Samhita Arni and Gautham Shenoy share their thoughts on pandemic literature and science fiction, and what light they can shed on the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, with host Pavan Srinath.

Stories set during pandemics can reveal a lot about human society, conflict, power and politics – from The Iliad, to UR Ananthamurthy’s Samskara, to recent science and speculative fiction books written by Cory Doctorow, Emily St. John Mandel, James SA Corey and many others.

Samhita Arni is the author of four books, and retells mythological stories. Her most recent book is The Prince. Gautham Shenoy is a columnist and critic, and writes the SpecFix column in the Bangalore Mirror, and used to write a science fiction column in Factor Daily. Both are avid and enthusiastic readers of science fiction.

While neither Sam nor Gautham recommend reading excessive pandemic fiction during the summer of 2020, here are some of their favourite stories. We welcome our listeners to share the most poignant pandemic fiction that they have come across, as well.

Samhita Arni:
The Expanse. Book series by James SA Corey & ongoing show on Amazon Prime Video
Samskara, by UR Ananthamurthy (originally written in Kannada)
Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow

Gautham Shenoy:
Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
Earth Abides, by George R. Stewart
The Plague, by Albert Camus
The Andromeda Strain, by Michael Crichton

Other stories explored in the episode:
The Iliad, by Homer
The Decameron, by Giovanni Boccacio
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
The Masque of Red Death, by Edgar Allen Poe
The Masque of Red Death, by Cory Doctorow