Saturday, January 21, 2012

It Gives You Fever




# 6090



Amid blogging the sound and fury of this past week’s controversial bird flu news, I’ve spent a number of good hours enjoying a freshly minted copy of Peter Christian Hall’s pandemic novel American Fever, which he was kind enough to send me.


You may recall that twice in 2009 (Catching An American Fever, A Recurrent Fever) I wrote about the genesis of this online novel, which is written through the eyes of a New York City flu blogger as he watches his world unravel into a dystopian nightmare during an H5N1 pandemic.


Hall - a well established writer, journalist, and filmmaker – has seen his works published in The Huffington Post, Reuters, and Rolling Stone – just to name a few.


Peter recently interviewed Crof, Scott McPherson, Cottontopand myself for an article on flu bloggers, and our reaction to the movie Contagion, for The Huffington Post (see Contagion Grips 'Flublogia').



In American Fever Peter weaves real-life flu bloggers into his narration, referring to (and providing links) to most of Flublogia as the novel progresses.


The web version remains online (edited, tightened up, and better than ever) which you can access for free, but now there is an e-book, and a printed version you can purchase.


Although I miss the ability to click and follow embedded links (of which Peter provides hundreds), personally I find it a lot easier to read a printed novel than one that is online. 


It’s probably an age/eyesight issue.


Since I’m not a professional book reviewer, for a true literary dissection I’ll refer you to a couple of reviews of American Fever (here and here) that have appeared elsewhere.


For my part I’ll say that I thoroughly enjoyed the novel, and actually learned (and in some cases re-learned) a few things about flu in the process.


I do hope that Peter’s dark vision of what happens to outspoken flu bloggers during an H5N1 pandemic never comes to pass.


I keep repeating to myself . . . It’s only fiction . . .


Bottom line:  American Fever – catch it, before it catches you.