Dean Koontz orientation topic

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Roland 85, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. Roland 85

    Roland 85 Registered User

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    Ok, so I want to try something by Koontz. Problem is, all I know of the guy is that he is "the other big horror writer who is not Stephen King". Ergo, I have no idea where to start, and with a bibliography as huge as this guy's is, I am more likely to stumble upon something bad than good.

    So I was hoping someone could give me directions. As a point of reference, I'm not a huge fan of horror (that is to say, I love it, I just haven't read much), but I've read some King. I consider The Stand, Insomnia and The Tommyknockers an amazing waste of great potential, I bow before the genius of It and The Shining, and my nickname comes from The Dark Tower which I once loved with a passion, but am yet to read the last two books of. I liked Cristine and Carrie, and I've also liked many of his shorter stories.

    I hope that helps, and I'd really appreciate some input :)
     
  2. Rulkez

    Rulkez Registered User

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    I've read a few Koontz , and only a couple really stick in my mind.

    Dark Rivers of the Heart is my favourite, and is generally considered one of his best. Odd Thomas is also worth a read , though I have only read the first of the series so far.
     
  3. Johnny B

    Johnny B Registered User

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    I used to be a big fan of Koontz and definitely prefer his older stuff. (much like King) I would heartily recommend Lightning which has a time travel plotline and Twilight Eyes which is a first person narrative from the point of view of a boy who can "see" the demons that appear to the rest of the world as regular people. These are probably my two favorite Koontz books. Hope this helps.
     
  4. Bastard

    Bastard Jack Bauer

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    I've only read two books of his, Odd Thomas and the sequel Forever Odd. I thought Odd Thomas was great, particularly because it had what I consider an awesome ending. Forever Odd was just boring. Don't read many details beyond the summary of Odd Thomas because you'll get heavily spoiled.

    I want to check out his Frankenstein series considering that there are plans for some movies.
     
  5. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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    Most of Koontz's work is eerily similar...with little variation on the following general plot:

    Underconfident protagonist (usually male) with a broken past who owns a smart and awesome dog meets a person of the opposite sex with a magical power/secret, they discover the SCIENCE behind what is thought to be SUPERNATURAL, defeat the Republic Serial Villain and fall in love, live happily ever after with their awesome dog.

    However, one of his older novels Twilight Eyes stood out despite having some of those qualities and a plot point similar to the suberbly craptacular film THEY LIVE.
     
  6. Stromkern

    Stromkern Registered User

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    I have only read about 10 of Koontz's books but I agree with Rob B on the plot variation issue. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially if you're only going to read a few to try out the author.

    From what I've read, I wouldn't really put Koontz in the horror genre though. It felt more like thriller all over, with a pinch of supernatural here and there.
     
  7. Viti

    Viti Registered User

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    I really liked Midnight. That said I'm not really a big fan after having read several more of his works - Door to December, Icebound, Velocity, Odd Thomas - and have actually come to the conclusion that I think he's kind of hacky.
     
  8. Twinner

    Twinner Registered User

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    I have read a number of Koontz novels and have enjoyed most of them but not so much that I would recommend them. The ones that I enjoyed the most and have recommended to others have been Odd Thomas and Life Expectency. I enjoyed them both, not because they are great literature, but because I found the characters interesting and offbeat.
     
  9. heretics fork

    heretics fork Curmudgeon

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    I agree that Koontz is often more thriller-like than horror. I loved Intensity though. Frankly if you wanted to read a new horror book I would stay away from Koontz and look toward perhaps Gary Braunbeck or Greg Gifune. If you were just looking to read some Koontz then maybe Intensity or his short story collection (Might be called Strange Highways or something similar.) It seemed like there was a story in the collection that I though was very good (something about a church or cathedral, it's been a long time).
     
  10. Whiskeyjack

    Whiskeyjack sapper-in-chief

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    Most Koontz books are genre-blending Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror thrillers with themes of existential conflict, personal transformation, and the transcendence of the human spirit over and against evil (with an occasional pet dog or houseplant traveling companion thrown in for comic relief). My favorite Koontz books are From the Corner of His Eye , which contains a quantum physics/multi-dimensional travel plot, and One Door Away from Heaven, which has a couple of tragically flawed, though plucky, heroines fleeing a pretty nasty villain.
     
  11. Aktunka

    Aktunka Registered User

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    Probably one of my favorite Koontz books is Watchers, and yes, I am talking about the one that they based that Corey Haim movie on. But the book is far better than the movie. In fact, that was my first Koontz novel. I have read almost all of his earlier novels, but Watchers and probably Whispers are my favorites from the early times.

