Dean Koontz on Frankenstein: Lost Souls
When it comes to predicting the future, I am Nostradamus's idiot great nephew. In the 1980s, I believed that by 2010, we would all be traveling regularly to no-sales-tax shopping malls on the moon and zipping over to Mars for a Frappuccino. I thought we would be enjoying genetically engineered house pets like cadogs (half cat, half dog, all affection), miniature eaglebbits (flying rabbits), dry chihuahuas (little dogs that never need to pee), crocodobers (highly effective home guard dogs), and spongerbils (sponge gerbils that not only can be cuddled but will mop your floors and wring one another out in a bucket of water).
I also predicted that by now we would be flying everywhere with personal jet packs, and carrying clever autofloss machines to strip the bugs out of our teeth in thirty seconds flat after landing. Back in 1980, I predicted that by now John Belushi would be president, but I don't count this one a complete miss, because Al Franken is a United States Senator, which I admit surprises me considering that Mr. Franken isn't nearly funny enough to hold high office.
When I finished the third Frankenstein novel, Dead and Alive, I foresaw that it was the end of the series. As it turns out, I was as right about this as I was about my prediction that the annual Academy Awards TV special would be hosted five years running by Muammar Gaddafi.
My original trilogy brought to an end a story cycle, but the themes of Shelley's novel are more timely by the month. I realized that I could do much more with the concept than I had done thus far. Furthermore, an entirely new kind of technology of creature-creation occurred to me, and it was a lot more terrifying than the messy-gooey, strictly biological New Race that Victor developed in the first trilogy. By moving the setting from New Orleans to Rainbow Falls, Montana, I was able, as well, to change the atmosphere and to have fun with Armageddon occurring in snow-and-cowboy country.
As always, if readers hadn't been so enthusiastic about these books, I wouldn't have been able to proceed with the series. I appreciate your support more than I can say. I've received a lot of mail from readers who said they didn't read these novels for the longest time because the whole Frankenstein thing turned them off, but when they finally tried them, they discovered these weren't at all like what they expected, and they loved them. I always try not to give you the same old same old. Lost Souls has the flavor of my first three Frankenstein titles, but otherwise it does not clump over familiar territory. This time, Victor is much scarier and smarter than his predecessor, and his war against humanity is a blitzkrieg that comes on like a storm.
Lost Souls, like the books after it, is self-contained even though it is a part of a larger narrative. You can plunge into it and, if you like it, then go back to Prodigal Son, City of Night, and Dead and Alive if you wish. I am currently working on The Dead Town, recounting the next phase of the war against humanity, and I suppose it might sound a little strange to say I'm having a good time chronicling our doom.
Set in Rainbow Falls, Mont., Koontz's goofy, grisly fourth riff on the Frankenstein theme (after Dead and Alive) finds Victor--previously presumed dead but apparently as easily resurrected as cinematic incarnations of his monster--perfecting his "New Race" of humanoid replicants. As affectless pod-person lookalikes gradually replace the town's citizens, the task of saving humanity from Victor and his megalomaniacal plans to "destroy the soul of the world" fall once again to husband-and-wife detectives Michael and Carson Maddison; Victor's soulsearching original monster, Deucalion; and a host of local yokels who provide both sympathy and comic relief. That the "good guys" are instantly recognizable by their abundant compassion, generosity, and sense of humor and the "bad guys" by their fussbudget fastidiousness and dedication to efficient extermination of inferior humans helps lay the foundation for the humanitarian homilies that punctuate the narrative.
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