Karen Bayly

Author of fantasy, sci-fi, horror 

Good News, Bad News: I love a good Dystopian Tale ...

...and I enjoy a great horror story but I often wish the news in my social media feeds or on the television wasn't quite so doom and gloom. To counteract this, I'm always on the lookout for stories that make me feel like humanity has a chance, that we can beat the monsters which plague us. And I'm making it my mission to share these stories with you.

So the good news is out there but first ...

The Bad News: Trachoma - you wouldn't wish it on your enemies

Photo from Community Eye Health

Trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness in the world. It is linked to poverty and lack of access to clean water and sanitation, and is spread by flies and human touch. It starts as a bacterial infection and, if left untreated, causes the eyelashes to turn in against the eyeball.  The eyelashes feel like thorns (ouch!) scratching the surface of the eye, causing great pain, increased opacity of the cornea, and finally resulting in irreversible blindness. 1.9 million people around the world are now needlessly without sight because they didn’t receive the necessary treatment.

Once prevalent in the west, the fight against this entirely preventable disease continues in poorer communities on Earth.

Read more about trachoma here and here.

The Good News: Malawi is the second country to eliminate trachoma

Photo from

Ghana was the first country to beat trachoma. In 2000, around 2.8 million were at risk of the disease. In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially recognised that the risk was now zero.

Malawi is the second country to win the fight against trachoma. In 2014, 8 million Malawians were at risk of losing their sight to the disease. Today, the vast majority of the population are no longer at risk of trachoma related blindness, and the Malawi Government health system is strong enough to manage any future cases. More about it here. (Note: You might remember that Malawi is where Madonna set up a non-profit charity plus it is the birthplace of her four adopted children.)

Thanks to Future Crunch for alerting me to this information. It's a relief to know that there is still good news out there.

Book Recommendation: The Wolf and the Watchman by Niklas Natt och Dag

It's no secret that I love Nordic Noir and I'm partial to stories in an historical setting (real or imagined). Niklas Natt och Tag* has married both genres admirably.  I found the story engrossing and extremely uncomfortable at times. One character's tale was so depraved and horrifying that I avoided reading it before bed and breathed a loud sigh of relief when it was done. (You have been warned!) The characters are memorable, if not always likeable, and the moral questions tended towards haunting rather than being forced down the reader's throat. I suspect I will think about this one for a long time.

* Natt och Tag = Night and Day. Best surname ever IMHO, belonging to a line of Swedish nobles  and officially known since the year 1280.


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