Pixel Scroll 6/18/21 Pixels, Who File Pixels, Are The Soylenty-Est Pixels In The Scroll

(1) KOONTZ UPDATE. “Putting the Heart in the Work: Close-up on Dean Koontz” at Publishers Weekly asks how he keeps growing as an author. I’m always a bit fascinated to compare his ultimate success with his beginnings as a testy newcomer who wrote locs to Science Fiction Review.  

Would you say that your writing style continues to evolve?

When I was young, I thought that after a few years, I would learn all the tricks of the trade, after which writing novels would be easy. Instead, it gets harder—and more exciting—because there are infinite approaches and techniques to explore. In the past, I’ve had some publishers express bafflement as to why I had to change direction. However, repetition of past work is not art; it’s imitation and not in the least satisfying. You have to do new things and risk failure. My experience is that readers expect that and will reward it.

There’s a certain comfort for readers in returning to a world they already know. Is it ever a struggle to maintain your own investment in a particular story or with particular characters?

I don’t think I could ever write as many words about any other character as I wrote about Odd Thomas. I loved him. I knew he was on a journey to absolute humility—which would really test my powers of imagination—and he won my heart with every page. Five novels was right for Jane Hawk, and two seasons for Nameless. Readers who want more of any one thing need to be won over by a new world and new characters that they like as well or better. Otherwise, both they and the author are standing still emotionally and intellectually.

(2) CALL FOR FANWRITING. For the next issue of The Drink Tank, Christopher J. Garcia, Alissa McKersie, and Chuck Serface want articles, artwork, and anything printable dedicated to Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City.  Chuck Serface says: “The novels, the PBS shows, the recent Netflix series — it’s all good.  Our due date is July 10, 2021, and we’ll have the issue out shortly thereafter.”  Send your offerings to Chuck at ceserface@gmail.com or to Christopher at johnnyeponymous@gmail.com.

(3) A PLEONASM OF MIDDLE-EARTH. Sam Woods gives us “James Joyce’s The Hobbit at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.

There never was a Hobbit Hole quite like Bag End in all of Hobbiton a place that oftsaw the comings and goings of many of the Little Folk and Big Folk the bastards they are as time has onwardflown and kings and queens of the other lands of Middle Earth have died and been barrowburied since the dawn of Man upon these soils but even so there have been no bigger bastards to tromp up to Bilbo’s door (for I am the current resident of Bag End) than the Sackville Bagginses…

(4) BENEATH THE RISING TRILOGY. What is the Premee Mohamed calling the third book? The Edmonton Journal has the scoop: “Edmonton author announces final title of cosmic horror trilogy”.

Premee Mohamed didn’t intend to publish multiple books about the end of the world during a global pandemic — it just worked out that way.

Her debut novel, Beneath the Rising, has garnered major attention since its release in March of 2020. The book’s popularity led to a sequel, A Broken Darkness, released in March of this year, and The Void Ascendant, the trilogy’s final installment, was just announced for March 2022.

(5) UP THE MIGHTY AMAZON. The New York Times contends: “Buyers of Amazon Devices Are Guinea Pigs. That’s a Problem.”

…Many have learned a hard lesson about what it means to be an Amazon customer. Even when you’re paying lots of money, you are a guinea pig at the whims of a company endlessly striving to innovate. At any moment, the company could surprise you with an unwelcome change to an Amazon product you own or decide to kill it altogether.

Last week, many people who own Amazon devices were automatically enrolled in Sidewalk, a new internet-sharing program that drew intense scrutiny. Basically, the program lets owners of newer Amazon products share their internet connections with others nearby. If a neighbor’s Ring camera has a spotty internet connection and yours has a strong one, you can share your bandwidth with your neighbor.

That all sounds nice if everything works as expected, but security experts have raised concerns that device makers could have inappropriate access to people’s data. They advised that people opt out of the program to avoid becoming part of Amazon’s experiment because there are still many unknowns….

(6) JAWS JAZZ. Sarah Gailey is joined by Christine Sandquist and Martin Cahill to play with a writing prompt: “Building Beyond: Space Mouth-ain”:

NASA has discovered a massive open mouth floating just beyond the edge of our solar system. It’s just a mouth. And it’s open.

(7) GRADUATION DAY. A big day for Galactic Journey’s Marcus family:

Lorelei Marcus is graduating today. As school Valedictorian. And with department math honors.

