A blog about whatever randomosity my fevered mind conceives.

Challenge Day 14: A hero that has let you down (letter)…

Dear Mr. Koontz,

I feel an overwhelming need to find some closure where you and I are concerned. You see, while I still love you, I’m no longer in love with you, and it wouldn’t be fair of me to move on without at least offering you an explanation as to what has changed. Though I believe in letting bygones be bygones – and I have no desire to make you feel badly about yourself – I need to do now what’s right for me.

You see, I do not idolize celebrity as a rule; I don’t believe that a person is made better by simply being rich and/or famous; and while there are a small handful of actors and musicians that I hold in high regards (particularly strong females that encourage women to stand up and be heard) I do not have true heroes amongst this group. Writers, on the other hand, are a different class of superstar, and as that I fervently wish to someday join the ranks, I think it’s only natural that I have come to greatly worship certain members of this faction.

While I hesitate to use the word ‘prestigious’, one of the highest  honours I can grant anyone within my heart and head, is a top 5 spot in my favourite/most respected writers of all time list. One of the only things I love doing more than writing is reading, and though I’ve read many a book in my time (and though I have a long list of authors I enjoy) the top 5 spots are reserved for those who have most inspired me, and have become the heroes to which I aspire.

You were once featured in the top 3; a place you secured for yourself when I was only twelve years old, and held – against all odds – for more than two decades. You were such a force that it was a little awing at times. You had a remarkable ability to weave a tale and you were a fantastic writer (skill-wise) – two very individual talents that all writers must possess at least one of, but you had both perfectly laced together. Yes, there was a time when I believed that our relationship was bedrock-solid. Unfortunately, that time has now come to an end.

I know this is probably coming as a bit of a shock to you, and I am sorry about that. The truth is that when you started to slip down the ranks, it was such a gradual thing that I wasn’t even aware of it at first. You never lost the technical skill that I so admired you for, you see, and perhaps this is why I couldn’t at first see the forest for the trees. Over time, however, you slowly abandoned the originality that made you such a strong influence in my life. You stopped writing a dizzying array of unique tales, opting instead to write one book after another that at some point would turn out to be about a dog. Almost always, this dog was a Retriever and preternaturally intelligent. When I first clued in to what was happening, I thought this was just some phase that you were going through; in my early twenties I went through a two year period where nearly everything I wrote ended up being somehow connected to eternal life; and I figured that you’d write through the fixation and move on.

You never moved on.

Now, I loved Furface – like loved him – and ‘Watchers’ will always remain in my top 50 favourite titles of all time. It was phenomenal without argument, and I’ve read it at least three dozen times over the years. However, just because I’m willing to constantly return to one of my favourite books – that just so happens to be about a preternaturally intelligent Retriever – does not mean I can continue to honour you with a top 5 spot when you’re getting richer and richer by recycling the same basic storyline over and over. Originality is one of the main requirements for the honourees on my list.  

Though the golden age or our relationship has come to a tragic end, please; try to remember all of the good times we shared. Ah – and so many fond memories indeed. Remember when the population of Black River became the test subjects of a deadly experimentation with subliminal mind control? Do you recall a certain time-traveling Nazi-scientist with a soft, romantic heart, or young Slim Mackenzie forced to grow up too soon because of his ability to see those awful goblins that were hell bent on annihilating mankind? Surely you recall the time that the good people in the sleepy little town of Snowfield, California suddenly vanished in a Croatoan-style mystery, or that incredibly fast paced thriller about the brave Chyna Shepherd chasing after the murderous sociopath Edgler Vess… that was intense!  

Yes, those were the moments that bonded us, and while I thought we would last the ages, I’m afraid that you simply want more than I’m prepared to give; undying worship in the face of grievous disappointment.

Going forward, I hope you can hold on to these memories; I know I will; but I’ve come to believe that we’re just meant to be friends. I swear that – like many of your books – you will always hold a special place in my heart, but I’m sad to say that you’ve left me no choice but to let you go as an idol. To my credit, I did try to hold the spot open for you when you first began to slip, and perhaps, if we’d not ignored the problem for so long, we could have worked through our differences together. Unfortunately, your growing obsession with dogs is something I’m simply no longer able to overlook, and the spot you held for so long has now been filled by another.

Really, in the end it’s not you – it’s me. I thank you for all the good times we shared and I will try to stay in touch.

Sincerely,

~Robin~

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11 responses

  1. this is a wonderful flight of fantasy and beautifully realised

    March 14, 2012 at 10:15 am

    • Heh, thanks darlin

      March 14, 2012 at 10:39 am

  2. I feel almost exactly the same way about Koontz. I don’t think I’ve read enough of his books to be really sure (I’ve maybe read…10-15?) and I’d say only 2/3 have something to do with a dog, and only in half is it preternaturally intelligent (that’s still a lot though). What gets me the most is his preachy tone in his more recent novels, especially the ones about Christopher Snow. He’s all “enjoy the moment” and “be thankful for your blessings” and everything, which is absolutely fine, but not when that’s all he has to say. Because I KNOW he has more to say, but he just hasn’t been saying it.

