June 7, 2010

Frankenstein: A Lesson in Good and Evil

June 2010 Fan Column

(Our fan column is written by long-time Dean Koontz fan and writer, Chris Meeks.)

I’ve grown fond of Dean’s Frankenstein series.  In fact, it’s quickly become one of my favorites, for many reasons.  And, like countless Koontz fans, I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of his newest novel, FRANKENSTEIN: LOST SOULS, now available everywhere.  But, before I delve into the supernatural realm of reanimated cadaver parts and hulking brutes manipulating the raw power of lightning, I need to explore a few other elements.

It took years for me to fully comprehend why I gravitated so strongly toward Dean Koontz novels.  As I’ve explained a few times before, I could list why I feel his writing is superior, his prose crisp and lyrical, his character development unparalleled, and his well-timed humor to be some of the wittiest I’ve read.  I appreciate all of those unique qualities.

But after I’ve boiled down all the rich ingredients that constitute one of Dean’s many masterpieces, I’m left with an addictive consommé of which I can’t get enough.        

Each one of us has listened to a song on the radio that resonated within our core, tugged on just the right heartstring, because we could relate to the lyrics.  The same thing could be said about the movie that graced our television screen on just the right night, at just the right time. When that happens, the artist or producer responsible for eliciting such emotions has ably mirrored one of our own experiences.    

I have yet to read a Koontz book where that didn’t happen to me.  A glint of “me” always flickers within each of his novels, whether it be reminiscent of bygone days, or reflective of present circumstances.  And with each time, it proves therapeutic.  On occasion it teaches me a lesson.  But often, it gives me hope. 

Dean’s signature is the triumph of good over evil.  No matter how hopeless things may seem, or how dark the moment may be, the power of good always finds a way to drop an Acme anvil on evil’s ugly face.  And I like that!  Especially if it’s executed with a supernatural twist.  Such special moments usually induce a gratifying wave of goose bumps along my forearms. 

Now, back to Frankenstein.  This series has it all.  One fan said it best: “It is a story full of love, murder, technology, conspiracy, courage, redemption, mystery, suspense, revenge, humor, and hope.”  Another fan appreciated some of its modern appeal by saying, “Koontz shows the virtues and vices of our current justice system through the eyes of the heroes and villains, and even the victims.”  And folks, that’s just the start.  In this story, not only do you see an epic clash between light and dark, but you also learn that good doesn’t necessarily have to have a pretty face.

Allow me to give a brief synopsis:

Though inspired by a classic tale, Dean’s fresh and modern vision of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece makes it stand alone as his own creation.  Taking place in present-day New Orleans, the story features Dr. Frankenstein’s original monster, now named Deucalion, who has evolved both mentally and physically over the past 200 years.  No longer the primitive abomination he once was, Deucalion now possesses new knowledge, new purpose, and magnificent new abilities that transmogrify him into an unstoppable force for good.

Victor Leben (once known to the public as the scientific genius, Victor Helios), plans to make the world a better place.  Deucalion knows him by his true name, and knows what he plans to do.  Now he must stand and face his creator before Dr. Victor Frankenstein destroys the entire human race. 

There you have it.  So, despite being originally created from the cadavers of dead criminals, Deucalion uses both the power of hope and free will to defy his own genetic makeup, determining his own destiny and becoming a supernatural force for good . . . thus teaching that we are who we are because of our own conscious choices, no matter the circumstances.     

Frankenstein: Lost Souls is here, and with it comes a whole new lesson in good and evil.  If you have yet to get acquainted with this series, what’s keeping you?    

Happy reading!

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