Tag Archives: Dean Koontz

Dean Koontz and heroism

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I have a profound interest and unnatural obsession when it comes to all things Dean Koontz. He’s just awesome. His mind is fabulous.

Honestly, if I could trade minds with one person, for just one day… it would definitely be his.

I recently finished reading ‘Icebound’ which was re-released and retitled after a previous novella written by the author, under the pen name of David Axton and initially titled ‘Prison of Ice’.

It was reissued because he was inundated with thousands of requests to bring back into print some of his older works. ‘Prison of Ice’ however was in a much rougher form [apparently], and hence was revised by Koontz and updated according to newer technology and cultural references while still trying to maintain the entire plot line and original feel of the overall story.

I enjoyed it tremendously as it was a refreshing change from his ‘normal’ work, but after reading the “Note to the reader” at the back – it was duly noted that this was because he had wanted to pay homage to a man he deemed as ‘the master of adventure-suspense’, Alistair MacLean, who penned The Guns of Navarone, Where Eagles Dare and Ice Station Zebra. ‘Icebound’ was written using the genre predominantly used by MacLean to see if he ‘could pull it off’. I would say he succeeded, as it was suspenseful and tense – definitely fast paced and contained heavily detailed information on a number of topics ranging from submarines, polar ice caps and communism. The also thorough portrayal of his characters, accompanied by their ‘indepth’ histories [which I believe is one of Dean’s best tools in immersing the reader into his believable characters and hence almost believing that such ‘devilish’ things could possibly exist].

Upon reaching the end of ‘Icebound’, I was profoundly struck by pages 150-151 and feel that a direct quote is in order to convey this message that obviously only Koontz fanatics will have the pleasure and privilege of reading…

…The theme would definitely be heroism. He had come to see that there were two basic forms of it.  Heroism that was sought, as when a man climbed a mountain or challenged an angry bull in one of Madrid’s rings – because a man had to know his limits, heroism sought was important.  It was far less valuable, however, than heroism unsought.  Harry, Rita and the others had put their lives on the line in their jobs because they believed that what they were doing would contribute to the betterment of the human condition, not because they wanted to test themselves.  Yet, although they would deny it, they were heroes every day of the week.  They were heroes in the way that cops and firemen were heroes, in the way that millions of mothers and fathers were quiet heroes for taking on the ominous responsibilities of supporting families and raising children to be good citizens, the way ministers were heroes to dare talk of God in a world that had come to doubt His existence and to mock those who still believed, the way many teachers were heroes when they went to schools racked by violence and nevertheless tried to teach kids what they would need to know to survive in a world that had no mercy for the uneducated. The first brand of heroism – heroism sought – had a distinct quality of selfishness, but heroism unsought, was selfless.  Brian understood now that it was this unsought heroism, not the tinsel glory of either politics or bullrings, that was the truest courage and the deepest virtue.  When he had finished writing the book, when he had worked out all his thoughts on the subject, he would be ready to begin his adult life at last.  And he was determined that quiet heroism would be the theme…

 

You’ve got to love it. How profoundly true is that.

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Extinction of the species…?

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Extinction of the species…?

Apparently, well it seems that we’re headed in that general direction – and as much as I would like to attach this claim to certain individuals, my unfortunate epiphany is directed at books…

I found myself in a debate with a friend a little while ago on their attachment and adoration of such electronic devices along the vein of ‘Kindles’ and ‘I-Pads’ – to which I argued that they could never take the place of real books!?! NEVER.

There is something almost magical about opening a book, new or secondhand, that is so comforting and reassuring… because it’s real. Tangible. Between feeling the texture of the pages and the smell of freshly printed books, to the knowledge of secondhand books being loved and cherished by one or many previous owners, leaves you in a mist of nostalgia. Reading an actual book evokes thoughts of soft woollen blankets, cool winter evenings, mugs of hot chocolate and lovely inviting fireplaces.

Most nights I sneak off to bed early to get my ‘special time’ in with Dean Koontz, where I find myself peacefully drifting off to ‘lala’ land, with the book mostly having closed itself and fallen to the floor or having closed itself and being gently nestled amidst the duvet with me. It’s always an interesting endeavour to find the ‘lost place’ and restart the read the next eve, but sometimes in reading to find where I’m at – provides me with the fortune of ‘reminding’ me which of the stories I was on, since I usually have at least 3 on the go, at one time. Aaah. Awesome!

...and the winner is...Come on, NO CONTEST!

With the price of secondhand books and even the ‘nice new shiny ones’ being within reason, I don’t mind having them drop off the side of the bed. However, when reminded of the price of a Kindle or alternatively the I-Pad, which I will say are both ‘snazzy’ little devices… I shudder to think of the recoil factor of either one bouncing and rebounding upon impact with the bedroom floor tiles. Or, what if it should per chance find itself in the hands of my technologically intrigued 5-year old, I dread to contemplate that very expensive ‘adventure’.

If I need information, I can bring my sometimes ‘lazy arse’ to type in the web address for google…from the computer.

 I wouldn’t want to be able to reach everything and anything from anywhere?!?

 I get annoyed when my cellphone rings on the weekend. I couldn’t imagine becoming one of those individuals who, in the midst of company, turns a cold shoulder of isolation and delves into googling or searching for some inane random thing like the ‘current moon cycle’… That’s just rude and bizarre. Also, an air of ‘snobbyness’ surrounds most individuals I’ve seen, lounging at coffee shops or streetside cafes and browsing/reading/googling from such a device… much the same sensation I derive from driving my car to and from work.

