Thread: Dean Koontz orientation topic
August 20th, 2010, 11:16 AM #1
Dean Koontz orientation topic
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
August 20th, 2010, 12:12 PM #2
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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.
August 20th, 2010, 12:17 PM #3
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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.
August 20th, 2010, 12:47 PM #4
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.
August 20th, 2010, 01:36 PM #5
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.
August 20th, 2010, 02:07 PM #6
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.
August 20th, 2010, 02:09 PM #7
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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.
August 20th, 2010, 03:01 PM #8
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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.
August 20th, 2010, 06:51 PM #9
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).
August 20th, 2010, 08:27 PM #10
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.
August 20th, 2010, 09:49 PM #11
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.
August 21st, 2010, 01:55 AM #12
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.
Last edited by hippokrene; August 21st, 2010 at 01:58 AM.
August 21st, 2010, 02:13 AM #13
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.
August 21st, 2010, 09:31 AM #14
August 21st, 2010, 09:38 AM #15
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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