For those of you who have been reading or not reading Koontz lately, it may not be obvious that there are two Koontzes: the early Koontz and the late Koontz. Like the early Heidegger and the late Heidegger. The distinction should open the door to hours and hours and hours of delightful, unadulterated intelligence, humorous rumination, and lines of imaginative flight: emotional transport, sideways, to use a Koontzian term. For those of us who know who Sammy Davis Jr. and Mr. Wizard are, add hours of being-with-a-member-of-one’s-own-generation type pleasure. The ease of recognition. The Door to December is early Koontz — performed by a seasoned master: George Guidall. The first actor, in fact, hired by Recorded Books, a New York City based studio that used actors (rather than babysitters) to read books out loud.
And now to the battle of principalities. Yes, principalities. Early Koontz is political and politics is always about principalities. Consider the ex-husband that kidnaps the daughter and disappears for 5 years. Consider the mother. These are characters, but they are also theories. She is a psychiatrist specializing in child psychology, and he is a behavioral psychologist specializing in behavior modification. Their theoretical differences underpin the moral-emotional ones. One theory locks the child in a gray room, isolates it, deprives it, shocks it, plays with it and forces it to change. The other theory lacks scientific rigour, but feels better. It is the theory of the mother who tries to heal the beaten child.
And alongside the good mother is the good cop. Defiant, tenacious, competent, the cop and the mother talk the child away from the institution of evil. Talk is play, talk is confession, talk is a technique which can organize both good and bad emotions.
Someday the totalitarians will take over and they’ll pass laws so you can’t pee unless you have permission from the official federal urinary gatekeeper. Then you’ll come to me with your bladder bursting and you’ll say Luther, my God, why didn’t you warn me about these people?
In Las Vegas…
…there were hundreds of people …standing around the craps tables, people in suits and evening gowns, people in slacks and jeans conscienciously rustic cowboy types standing next to people who looked as if they had just survived an explosion in a polyester factory.”