How Deadly will it get?
About the Book
Part One starts with historical facts, President Trump’s response to the pandemic, election rallies spreading the virus, ignoring the public health risk. With the nation so deeply divided over many issues, families discuss the pandemic and the Trump attempt to overturn an election result. How close was civil war?
Part Two covers late January to June 2021. It is pure fiction and looks at the problems the new President deals with when a much deadlier than ever strain makes the rounds: anti-lockdown protestors by the hundred thousand, a supreme court undermining public health initiatives, the Senate blocking relief measures. No Vaccines yet. What can a government do facing those obstacles? The book preempts a much more deadly pandemic than even now.
The problems? The sense of entitlement and freedoms feeling entitled to infect everyone around them. It’s all about me, me and me. A worldwide entitlement pandemic. This book deals with that in unique ways. It is fiction after all. Could the world use this?
Online Book Club (4/4 review)
The author did a fantastic job of developing this story. The book was well-researched. The characters used in the book were well-developed.
Kirkus Book Review
Gartelmann offers a speculative novel that reimagines the Covid-19 pandemic response in the United States. In this alternate-history work, Argus E., an Andamanese scientist in India, is a pandemic monitor who follows all the action of the novel from his AI–enabled supercomputer. His eagle-eyed surveillance allows readers into the hearts and minds of various characters, such as public health authority Michael Thompson and his wife, Dorothy, a daring, dogged Washington Post political columnist, as well as their friends—a carpenter named John Orthallo and his wife, Sue Anne. All are anxious to learn about and comment on the medical crisis gripping the world.
The novel’s leading section occurs in 2020, during the Trump presidency, as election protocol is bungled, public health expert recommendations are ignored, and a populace of survivalists is ridiculed as civil divisions split a nation.
The second section offers a satisfying resolution and takes place after the inauguration of President Joe Biden when hope was high for positive, proactive change and improved morale. The story takes liberties with real-life history regarding optimistic advancements in pandemic control, and it (lightly) exaggerates the Trump administration’s lax response to the necessity for lockdowns and quarantines.
Dorothy is the standout character here; she remains resonant and memorable in her attempts to deliver a true accounting of the pandemic threat to the public. She also provides an accurate portrayal of the weight of a journalist’s role in covering a critical health crisis. In addition, the book intriguingly details how swarms of protesters don’t give the pandemic much credence, choosing to believe the hype stirred up by anti-science naysayers as mutated virus strains spread.
Although optimism is hard to come by, Gartelmann inserts swatches of wry humor at unexpected times, which help to leaven the proceedings. The closing chapters offer relief, hope, and a somewhat incredulous version of closure. Many readers will take the author’s melodramatic and somewhat unevenly chronicled predicaments with a grain of salt. However, they will likely enjoy Gartelmann’s creative imagination. A verbose but often entertaining fictionalization of a troubled nation
About the Author
Dieter Gartelmann immigrated to Australia as a thirteen-year-old. After settling in Adelaide, he learned English, studied engineering, married, and raised four children. Gartelmann is now retired from a lengthy career in IT and cybersecurity. Pandemic is his second book. For more about Gartelmann and his writing, visit www.gartelbooks.com.