With just a few mutations, the influenza virus has become extremely lethal. It is spreading across our nation’s hospitals like wildfire and will soon reach all areas of the United States. This has become a pandemic. This is not a true story today, however, why couldn’t it happen sometime in the future? This story is basis of the book Contagion by Dr. Robin Cook. Even though it is fiction, the chances of these things happening are more real than one would think. Authors who write realistic fiction have a responsibility to not manipulate reality into achieving personal opinion because this leads readers to believe that the proposed situation is not possible but probable, however, some may say that providing both sides of the story ruins the literary enticement of a novel. This is important to think about because in a sense authors are using their novels for propaganda, trying to provide a false sense in readers that the authors beliefs are indeed factual.
First, we must define fiction as “A general term for any form of narrative that is invented or imagined as opposed to being factual” (Quinn). In the medical thriller Contagion and similar fictional works, threads of fact are used to build a foundation for the story. As the story is developing, these facts take a turn weaving together into an extreme version of a possible reality, with the authors personal opinions intertwined. While believable in presentation, these works are fictional because they manipulate facts into an alternate reality. However, some readers may be so engulfed in the novel that even though the book is titled fiction, they still take it all for fact. On page ninety-one of Contagion the following conversation takes place: “‘We’re in the presence of one of the future’s best and brightest. Jack here made the diagnosis of the day. Against everyone else’s impression, he diagnosed a case of the plague.’ ‘Here in New York?’Colleen asked with alarm. ‘At the Manhattan…