“Hey, he made that up!”

The expected types are now coming out of the woodwork. For instance, did you know author Dean Koontz is a prophet? Neither apparently did Mr. Koontz, explains Reuters:

A theory widely shared on social media claims that American author Dean Koontz predicted the 2019-2020 Coronavirus outbreak in 1981. Posts featuring the cover of “The Eyes of Darkness” book and a page in which Koontz allegedly describes the coronavirus in his novel have at least 39,000 shares … and at least 2,000 retweets on Twitter … as of February 27, 2020.

Just look at the Twitter responses to this recent tweet of his. Here is just one:

However, also says Reuters, hold it:

…While it is true that Koontz wrote about a fictional virus in his novel and that its name “Wuhan-400” refers the Chinese city in which the 2019 Coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) … actually started, the illness in his book doesn’t share more traits with COVID-19…

…It is worth noting that in the first edition of “The Eyes of Darkness” in 1981, the fictional virus was not named after the Chinese city, but after a Russian locality named “Gorki” (Gorki-400). In the original version of the novel, the virus was developed outside of “Gorki” and it was meant to be the “Soviet’s most important, dangerous new biological weapon in the decade”. This is confirmed by a Google Books’ search of the word “Wuhan” in the 1981 edition … brings no results.

According to the South China Morning Post, the name of the virus was changed on the re-release of the book in 1989, toward the end of the Cold War…

Sad is not that Mr. Koontz is being praised, but that those doing the praising apparently have not read the original novel. That in itself shows us how falsehoods are so easily shared and spread on social media. In that sense, it is no joke.

[Excerpt from Conventions: The Garden At Paris, Kindle version. Photo by me, 2020.]

It displays as well an inability in some perhaps to be able to discern fact from fiction – a fact about which fiction writers must always be cognizant. For example that 1791 Paris scene above I wrote is fiction… based, yes, on various historical facts. But don’t use it for research for your history paper: a NOVEL is NEVER a FACT book… it is a STORY.

I write my historical fiction hoping readers become so intimately involved in the characters and the era that they may want also to learn more about that time through history reading… and that they might even want to compare the two and perhaps catch what I did: “Hey, he made that up!” LOL!

Try to have a good day – and try to stay healthy and properly informed – wherever you are. 🙂


UPDATE, March 27, 2020: Dean Koontz has finally spoken out on Twitter:

He states he did not predict it.