For years, readers who love a thrilling story have turned the pages of books by Dean Koontz, the prolific American storyteller who specializes in suspense. But in 1981, Koontz published The Eyes of Darkness and the storyline is frighteningly similar to the Covid-19 outbreak, prompting renewed interest in this best-selling piece of science fiction.
Why The Eyes Of Darkness is so compelling:
A grieving mother. A government laboratory. A biological weapon.
Koontz has all the elements of a hair-raising novel you can’t put down!
Koontz centers his story around Christina who sends her son Danny on a Boy Scout Camping trip. The bus carrying the boys and the Scout leader plunges off a cliff and everyone reportedly perishes. But after a year, she believes she sees her son, and messages appear such as ‘Not Dead’ and ‘Danny Alive’. This convinces her to find out what really happened to her son. With the help of her lawyer, she endures a series of harrowing events and successfully tracks Danny to a military facility in Communist China.
“They Call the Stuff ‘Wuhan-400’”
A deadly virus called Wuhan-400 has been developed in a secret laboratory in the Wuhan suburbs of Hubei Provence. According to the story, the virus has been designed as a chemical and biological weapon. This man-made strain is meant to be highly infectious, 100% deadly, and create a severe pneumonia-like illness attacking the lungs, impervious to known treatments.
Notable Differences: Fiction versus Fact
As his fans are well aware, Koontz is a master of suspense and intrigue. Let’s look at a few of the elements in his story and how they compare to the reality of today’s coronavirus.
In The Eyes of Darkness, the original book published in 1981 refers to the virus as “Gorki-400” referring to a Russian locality. But in 1989, Koontz released a different edition of the book where he moved the story to China and changed the name to “Wuhan-400”, reflecting the name of the city when the lab was located.
Today’s coronavirus is said to have originated in a market in Wuhan, China, not in government laboratory.
The book says the virus has a 100% death rate… no one infected will survive.
The coronavirus that has caused our current pandemic has an estimated mortality rate of 2 to 3 percent.
Further, the story says Wuhan-400 has an incredibly short gestation period….a person can become a carrier after just 4 hours. In the book, it is described as “the perfect weapon” since the virus can’t survive outside the human body for longer than a minute, meaning it can’t permanently contaminate objects or entire places.
The real coronavirus takes 2 to 14 days to incubate (in most cases about 5 days according to WHO) and can survive on surfaces for hours or possibly days.
And, in his book, Koontz has Wuhan-400 attacking the brain.
The coronavirus primarily affects the respiratory system resulting in pneumonia is severe cases. Fever, coughing and shortness of breath are the primary symptoms.
The story is fiction, but the suspense in real!
Koontz didn’t disappoint his fans with The Eyes of Darkness in 1981 and today, for new readers who love a thrilling story, The Eyes of Darkness is a must read… especially now, during one of the biggest pandemics the world has seen in years. The similarities are striking and in usual Dean Koontz style, the story is captivating, giving conspiracy theorists plenty to wonder about! Listen and enjoy the vivid imagination of one of America’s most tremendous storytellers.
Want more pandemic stories? Here are some we think you’ll enjoy!
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Find Me by Laura Van Den Berg
End of Days: Predictions And Prophecies About The End Of The World by Sylvia Browne
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez