AudibleLive Chat with Dean Koontz about Relentless

January 3, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

Dean Koontz chats with his readers about his new novel Relentless (available through and Brilliance Audio) in this AudibleLive chat with Dean Koontz

After viewing this interview/chat I am reminded about why I don’t like most interviewers. Questions like: “What was your motivation when…” and the old classic “where do your ideas come from?” are almost worthless. The problem is that author’s don’t often seem very insightful into their writing process. Koontz manages his best with these questions, but the answers are most interesting when he is telling you a story about something that happened to him.

[via’s Twitter feed]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Phantoms by Dean Koontz

April 3, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Brilliance Audio - Phantoms by Dean KoontzPhantoms
By Dean Koontz; Read by Buck Schirner
12 CDs – 15 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: January 2008
ISBN: 9781423339267
Themes: / Horror / Suspense / Science Fiction / Mass Disappearance / California /

They found the town silent, apparently abandoned. Then they found the first body strangely swollen and still warm. One hundred fifty were dead, 350 missing. But the terror had only begun in the tiny mountain town of Snowfield, California. At first they thought it was the work of a maniac. Or terrorists. Or toxic contamination. Or a bizarre new disease. But then they found the truth. And they saw it in the flesh. And it was worse than anything any of them had ever imagined…

I went into this novel with low expectations. Our resident Dean Koontz aficionado was telling me that Phantoms wasn’t one of Koontz’s best works. That’s the bright side about low expectations – it makes the mediocre seem better. My biggest complaint isn’t really with the story at all – but rather with its length. 15 hours is a bit too long for a novel with this content and plot – there’s a whole separate subplot about an escaped criminal and his subsequent interactions with a biker gang. These parts of the book get mentioned a couple of times by the main narrative – but are otherwise un-interactive until the end of the novel. That whole subplot might have made an interesting short story, if separate, but it ends up being a side-note that doesn’t come to any real fruition, except in what felt like a tacked on end piece. Still, the main narrative is rather compelling. Dr. Jennifer Page, who lives and works in the small resort town of Snowfield, California, is returning from the big city and in doing so she’s taking with her much younger sister Lisa. Their mom has recently died and Jenny plans to raise her younger sister in the small town. Unfortunately, their arrival in Snowfield yields a much more horrifying and surprising disaster than the mere death of their mom. Everyone in town is missing! Well, almost everybody is missing anyway, with those few who aren’t entirely disappeared being completely dead – having been killed in grisly or bizarre fashions. The only clue to what has happened in Snowfield, while Jenny has been out of town, is a near incomprehensible message scrawled onto a bathroom mirror.

Fans of certain H.P. Lovecraft stories, John Carpenter’s The Thing, and Stephen King‘s The Mist will likely quite enjoy this tale. Thinking back on myself, it feels as if Phantoms would have made an excellent late 1960s or early 1970s Doctor Who serial. What I liked most about it was not the atmosphere of spookiness (that seems a high point to a lot of folks), but rather the care and attention to the back story and the explanations which Koontz put into the lead up to the events in snowfield. I can’t recall a lot of other novels that have dealt with the “mass disappearance” phenomenon. I do recollect one film on the topic, The Quiet Earth (it is terrific) but has a far different execution and feel than does Phantoms. Speaking of film, I recommend you shy away from the film version of Phantoms entirely – it trims down the plot (which you’d think would be good) – but manages to feel rather crappy all-around, despite being adapted to film by Koontz himself.