I know, I know. “Of course she is.” But actually, we couldn’t be prouder of her super hard work that has made her accomplishment a seeming inevitability. Her perseverance, her willingness to help others, her dealing with disabilities that make computer-use difficult to impossible, have all just been stellar.

The other piece of news regards Journey Press, the publishing house the Marcus Family and Co. run. Yes, we managed to make it through 2020. In fact, we kind of flourished. In March 2020, we were in about 200 stores. Now we’re in 600 — in five countries and every state of the Union.

Lorelei Marcus displaying the wares from Journey Press.

(7A) KEEPING PACE. There will be “Hollywood Walk of Fame stars for Carrie Fisher, Michael B. Jordan, Jason Momoa” reports SYFY Wire.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a tourist hotspot in Los Angeles — a stretch of sidewalk that passes other iconic L.A. locations like the Chinese Theater, the El Capitan, Pantages, and a Toyota dealership.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce decides who among the many applicants receive a star each year, and for 2022, there’s an impressive roster of genre actors who made the cut. The most notable star, however, goes to Carrie Fisher….

Fisher won’t be the only Star Wars actor getting a spot on the sidewalk next year. The Mandalorian’s Ming-Na Wen will also get a star, along with young Obi-wan himself, Ewan McGregor.

Other extended universes also got some love. MCU veterans Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther), Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok) and Salma Hayek (Eternals) will also be honored, while the DCEU will be represented by Jason MomoaWatchmen’s Regina King and Jean Smart will also get their own stars, as well as Willem Dafoe (aka the Green Goblin from the 2002 Tobey Maguire Spider-Man film).

Continuing on the comic book front, two other notables receiving stars are The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus and Greg Berlanti, creator of The CW’s Arrowverse.

(8) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • June 18, 1983 — Thirty-eight years ago today, Dr. Sally Ride became the first American woman in space, paving the way for sixty-four other female astronauts to do the same. While in orbit, Dr. Ride launched two commercial satellites, directed the use of robotic technology, and served as her ship’s mission specialist; as of 2022, she will be one of the few women featured on US coinage.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 18, 1917 — Richard Boone. He did only two genre roles of which one, playing Maston Thrust Jr. in The Last Dinosaur, I’m willing to bet you’ve never seen. The other however is one that nearly everyone here has heard, yes heard, as he voiced Smaug in the Rankin/Bass animated The Hobbit. Of course, his major non-genre role was Paladin in Have Gun, Will Travel.
  • Born June 18, 1931 — Dick Spelman. A fan and a legendary book dealer who was active at SF conventions from the late Seventies  through the early Nineties. He chaired Windycon IX in 1982. He was a member of the board of directors of Chicon IV, and ran the Dealers’ Room at many Worldcons. In 1991 he sold his book business to Larry Smith and retired to Orlando, where he was active in local fannish affairs. (Died 2012.)
  • Born June 18, 1942 — Roger Ebert. He got his start as a fanzine writer while in high school, publishing the Stymie zine and having his writing appear in Xero, Yandro and many other zines such as KippleParsection and Psi-Phi. In university, he was a member of the Champaign-Urbana Science Fiction Association. His fannish  autobiography is  How Propellor-Heads, BNFs, Sercon Geeks, Newbies, Recovering GAFIAtors and Kids in Basements Invented the World Wide Web, All Except for the Delivery System. Mike has much to say about him here. (Died 2013.)
  • Born June 18, 1943 — Paul McCartney, 78. I could include him for the Magical Mystery Tour which might be genre. He actually has a cameo in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales as a character named Uncle Jack in a cell playing poker singing “Maggie May”. A shortened version of the song is on the Let It Be album. 
  • Born June 18, 1947 — Linda Thorson, 74. Though Diana Rigg as Emma Peel was John Steed’s best known partner on The Avengers, she was not his first nor his last. His last one would be Tara King played by this actress. She was the only one to be a real spy. Interesting that other than an appearance on Tales from The Darkside, her only other genre performance was on The Next Gen as Gul Ocett in “The Chase” episode. 
  • Born June 18, 1949 — Chris Van Allsburg, 72. For some twenty years now until the Pandemic came upon us, the local Narrow Gauge Railroad ran a Polar Express every Christmas season compete with cars decorated in high Victorian fashion and steaming cups of hot chocolate for the children. It always sold out for the entire month they ran it. Allsburg‘s Polar Express book is just magical for me and I enjoy his Jumanji every bit as much. (I’ve never seen the film.) He illustrated A City in Winter which was written by Mark Helprin and I highly recommended it. 
  • Born June 18, 1958 — Jody Lee, 63. Illustrator with a long career in genre work. Her first cover art was Jo Clayton’s Changer’s Moon for DAW Books in 1985. Her latest is Passages: All-New Tales of Valdemar, a Mercedes Lackey anthology, that came last year on DAW Books which seems to be her primary client. Her rather excellent website is here.
  • Born June 18, 1960 — Barbara Broccoli, 61. Daughter of the late James Bond producer Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli. She has producer or director credit on at least fourteen Bond films which or may not be genre depending on how you view each one of them. Her only acting role is as an uncredited Opera patron in The Living Daylights. She produced the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang production staged in NYC at the Hilton Theater sixteen years ago. 

(10) COMICS SECTION.

(11) THE RISING TIDE OF PIXAR. “Luca: Living La Dolce Vita” – a review at Leonard Maltin’s Movie Crazy.

Luca doesn’t look or sound like any film Pixar has made before. It has a charm all its own and captures our imagination from the moment it begins. It’s the living definition of an immersive experience (pun intended). Who else would dare ask us to care about strange-looking sea monsters, and then repeatedly surprise us while spinning its coming-of-age tale?

The story begins underwater, where we meet an adolescent boy named Luca and his family. These fish have no idea that people regard them as sea monsters. Curiosity impels Luca to disobey his protective parents and see what life is like above the surface of the ocean. Director Enrico Casarosa and his team draw us into their lively story as Luca ventures onto dry land, where he is magically transformed into a human being…

(12) PRECEDENT. SYFY Wire traces film fan history — “’Superman II: The Donner Cut’ was the OG Snyder Cut”.

While the Snyder Cut had to wait four years to finally be realized, it took 25 years for Superman II: The Donner Cut to get the same treatment. In doing so, the Donner Cut was arguably the “OG” Snyder Cut; a trial run that — for better or worse — set a precedent for fan-led campaigns that set the stage of an (at best) aggressive breed of fandom to help Snyder’s take on Superman and the rest of the Justice League defy the Anti-Life equation that is Development Hell. In honor of Superman II’s 40th anniversary this week, here’s a look at how that film’s troubled production and pop-culture legacy paved the way for another Man of Steel to find a second chance. 

(13) BUILDING TRUST. “Sciencing Out: What it Means to Make Information Tangible” from NOVA.

In the second episode of Sciencing Out, host Reyhaneh Maktoufi introduces us to 18th century Englishwoman Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and modern-day wildlife conservationist Paula Kahumbu. By dedicating time to build public trust, both Montagu and Kahumbu made major positive changes in their communities.

In 1716, when smallpox was still ravaging the world, Montagu moved to Constantinople, where she noticed that smallpox was less widespread than in England. She discovered that Constantinoplans held “smallpox parties” where, in a process called “inoculation,” a person would place a dried smallpox scab from a patient with a mild case into the open wound of a healthy person. Montagu grew to trust the process enough that she had her own child inoculated.

Montagu returned to England and tried to advocate for inoculation, but struggled to gain trust. So she went to her friend Caroline, the Princess of Wales, and implored her to inoculate her own child against smallpox and inform the public of the result. Caroline agreed. Seeing royalty successfully inoculate their children against smallpox helped build the public’s trust in the practice, ultimately resulting in significantly fewer disease-related mortalities and setting the stage for modern-day vaccination….

(14) IN THE ‘BAG. “Horror Comedy Short Snore: Puppets, Gore, Mayhem”Gizmodo says this short video delivers a lot.

…Snore introduces us to a businesswoman named Karen who’s fallen on hard times—currently, she’s got nothing left except a stack of schemes for her comeback, and her personal assistant/sorta-boyfriend Callum. Together, they check into a fleabag motel for the night while she plots her next move, but there’s something already in their room that causes quite a ruckus….

The YouTube blurb says it all comes down to this question:

Who will survive and, most importantly, what will be left of Callum’s designer manbag?

(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] This video from AT&T Corporate Television from 1979 shows the exciting future where everyone can have an electronic Yellow Pages in their home that gives access to business listings AND Dr. Joyce Brothers!

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Chuck Serface, Olav Rokne, Lise Andreasen, Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]

48 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/18/21 Pixels, Who File Pixels, Are The Soylenty-Est Pixels In The Scroll

  1. First!

    I’m enjoying reading through the Hugo packet which is a lot of fun, particularly the novellas and novelettes. Not to mention the fanzines which I don’t usually encounter.

  2. First (7): Happy graduation, Lorelei!

    Thanks for the title credit!

  3. I saw Sally Ride speak at a luncheon in the 80s. I should have realized my arithmetic (2021-38) was wrong.

  4. (9) He did only two genre roles of which one, playing Maston Thrust Jr. in The Last Dinosaur, I’m willing to bet you’ve never seen.

    I actually remember watching that on broadcast TV. It was about the cheesiest, worst pre-CGI dinosaur special effects I had ever seen.

  5. Not trying to pile on here, but 1973 was the year of the Skylab missions, which people tend to forget about. Somewhere I have mission patches for those.

  6. Bonnie McDaniel says I actually remember watching that on broadcast TV. It was about the cheesiest, worst pre-CGI dinosaur special effects I had ever seen.

    I actually figured that someone would’ve seen the show so I was being rhetorical.

    We’re the dinosaurs puppetry?

  7. @David Shallcross
    I remember. That was the week we had next-to-no-work, but still had to show up. So we were sitting in a lunch room watching TV. I remember someone wanting to know why they launched Skylab first, and I said that it was in case something went wrong. Little did I know….

  8. I hope this doesn’t sound too condescending, but has Dean Koontz grown as an author? I went through a bunch of his books around 2000 and they were fun page-turners but they got pretty samey after a while. Have I missed big Dean Koontz developments in the past 20 years?

  9. Edwin – I myself have missed the Dean Koontz developments for the past 49 years, having read only the story “Ollie’s Hands” (which I found rather Sturgeonian) in one of Robert Hoskins’ Infinity anthologies. What has he been up to?

  10. Edwin asks I hope this doesn’t sound too condescending, but has Dean Koontz grown as an author? I went through a bunch of his books around 2000 and they were fun page-turners but they got pretty samey after a while. Have I missed big Dean Koontz developments in the past 20 years?

    Are you asking if his fiction is different now than it was a generation ago? No, it’s not. You could take random chapters out of the novels he writes and no one could date them save the references to contemporary events.

    He’s a pulp writer, a very successful one and he hasn’t evolved one bit and I’m not sure why he would.

    We had this discussion earlier with Simon R. Green. There’s lots of writers who fall in this category, including quite few that I suspect we like.

  11. 3) I attempted to read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man once. This nicely illustrates why I never got past the first page.

    5) This is as much a problem of living in a world where nothing is owned and everything is licensed as anything. If you buy a device and they stop supporting it, security updates might become at your own risk, but being able to brick a device like that after you’ve bought it should be illegal.

  12. Re: Dean Koontz, I just asked because the interview at the top was all “Publishers Weekly asks how he keeps growing as an author” and a bunch of stuff about changing style etc. I was skeptical, but curious to see if it was just puffery or if there was anything to it.

  13. That’s a fair question. I mainly ran the quotes because of the memory they evoked from the Science Fiction Review days.

  14. If you go to the AT&T archives (#15) and search for Infoquest, the video about the museum will give you some very brief snatches into the tech I worked with and on immediately after the “EIS” was scuttled owing to the advent of PCs.

    Unfortunately, my primary exhibit at Infoquest (The Man*Chine Rally – a road race between the visitor and the computer demonstrating then-current AI technologies) is not shown, but many that I worked on, including the (awful) “be a rock star” and the NY Taxi with Harry are shown, as well as the face puzzle and the robot arm are.

    It was a fun time at AT&T, mostly because I got to spend two weeks at five star Manhattan hotels while supervising installations. I think my favorite part of that was the late evening chocolate mousse parfaits at the St Regis, complete with live music….

  15. Edwin says Re: Dean Koontz, I just asked because the interview at the top was all “Publishers Weekly asks how he keeps growing as an author” and a bunch of stuff about changing style etc. I was skeptical, but curious to see if it was just puffery or if there was anything to it.

    It’s pure puffery on the part of the interviewer. Most mainstream writers don’t really evolve in their writing style once they write their first novel that’s successful as they’re writing what their fans want.

