No pubs, no kissing, no flying: how Covid-19 is forcing authors to change their novels

A few weeks ago a certain author who will remain unnamed (and forever on my “Do Not Read” list!) attacked me for suggesting the pandemic will have an effect on contemporary fiction. (Remember Covid-19? There’s so much going on now I’m worried a lot of people have forgotten.)

The author took particular exception with some of us suggesting contemporary romances might change, and that some authors and readers might struggle with the reality of books set “now” where everyone behaves like we did before the virus. The argument was that romance should NEVER reflect the real world and always be a total fantasy, which was one of the most breathtakingly narrow-minded things I’ve ever heard.

These days I’m regularly wondering how books set and released a year or two from now will fare. At this point we have no idea how or when things like international travel will resume or work. It’s a very uncertain future at the moment.

And so it was with a lot of interest that I read this article in The Guardian:

No pubs, no kissing, no flying: how Covid-19 is forcing authors to change their novels

It seems that upcoming books have *already* been pulled or rewritten to take into account what’s happening.

Here’s one of the quotes I found interesting, but the whole piece is worth a read:

“I’m trying to work out where we might be. Might there be a vaccine? Will getting on a plane feel wildly anachronistic? Will journalists working from an office seem weird? How interesting can a book actually be when everyone is sitting in their sitting room in their pyjamas?” Watt asks. “It feels odd to be writing about people hopping on trains or popping to the pub, but focusing on Covid might make it date hideously. But if you don’t mention it, it is the massive elephant in the room.”

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