Some of them bear eerie similarities to what's happening right now, prompting some people on the internet to claim that certain storytellers "predicted" the spread of coronavirus.
One particularly striking example comes from a thriller novel by Dean Koontz called "The Eyes of Darkness."
In a tweet that has since been widely shared, someone said that Koontz had predicted the coronavirus outbreak based on a screenshot of a page in the book. But to say that Koontz saw all this coming is a bit of a stretch. A novel is a work of fiction, after all.
So let's break it down.
In the book, the virus is a man-made weapon
In the screenshot page from the novel, a character named Dombey narrates a story about a Chinese scientist who brought a biological weapon called "Wuhan-400" to the United States:
"To understand that," Dombey said, "you have to go back twenty months. It was around then that a Chinese scientist named Li Chen defected to the United States, carrying a diskette record of China's most important and dangerous new biological weapon in a decade. They call the stuff 'Wuhan-400' because it was developed at their RDNA labs outside the city of Wuhan, and it was the four-hundredth viable strain of man-made microorganisms created at that research center."
First, it's worth pointing out that in the original 1981 edition of "The Eyes of Darkness," this biological weapon 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, according to the South China Morning Post.
It's true that the current coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China. But the idea that the virus was created in a lab is actually a conspiracy theory that originated from unverified social media accounts and has since been widely dismissed by scientists from both China and the West.