A pandemic thriller, once rejected by publishers for its unrealistic nature, is now widely distributed


(CNN) – What happens when a once rejected dystopian novel becomes reality? Ask Scottish author Peter May.

The screenwriter turned novelist wrote a book entitled “Lockdown” in 2005 on a global pandemic. Fifteen years later, this is our reality because of the coronavirus, which has so far infected more than a million people worldwide.

The book, rejected at the time by publishers for being too realistic, was finally released on Thursday.

The thriller takes place in London, the epicenter of a global pandemic which is forcing officials to put in place a lockout. The story is not entirely based on May’s imagination. He used British and American pandemic preparedness documents from 2002 to make it as realistic as possible.

“At the time of writing, scientists were predicting bird flu was going to be the next big global pandemic,” May told CNN.

“It was a very, very scary thing and it was a real possibility, so I did a lot of research and had the idea, what would happen if this pandemic started in London? What could happen if a city like this was completely locked? “

Bird flu and coronavirus are very different, but the lockout scenario strikes millions of people near their homes who are currently isolating themselves to prevent the spread of the virus.

Its current publisher hopes that the familiarity will appeal to a large audience.

Years ago, publishers dismissed the novel as “extremely unrealistic and unreasonable,” said May. So he put the book on hold and finally forgot that he even wrote it.

It wasn’t until a Twitter fan asked him to write a book in the context of the coronavirus.

“I thought about it for a minute before I realized I had already done it,” said May. “I told my publisher about it and my publisher almost fell out of his chair. He read the whole book overnight and the next morning he said, “This is great. We have to publish it now. “”

“Lockdown”, available only on Amazon UK, is sold in Kindle format and will be available in paperback and audiobook on April 30.

May, 68, said he was in the age group most vulnerable to coronavirus and was in favor of a lockout. However, he was “extremely frightened” by the book’s strange resemblance to life today.

“When I reread it for the first time since I wrote the book, I was shocked to see how frighteningly precise it was,” he said. “The daily details of how you go through life, how the lock works, people are forbidden to leave their homes.” Everything is scary. “

This story was first published on CNN.com, “A pandemic thriller, once rejected by publishers for its unrealistic nature, is now widely distributed”


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