    Did you read Breathless? I closed it when I was finished and I realized I had no idea what the story was about. The whole thing was a lead-up to…nothing. I wanted to throw it out the window.

    March 15, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    • I have a tendency to fixate on things; with Koontz it was the dog craze, obviously. I exaggerated some when I said his (nearly) every recent book was about preternaturally intelligent dogs, but only by a little. THERE ARE A DAMN LOT OF THEM! I’ve read perhaps as many 60 novels by Koontz, and he really was one of favourite writers (and an idol) for a very long time, but the repetition of material seemed to be wider spread than just the dog thing – his antagonists (interesting as they may be) were all beginning to resemble one another some, at least in my mind.
      I actually liked the Christopher Snow books – I hear there’s another one on the way – but I agree that they did seem a little preachy at times.
      To answer your question; I never did read Breathless. I haven’t read anything since The Good Guy. I was already falling out of love with the man when I saw his (then) latest book in the stores; The Darkest Evening of the Year; and after already being at odds with his obsession, seeing a golden retriever on the cover just about undid me, lol. I decided it would be best if I just took a little time off Koontz.
      While I currently have my issues with the man’s writing, I would still suggest any of a score or more of his titles as excellent reading material, and I’m hoping that one day he gets past the fixation. Anyways, thanks for commenting; it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who’s noticed these little things.

      March 16, 2012 at 7:36 am

      • No problem–it’s not often I get to vent about him with someone who’s read even more books of his than I have! Generally when I’m recommending Koontz I tell people not to read anything that was published after about ’95 or so. I find his books from the 80s so much more engaging and creative (and much less recycled/formulated) than the recent ones.

        March 16, 2012 at 8:02 am

  3. What about By the LIght of the Moon? That was published in 2002 and I consider it to be one of his best. While I will agree that some of his earlier books were better, I would never dismiss any of his newer titles until I’ve read them. He’s one of the reasons why I write today.

    March 21, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    • Honestly… you’d probably have to be more used to my over usage of sarcasm to truly understand where this post is coming from… but that doesn’t change the facts. Though Koontz is one of the authors that has long inspired me, and though I will always love him and his body of work, the dog theme really was grating on my nerves. This is based on personal opinion (and yes, some frustration) so please don’t be offended if mine differs somewhat from your own. He’s an amazing writer whose talent I could only hope to someday echo. I’m sure that when I get over myself, I’ll go back and catch up on the novels he’s put out since I decided to take a break. ~Robin~

      March 21, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      • Oh, I got the sarcasm. The comment was more intended for Bridget. I don’t mind your opinion. It’s yours and you can do what you like.

        I think it’s easy to get lost in what we used to love about a writer and sometimes we forget that he’s not the same young guy he was when he wrote Phantoms. Age has a way of changing people. LIke you say, if I could have half the career Dean did, I’d jump for joy. There’s a handful of his books that I can’t stand, but I keep reading. By the Light of the Moon is one of his better, newer books. Give it a try. You won’t be sorry.

        I enjoyed the post. And the sarcasm. 🙂

        March 21, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      • You’re completely right about that of course… I even went through a very brief period of estrangement with King (who is at the very top of my list) and though I love that man’s new work, I still tend to favour the older stuff.
        When it comes to Koontz, it’s not that I have a problem with change; I really don’t; it’s the repetition and staying too much the same that bothers me more than anything. I get fixation; I do it all the damn time… the difference being that I’m not getting rich off my temporary obsessions, hehe. I can’t say there’s any of his books that I actually ‘hate’, but there were several in a row that I really didn’t overly like. One of the biggest disappointments for me was the last Frankenstein… after waiting so long for it to come out, I felt the writing was way below his standard. It actually made me feel a little cheated. Ah well, it is what it is.
        I’ll take your advice and grab myself a copy of By the Light of the Moon… if you promise there’s no damn super-smart dogs in it lol.
        Thanks a for commenting!

        March 21, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    • I’m glad I checked my “Comments I’ve Made” page today and saw this! I haven’t read that one, but I’ll give it a shot. I didn’t mean to give the impression that I think ALL of his more recent books are bad–none of them are bad, per se. I just feel bad for people who haven’t experienced the genius of earlier Koontz. There are a couple of his later books that I really enjoy, namely Tick Tock (1996) and False Memory (1999), but anything after that (The Husband, Breathless, Your Heart Belongs to Me) has been…blah, to say the least. The one exception so far has been Relentless (2009), which, even though it had an absurd premise, was actually really enjoyable.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:40 am

      • I completely understand. He did have a string of head scratchers; books that left me wondering like many others if Mr. Koontz had changed. While his subject matter does feel watered down, there are still a few of his newer books that read more like the older ones. By the Light of the Moon is definitely one of them. It’s also one of the books that the fans keep bugging him to write a sequel. The characters are that good. No dogs in it either, super or otherwise. 🙂

        I’m like you Bridget, I found this post and was grateful for the chance to talk about the old man. He’s been such a huge influence on me and one of the reasons why I write. So thank you ladies for the intelligent conversation which can be hard to find in cyberspace.

        If either of you do read By the Light of the Moon, I’d be interested in your opinions.

        March 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm

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