Phantoms gave Dean Koontz a reputation as a horror writer, Koontz describes the novel as “one of the ten biggest mistakes” of his life because, it earned the label horror writer, which he says he “never wanted, never embraced, and [has] ever since sought to shed.” I can see it. The actual novel is definitely working within the rules of Science Fiction. Sadly, suspense, which Koontz does embrace, is often confused with horror – and hence his problem. The initial publication of Phantoms in 1983 garnered the novel several positive reviews. But only Analog’s review clearly recognized Koontz’s attempt to put technology and science to the fore in Phantoms. Narrator Buck Schirner sounds a whole lot like Mel Blanc. He’s got a good range, and changes his voice for different character genders, ages, and accents. The cover on this audiobook is sadly wholly uninformative, as is the bland title. The novel should have been called “The Ancient Enemy” and the cover should have depicted an open sewer grate, or a sink full of jewelry.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #023

February 2, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #023 – Jesse and Scott are joined by Rick Jackson (aka The Time Traveler) and talk to him about his podcast (The Time Traveler Show) and audiobook company (Wonder Audio).

Talked about on today’s show:

The Time Traveler Show podcast, Scott Brick, William Dufris, Mark Douglas Nelson, Sam Mowry, Arthur C. Clarke, Stefan Rudnicki, Wonder Audio, Mac Kelly, Status Civilization by Robert Sheckley,, ebook, Frank Herbert, Alfred Bester, Pat Bottino, The Cimmerian blog, Pride And Prejudice And Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, Chronicle Books, Macmillan Audio, fantasy, Lamentation by Ken Scholes, multiple narrators, Full Cast Audio, Elmore Leonard, Jim Dale, Stephen Fry, Harry Potter, Graphic Audio, Anathem by Neal Stephenson, The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester (ISIS Audio ISBN: 1856955435), Phantoms by Dean Koontz, Mel Blanc, Billy West, Tara Platt, Yuri Lowenthal, Bill Hollweg, the public domain status of Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, The Weapon Shops Of Isher by A.E. van Vogt, William Coon, The Quest For Saint Aquin by Anthony Boucher, They Bite by Anthony Boucher, William F. Temple, A Sheckley Trilogy, Worlds Of Wonder edited by Robert Silverberg, The Monsters by Robert Sheckley, A Is For Alien, The Science Fiction Oral History Association, Lloyd Biggle Jr., SFOHA needs volunteers, Worldcon 2009, Macmillan Audio, Sly Mongoose by Tobias Buckell (read by Jonathan Davis), science fiction, aliens, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow |READ OUR REVIEW|, infodumping, Scott Westerfeld, Uglies, Pretties, Extras, A Case Of Conscience by James Blish |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce, The Star by Arthur C. Clarke, The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, Penguincon, Penguincon podcast, Spider Robinson, Stephen Eley, Day Million and We Purchased People by Frederik Pohl, Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me), science as “arrogance control”, transhumanism.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #021

January 19, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Podcasts 


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #021 – Jesse and Scott are joined new SFFaudio contributor Carsten Schmitt! It’s a show full of participatory enjoyment and less about equipment love.

Talked about on today’s show:
Macmillan Audio, Halo: The Cole Protocol, Tobias S. Buckell, METAtropolis (now is a paperbook), Subterranean Press, Canadia: 2056 – Season 2 now on CD, The indefensible Zombie Astronaut, livejournal sucks, The unofficial podcast feed of Canadia 2056, radio drama, Steve: The First, Steve: The Second, Matt Watts, post-apocalypse, C.H.U.D., H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society‘s audio theatre At The Mountains Of Madness |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Dunwich Horror, Dark Adventure Radio Theatre, digital downloads vs. CDs, The Shadow Out of Time, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, The Call Of Cthulhu Role Playing Game, Yog Radio, The Dragonships Series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, Dragonlance, Brilliance Audio, DoOon Mode, Piers Anthony, On A Pale Horse, George Guidall, Recorded Books, The Dolphins Of Pern, Anne McCaffrey, Phantoms, Dean Koontz, The Dean Koontz Companion (a paperbook), small towns in fiction, Salem’s Lot, German radio drama, Gabriel Burns, Vancouver, Seeing Ear Theatre, we need an unofficial podcast feed for Seeing Ear Theatre, J. Michael Straczynski, Tales From The Crypt, City Of Dreams, Neil Gaiman, Secret Army, ‘Allo ‘Allo!, WWII evasion lines, Louis de Funès, tea for two and two for tea, Yog Radio, Charles Tan (Bibliophile Stalker blog), actual play session podcasts, Wil Wheaton plays D&D 4th Edition (to Carsten’s dismay), celebrity RPG play session (Vin Diesel etc.), Fallout 3 vs. Age Of Conan, The Scarifyers, BBC 7, Rich Carlson,, Billy Boyd, pirate radio, Sealand, what Jesse fears most (finger losses).

