July 17th, 2007



For years I thought Stephen King was a schlock writer. I couldn't imagine actually reading anything he wrote. When, because someone recommended it, I read IT, I decided maybe he isn't a bad writer after all. I wouldn't call him "great" but he can write.

For years I saw Dean Koontz's name on mass-market paperbacks in the markets and I thought he had to be a second-rate Stephen King, and I imagined that he wrote horror stories and I was far from interested. Recently, though, I have gotten two Dean Koontz books from Mary's friend Jim, and of course I read them, and it is with some shock that I confess that I liked them. Quite a lot. And they weren't horror stories.

I consider both to be writers of airplane fiction, although when I think of King's short stories I think there may be a few stories that transcend that level, that actually have bigger things to say. If I were to choose between the two, though, I'd go with Koontz. I actually like the characters he creates and I like the way they painstakingly find a way around unbelievable challenges, and I like that these stories are not predictable except in one respect: we know the good guys will win, somehow.