    As for later works, I have not read the Odd Thomas books, but I hear great things about them. Another from not too long ago (and by that I mean about 10 years ago lol) would be Tick Tock. I liked that one a lot too.

    And I am shocked to hear you didn't like The Stand by King. The Stand is not only my favorite King book, I think it is probably my favorite book of all time. Certainly the one that I have re-read the most. :)
     
  12. hippokrene

    hippokrene Peckish

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    I agree that Koontz doesn't write horror, but thrillers, some of which have supernatural elements.

    Also, the shear quantity of books he has makes it difficult to pick the best. I'd suggest going to your library, plucking a few of his works randomly from the shelf and reading them. If I had to pick one, I'd go with Intensity, or Tick-Tock if you wanted something more horror like.

    You forget that the man is the emotional one while the woman is the intellectual one, and that the awesome dog often also has supernatural powers.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2010
  13. Roland 85

    Roland 85 Registered User

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    Thanks a lot guys. I will think about what to try, but at least I got a few good pointers.

    Aktunka, I loved the first third of The Stand, but when the book began to disintegrate into meaningless religious symbolism, that kinda killed it for me. Also, I don't like reading about characters that turn out - after hundreds of pages of development - not to have a point to make in the story. I don't buy the "we're not all heroes in the real world" crap, because books are NOT the real world. I expect every major character in a book to have some sort of function, and therefore I am severely not ok with characters that just take up space and then die/dissapear without having any impact on any level on the story.
     
  14. Aktunka

    Aktunka Registered User

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    Don't forget that the description of the man is fairly similar to what Dean Koontz looks like in his photo at the back of the book, and the woman almost always sleeps in a t-shirt / tank top and panties. At least that is what I recall :)
     
  15. Hellequin

    Hellequin Registered User

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    His earliest works are the best I found. After reading the Odd Thomas books I've been completely turned off by him however. I thought they were utter crap
     
  16. biodroid

    biodroid Smooth Uphill Slider

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    Roland - I have read most of Deans books from the 80's and 90's (all the good ones) He may be a bit formulaic but he still thrills very well. Try Phantoms (excellent horror), Lightning is just brilliant, Midnight is very good, The Servants of Twilight is also very good with a lot of action that does not deter from the story. The Voice of the Night is chilling. Watchers is probably a classic IMO and very awesome too. You won't be dissappointed with his older books but his new ones can be a bit iffy, just check up on them first before you decide, because DK has changed his writing style somewhat. I also forgot The Bad Place is also very good and quite original IMO
     
  17. biodroid

    biodroid Smooth Uphill Slider

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    Hehe, and the dogs he writes about are always highly intelligent look at Watchers.
     
  18. Twinner

    Twinner Registered User

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    While I did like Odd Thomas (but not the sequels to it) and Life Expectancy because of the offbeat, funny, and interesting characters I too remember Koontz's early work as better novels and far more traditional 'horror'.

    Can anyone else honestly admit that they found Dean Koontz for the very first time because they were at a book store or library looking for something by Stephen King and noticed Koontz there? This is most certainly how I found Dean Koontz. In fact, I think I was failing to find King when I wandered upon Koontz and also Brian Lumley's Necroscope series. I was was looking for more Lumley when I found Robert McCammon's stuff. Maybe this is just the natural benefit for an author whose name is simply close to the name of a better known writer. It can only be a good thing.

    One last memory of Koontz/King... Anyone see that silly Family Guy episode where Peter is driving and hits a pedestrian on the side of a country road? (recalling the incident poorly, not quoting directly) The guy laying in the road says he is a horror fiction writer. Peter fearfully asks if he is Stephen King. The guys says, "No. I'm Dean Koontz". So Peter runs over him again as he drives away. Dean "Can't get no respect" I guess.
     
  19. Westsiyeed

    Westsiyeed The Fifth Dominion

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    Like many other responses I also have a read a lot of his books, but found that after a while the plots became too similar and now I just don't read his newer novels.

    But yes, loved some of his earlier ones, with Watchers and Lightning being favourites.
     
  20. fiddler

    fiddler Registered User

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    I've read all his books. Not that I'm a huge fan, but my mom used to work in a greyhound bus depot and would bring home boxes of paperbacks every month, that I'd sift through. Koontz was always in abundance.
    Hands down; The Corner of his Eye is his best.