Sunday, January 06, 2013

Dean R. Koontz: Watchers

I think this is the first book I've read by Dean R. Koontz. I wanted to have something long to read during Christmas, but this proved to be too long! I had to drop some other books from my holiday reading list because of it, ones like Scott O'Dell's The King's Fifth (1966). Since the holidays are now over, I'll have to start reading work-related books again.

I did finish Watchers (Ääniä yössä in Finnish, meaning Voices in the Night), since the premise was interesting and the book was quite suspenseful at times, but the sentimental moments between the two main characters got at time too soft for me. I would've cut some 100 pages out of it, and I don't think the book would've suffered.

Watchers came out in 1987 and seems like Koontz's books have only gotten longer. What's with it? I understand the comfort of a long book, but c'mon, I want to read some other books too! I got to think more about this when we went to see The Hobbit with my daughter. As you well know, it's almost three hours long and it's going to be in three-part serial, nine hours in all! Who's behind all this? Tolkien might be himself one to blame with his 1,000-page books (well, The Hobbit is only 300 pages), but then again he wanted The Lord of the Rings to be published in one piece, not as a trilogy. After his publisher's decision though, everything has had to be published in three pieces, hence also The Hobbit trilogy.

Is it Stephen King then? I seem to remember he was one of the foremost bestseller writers to go for 400 or 500 pages - and accordingly Koontz followed him. (But then again, some of the fifties' bestsellers were quite long, i.e. The Thin Red Line. Or talk about Gone With the Wind!)

Or is it television? I got to thinking they could've done a TV series from The Hobbit. It could've easily been even longer, just like The Wire or The Sopranos. Are they trying to compete with these ever-continuing TV series that have long story arcs? Many of the sophisticated viewers go now for TV and series like the two mentioned above or The Game of Thrones and others and shy away from the hustle and bustle of movies like X-men or Transformers? The longer, the more serious? Is it really so?

Sorry, this got out of hand. I didn't say much about Watchers, and suffice to say that I liked The Hobbit moderately. I did think it was a bit too long, but then again I wasn't bored. Some of Peter Jackson's more serious moments are pretty clichéd, though. I'm not sure whether I'll be reading more of Koontz's longer books, but I'll be waiting the other parts in The Hobbit serial.

No, wait a second: I've read one of Koontz's early crime novels as by Brian Coffey. That one (The Wall of Masks) was brisk and short. I also liked it more than Watchers.

Featured is the Finnish cover, with typography by Marjaana Virta. I like it better than the actual picture in the cover, which is American in origin.

1 comment:

Bill Crider said...

I prefer shorter books and movies, too. I haven't always felt that way, though.