Review of “Pandemic” (1962)
J. F. Bone (writer).
Read in 2021.
A medical doctor works to study a novel respiratory disease accidentally created by another doctor. He gets a new assistant, a nurse whose husband and three-year-old are among the two billion victims of the raging disease.
It’s a love story where it turns out that heavy smokers are safe, so the doctor arranges to fill the neonatal ward with a cloud of tobacco smoke. That did not work for COVID-19. It shows this short story to be marked by reactance. The author was clearly aware of the cancer debate and flipped the script, probably to ease someone’s anxiety.