    Take the case of Rita Mae Brown and her Sister Jane mysteries which are delightful if a bit irritating for their conservative politics. Over a generation of novels, both the style and content of those novels has stayed remarkably consistent. I don’t expect her to change, nor do I expect Koontz to do so either.

    Listening to Walter Jon William’s This is Not A Game which is holding up remarkably well on this go-around.

  16. @Lis Carey – I’m only just now catching up with the most recent threads, so only just heard your news. My condolences on your loss of Dora. May you find a worthy successor for her soon.

    (1) I also guffawed a bit at the interviewer’s question, for reasons already stated. The last time I read a Koontz, it infuriated me with its terrible characterizations, its heavy-handed religious messaging (regardless of whether Koontz intended it), its laughably 2D villain, and the way that, despite these things, I couldn’t put the dratted thing down. I haven’t allowed myself to fall into that trap since.

    (7) Congratulations, Lorelei!

  17. Joe H
    I seem to have bought

    Piranesi: SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN’S PRIZE 2021 (High/Low)

    for £1.89 from the UK big river.
    The pricing is all over the place, but it looks as though it’s the book not a shortened edition.

  18. Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little says I also guffawed a bit at the interviewer’s question, for reasons already stated. The last time I read a Koontz, it infuriated me with its terrible characterizations, its heavy-handed religious messaging (regardless of whether Koontz intended it), its laughably 2D villain, and the way that, despite these things, I couldn’t put the dratted thing down. I haven’t allowed myself to fall into that trap since.

    That’s a damn excellent summation of every Koontz novel done in the last forty years. It helps to remember that Publishers Weekly is in the end an industry vehicle intended to sell the product of the publishers who are its prime audience. Being critical in isn’t their root command.

  19. Cat Eldridge: Somewhat to my amazement, it was in the Hugo packet.

    What’s in the packet is just an excerpt. Considering how short the book is to begin with (61,000 words), that seems rather parsimonious.

  20. (1) I remember that I enjoyed a couple of Dean Koontz’s science fiction novels back in the 1970s. The Flesh in the Furnace was one, I don’t remember the title of the other. But I haven’t revisited them since my original reading.

  21. JJ says correctly What’s in the packet is just an excerpt. Considering how short the book is to begin with (61,000 words), that seems rather parsimonious.

    You’re right. I hadn’t noticed it was just an excerpt. My bad.

  22. I have very fond memories of Koontz’s SF novel A Werewolf Among Us from the mid-70s and Watchers from the late 80s. I think I read one of his later novels and found it very meh, so I never picked up anything else of his.

  23. I have about 11,000 words so it looks as though I’ve bought an excerpt.
    Seven sections:
    CONTENTS
    PART 1: PIRANESI
    PART 2: THE OTHER
    PART 3: THE PROPHET
    PART 4: 16
    PART 5: VALENTINE KETTERLEY
    PART 6: WAVE
    PART 7: MATTHEW ROSE SORENSEN

    Is that the same as the packet?

    It’s really not clear that it’s not the whole work and I would have expected a link to buy all of it somewhere. If that’s there I’ve not found it yet.

  24. Doire: I have about 11,000 words so it looks as though I’ve bought an excerpt. Seven sections

    I’m not sure how you’re getting your wordcount, but that is all of the chapters of the book, so I think you’ve gotten the whole thing.

  25. Argh Edit window closed before I finished.

    IGNORE THE ABOVE.
    The Kindle edition has six pages for each page number so the arithmetic is wrong. My rough calculation is now 66,000 words from counting one page and multiplying.

    I do have it all.
    It’s worth looking at variant titles as they have varying prices.

    Edit to say
    Thanks JJ

  26. It looks as though the packet excerpt is the first 1/3 of the book, or around 20,000 words.

  27. JJ says It looks as though the packet excerpt is the first 1/3 of the book, or around 20,000 words.

    I hate excerpts, I really do. I’ll most likely skip this as I generally do most excerpts unless I’m keenly interested in the piece of fiction already and was planning on acquiring the full work anyways.

  28. Paul Weimer says I’d rather have nothing rathet than an excerpt.

    Precisely. I read novels, not parts of novels. Why would I read an excerpt from a novel? There’s far more material in the Hugo packet than can be reasonably managed anyways, so I can skip the excerpts.