Anyway, good for you if you like the feel of cold hard plastic and using your finger to touch, rub and move on the little device as if you were playing your bit in The Minority Report. Sadly, I find myself in the minority… The only plus side to such a device, is that it saves the lives of trees, for which most of humanity has lost all respect. They help us breathe people, as do my books, as I curl up and cuddle with them every night.

I hope for the sake of my child, that when he reaches ‘his mothers current age’, that there will still be books to feel and appreciate, for without them, we also would never have known Shakespeare, TS Eliot or Dean Koontz and the people who invented things such as the I-Pad, wouldn’t be where they are today 🙂

Tru+h is str@nger than f!cti0n

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So is finding a teenager who can spell correctly or more importantly who can read actual words as they were intended.

Bizarrely I have also noted that with my ever-increasing number of blog posts… is the seemingly strange accompaniment of ‘smiley faces’, little tongue-pulling faces and the like – it is somewhat like experiencing ‘reverse intelligence’ on my part.

At least I don’t use ‘tween shorthand’, i.e. GR8 / WTF/ ROFLMAO / CU L8R. Really now…

My sincerest apologies.

I will try to keep ridiculous facial expressions for all intents and purposes – delegated and used appropriately.

Now please, let me not find fault with my spelling, syntax or grammar…

How ridiculous.

Isn’t it the oddity of the internet and the infinite possibilities and capabilities thereof which make it so very awesome…

Yet once again, my sincerest apologies for any offenseful remarks, comments or misspelt shorthand or misrepresentation of the language, because there’s also the whole confusion between American and British spelling, etc. I was born in the 80’s when a phone was merely a phone and the english language was just that… an actual spoken language. Not the missing link between teenagers and their parents.

Grrr.

It is the only time I will ever be annoyed by technology – in that as intelligent as it is, its increasing ability for creating and generating utter stupidity is astonishing.

I don’t quite know what irritation compelled me to type this itty-bitty random post, but let’s just say – that this time…I took my inspiration from Dean Koontz. I pondered his perspective in ‘Demon Seed’ and now it seems all too clear. The computer made me do it.

Read HERE to find out about how phones can make you do it too 🙂 lol

Dean Koontz – My Literary Let-down

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The moment I discovered Koontz, was an awe-filled one. I believe it was ‘The Taking’. Ironically. I had never read Koontz before that time and had quite frankly been let down far too many times by authors, who in their “signing of deals with large publishing houses are forced to spew out works more fecklessly than a crapulent teenager acting responsibly”. I had experienced it with authors ranging from Anne Rice and Stephen King to John Grisham. Yes, some of their novels are truly captivating and keep the reader enthralled from start to finish – and then woefully you’ll have a serious “miss”, where the work is so far from interesting you’re inclined to use it as loo paper. 

So to say I was somewhat cautious, would have been a massive understatement.  Yet I picked it up and began reading…and read some more…continued to read. I still remember nearing the end and not quite wanting to finish because of the sheer finality of it. Up to that point ‘The Taking’ had become my obsession. It was all I wanted to do, and when I was done with it, I needed another…and another. Like a junkie needing their ‘fix’. I began skulking through bookstores, raiding flea markets for the ‘out of print’ novels and browsing online every chance I got. Dean would be the only man I wanted to take to bed with me every night, because I knew that all I would get was awesome, breathtaking and thoroughly addictive – not to mention, for the first time in my life not a single let down.

The Mystery Train of Thought surrounding the disappearance of Christopher Snow

The first 'two' of a trilogy with NO 3?

Of every single one of his novels I have read, there is not a bad thing I could say. Perhaps I am biased – but primarily because he takes up so much of my time and probably more importantly, because he is consistent.  On my adventures through ensuring I did not miss a single release by Mr Koontz, I came across “Fear Nothing”. Intriguingly I recall having read somewhere on the book that it was ‘one’ in a series of ‘three’. Since I had avoided the ‘Odd Thomas’ collection until I was in the ownership of all related material, I was somewhat reluctant. But I read it… I don’t think it took me two days. I went in search of ‘Seize The Night’. Same deal. They just seemed to propel me into the very life and existence of Christopher Snow, Sasha, Bobby, Orson and Mungojerrie. I quite happily hustled my way through the pages, knowing that I would be met at the end by the third and final instalment…

Since the name of the third novella was not mentioned on the 2nd instalment, I turned to ‘Google’. Now, here’s the thing. They often say “When something is too good to be true, it’s because it usually is…”. Only to find out that it hadn’t even been written? Then why make such a false claim, i.e. “one in a series of three”. I’m afraid if a ‘third’ part doesn’t exist – surely it would be more fitting to say “one in a series of two”? My restored faith in literary genius had been destroyed. Not so much because any of his subsequent material was bad or anything, on the contrary – I have found Mr D. Koontz to have become better with age! Who would deny ‘Velocity’ it’s podium stand for truly riveting…However, this does NOT detract from the fact that I feel so sorely let down. You see, it’s not just me either, it’s the hundred’s of thousand’s of other adoring fans and critics alike that he has let down. To say that this realisation put me off of reading for a while would be an incompatible underestimation. Slowly however I have regained my confidence and have had to make amends with Dean, at the moment I have been following Harry and Connie in their quest for ‘Ticktock’. I will forever feel incomplete. This gnawing emptiness, spawned entirely from being let down so horridly and the disappointment mainly in the fact that he broke his promise to us. 2003 was the last time anyone heard anything conclusive regarding the release of the 3rd and final instalment – that was over 7 years ago!?! Is he trying to match the release time of ‘Duke Nuken Forever’?

So please. PLEASE. My adored Mr Koontz, whom I respect and admire for having the most profound imagination and thought process – which I so terribly envy.  Please don’t let me or the many others who have met this similar fate, down. Thanking you in anticipation. There will always be you, but the question is – will there be another Christopher Snow 😥