Dean Koontz writes thrillers, some involving science fiction or fantasy, some just bad guys chasing people, with excessively wholesome protagonists, hilariously evil villains, and cute kids and pets. They are very good airplane reading.

I read a bunch of Dean Koontz novels in high school, and then two things happened simultaneously: my tastes matured, and he decided that rather than merely sneaking lectures into his thrillers (sneaking in the sense that a child banned from an area stealthily returns hidden under a blanket, but nevertheless) he should devote entire pages to discussions of What Is Wrong With America (not enough "traditional values.") Also, his prose kind of sucks.

What's good about Koontz, in less-lecture mode: He is really, really readable. REALLY REALLY READABLE. I found this book at my parents' place the other day, idly decided to read a chapter before bedtime, and could not put the damn thing down until I had finished it, even though I had to get up at 6:00 AM the next day and I didn't finish it until past midnight. Part of this is that his premises are often quite genuinely cool, though his ability to follow through on them varies.

The Bad Place opens with an amnesiac man waking up with a bag full of hundred dollar bills and a handful of black sand clenched in his fist. Some spooky guy starts chasing him and firing off blasts of blue energy rays, the amnesiac guy finds that he knows how to hot-wire a car and uses that to flee. He checks into a motel, shaken and confused, and wakes up the next morning, still amnesiac, covered in blood that isn't his and with an alien bug crawling around on his chest!

I am a total sucker for that sort of premise. Especially when it revealed that he is amnesiacally teleporting in his sleep, a process which is screwing with his memories, and that he comes from a family of completely bonkers evil psychics.

Unfortunately, the book focuses less on him and more on the overly cutesy married PIs he hires to investigate his life, and the teleporting is more of a plot device than what the story is about. It never really explains what was up with the alien world he teleports to, either. Very strong first third, increasingly incoherent second two-thirds. Warning for MASSIVE INSECT SQUICK - if you thought the teleportation accident in The Fly was gross, this is about a billion times grosser. And the "horrifying backstory" was kind of hilarious, featuring generational incest culminating in a "hermaphrodite" who inseminated hirself with hir own sperm to produce freaky psychic kids!

Still, it did give me rather fond memories of what I recall as being more coherent Koontz novels. My favorite in high school was Watchers, which has a sweet romance and a super-intelligent genetically engineered golden retriever. I also remember liking Lightning, which had a complicated and twisty time-travel plot, and Hideaway, the latter mostly because I liked the relationship between the main couple and the little girl they adopt. Be aware that pretty much all Koontz novels contain sadistic villains and conservative political lecturing.

The Bad Place

Watchers

Lightning
Dean Koontz writes thrillers, some involving science fiction or fantasy, some just bad guys chasing people, with excessively wholesome protagonists, hilariously evil villains, and cute kids and pets. They are very good airplane reading.

I read a bunch of Dean Koontz novels in high school, and then two things happened simultaneously: my tastes matured, and he decided that rather than merely sneaking lectures into his thrillers (sneaking in the sense that a child banned from an area stealthily returns hidden under a blanket, but nevertheless) he should devote entire pages to discussions of What Is Wrong With America (not enough "traditional values.") Also, his prose kind of sucks.

What's good about Koontz, in less-lecture mode: He is really, really readable. REALLY REALLY READABLE. I found this book at my parents' place the other day, idly decided to read a chapter before bedtime, and could not put the damn thing down until I had finished it, even though I had to get up at 6:00 AM the next day and I didn't finish it until past midnight. Part of this is that his premises are often quite genuinely cool, though his ability to follow through on them varies.

The Bad Place opens with an amnesiac man waking up with a bag full of hundred dollar bills and a handful of black sand clenched in his fist. Some spooky guy starts chasing him and firing off blasts of blue energy rays, the amnesiac guy finds that he knows how to hot-wire a car and uses that to flee. He checks into a motel, shaken and confused, and wakes up the next morning, still amnesiac, covered in blood that isn't his and with an alien bug crawling around on his chest!

I am a total sucker for that sort of premise. Especially when it revealed that he is amnesiacally teleporting in his sleep, a process which is screwing with his memories, and that he comes from a family of completely bonkers evil psychics.

Unfortunately, the book focuses less on him and more on the overly cutesy married PIs he hires to investigate his life, and the teleporting is more of a plot device than what the story is about. It never really explains what was up with the alien world he teleports to, either. Very strong first third, increasingly incoherent second two-thirds. Warning for MASSIVE INSECT SQUICK - if you thought the teleportation accident in The Fly was gross, this is about a billion times grosser. And the "horrifying backstory" was kind of hilarious, featuring generational incest culminating in a "hermaphrodite" who inseminated hirself with hir own sperm to produce freaky psychic kids!

Still, it did give me rather fond memories of what I recall as being more coherent Koontz novels. My favorite in high school was Watchers, which has a sweet romance and a super-intelligent genetically engineered golden retriever. I also remember liking Lightning, which had a complicated and twisty time-travel plot, and Hideaway, the latter mostly because I liked the relationship between the main couple and the little girl they adopt. Be aware that pretty much all Koontz novels contain sadistic villains and conservative political lecturing.

The Bad Place

Watchers

Lightning
.

Profile

rachelmanija: (Default)
rachelmanija

Most Popular Tags

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags