Exclusive Excerpt From “Are We Living in a Disaster Movie?” Image

Film Threat writer Brian A. Shaer joins the many writers from this website who have gone on to become an author and we could not be more proud. Shaer’s book from Are We Living in a Disaster Movie?: How Genre Conventions Predict the Plot of the Covid-19 Pandemic is now available on McFarland Books and we have an exclusive excerpt.

The book is available from all the popular booksellers and the official McFarland Books website. Now enjoy the introduction and a taste of Are We Living in a Disaster Movie?: How Genre Conventions Predict the Plot of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

From Are We Living in a Disaster Movie?: How Genre Conventions Predict the Plot of the Covid-19 Pandemic© 2022 Brian Shaer by permission of McFarland (McFarlandBooks.com)


The following is a chat exchange that took place on Monday, March 23, 2020, between the managing editor of Film Threat, an online maga­zine with a concentration on independent film news and reviews, and me, an occasional contributor to the publication. We were discussing certain films that were available for me to review at that time.

MANAGING EDITOR: “OK, we’ll move on to another. You want a pandemic movie?”

ME: No thanks!! I’m LIVING in a pandemic movie!!”

As we slowly fade in on those innocent first few days of January 2020, individuals around the world manage as best as they can to recover from the hangovers of New Year’s Eve celebrations. Sporting dark sun­ glasses to shield their eyes from the harsh glare of the sun reflecting off snow-covered ground and wrapping their coats and parkas tightly around their torsos to keep in the warmth, folks make their way to their cars, sub­ ways, and buses, begrudgingly returning to their everyday work lives and routines. Students of all ages prepare to hit the books following a leisurely winter break, office buildings across continents roar back to life as com­ panies welcome back their employees, retail stores reopen to service their customers after the usual madness of the holiday rush, and cities every­ where begin to bubble with the cadence of their normal activity. Noth­ ing is out of the ordinary. It is an inauspicious yet optimistic beginning to what is expected to be a busy year with both the Summer Olympics and a presidential election on the horizon.

In the wintry infancy of the year 2020, the United States was as ensconced in the throes of political fever as ever. Hopeful Democratic presidential candidates, at least those who had not dropped out of the race yet, were galvanizing their campaigns in the run-up to March 3, Super Tuesday, and fighting to outdo each other in their intense, robust hatred for Donald Trump, the controversial incumbent Republican commander­ in-chief they were all clamoring to unseat. If anything, 2020 was shaping up to be an historic year, especially when one considered the political future of the American democratic ecosystem.

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