Tag Archives: Humanity

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 🙂