Visionary Fiction Alliance

Portal to Visionary Fiction – Transforming Human Consciousness

Is Dean Koontz a Visionary Fiction Writer?

By Margaret Duarte

Dean Koontz is generally categorized as a writer of horror, and I’m not a fan of horror, so I’m not sure what possessed me to read one of his novels. Maybe someone gave it to me. Maybe I picked it up in a bargain bin somewhere.

What I do remember is that the book’s title was Watchers and, while reading it, I fell in love with a dog named Einstein and an author named Dean Koontz.

Then along came the Odd Thomas series. Again, I don’t know how I discovered it, but I do know that Koontz’s “odd” protagonist nabbed and bagged my heart before I even got to paragraph two. The series is written in first person, from the point of view of a short-order cook named Odd Thomas, who pulls you in with his wit and humility and then captivates you like a first crush with his concern for the underdogs of – and out of – this world.

“My name is Odd Thomas, though in this age when fame is the altar at which most people worship, I am not sure why you should care who I am or that I exist.”

Peculiar things happen to Odd Thomas that don’t happen to anyone else. He communicates with the dead, for instance. Not by choice, mind you. Odd Thomas is a reluctant confidant and can’t resist helping the quiet souls who seek him out for justice.

Almost every page of Koontz’s novels contains a line or phrase that teases and pleases the brain. I’m down right envious of Koontz’s ability to penetrate beneath the surface of things (the beautiful and ugly, humorous and sad, inspiring and depressing) and share observations that vibrate with truth.

  • “We are not, however, a species that can choose the baggage with which it must travel. In spite of our best intentions, we always find that we have brought along a suitcase or two of darkness, and misery.”
  • “A car can’t return the love you give it. but if you’re lonely enough, maybe the sparkle of the chrome, the luster of the paint, and the purr of the engine can be mistaken for affection.”
  • “Unlike the beasts of the wild, the many cruel varieties of human monsters, when at last cornered, seldom fight with greater ferocity. Instead, they reveal the cowardice at the core of their brutality.”

And so it goes page after page, bits of wisdom threaded within stories of suspense, horror, sci-fi and love in contemporary settings. It’s no surprise that he’s hard, if not impossible, to categorize. Koontz crosses boundaries. He does his own thing. He is an entertainer and a philosopher. Yet he doesn’t preach and he doesn’t bore. He’s the Emerson of genre fiction.

In a previous post, I described visionary fiction as a genre that not only tells a good story, but also enlightens and encourages readers to expand their awareness of greater possibilities. Visionary fiction helps readers see the world in a new light and recognize dimensions of reality they commonly ignore.

Dean Koontz does that and more. What can I say? The man’s a master. I’m not surprised that many visionary fiction authors claim Koontz influenced their writing. In fact, I would go as far as to say that Koontz is a visionary fiction writer. How’s that for crossing boundaries?

If you haven’t discovered Dean Koontz for yourself, I suggest you do so. Or see the movie, which comes out soon. You won’t regret it. And while you’re at it, check out some of the other visionary authors mentioned on this site. In a world riddled with fear, misunderstanding, and lost hope, you might just welcome fiction that heals, empowers, and bridges differences.

About margaretduarte

Margaret Duarte, a former middle school teacher, lives on a family-owned-and-operated dairy farm with a herd of “happy cows,” a constant reminder that the greenest pastures are closest to home. Margaret earned her creative writing certificate through UC Davis Extension and has since published three novels in her “Enter the Between” visionary fiction series: Between Will and Surrender, Between Darkness and Dawn, and Between Yesterday and Tomorrow. Her poem and story credits include SPC Tule Review, The California Writers Club Literary Review, finalist in the 2017 SLO Nightwriters Golden Quill Writing Contest, and First Place winner for fiction in the 2016 Northern California Publishers and Authors Book Awards Competition. For links to Margaret and her work, visit her website at: margaretduarte.com.

21 comments on “Is Dean Koontz a Visionary Fiction Writer?

  1. Admin - Eleni
    October 5, 2012

    There are so many examples of Visionary Fiction that aren’t labelled as such. I never read Dean Koontz, and now I’m interested to do so. The quotes alone make me want to read the book, especially the one about the car. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Like

    • margaretduarte
      October 5, 2012

      Hi Eleni. I could go on forever with quotes from Koontz’s books, since there are so many that make me catch my breath and smile. Here’s one, for instance, from BROTHER ODD: “Or we yearn for yesterday, for what was or what might have been. But as we are yearning, the present is becoming the past, so the past is nothing but our yearning for second chances.” How can he NOT be a visionary writer?

      Like

  2. visionaryfictionauthor
    October 6, 2012

    Margaret,
    You’ve really spurred my interest in Dean Koontz’s writing. And from your description, it sounds like he really fits the VF genre. I loved the quote about the baggage and suitcase, and admire how he manages to say something profound in a way most of us can relate to….VF artistry at its best.

    Like

    • margaretduarte
      October 6, 2012

      Hi Jodine. Yes, exactly, Koontz manages to say something profound on every page. For me, it’s like brain candy. That’s why I dubbed him the Emerson of genre fiction. ONE DOOR AWAY FROM HEAVEN is another of his novels that I enjoyed. It’s described as “…a story of redemption and timeless wisdom that will have readers cheering.”

      Like

  3. Jo Chandler
    October 6, 2012

    Never dreamed I’d read a Koontz book, but you had me at the dog.

    Like

    • margaretduarte
      October 6, 2012

      Hi Jo. You’re not alone. WATCHERS is one of Koontz’s most popular books. Even if you’re not already a dog lover, you’ll love Einstein. This is no ordinary dog!

      Like

  4. Rosi
    October 6, 2012

    This is a real revelation for me. Years ago I was a voracious reader of horror — Stephen King and Dean Koontz particularly — but grew tired of the genre and moved on to other things. I haven’t read anything by either in many, many years with the exception of King’s brilliant On Writing. It sounds as though I’ve missed a wonderful evolution in Koontz’s work. I think I will have to revisit his section of the bookshelves. Thanks for the fine post.

    Like

    • margaretduarte
      October 6, 2012

      Hi Rosi. I don’t like horror, but Koontz manages to mix terror with hope and tragedy with joy. I suggest you start with the Odd Thomas series, especially BROTHER ODD. I think you’ll also enjoy WATCHERS and ONE DOOR AWAY FROM HEAVEN. Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Like

  5. Like you, I have never been a fan of horror. Although I have read and enjoyed some of Anne Rice… go figure that one. After reading your review of this writer and his work “Odd Thomas” I may have to take another look. Thank you for that. 🙂

    Like

  6. Poppy Reiffin
    October 16, 2012

    I would never have read a horror novel, but after seeing your FB post and reading this article, I went straight to Amazon to buy Odd Thomas. Thanks!

    Like

    • margaretduarte
      October 17, 2012

      Hi Poppy. You’ll soon learn that the Odd Thomas series has a lot more going for it than horror. Enjoy!

      Like

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This entry was posted on October 4, 2012 by in Blog, For Authors, For Readers, Key Posts and tagged .
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