I stumbled upon a short story some months ago on a website. It's written by a black female author, and it's about a boy who I think was the subject of some experiments (he can cure diseases or something) and either escapes or dies. We know all of this because we read it as his diary or letters between doctors (it's epistolary).

Also it was collected in This Year's Best Science Fiction but I don't know the issue. I suspect it's post 2000s. Any ideas on either author or title?


1 Answer 1


I have finally found it, it's "Patient Zero" by Tananarive Due.

From a Goodreads review:

At 6, Jay saw his Dad come home sick to Georgia from Alaska's oil wells. In short order, Jay's parents and only brother died of the disease and Jay both sickened and recovered. Now incorrectly dubbed "Patient Zero," Jay has lived in a large observation, reverse-isolation room at the CDC for 4 years. Innumerable blood draws have been taken from him, but between his fun nurse, Veronica, and optimistic tutor, Ms. Manigat, he keeps his spirits up.

He is denied windows to the outside world, television and all news. Blackouts start to push into his world. Food shortages. Staffers start to disappear. Others scream terrible things at him in their frustration.

His tutor starts to secretly teach Jay survival skills and the codes to get out of the building just in case a day comes when nobody comes to give him food...

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