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #016

December 15, 2008 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #016 – is really strange and very good – we talk about Dean Koontz, talking dogs, praise Robert J. Sawyer, his audiobooks and much more! Book covers, cover art, they matter!

Talked about on today’s show:, the new Audible Frontiers new releases, review of The Speed Of Dark, Mary Robinette Kowal, Blackstone Audio, The Selected Stories Of Philip K. Dick, Star Trek, Pandora’s Star, Judas Unchained, Peter F. Hamilton, Star Wars, Mike Resnick, The Last Colony, John Scalzi, Zoe’s Tale, William Dufris, Anathem, Robert J. Sawyer, Flashforward, Tantor Media, A Case Of Conscience, James Blish, 100% FREE Audiobook Black River by Dean Koontz (which is an SF suspense novella), Microsoft’s Zune now compatible with, Dean Koontz, Dragon Tears, Jay O. Sanders, talking dogs, our new DEAN KOONTZ author page, Intensity, Seize The Night, Fear Nothing, Dean Koontz short stories that should be audiobooked: Nightmare Gang, Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein, RJS’ Flashforward as a TV series? = they’ll do it like the did The 4400, CERN, RJS predicted the current pope!, murder mystery Science Fiction, Illegal Alien, review of Calculating God, Golden Fleece, dinosaurs, Robert J. Sawyer’s weakest novel = End Of An Era (?), review of The Terminal Experiment, Wake, the WWW trilogy, available RJS audiobooks, Shed Skin, BBC Radio documentary on Wikipedia: The Wikipedia Story, Sarah Vowell, Assassination Vacation, The Wordy Shipmates, Vowelette, what “they” are doing wrong with audiobooks: no table of contents sux! No map sux!, Stefan Rudnicki‘s Skyboat Productions, Resonance, A.J. Scudiere, geology, magnetic polar reversal, review of Posing As People, Orson Scott Card, Mike Resnick’s editorial, Stalking The Unicorn, Stalking The Vampire, cover art matters, Total Dick Head’s 2 hour celebration of Philip K. Dick’s 80th birthday.

Posted by Jesse Willis

FREE Audible Audiobook: Black River by Dean Koontz

December 13, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

Free DEAN KOONTZ Audiobook! To help promote the fact that Microsoft’s Zune is now compatible with the latter is giving away Dean Koontz’ Black River. You’ll need an Audible account, but not necessarily a Zune. Get it now HERE.

Audible - Black River by Dean KoontzBlack River
By Dean Koontz; Read by Scott Brick
Audible Download – 2 Hours 11 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: 2007
Master of suspense Dean Koontz creates an undercurrent of terror in this story set deep in the dark and troubled town of Black River. Burned-out Hollywood screenwriter Bo Aikens is fed up with life in Los Angeles. He heads out of the hustle and bustle of the big city and arrives in picturesque Black River in Northern California, seeking relaxation and artistic inspiration. In small, idyllic Black River, nearly everyone is happy, contented, and welcoming of strangers. But despite the beautiful setting, Bo begins to feel unsettled after several disturbing incidents. He discovers that all of his money has been transferred to a bank account in Black River, and a house has been purchased for him by someone on “his” instructions. Troubled by various, peculiar twists of fate, Bo decides to leave Black River. As he becomes entangled in a nightmarish plot, preventing his return home, it suddenly seems clear to Bo that his perfect little hideaway captures more than just the imagination of its visitors.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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