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the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

June 7th, 2005 (02:00 pm)

So: Dean Koontz's The Taking. On sale at Target for $8 in a mall where I was stranded for three hours. Bought it. Read it. Bad decision. Bad.

Okay, so I grew up on Dean Koontz, right? And I know he was never great. But I swear to God he used to be better than this. At the very least, he used to have reasonably engaging characters in most of his books. These characters were total puppets. And the plot... oh my God!

MOLLY: Neil! My husband Neil, whom I love very much!
NEIL: Yes, my wife Molly whom I love very much!
MOLLY: It’s raining really hard and the rain smells weird.
KYLIE: The rain is aliens?
MOLLY AND NEIL: ::watch old movies on TV::
KYLIE: Wait, how come the rain is aliens?
MOLLY AND NEIL: ::eat voluptuously described chicken salad sandwiches::
KYLIE: Seriously, aliens? Anybody want to explain?
MOLLY: Mmm, chicken salad. Now we must drive, randomly, with no idea or thought of where we are going.
NEIL: We must.
KYLIE: Oooooookay then.

MOLLY AND NEIL: ::drive randomly::
NEIL: Molly! We just drove past your murderer father, who inflicted upon you a Standard Koontzian Abusive Childhood and then forced you into a Horrific Yet Cathartic Situation in which you were forced to prove your mettle and spunk by shooting your father and saving the lives of twenty other children! When you were eight!
MOLLY: Dude! We totally just did!
NEIL: Isn’t he supposed to be in jail?
MOLLY: He is! How did he get out?
NEIL: And how did he get here? The jail’s like a squillion miles away. And where are we going, anyway?
MOLLY: Do you think we should ask Dean Koontz?
NEIL: Sure. Dean Koontz!
DEAN KOONTZ: SHHHHHHHHH!! I am busy coming up with big words!
MOLLY: But nothing we’re doing makes any sense and no one has any idea what the hell is going on!
MOLLY AND NEIL: ::keep driving randomly::

MOLLY: Hey, a tavern! With people in it! Let’s go into the tavern, Neil!
NEIL: Why do you keep calling it a tavern and not a bar?
MOLLY: Because this is a Dean Koontz novel.
NEIL: Oh, okay. Sure, let’s go in.
A WHOLE BUNCH OF DOGS: ::sniff Molly::
A WHOLE BUNCH OF DOGS: ::are clearly not just dogs anymore::
A WHOLE BUNCH OF DOGS: ::because Dean Koontz said so::
RANDOM BOOZY ENGLISH TEACHER GUY: Hey hey, the world is clearly ending so let’s all get really fucking drunk. Because there’s this really gross fungus thing in the closet and it’s an alien growth and the whole planet is going to be terraformed for another species and we’re all going to die. By the way, I believe we are in rats’ alley where the dead men lost their bones.
MOLLY: T.S. Eliot? Wtf?
RANDOM BOOZY ENGLISH TEACHER GUY: If you’ll excuse me, I have to get even drunker now. But remember: rats’ alley!
MOLLY: M’kay!

* * *

MOLLY: ::runs into her father in the bathroom::
MOLLY: Dude, wtf?
FATHER: Ha ha ha I’m soooooooo evil! You know you wanna kill me ha ha ha ha ha!
MOLLY: ::does not kill her father::
FATHER: The corpse you planted last year in your garden, has it begun to sprout?
FATHER: ::jumps out the window::
KYLIE: Dean Koontz, what in the hell are you smoking?
KYLIE: ::facepalm::

* * *

EVERYONE IN THE BAR TAVERN: ::gets drunk and plots against the aliens::
MIRRORS: ::start reflecting dead people::
CLOCKS: ::go haywire::
RANDOM CREEPY DOLL: ::starts threatening to kill everyone::
DEAN KOONTZ: ::swigs absinthe, thumbs through dictionary::
BARTENDER TAVERNTENDER: Waste and void and darkness on the face of the deep.

* * *

KYLIE: Okay, seriously. What?
DEAN KOONTZ: Empurpled!
KYLIE: That’s not even a very good word!
DEAN KOONTZ: It must be! Look, I’ve used it six times in four chapters!
KYLIE: You suck.
DEAN KOONTZ: Leviathan?
KYLIE: Only if you use it once.
KYLIE: Dude, shut up and make some sense of this plot!
KYLIE: ::headdesk::
DEAN KOONTZ: ::swigs more absinthe::

* * *

MOLLY: Neil! The aliens all quote T.S. Eliot!
NEIL: What? How do they know T.S. Eliot?
MOLLY: THEY JUST DO. Now we have to save all the children in the world.
NEIL: How are we going to do that?
MOLLY: With ::snatches randomly at nearest dog:: this dog.
NEIL: Okay.

