I started the Highway Virus series, short stories of a future apocalyptic world, following the global fears of the bird flu virus several years ago, where I imagined a future world where a virus has emerged to kill a portion of the world’s population (about 10%, maybe?), causing panic, major cultural changes, and a collapse of infrastructure and governance.
These origins might make them remnants of the bird flu hysteria from that time period, but I have tried to expand the scope of world problems beyond that one point of concern. This fictional world is a pastiche of worst-possible outcomes from multiple sources. If you think of all the worst things that could happen in the environment, public health, and national infrastructure, then you would start to get an idea of what this world is like.
I don’t view this world as being inevitable or terribly possible. Plausible? Well, I guess it depends on how pessimistic you are. Back in early days of the subprime crisis, most people thought it was “contained” – meaning a few people of poor to moderate means would lose their homes and that would be the end of it. Back to business as usual. Then it got worse. It moved up the food chain and across the entire population. My own inherent sense of pessimism kept me from being too surprised.
The other problems facing the world – the environment, health care, extinction and speciation – they have to come to a head sooner or later.