of Volume 2; but for modern readers (including a few I know personally) this is a little too slow of a burn. They want to know when does the plague comes into it.

The truth is, not for ten or twelve more installments. But in recognition of the eagerness I feel out there, I’m delighted to share an excerpt of the text to come; I’ve been working on this chapter just this week. Enjoy in good health!

Plague Doctor at top via Wikimedia

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