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Dean Koontz: Is he too prolific? (Read 3983 times)
Gary A. Markette
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Dean Koontz: Is he too prolific?
Mar 14th, 2012, 1:26am
 
Well, we discussed Steven (or Stephen--I'm not sure which) King so let's turn our attention to his running mate: Dean Koontz. Mr. Koontz is every bit as prolific as the Kingster--some would say more so and some would say too much so. I've read (and mostly enjoyed) many of this titan's tales. I don't think ANYONE could read ALL of his stuff.

And perhaps no one should. Occasionally, I find a clunker among the gems this writer produces. I'm thinking that such clunkers thud because Mr. Koontz may be producing too much. For example: I loved Watchers--I think it's his best story--but I just finished Relentless and was (mildly) disapointed by it. His first two Odd Thomas books enthralled me, but I found the third tome--Odd Hours--a bit lacking. I had the same sort of "first two great; third, eh" reaction to his Frankenstein series.

Now, none of Mr. Koontz stuff is bad. He's probably one of the best of the popular writers and can easily hold his own with King, Grisham, and Kellerman. I do think, though, he would serve his readers well by slowing down a bit and paying more attention to fewer stories. Agree or not? Waiting for your replies, 'realmers.
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Adrienne_Ray
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Re: Dean Koontz: Is he too prolific?
Reply #1 - Mar 26th, 2012, 5:18pm
 
Dean Koontz is one of my favorite authors.
Unfortunately, there are some books of his that I just couldn't finish.
I loved the Watchers. I loved Dragons Tears. Lordy! How many books has he written?
I tried to find the book I couldn't finish because I couldn't remember the title. I can't find it. All I can remember was the hero's brother was mentally handicapped and they could travel interdimensionally.
I think Dean Koontz likes to write about other dimensions but I don't like to read about them.
It's too easy. If you've written yourself into a corner- perhaps there is no way for the hero to escape or everybody finds themselves inside a looked room- no problem! Just go into another dimension! Does the plot you've written seem unbelievable? No problem! In this dimension your heroine CAN outwrestle a polar bear, or any other unbelievable thing you want to do.
I also liked Mr.Murder. How many books has this guy written?
I agree. He should slow down and aim for quality, not quantity.
And stay in this dimension.
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C.N.Pitts
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Re: Dean Koontz: Is he too prolific?
Reply #2 - Mar 26th, 2012, 7:33pm
 
Dean Koontz's problem was he "found god" halfway through his career.

Watchers and Phantoms are two of the best books I ever read in my entire life. I have been in love with the Koontz since the 80s.

Did he go whacky? Oh yeah. I find myself incapable of reading a single word he's written since 1991. Is the problem being prolific? No. The problem is he stopped writing stuff everone could get into, and started trying to be "meaningful."

Note to self, if I ever realize this dream... don't do THAT.
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Gary A. Markette
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Re: Dean Koontz: Is he too prolific?
Reply #3 - Mar 27th, 2012, 1:13am
 
"Dean Koontz's problem was he "found god" halfway through his career. "

That's an interesting perspective. He does, sometimes, get a bit "preachy." Since he continues to top best sellers lists with virtually every book he writes, though, I doubt if he considers it a "problem." Still, that's an interesting path for this thread to take. When a popular writer--one whose work has vast readership--invests his work with his political or religious views, does that change the nature of the work from fiction to preaching? And do you believe that Koontz has done so? How about Orson Scott Card? I don't think there's any doubt about L. Ron Hubbard. Others?

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Re: Dean Koontz: Is he too prolific?
Reply #4 - Mar 27th, 2012, 6:38am
 
Gary A. Markette wrote on Mar 27th, 2012, 1:13am:
"Dean Koontz's problem was he "found god" halfway through his career. "

That's an interesting perspective. He does, sometimes, get a bit "preachy." Since he continues to top best sellers lists with virtually every book he writes, though, I doubt if he considers it a "problem." Still, that's an interesting path for this thread to take. When a popular writer--one whose work has vast readership--invests his work with his political or religious views, does that change the nature of the work from fiction to preaching? And do you believe that Koontz has done so? How about Orson Scott Card? I don't think there's any doubt about L. Ron Hubbard. Others?




