[There’s a film in there somewhere.] Time: Amy Gunia: Deadly Swine Fever Is Ravaging China’s Pork Industry, and It May Be Spreading

There are many things from Ms Gunia’s story that could be expanded into a film. The first is the scale of China’s pork consumption. How much environmental damage is that causing? Not to mention the amount of suffering involved in rearing and then killing so many animals? Both of those element are interesting but I can’t see them as anything more than background to another story. The one thing that really jumped out at me is that African Swine Fever is a virus with no cure. There’s definitely story in that. The most obvious is a plot in which this incurable virus mutates, jumps the species barrier, and starts to infect humans? Steven Soderberg’s 2011 film Contagion ploughed a similar furrow. We follow a government agency as they try to stop the spread of the ensuing pandemic. This movie stops short of the apocalyptic outcome of Kinji Fukasaku’s 1980 film Fukkatsu no hi (Virus), in which most human life is wiped out. That story follows a small group, surviving in the frozen wastes of Antarctica, as they also try to find a cure. The story that I find more interesting is one that follows survivors in the aftermath of the pandemic. With the trappings of civilisation gone, what do we become. I am reminded of Margaret Atwood’s 2013 novel MaddAddam. A plague has killed most of the worlds population. A small group of survivors try to rebuild civilisation alongside Crakers, a species of post-humans, bioengineered to survive the plague. There is something in the existence of human and post-human at the same time, an inherent conflict between nature and nurture, instinct and conditioning. I have an opening in mind. A small group of survivors fleeing though the wasteland of a city, chased by a group bioengineered for life in this harsh new world. Why are they being chased? How will they survive? They characterise their post-human pursuers as a pack of animals. They are being hunted like wolves chase an Elke. There are all kinds of opportunities for action, and horrific scares. Everything funnels towards a huge reversal. We find out that the group of survivors were actually a hunting party. They stalked the post-human species, and killed one for food. The post-humans are simply trying to drive these predators from their territory.

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