I admit, I very much wish this one came from the pages of one of the authors I know. It’d be fun to just come here and report “I asked them, and they laughed” or get my first interview with a principal. Instead, I’m left falling back on experience and facts, which aren’t as much fun.
The Eyes of Darkness is a book by Dean Koontz… or perhaps more accurately, by Leigh Nichols. It was one of a handful of books Koontz wrote under a pseudonym during the 1980s. In the book, a highly contagious and deadly virus figures prominently… a man-made virus from Gorki, Soviet Union. I mean, Wuhan, China.
After someone noticed the plot device, speculation swirled and was used as “proof” that the virus was man-made. After all, if Koontz knew about it back in 1981, how could it have just been discovered recently? How deeply do Koontz’ ties go to the anti-Deep State groups like Q? Why would he publish under a pseudonym if not to protect himself?
To address this, we have to learn what a maguffin is. It’s a thing – object or device, which is used to progress a plot. If you want people to run around and be threatened, you need a threatening object. Koontz was, even in 1981, an expert writer. He’d penned dozens of novels and even a book of instruction on how to write. He knew the fundamentals, and he knew that a deadly virus would make a great macguffin.
As for why the pseudonmym… publishers typically ask their authors to publish no more than one book every year (sometimes, every 8 or 9 months) to avoid flooding the market. Koontz was producing far more than that, so he sold the extra books under alternate names like Leigh Nichols and Brian Coffey. He’d also use pseudonyms when the style of book wasn’t one that would fit for his regular fan base… thus, “Aaron Wolfe” when writing a straight science fiction story or “Deanna Dwyer” when writing gothic romances. It wasn’t to hide, it was because he was prolific and liked both storytelling and making money.
There’s also the origin of the virus. In the original, the virus comes from an existing biological research facility in the Soviet Union. By the time the book was reprinted in the early 1990s, the Soviet Union wasn’t much of a threat, so the location was shifted to China… and there’s a biological research facility in China.
I started off by admitting I don’t know Dean Koontz, but I know many people who are friendly with him… some of whom are close friends. They’ve never given any indication he has secret knowledge, only that he’s a good writer and a good person (and very much a dog person). The book follows a standard thriller structure and even the disease itself (with 100% mortality in the book) doesn’t match up with covid-19. But people will believe what they want to believe.
….Speaking of what they believe, if you happen to have an old copy of The Eyes of Darkness sitting on your shelf, this would be an excellent time to visit ebay. Paperback copies regularly sell from $40-100 right now, after being only about $1 each prior to covid-19.