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BOOK: The Eyes of Darkness
Author: Dean Koontz
ISBN: 978-9966-139-00-9
Publisher:
LANGUAGE: English
Date Published: 1981, 1989
Reviewer: Vincent de Paul  

I read The Eyes of Darkness by Dean Koontz when citizens of Internet flooded the streets of Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, and any other street they could graffiti with excerpts of how the book predicted Coronavirus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19) in 1981 when the book was originally published. I wanted to see this genius creativity that had given fiction so much credence more like apocalyptic preachers — 

NEWSFLASH: The Book Does not Predict Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

When I began reading it, I procrastinated because it reads like a horror story, but the excerpts netizens showed of a mention of Wuhan-400, made in a lab in Wuhan city of China, where it is believed COVID-19 originated, kept pushing me through the sledge.

“And Wuhan-400 has other, equally important advantages over most biological agents. For one thing, you can become an infectious carrier only four hours after coming into contact with the virus. That’s an incredibly short gestation period. Once infected, no one lives more than twenty-four hours. Most die in twelve. Wuhan-400’s kill rate is one hundred percent.”

What is in the above excerpt is just similarities with COVID-19, but the original 1981 book did not have the Wuhan-400 but it was called “Gorki-400,” in reference to a Russian locality. The name of the weapon was changed to “Wuhan-400” when the book was released again in 1989. This is perfectly in order because publishers/authors revise books every now and then, and publish those as new editions. 

Why is the book not predicting COVID-19? People infected by the coronavirus tend to develop symptoms about five to fourteen days after exposure, the mortality rate for coronavirus is not even close to 100%, it is between 4% to 7% globally, based on the statistics available, and an estimated 25% recovery rate. 

What The Eyes of Darkness is is just a good spin-off for a conspiracy theory, and not predictive of COVID-19. But it helped increase the sales for the book.

The story is about a mother, Christina (Tina) Evans, who is still in denial about the death of her son a year later. When she starts getting cryptic messages, a la horroresque, she is convinced that her son did not die and is alive somewhere and he wants her to go save him. Her son, Danny, we know later, is using telekinesis to communicate with her. When strange things start happening about her – the air grows cold, radio turns itself on and off, cryptic writings ‘NOT DEAD’ – Tina is convinced that Danny did not die on that camping trip a year ago. She decides to exhume the body to confirm really it was Danny buried there and elicits the help of a former Military Intelligence Officer turned attorney, Elliot Stryker, but a shadowy organization is determined to stop them by all means.

The shadowy organization, the Network, is a top secret government organization, responsible for Project Pandora, a biological weapons project. When Danny and his mates who were on a camping trip trampled upon a scientist who was escaping from the secret labs the High Sierras, the scientist infected them with Wuhan-400 virus which was being developed at the lab. 

The scientist had made a mistake at the lab and exposed himself to the virus, and decided to run away. Coincidentally, he encountered the teenagers. While he was asking trying to convince the team leader to lend him their van, he infected the whole team because the virus made one an infectious carrier after four hours on exposure, and it killed within twenty-four hours after exposure. All members of the team, infected, were taken to the lab by the search and rescue team that was searching for the escaped scientist. Incidentally, all team members died, save for Danny, meaning Danny’s blood/immunity was different. The scientists at the lab decided to hold Danny there to conduct tests on him to determine what made him immune to the virus. They infected him every now and then, and he beat the virus — until he decided to use his potent powers to commune with his mother to save him.

My view: this is a good sci-fi-cum-paranormal-horror story, with a touch of thriller and mystery. It’s a nice read.
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