* * *

DOG: ::leads Molly and Neil all over the world::
MOLLY AND NEIL: ::rescue all the children::
SOME PEOPLE: ::have their heads cut off and keep talking::
SOME PEOPLE: ::get randomly beamed up through the ceilings of their houses::
SOME ALIENS: ::have peoples’ faces in their hands::
SOME ALIENS: ::are white pod things::
THE CHILDREN: ::are for some reason immune to the aliens::
MOLLY AND NEIL: ::know this, but keep on “rescuing” them anyway::
THIS BOOK: ::still makes no sense::
KYLIE: ::looks to Dean Koontz helplessly::
DEAN KOONTZ: ::is snoozing over an empty bottle of absinthe and an open dictionary::

* * *

MOLLY: Neil! The dog has stopped leading us around. That must mean all the children in the world are safe!
MOLLY AND NEIL: ::go to bed::
ALL THE ALIENS: ::leave overnight::
DEAN KOONTZ: Dunno whadjer talkinbout. ‘Mpurpl’d’s’n AWESOME word.

* * *

MOLLY: ::decides that the aliens were actually Satan::
THE BOOK: ::ends::

Please, everyone, if I ever state that I am even thinking of reading a Dean Koontz book ever again, I want you to shoot me with a sedative and take me in for a monthlong intensive psych eval.


Posted by: Spencer Irving (archaica)
Posted at: June 7th, 2005 07:01 pm (UTC)

That sounds like Stephen King, only it's not set in Maine. And he's on crack, not coke.

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: June 7th, 2005 07:09 pm (UTC)

See, the thing about Stephen King is that, yes, a lot of his books are just as trippy as this, but he's an infinitely better writer. That makes a *lot* of difference to me. Another part of why this book drove me so nuts is that the old Dean Koontz books I used to read were always exquisitely plotted, almost to a fault - he sure had his faults, but there was never a stray thread left hanging. It was, like, the point of his books. Stephen King just makes a point of scaring you silly, and doesn't sweat the small stuff to a degree that is ridiculous at times, but at least you know not to expect sense out of him. Dean Koontz made me expect sense out of him, so now I'm mad when he cheats me out of it. :)

I personally think Stephen King is bipolar. But that's a whole different story.

Isn't crack just a cheaper form of coke anyway?

Posted by: Spencer Irving (archaica)
Posted at: June 7th, 2005 07:13 pm (UTC)

Ahh, but crack's a ghetto drug. coke, that's the drug for snorting off the bellies of hookers while riding around in your limo.

Posted by: Spencer Irving (archaica)
Posted at: June 7th, 2005 07:15 pm (UTC)

And King, well, I read It, The Shining, and 'Salem's Lot and that was enough for me. I don't know if I thought he was such a great writer. He's a good storyteller, I guess, but I see a difference. Maybe there is none. I just get annoyed with his over-reliance on regional detail and certain stock phrases/psychologies. Although I loved his story about the guy who turns into a fungus from drinking bad beer. that's right, I read Night Shift. I enjoyed his short stories much more than his novels.

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: June 7th, 2005 07:25 pm (UTC)

Ohh, you've been reading the wrong King. I liked The Shining, but it's one of his disorganized I-wrote-this-in-the-middle-of-a-manic-episode-or-a-drunk-fit-or-a-crack-high-or-whatever books. It is the epitome of that, and Salem's Lot just sucked. If you want to try some of his more tightly woven stuff, I'd rec Misery, Dolores Claiborne, Pet Sematary, or Carrie. I loved The Stand, but it's one of the disorganized ones, only slightly less so than It.

And his prose styling, while enjoyable, probably wouldn't stand on its own that well. But I think the man is a *fantastic* storyteller, and his prose stands in service of that, which is the biggest thing prose is supposed to do. I 'unno. I really like him.

Posted by: Spencer Irving (archaica)
Posted at: June 7th, 2005 07:27 pm (UTC)

Well, maybe when I'm done with all the hojillion books I've got I've yet to read, I'll give King another try. I liked the movie Dolores Claiborne. poor Jennifer jason leigh.

Posted by: Obsessively opposed to the typical since 1987 (baroque_n_roll)
Posted at: June 7th, 2005 08:34 pm (UTC)

Holy crap, "Gray Matter"! I remember that story! That one scared the shit out of me, which is weird, because horror stories don't generally do that to me.

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