Just to be a name dropper here, how about C. S. Lewis.
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Gary A. Markette
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Re: Dean Koontz: Is he too prolific?
Reply #5 - Mar 27th, 2012, 8:50am
 
Forgot about C.S. Certainly the Narnia books contain Christian symbolism. Most of his direct religious writings, though, were essays weren't they? His fellow "Inkling," G. K. Chesterton, also did Christian essays. Tolkien (another "Inkling") apparently avoided direct religious symbolism in his work--unless you count his seeming love affair with naturalism. Most critics do find political references in LOTR. (Tolkien denied those to his dying day.)
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Re: Dean Koontz: Is he too prolific?
Reply #6 - Mar 27th, 2012, 1:16pm
 
Quote:
Tolkien (another "Inkling") apparently avoided direct religious symbolism in his work--unless you count his seeming love affair with naturalism. Most critics do find political references in LOTR. (Tolkien denied those to his dying day.


With a work the sheer size of LOTD I'm sure anybody could find reference to just about anything.

Yes I'd have to agree from what little I know the rest were essays. Of course my knowledge is hardly encyclopedic on the subject.

Anyway back on topic, Koontz. I liked what I read from him, didn't get the "preachy" angle, but then again haven't read very many of his works.
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Adrienne_Ray
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Re: Dean Koontz: Is he too prolific?
Reply #7 - Mar 27th, 2012, 4:06pm
 
When I said I don't like to read about other dimensions, I meant the books Dean Koontz writes about other dimensions. There are other books about other dimensions that I have thoroughly enjoyed, such as Sh'aa D'aa books.
I didn't know that Dean Koontz 'got religion'. But I don't think that's the problem. I don't mind if people get a little 'preachy' as long as they continue to tell a good story.
I think he saw how Stephen King got involved in his Gunfighter series and tried to do the same. Some of Koontz's later stuff seems to go on and on and you wonder if we're ever going to come to a point. I've never read King's Gunfighter series but, from hearing people talk about it, I wonder if he doesn't also do that.
Maybe they've learned bad habits from each other. Maybe we should separate those two.
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Re: Dean Koontz: Is he too prolific?
Reply #8 - Mar 27th, 2012, 4:08pm
 
As a matter of fact, I think both of them need some "Occupational Therapy", don't you think?
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monsoonster
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Re: Dean Koontz: Is he too prolific?
Reply #9 - Apr 17th, 2012, 9:09am
 
Maybe it's not that King and Koontz are too prolific...  maybe it's just the fact that they are dinosaurs, waiting for the crash of the meteroite.  I mean, many of the authors cited on here (many of whom I have never heard of) are thirty to fifty years past their prime, if not dead for that long... or longer.

What about Clive Barker? He is a much better writer of horror and fantasy than either King or Koontz could ever hope or dream to be.

And how about China  Miéville? I'm surprised no one has mentioned him as a viable fantacist, who is, at the very least, the equal of Clive Barker, if not better.
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Re: Dean Koontz: Is he too prolific?
Reply #10 - Apr 27th, 2012, 8:02pm
 
Fantasist. And I believe the problem with every single author mentioned in this discussion, with the exception of Tolkien, is that all of them, without exception, reached a point in their writing where they stopped trying to tell stories for fun and started trying to tell their own story. With Koontz, it was finding religion. (Anne Rice flushed herself the same way). With King, it was getting run over by the guy in the mini van. With Barker, it was coming out of the closet as a gay man at a time in America where being gay was still a major stigmata.

Barker - The Great and Secret Show stands tall as one of the greatest horror novels of the last century. He was still in the closet then. The sequel, Everville, is utterly forgettable apart from the fact that it was one of the first mainstream novels to feature an entirely explicit gay sex scene.

Koontz - Watchers, Phantoms, you name it, everything he wrote in the 80's was an absolute clinic on grabbing a reader, sucking them into an incredibly tight story, and milking them dry. Everything from "Survivor" onwards has been like watching an infomercial on a Sunday morning.

King - EVERYTHING the man ever wrote, even in the darkest periods of his addictions and alcoholism, was un-put-downable. Then he got run down by that stupid guy in the minivan. Everything since has been about getting hit by a car, as he tries to deal with it. Don't get me wrong, I still think he's the greatest writer of our generation. But...

I think the lesson is - there is no such thing as too prolific. There is, however, such a thing as too personal.  :-?
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Re: Dean Koontz: Is he too prolific?
Reply #11 - Apr 28th, 2012, 7:27am
 
"I mean, many of the authors cited on here (many of whom I have never heard of) are thirty to fifty years past their prime, if not dead for that long... or longer."

What an interesting approach to lit crit -- that works age, fade and die right alongside their creators. Then we had best close the door -- or nail down the coffin-lid -- on Shakespeare and Keats, as well as on Hemingway, Steinbeck and Cordwainer Smith...

What an interesting approach to lit crit.

