As of Friday night, 6pm, Victorians are fee to go about their business unmasked (except for on public transport, in hospitals and in aged-care facilities). We can go anywhere, do what we used to do (except we still, in many cases, have to sign into venues), and the government is free to call a state of emergency and put us into lockdown at any time.
I’m happy with this.
It’s been a long road, but I feel it has been worth it, with a relatively small number of people lost to Covid-19, or even waiting for the long-Covid to hit.
It’s a fragile peace, all the more precious because it can be pulled away so quickly by a single person not being careful.
As a writer, this past twelve months have felt as if we’re living in a science fiction future. A somewhat dystopic one, admittedly, but it’s there, and we’ve watched, real-time, how different governments have handled various crises, along with how people behave in emergencies. Not to mention how we get information from the traditional media, social media, and a whole host of other information suppliers. If we can’t get ideas out of all that, then we’re not looking.
I must say, as a writer, I’m looking forward to not having to put 2020 (and 2021) into our books.
Science fiction and fantasy writers don’t have to stick to a set date or place. They can set their books whenever and wherever they feel like setting them. Not like the poor contemporary writer who now has to wonder, ‘Do I ignore the pandemic or don’t I? Do I ignore the politics, or don’t I? If I do, the book becomes potentially becomes dated very quickly. If I don’t, I’ll be accused of being unrealistic.”
It’s an interesting dilemma, and the trouble is, contemporary writers won’t know which way to jump (write) until the pandemic bottoms out. It will be interesting to see what comes out in contemporary fiction over the next couple of years.
Here in Victoria, Australia, it feels as if the pandemic has already bottomed out. A month with no cases, a vaccine coming. We’ll see, and not everyone in the world is as lucky as we are.