In our current way of life, it's hard NOT to notice, how familiar it all appears. A cloth must always cover our face in order to survive an invisible monster. The only difference is, we're allowed to see, we just have to be careful what we breathe.
This has all brought up the opportunity for parallels between our reality, and the fictional world of author Josh Malerman's "Bird Box", the basis for the Netfix original film of the same name. A pyschological post apocalypictic thriller, where one must survive an unseen monster. A monster with the power to drive a person mad, with a single look. How do people survive? A single cloth, covering their eyes.
We are currently living in a time that is unprecedented. A global Pandemic, an unseen monster we've named COVID 19, that has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans alone, with up to five million recorded cases. Not much is known about this virus, other than the symptoms of a dry barking cough, sore throat, loss of taste, irritated eyes that mirror the symptoms of pink eye. If one is lucky, they might test positive and experience a few of these symptoms and end up just fine, like any other flu. However, they have been many, who haven't been so lucky. Those who have to be intubated, turned onto their side to relieve the pressure on their lungs. People who are so sick, so contagious, they have to say their final good byes to their loved ones through plate glass, or through Facetime. In other words, alone. What keeps us safe from this fate? A cloth, place over our faces, just like in "Bird Box".
It brings the question many have asked time and time again. Can art, be it fiction a film or a painting, predict the future? If so, is it intentional? Or is it purely by accident?
Lets say for the sake of arguement, it's completely by accident. How is it, these artists, without meaning to, can be almost completely spot on with their predictions in their fictional worlds? Do they do large amounts of research and find themselves simply unaware of the patterns that tend to repeat themselves, such as war, pandemics like the Spanish flu, throughout our history? Or is it something as effortless as breathing? That it falls onto the page, from the mind of one, more intune with the world and its pain than they might realize?
Now lets entertain the idea, it's completely on purpose. Why? Why would someone want to make such a blunt and morbid statement about where humanity is heading? To say that our past blunders don't give us the best track record for any kind of peace with one another? Or just to give a small but noticeable warning for what might be to come?
It's hard to say which of these arguments one should fall under, what is right and what is ludicrous. However, sometimes in life, things are left to be subjective.
For example, when asked about the similarities between what's happening in the world now and his novels that take place in the "Bird Box" universe (Malerman has recently released the sequel novel "Malorie" this passed July) he was very hestitant to make or even acknowledge these comparisons, indecating the world he created for the books was his "escape" while everything happening now is "too heavy".
Based on this line of reasoning, it wasn't intentially, but a "what if?" question like millions to come before it. What would happen if a shark attacked an island? "Jaws" by Peter Benchley. What would happened if a super flu came and wiped out most of the population? "The Stand" by Stephen King. These are other authors in similar genres, who on some level, at this moment in time, almost feel regretful for what they've written. Peter Benchley, who felt he destroyed the reputation of an animal he loved. Stephen King, for now watching the premise for one of his most beloved books among fans, playing out in front of his eyes.
These are questions that may never be answered. But will instead lead us to more and more questions about the fiction that will come to us in the future. One might say, what we can take away from all of this might just be, to read between the lines, pay attention, keep watching, and keep reading.