Pandemia 2020 by Stephen Mudd
Political fiction novel based on The Plague by Albert Camus:
The events that are the subject of this book took place in Warsaw in 2020. At first glance, it was not a place where such interesting events could take place, because in common opinion the city is nothing more than the capital of a European province. Admittedly, the city itself is ugly. It takes time to distinguish this post-colonial-looking city from many other cities abandoned by the colonial powers. For example, how to imagine a city with its back to the river, without a coastal promenade, without a river port, with hectoliters of faeces out into the river, a place waiting to be discovered, where you can hear the constant hum of cars racing back and forth at great speed? The current development of the city can only be understood by looking at the stories of Hong Kong, Delhi, Lagos, Kinshasa or Abidzan after the retreat of the colonial power.
One of the most famous ways to get to know the city is to see how the city is living in a crisis. In our small city, with a population not exceeding 3 million, the crisis with its outpost - powerty and misery - is obscured by the thought of development, with the same passion with which one breathes uncertain air in the covid hospital. So here nearly 3 million inhabitants and twice as many new immigrants who fled to Warsaw from the local epidemic peaks are working hard to make the city rich. They are particularly interested in new forms of industrial production - smart manufacturing, and, as they say, primarily the transformation of Warsaw - with the participation of Berlin and Vienna, the only two capitals of industrialized countries that have retained their manufacturing potential in the last decade - into the European living laboratory of global manufacturing hub. Secret talks regarding the takeover of a part of the world factory from China are entering a decisive phase, as evidenced by a series of turbulences on the Berlin-Warsaw-Vienna axis.
Of course, they also enjoy simple pleasures; they are born and they die. But, not everything is as it was before the pandemic; young people keep their simple pleasures to themselves, as if they are afraid that the participation of people who have already passed their teens will make them no longer deserving of these entertainment ... The same thing 20-year-olds think about 30-year-olds, etc. Everyone has their place on Saturday evenings and Sundays, trying to charge their batteries for hard work during the week in their own group.
On weekend evenings, when they go out with a mask on their face, they meet at a specific time in the same place where they have a bench or something that looks like a bench, they walk the same paths or go to home concerts. Despite the age segregation, the tastes of the younger ones are the same as the older ones, the bad habits of the older ones to vulgar and iconoclastic theater performances, which they watch with flushed faces on their smartphones, limit the young to listening to vulgar and iconoclastic music and the same videoblogs on their smartphones. No one, except the last righteouses, goes to the concerts like “Still in Warsaw” by John Porter ... https://www.facebook.com/100000138087178/videos/3306984439316126/
Undoubtedly, it can be said that profanity is something specific to the city itself at the time, and that ultimately all our contemporaries are like that. The word get the f... out can be heard just as often on the street, as in the theater, at a concert or at the university. I think it’s different in nurseries ... Although who knows... I must admit that today there is nothing more natural than throwing f... from very morning to very evening, and spend the rest of the time playing online, watching online and chatting on the net.
This is probably a characteristic feature of the core Europe at the times. Streets in Madrid are full of protesters against the lockdown rules, in Paris they are protesting against economic system, in Berlin they are protesting because they do not want to be treated as satisfied with what they have now, and in Warsaw they are protesting because they can. As a result, in Europe a favorable environment for the spread of a pandemia has been created... When it ends, everyone asks ... When new economic forces become mature, the proponents of conspiracy theories in Warsaw answer... You can clearly see the fishbone diagram on the map of the protests in Europe. The strongest f.. flow on the streets of the head of the fish, the voice fades further away in the different bones ...
It will undoubtedly be said that this f... are not something specific to the city itself, and it is the feature of all our contemporaries. Undoubtedly, nothing is more natural today than people working hard from morning to night and then preferring to spend the rest of the day roaming the streets with f... shouted out to ...
But there are cities and countries where people become suspicious the next time.
On the morning of April 16, Waldemar (“Voldemort”, sic!) left - as usual at 6.00 am. - his apartment on the 130th floor of the apartment building located on the bank of the Vistula River and - which was not usually the case - saw the covid train crossing the bridge over the river. The inscription “covid train” was proudly displayed on the side of the train. Waldemar mechanically made his way through the bushes to the river in search of a non-existent promenade. But when he got out of the mud on the river bank and threw away disposable rubber boots, which were a sales hit in Warsaw at the time, he thought that this train was not what it should be. What is “a covid train”...
Actually, it wasn’t the covid train he was thinking about. This inscription on the side of the train turned him back to the subject that has been in his head since the early morning. His wife, who had been annoyed covid situation, was supposed to take a lunch train with him today. Warsaw is a specific city in terms of the city transport. Several metro lines are underground, but a few ones are above the ground. This introduced an impulse for the urban business to organize lunch train trips around the city at the time of the pandemic. Metro cars equipped in the sense of the best hotel restaurants offered wealthy Varsovians relaxing rides. Each compartment on the train served as a luxury box in the restaurant.
- I feel very good, she said in the morning when he asked her - before leaving - how she was doing. In the light of the bedside lamp, her face has always been as the face of a youth, despite the signs of the passing time. Perhaps it is because of the ontology he has built about her over many years of being together, where positive entities dominate the structure of the ontology. Waldemar absolutely built all his ontologies based on positive signals. But will it survive the covid-time probe? He did not know it yet and did even not know if he would need this answer for anything.
- If you can sleep, sleep, Waldemar said. The taxi will arrive at eleven o’clock and I’ll take you on the lunch train.
The same morning, when Waldemar saw a covid train, at the Warsaw airport twinned to Incheon airport in Seoul, Korea, the first covid plane has landed.
Still standing on the banks of the Vistula river and contemplating the view of the city, Waldemar fired his personal web-based information retrieval engine to obtain any information on a covid train. The mind map returned as a result of the voice input query indicated an interesting concept. Warsaw decided to build modular hospitals from ready-made modules, similar to the principle on which modular hotels are built. Hospitals were built in the middle of nowhere, however with the access to the railroad, or in the vicinity of airports. Covid trains and covid planes equipped as ambulances, but also equipped with social facilities for medical staff and patients, and the same vaccination equipment - were to transport the seriously ill patients to these hospitals. It was impossible not to compare this idea to isolatoria - places of seclusion in the times of the Black Death. Here, however, the goal was different - not to isolate, but to concentrate on helping the infected through the creation of optimal conditions to work for the best specialists in the domain. But is that just the point ... These new economic forces, that have not become mature yet, have a different hypothesis. For years, there have been an urgent need for studies on phenotype-phenotype relationships, using study “designs including comprehensive phenotype measures and controlling for genetic background and environmental factors, which enable detection of co-expression of abnormal phenotypes in the same individuals”, “however because of difficulties to meet these conditions due to ethical and experimental constraints” the studies were suspended (quotations from the Nature, albeit transformed into political fiction...). Covid trains, covid planes, and covid hospitals are supposed to be - according to these fake news disseminated by the unknown forces - living labs in Warsaw for performing these experiments. Of course, no one believes these hypotheses, but the seed has been sown ... The word living lab was making a stunning career in the city. No one at MIT who came up with the idea of creating a living lab for student projects would have suspected so many possibilities of its use in a pandemic.
to be continued ... if there is any interest in ...
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