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monsoonster
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Re: Dean Koontz: Is he too prolific?
Reply #12 - Apr 28th, 2012, 10:35pm
 
C.N.Pitts wrote on Apr 27th, 2012, 8:02pm:
Fantasist. And I believe the problem with every single author mentioned in this discussion, with the exception of Tolkien, is that all of them, without exception, reached a point in their writing where they stopped trying to tell stories for fun and started trying to tell their own story. With Koontz, it was finding religion. (Anne Rice flushed herself the same way). With King, it was getting run over by the guy in the mini van. With Barker, it was coming out of the closet as a gay man at a time in America where being gay was still a major stigmata.

Barker - The Great and Secret Show stands tall as one of the greatest horror novels of the last century. He was still in the closet then. The sequel, Everville, is utterly forgettable apart from the fact that it was one of the first mainstream novels to feature an entirely explicit gay sex scene.

Koontz - Watchers, Phantoms, you name it, everything he wrote in the 80's was an absolute clinic on grabbing a reader, sucking them into an incredibly tight story, and milking them dry. Everything from "Survivor" onwards has been like watching an infomercial on a Sunday morning.

King - EVERYTHING the man ever wrote, even in the darkest periods of his addictions and alcoholism, was un-put-downable. Then he got run down by that stupid guy in the minivan. Everything since has been about getting hit by a car, as he tries to deal with it. Don't get me wrong, I still think he's the greatest writer of our generation. But...

I think the lesson is - there is no such thing as too prolific. There is, however, such a thing as too personal.  :-?

Barker has been "out" of the closet since The Books of Blood. Ever read "From The Hills, The Cities"? Can't get any more gay or gay sex than the majority of that story; other than a blow-by-blow, and a story of Twinks, this wasn't. The story was... what? Written and published in England in '84? '85? Then published in the US around'86? Something like that. "Everville" came out in '94 ( I don't remember any gay sex in Everville. I recall the black guy and the white married woman, but no gay sex. Not arguing the point. I haven't read it since '94. Hard to believe it's been that long, 18 years). His first book on explicit gay relationships was "Sacrament", pubbed in '96. If you mean in first explicit gay sex in novels, as far as gay relationship/sex, an argument could be made that Pie-oh-pah  and Gentle copulating in "Imajica" could be construed as gay sex. Imajica was published in '91. He was pretty open from the beginning, it's just that American audiences weren't noticing. He's been writing young adult books for a time now.

A link to From The Hills, The Cities: http://www.scribd.com/doc/28687292/Barker-Clive-In-the-Hills-The-Cities


King: His major strength has always been the depth he puts in characters. Whether short or longer stories, the characters are what people come back to, time and time again, no matter how bad the story, overall, happens to be. That's the biggest problem with the majority of his books that have been attempted to be made into films; the screenwriters/directors/producers... whoever, whittles down the book to just basic story, with only minimal characterization inserted. The book that comes to mind that is as good of an example as any, is "IT". So-so story (some would say the whole book sucked), but for me, the most memorable parts of the book isn't "horror", in the strictest sense, but the back stories of the characters. For me, that was a bigger draw than the "present" story that was being told in the book. They tried adapting it with a series instead of a movie (a TV movie, at that), but it just fell short. "E" for effort.

And before King was in his accident, I think a good argument could be made that the majority of his stories dealt with his mother and her death at the hands of cancer. I could cite many, many short to long stories, if interested, but if you've read any of his works, I'm sure you'll know what I mean. For example, I believe "Salem's Lot" was an allegory of his short story "Woman in the Room"; where someone killed a loved one instead of seeing the disease eat them up beyond recognition. In "Salem's Lot", Ben was to be the one who staked the woman he was in love with; in "Woman in the Room", the son fed sleeping pills to his slowly dying, cancerous mother. There were stories where a back story dealt with another disease debilitated a loved one beyond recognition; Pet Sematery and Lisey's Story, to name two.

"Too personal" and "meaningful"; you've used these words to describe that as a no-no for writing books. All books are personal, whether allegorically or explicitly. Koontz's books, the three I read years ago, struck me as too antiseptic. Sterile. Passionless. Maybe King's later books were more overt than his earlier books. And Barker's gayness has been there from the beginning.
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Re: Dean Koontz: Is he too prolific?
Reply #13 - Apr 28th, 2012, 11:50pm
 
Jeangoldstrom wrote on Apr 28th, 2012, 7:27am:
"I mean, many of the authors cited on here (many of whom I have never heard of) are thirty to fifty years past their prime, if not dead for that long... or longer."

