C.S. Lewis, Dean Koontz, Mad Scientists: Happy New Year!

07 Jan
Steel engraving (993 x 71mm) for frontispiece ...

Steel engraving (993 x 71mm) for frontispiece to the revised edition of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, published by Colburn and Bentley, London 1831. The novel was first published in 1818. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello again.

Yes, I’ve been away for a while. As most of you probably know, the holidays can be a hectic time. Not only was our business crazy-busy the two weeks before Christmas, but my wife and I then traveled to California after Christmas to visit my mother and some dear friends. When we arrived home this past week, our small business still demanded we run around like crazy people. Don’t get me wrong. That’s a good thing in this economy. But it kept me from being able to post until now. Which is not a good thing.

I hope and trust that you all had a wonderful holiday season and made it through safely. I also hope you all got the books you truly wanted. I did. I got copies of Eugene Peterson’s “Eat This Book,” Richard A. Burridge’s “Imitating Jesus,” and Dean Koontz’s “Frankenstein, Book Three: Dead and Alive.” That last one I tore through while we were in California. What a book!

Originally intended to be a cable television event, then a trilogy co-written by Koontz and another author, “Frankenstein” has finally been fulfilled as a five-volume series exploring and expanding the themes begun by Mary Shelley in her original novel. Why Dean Koontz agreed to co-author the first two books is somewhat of a mystery, given that he writes novels the way bunnies . . . well, you know.

Anyway, it would be a bit unfair to do a detailed review of “Dead and Alive,” given it’s the middle book in the series and I don’t want to spoil too much in case anyone out there decides to read the whole arc. I will say that it contains the usual sharply drawn characters (including the original Frankenstein’s monster as a hero this time), off-beat humor and the unnerving situations that Koontz is famous for. What he is also famous for is his exploration of important themes, in this case what happens when man tries to play God. (It’s also the theme of one of my favorite television series, “Fringe”) The fact that in today’s world we have genetic engineering going on and biotech companies patenting new bacteria lends a certain immediacy to this story.

Koontz actually dedicates the first three books, the original Frankenstein trilogy, to C.S. Lewis, opening “Dead and Alive” with a quote from Lewis’ book “The Abolition of Man”:

I am very doubtful whether history shows us one example of a man who, having stepped outside traditional morality and attained power, has used that power benevolently.

In his dedication, Koontz credits Lewis for realizing “that science was being politicized, that it’s primary goal was changing from knowledge to power, that it was also becoming scientism, and that in the ism is the end of humanity.” So true. Lewis was well ahead of the curve in seeing that.

Not to start off the new year on a down note, but there really are mad scientists in the world today. I can point you to some blogs and websites where they are quite active. We need to approach the future with our eyes open. And a Dean Koontz novel.


Posted by on January 7, 2013 in Authors, Book Review, Ideas, Quotations, What I'm Reading


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9 responses to “C.S. Lewis, Dean Koontz, Mad Scientists: Happy New Year!

  1. eaglecanyon

    January 7, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Intriguing, as usual. I have not read a good Koontz book in quite a while so may have have to give these a go. It would be interesting, as I finished reading the original “Frankenstein” (again) not too long ago. Seems to me I have one called “Frankenstein in Chains” on my e-reader. Sounds like a good way to start the new year – C.S. Lewis and Koontz. Thanks for the literary direction!

    • Rob

      January 8, 2013 at 12:16 am

      Good to hear from you again! I’ve been a big Koontz fan for quite a while now, not just because he’s a great writer but also the themes he explores. I still have yet to read the original “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley. Guess I’d better get on the ball. I hear her theme isn’t so much about man playing God as it is about the way we treat people. What’s your take?

      Hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s!

      • eaglecanyon

        January 8, 2013 at 1:50 am

        It’s been a while since I read it, and I have a brain like a sieve these days, ha-ha! As I recall, the monster himself was quite thoughtful and verbal, musing a great deal on that very subject in his loneliness and anguish. HE was not at all the horror simpleton portrayed in the classic movies. Those moments in the movies where he demonstrates higher levels of thought and function (De Niro and Karloff both had them) are most like his behavior throughout the book.

      • eaglecanyon

        January 8, 2013 at 1:51 am

        Thanks – hope you had a good holiday as well. Ours was lovely, other than coming home with “the plague”, as mentioned.

  2. Rob

    January 8, 2013 at 3:10 am

    As I said in the post, Koontz has the original “monster” in this series except his name is now Deucalion and he is quite thoughtful, as you point out. He also has some interesting . . . abilities, which I’m not sure he had in the Shelley book. By all means, you should read the series.

    Hope you’re feeling better!

  3. jubilare

    January 8, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Fringe! 🙂

    You have piqued my interest. Yet another set of books to add to my ever-growing, never-shrinking to-read list. 😛

    • Rob

      January 8, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      Glad to add to your list! I’ll warn you: Koontz can be addictive. But he makes you think, too.

      Happy New Year! Hope your holidays were grand.

      • jubilare

        January 8, 2013 at 7:02 pm

        Happy New Year to you as well!


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