With the latest mushrooming of Corona outbreak, many memes, and tweets are going viral throughout the internet. Among these, à la mode, is the hot-cake news, the claim that author Dean Koontz predicted the spread of Corona or COVID-19 in his book THE EYES OF DARKNESS 1981, where he fictionally created a life-taking fatal virus called WUHAAN-400. In some verses of his novel (Page no. 353), he undoubtedly explained a very “SIMILAR” pandemic. But to understand, when it comes to the suffering we need a lot more than arbitrariness or likelihood, we need it to mean it.
To speak of fiction writing, novelists and writers have been influenced by the epidemic to create fiction content on them. From Homer’s THE ILIAD to Sylvia Browne’s THE END OF THE DAYS: Predictions and Prophecies about the end of the world, it is a happening trend to speak of human deaths through pandemic diseases. The stories about illness and diseases, the contemporary science fiction, everything speaks of the fatality of epidemics. Talking of Classical epic, ILIAD, the Greeks suffered plague because they disrespected Apollo. And now, prophesying the late outbreak, “ In around 2020 a severe pneumonia-like illness will spread throughout the globe, attacking the lungs and the bronchial tubes and resisting all known treatments”. Between classical and contemporary, there have been monumental advances that do explicate the narration in terms of medical illness, but the advancement has not been stretched to the area of linking diseases to the agency.
Diseases or pandemic have been linked to the agency. Globalization speaks of the spread of bacteria and viruses blindly, irrespective of sexuality, gender, and any other obvious factor. According to a report in an article by theguardian.com, “HIV was seen by a deluded minority as God’s judgment on homosexuals.” Of course, HIV spreads anywhere without caring for your morals and sexual orientation. In place of Gods, science fiction writers use aliens as in Alice Sheldon’s chilling short story, THE SCREWFLY SOLUTION, where alien species introduces a brain infection to provoke humans killing themselves. This linkage has been vast in trend and has given humanity the turns to think upon agency and attribute it to the spread of the pandemic.
Now, to come to how WUHAAN-400 is being linked to COVID-19, there is no similarity more than that of their origination in China. Also, Wuhaan has been claimed to be developed in the laboratory, in the outskirts of the city of Wuhaan, but there is no foolproof claim that COVID was developed in a laboratory. It has been said to have originated in a market where sea-life was sold illegally and its spread is attributed to the species of bats, who further proliferated it through the food chain into human beings.
Moreover, the symptoms of WUHAAN as described by Koontz differ from those of COVID – the incubation period for the fictional virus is about 4 hours, but the same for the corona is 4-12 days. A report in News18.com said, “The symptoms described by Koontz are different to COVID-19. In his novel, “Wuhan-400” causes the secretion of a “toxin that literally eats away brain tissue” causing loss of control of bodily function. “The victim simply ceases to have a pulse, functioning organs, or any urge to breathe”, writes Koontz. Meanwhile, COVID-19 infections have a wide range of symptoms, including fever, coughing, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Mild cases can cause cold-like symptoms, while severe cases can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory illness, kidney failure, and death.” This humbly explains that the claims about prophesying the virus are not genuine.
In his novel, he has described WUHAAN-400 as infinitely fatal as compared to Ebola, whereas COVID is less fatal than the same. Also, the very first edition of the book did not use the name of the Chinese city but a Russian locality named “Gorki ‘ and hence, “GORKI-400”. It was in the re-published edition in 1989, when the virus was named as WUHAAN-400.
Along with the above comparison, one more page is being rotated throughout, with a cover of the same book by Koontz, whereas it is not the excerpt from THE EYES OF DARKNESS, rather from Sylvia Brown’s book I earlier mentioned. Sylvia Brown is an American author, who is a psychic. News18.com journalists are trying to contact the authors regarding the trending issue and are yet to receive an answer.
The additional page, however, is from some other book, though Dean Koontz has created a fictional virus WUHAAN, not with an aim to predict the end of the world in 2020. To give a verdict, literature and fiction are not in any way related to the reality of the world but are just the inspirations and perceptions of learned human minds that may somehow develop a connection with global conditions.
Image Source – NewInt