Adventures in Bookland: Odd Is On Our Side by Dean Koontz
Ah, the pitfalls of being a franchise author. Now, I thought it was simply a matter of chucking out a few half-formed ideas to your writerly minion and then sitting back and counting the royalties as they flow in, while throwing the odd (get it?) groat to your amanuensis but, it turns out, that is not the case at all. So, here you are, Dean Koontz, bestselling author, owner of the best hair transplant this side of Elton John, dog owner and, now, faithful Catholic after a rather dodgy period in your youth when you embraced some distinctly dodgy form of nihilistic transhumanism (I must be one of the few people to have read Koontz’s 1976 novel A Darkness in My Soul which backs up this contention), and now, after working all your life seven days a week turning out four novels a year you think maybe it’s time to sit back, work the kinks out of your typing fingers and let someone else bring in a few of the bucks.
See, you’ve got this bestselling character that your fans have really warmed to – and he’s a bit of a personal favourite too – and your agent mentioned this manga stuff to you a while back and you still remember the sting: ‘What’s more, you don’t even have to write it, Dean. The characters are so strong, they’ll take the strain even if someone else does the writing.’
And you think, ‘Yeah… They are, aren’t they. It’d be kind of interesting to see how someone else sees them – at least till the movie deal comes through. Why not?’
‘Of course, you get script approval, Dean.’
Turns out, that was just as well. Ozzie Boone black? Well, you could live with that, even if it wasn’t how you saw him, but then you read the plot and, yes, it’s yet another mad-fundy-Christian-poisons-trick-or-treaters potboiler. Look, you know potboilers, you’ve stewed enough plots in your time to feed half the homeless in Pico Mundo, and even you wouldn’t stoop that low, even if you weren’t, actually, you know, a Christian rather than someone like, er, Fred Van Lente, who apparently gets all his knowledge of this obscure sect from the more lurid episodes of cop shows and the anthropological investigations of Salon and the Huffington Post.
You take a deep sigh. You run a red line through that particular plotline. You suggest something else and you resolve that, in future, you’ll write your own books. Leave the author farming to Clive Cussler and James Patterson; you’re an honest workman and you resolve to remain so.