  29. I too have some fond memories of Koont’s early, promising work. Pretty sure Beastchild would still hold up. And I liked the library-in-space in, I think, Space Quest. (Tho’ as I recall it was a big spaceship filled with actual books; just a little bit of a predictive failure there….) He also had some spectacular science blunders, like a robot that climbed a sheer cliff-face on the Moon by using suction cups.

    Every once in a while, about every five to ten years, I’ll dip into a new Koontz book to see what he’s doing. I keep finding that he still uses some of the annoying ticks and tricks that kicked me out of earlier books. One of them is a sudden reversal of characterization, with no justification or foreshadowing, to serve the plot action. Several titles come to mind where a sympathetic decent character suddenly becomes a selfish jerk.

    I’ve heard his status as a bestselling writer has put Koontz into the rarified status of authors whose work skips most if not all of the editing process. I’ve also heard he doesn’t revise his own work anymore, so his books are basically first draft. Which is a shame, frankly, because he does have considerable talent. But those talents are kneecapped, in my experience, by habitual weaknesses.

  30. I read a few Koontz back in the 80s when he was being the next Stephen King, but while I liked them well enough, they didn’t make me want to rush out and finish his catalog. I especially didn’t care for the way that, at least in the ones I read, the apparent spooky stuff turned out to have a rational explanation. (In one case, the woman who had been secretly pregnant and left to have the child, but ended up having twins so because Reasons she forced them to share a single life and of course they went nuts and killed people.)

  31. As I’ve commented before, in general I have no use for excerpts. I can see that they might be helpful for someone who wants to get a sense of a writer’s prose style or the kind of thing they write, but I don’t normally read for those purposes.

    Perhaps, in the Hugo packet, an excerpt might help a voter decide whether to go to the effort (and possibly the expense) of getting hold of the full work. In the case of Piranesi, I would say, go for it. In my opinion it’s a terrific book.

  32. Meredith moment: the second Uplift War trilogy by David Brin is available from the usual suspects for two dollars and ninety nine cents.

  33. One of them is a sudden reversal of characterization, with no justification or foreshadowing, to serve the plot action. Several titles come to mind where a sympathetic decent character suddenly becomes a selfish jerk.

    THIS THISSITY THIS THIS THIS.

    I call it “flipping the character’s alignment switch,” and I visualize it as a big light-switch sticking out of the character’s back, and then the huge hand of GodAuthor comes down out of the sky, and, FLICK!

    I believe the one I read was The Corner of His Eye and the book’s antagonist got his alignment switch flipped in the first scene where you meet him. It’s all happy happy sweet sweet they’re so much in love what a cute couple OOPS he killed her, guess he’s the villain now!

    The mercy of it was, it happened so early in the book and in his on-stage time that I hadn’t gotten invested in the sympathetic version of the character, and I was adequately warned what kind of book I was in for. It’s kind of on me that I didn’t walk away right then.

    In any case, y’all, please know I feel intensely reassured and affirmed that my description of reading Koontz resonated, all “Thank goodness it’s not just me!”

  34. I admit, I enjoy Koontz occasionally in a popcorn kinda way. It’s never gonna be scary enough to keep me up at night, but it’s usually page-turny, and the golden retriever always lives.

    Once or twice, he’s managed a genuinely scary set-up, I think in spite of himself. WINTER MOON had an opening with the old guy and the animals watching him then dropping dead that really hit the horror novel buttons of “this is clearly bad but I really want to know why it’s happening.” The rest of the book…did not fulfill the early promise, let’s say. (Devolved into a cage match between Yog-Sothoth and the kid from The Shining.) But damn it was a good set-up while it lasted.

    I’ll also give him credit for never balking at the scale of a story. If the logical conclusion is carnies breaking into the monster army’s underground bunker, hitting the monsters with truth serum until they spit out the nuclear codes, and then blowing up the bunker behind them, then by god, Koontz will write that story. I admire the sheer enthusiasm necessary to get a writer there.

  35. I have a copy of Kontz’ “The Haunted Earth” on my shelves, because the idea of aliens making concurrent and then introducing us to our mythical co-inhabitants of Earth is hilarious. I haven’t read it in decades because of the 1970s
    styler racismm and sexism. I would hope he’s developed enough to know that “mythical black people” is an incredibly horrible idea

  36. The only Koontz I’ve read is “Wake Up to Thunder”, from an early Seventies anthology of SF-aimed-at-children; apparently it has never been printed elsewhere. At the time I enjoyed it.

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