Did a 1981 Dean Koontz novel predict the coronavirus?
Best-selling author Dean Koontz
is going viral amid wild conspiracy theories that he predicted the novel coronavirus almost 40 years ago — even naming it after the Chinese city where COVID-19 originated.
An excerpt from the American author’s 1981 novel “The Eyes of Darkness” is being shared online after he wrote about a virus with an apparently uncanny resemblance to the one experts warn could prove a pandemic.
“They call the stuff ‘Wuhan-400’ because it was developed at their RDNA labs outside the city of Wuhan,” a character says in the novel — referring to the same city at the epicenter of the current global outbreak.
Nick Hinton, who posted the original shot, insisted, “A Dean Koontz novel written in 1981 predicted the outbreak of the coronavirus!”
The similarity quickly made the tweet go viral — and sparking even more conspiracy theories, with readers noting how the plot calls the Wuhan virus the “perfect weapon” to “wipe out a city or country.”
However, many quickly dismissed the prophecy theories — and a fact-checking investigation by Snopes said the fact that the virus was named after Wuhan is “where the similarities end.”
Noting that there is no reason to believe COVID-19 is man-made like in the book, Snopes also stressed that the novel’s virus has a 100 percent fatality rate, compared to the 2 percent death rate of the current outbreak.
The original edition named the virus “Gorki-400,” after the Russian city where it was created, getting changed to China in 1989 after the end of the Cold War, the Daily Examiner noted.
Bookstore owner Albert Wan told the South China Morning Post that a “smart, savvy” writer like Koontz would know to pick Wuhan for a plot because it is the home to many research facilities.
Hong Kong crime author Chan Ho-kei also told the paper that “fiction-prophecy” is a common phenomenon.
“If you look really hard, I bet you can spot prophecies for almost all events,” he said.