A funny thing happened to my stupid brain when Trump took office; he ruined science fiction.
Not only did he ruin science fiction for the present moment and for future works, but he’s also ruined science fiction from the past. Because no one – not Asimov, not Clarke, not Kubrick, not Banks, not le Guin, not Roddenberry – no one anticipated that the leader of the free world (i.e., the place of scientific advancement and innovation, the place that makes the ideas of sci-fi tangible and real) would be such a fucking idiot.
(Maybe PKD imagined it, but I haven’t delved into his vast oeuvre as much as I should.)
I mean, I love the Expanse novels, and I appreciate that they strive to be both entertaining and also appealing to science nerds, because they also seem attainable. They are grounded in a sense of realism, even if they’re fantastic – they are written in a way as to attempt to adhere to the known laws of physics. But they also take place in a future where we haven’t all died because of gross incompetence and stupidity.
Anyway, I bring this up because I’ve also read and watched and played through my fair share of post-pandemic apocalyptic fiction – from The Stand to Swan Song to World War Z to Station Eleven to Wanderers – and none of them operated under the pretense that the United States would be unprepared. It’s one thing to be overwhelmed by a virus; it’s another thing to be led by an idiot who thinks he’s smarter than the CDC and every other scientist on the planet.
I don’t anticipate that COVID-19 will lead to a zombie apocalypse, but if it does, you can bet your ass that it’ll be a lot dumber than The Walking Dead. Trump will say that it’s fake news, and then he’ll say that it’s Obama’s fault, and also Hillary’s emails, and then he’ll say that how bad could a bite from a zombie actually be, and then he’ll hide himself in Mar-a-Lago while tweeting on his gold-plated toilet about how his survival bunker is the best, and all you liberal snowflakes deserve what you get.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: we are all gonna die, and it’s gonna be so goddamned stupid when we do.