Pandemic plagues — both manmade and natural — dominate the world of fiction. Books and shows like The Walking Dead, Utopia, and The Stand offer us ideals of post-apocalyptic heroism in the face of deadly viruses sweeping through the population. But as we’ve recently found, reality looks a lot less like zombies, and a lot more like huddling in your house. A panel of journalists, scientists and historians will discuss how fictional pandemics differ from real life, and how they are sometimes eerily similar. We’ll talk about the 1918 flu, the Justinianic plague, the coronavirus pandemic and other real-world examples, comparing and contrasting with their fictional counterparts. We’ll explore fictional tropes and how real viruses stack up. We’ll also discuss what fiction can teach us about living through a pandemic, and what real stories can give back to fictional worlds.


Alexandre White, Alfredo Garzino-Demo, Andrew Pekosz, Bethany Brookshire, Tina Saey

Event Timeslots (1)

Friday, August 20
Room 144AB - Science Fair