What an interesting approach to lit crit -- that works age, fade and die right alongside their creators. Then we had best close the door -- or nail down the coffin-lid -- on Shakespeare and Keats, as well as on Hemingway, Steinbeck and Cordwainer Smith...

What an interesting approach to lit crit.

Such uncalled-for snark. I could reply in like fashion, but I shan't. To do so would be beneath me.

My mistake: for not saying that I was including the characters in the polls, and the books they were in, as well as the comment section.

And since we're discussing genre fiction on this site versus hard literature, then you couldn't possibly have read between lines that weren't there. I am entirely cognizant of the works of: Shakespeare and Keats, as well as on Hemingway, Steinbeck and Cordwainer Smith, and James Joyce and Sam Beckett and Jorge Louis Borges and Umberto Eco and Franz Kafka and Thomas Pynchon and Herman Melville and John Barth and Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens and Fyodor Dostoevsky and Cormac McCarthy and John Crowly and Vladimir Nabokov and J.M. Coetzee and Michael Chabon and William Burroughs and John Milton and Dante and Chaucer and Mary Shelly, and on and on.

How would you classify  HG Wells and Jules Verne and Doris Lessing and Salman Rushdie and Sir Arthur Canon Doyle and Iris Murdoch and John Le Clarre' and Virginia Wolfe and Shirley Jackson and Philip K Dick (And so many others): are they literature or genre writers?

Since we're talking popular genre fiction here, on this site, how many of the younger audience remembers Andre Norton and Diane Duane and Carl Sherrell and James Blish and Ira Levine and David Morrell and Richard Laymon and Ramsey Campbell and Skipp & Spector and Robert McCammon and Clifford D Simak; Even Peter Straub, and on and  on. Very few, nowadays. And as the years tramp by, even fewer. I've read some of the past posts on here and you, Jean, have been one of the loudest pointing out the decline of readership through the years to the present. And on this site, and others dealing in speculative fiction, the name that is said over and over and over and over, is Stephan King. So, yes. I say why not talk of other writers of popular speculative genre from somewhere in the last decade or two instead of a quarter to a half a century ago.

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monsoonster
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Re: Dean Koontz: Is he too prolific?
Reply #14 - Apr 29th, 2012, 12:07am
 
C.N.Pitts wrote on Apr 27th, 2012, 8:02pm:
Fantasist.

Thank you for the correction. I do miss a word, now and then. Your lexicon powers are enormous. ENORMOUS!! You are truly King's homie, praise Bangor.
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Re: Dean Koontz: Is he too prolific?
Reply #15 - Apr 29th, 2012, 12:08pm
 
Re Koonzt, genre etc. discuss with fellow respondents.
Adrienne Ray some time back wanted to know a book by Koonzt
which involved a hero with mental problems.  I have it here.  It is called Odd Hours.
    She also mentioned quite rightly that he tended to be rather long
winded and took some time to get to the point of the story.  This is
the style of the author in the fw boks I have read.  Example - 2 thugs are chasing down our hero, guarding the promenade and all the vast
wooden beams down
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Re: Dean Koontz: Is he too prolific?
Reply #16 - Apr 29th, 2012, 9:16pm
 
Uncalled-for snark? Oh dear. I apologize.Really, did not mean to offend. Lucky for me  you are one to take the high road, and merely hit me with 51 (approximately) authors in riposte.
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Gary A. Markette
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Re: Dean Koontz: Is he too prolific?
Reply #17 - Apr 30th, 2012, 1:06am
 
What's a snark? And how do you call one? I've tried googling a snark or two--can't find a cell number.  Anyway, I--like most--have a set of writers I enjoy. I look for their work and pray for something new when I take my sheckles to Half Price Books. Doesn't mean I don't enjoy other writers; only means I'm comfortable with my literary friends. Now, I haven't heard of China Melville, but I'll pick up one of the author's books as soon as I can do so. At 62 (63 in June), I wail the excuse of many: so much to read, so little time.
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Re: Dean Koontz: Is he too prolific?
Reply #18 - May 2nd, 2012, 1:40pm
 
Quote:
Since we're talking popular genre fiction here, on this site, how many of the younger audience remembers Andre Norton and Diane Duane and Carl Sherrell and James Blish and Ira Levine and David Morrell and Richard Laymon and Ramsey Campbell and Skipp & Spector and Robert McCammon and Clifford D Simak; Even Peter Straub, and on and  on. Very few, nowadays


I do! Oh, you said "younger audience", sigh...

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Re: Dean Koontz: Is he too prolific?
Reply #19 - May 2nd, 2012, 6:32pm
 
Is it just me, or are some of my late night posts getting dissappeared?
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