Post by Carl Fink Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Connie Willis has explored several pandemics in her work.
_Doomsday Book_ has the Black Death in the fourteenth century ...
I don't think it does, actually.
It's the superflu that also infects near-future Oxford. Kivrin catches it
from her excavation of the medieval castle corpses, is still infectious
when she time travels, and gives it to the villagers, who then get buried
and give it to her.
Pertinent, interesting (to me at least) excerpts from the story:
It's definitely a Type A myxovirus. ...
"If there's a small antigenic shift, a point or two,
it's only the flu," she corrected him. "If there's a
large shift, it's influenza, which is an entirely different
matter. The Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 was a myxovirus.
It killed twenty million people. Viruses mutate every few
months. The antigens on their surface change so that they're
unrecognizable to the immune system. That's why seasonals
are necessary. But they can't protect against a large point
"Influenza scarcely compares with the plague," he said,
watching the telephone as if he could will it to ring.
"The Black Death killed one-third to one-half of Europe."
"I know," Colin said. "And the plague was a lot more
interesting. It was spread by rats, and you got these
"Buboes under your arms, and they turned black and
swelled up till they were enormous and then you died!
The flu doesn't have anything like that," he said,
"And the flu's only one disease. There were three
sorts of plague. Bubonic, that's the one with the buboes,
pneumonic," he said, pronouncing the P. "It went in your
lungs and you coughed up blood, and sep-tah-keem-ic-"
"Septicemic, which went into your bloodstream and
killed you in three hours and your body turned black all
over! Isn't that apocalyptic?"
"Yes," Dunworthy said.
The Black Plague created a shortage of workers in England. For a while
it seemed that worker's wages would rise. Until the Lord Mayor butchered
Wim Tyler in front of the peasants to show them what happens to uppity
Plain spoken history contains too much brutal truth. Officially Lord
Mayor dispatched Wim Tyler to protect his young liege's honor or
Seems as good a place as any to pitch Perryverse's Pucky the
mouse-beaver's bubonicon. 
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