[Editor’s Note: the following post is courtesy of the Dean Koontz website]
Collectors of Dean’s works have to wade through a great deal of misinformation about his writing. Some misinformation consists of honest mistakes made by bibliographers and book dealers; but some of it is intentionally meant to mislead collectors so that items not of his authorship can be peddled to them at inflated prices. We intend to provide both serious collectors and casual readers with authoritative information in this department, expanding it periodically as might become necessary. Items herein are listed alphabetically, though not always by title or pen name.
Dean wrote one novel under this pen name: PRISON OF ICE, which was published in hardcover by Lippincott in 1976 and first released under Dean’s name in paperback in 1995, by Ballantine Books. This is the only book he wrote under that name, and it is currently available from Bantam Books. In 1992, St. Martin’s Press published STOLEN THUNDER by David Axton, who was identified on the dustjacket as “the pseudonym of a British thriller writer.” This book isn’t by Dean; subsequent books that may have been published under this name are also not Dean’s work.
See “Pen Names” herein.
This is not a novel, and it is not a book written by Dean. It is a beautiful, haunting, and moving collection of photographs of “monuments and graveside gestures” by the brilliant photographer David Robinson. When Dean was asked to provide commentary about the photographs and to discuss the subject of death, he wrote a long and very personal introduction. Beautiful Death was published in 1996 by Penguin Studio.
From time to time, someone comes to us seeking information about a Dean Koontz novel entitled Black River, but this property was never a novel. The original story was initially sold to the Fox Network as the first of a proposed series of two-hour movies about the fictional town of Black River, where something quite strange was happening. Fox was extremely enthusiastic, and in order for Dean to receive the entire story credit on screen (instead of sharing it with the teleplay writer), he had to sit down at once and write a novelette to serve as the basis for the first two-hour movie. This novelette was rushed into print in Ed Gorman’s Mystery Scene. The first TV movie was made–entitled “Black River” – and for reasons best left for Dean’s memoirs, it was dreadful. The network backed out of the series. Dean did no teleplay writing for this project, so no script exists with his name on it. Dean only wrote the novelette which appears in Mystery Scene.
Did Dean write an episode of the old TV series, CHiPs? Yes, he did. It was entitled “Counterfeit” and guest-starred Billy Barty. Dean had always wanted to write something for Billy, and it was a thrill to do so. The producer accepted the first-draft teleplay which was written by Dean, wanted no rewrite, and asked Dean to join the staff of the show. Because he didn’t want a full-time TV career but wanted to instead concentrate on novels, Dean declined. How and why his first-draft script ended up being so butchered that he elected to use the pseudonym “Brian Coffey” on screen for his writing credit when the “Counterfeit” episode was finally produced…well, that is a story he’s saving for his memoirs. But collectors can be assured there are legitimate copies of the first-draft script bearing his name.
Darkness Comes is frequently incorrectly listed as a book by Dean that was published in England but not in the U.S. In fact, it has been published in the U.S. as Darkfall and is available from Berkley Books. Dean’s British agent at the time told him that the word darkfall was not used in England and would confuse readers there. This may have been wrongheaded advice, because Headline Publishing, in England, wanted to retitle Darkness Comes as Darkfall in the U.K. to match the U.S. title, which is how it is now sold there.
In the earliest couple of years of his career, Dean wrote a few letters and articles for science-fiction fanzines. He was not prolific in this area because he was too busy writing fiction to pay the bills and to learn his craft. Therefore, in 1991, Dean was shocked to learn that a person he had previously worked with professionally had, beginning in 1969 and continuing at least through the early 1970s, been writing letters in Dean’s name to individuals and had submitted letters, and even some articles, in Dean’s name to fanzines. The name “X” will do until the full story can be told in Dean’s memoirs. All of this information was first disclosed to Dean in 1991 when X provided a written admission of these activities, although he could not remember everyone to whom these forged letters and articles had been sent. Consequently, any fanzine appearances by Dean after 1968 are highly suspect unless they were submitted with a cover letter on his own letterhead of that time.
See “Letters” herein.
From time to time, collectors write to Dean to ask why a novel has been printed in French or Spanish or some other foreign language–but has not been published in the U.S. Usually the collector has painstakingly translated the title using a foreign-language dictionary and sees that it matches none of Dean’s U.S. titles. The answer is simple: English-language titles are seldom translated literally into other languages and, most of the time, are discarded entirely in favor of a title that the foreign-language publisher believes will resonate more effectively with that country’s readers. No Dean Koontz book has been published anywhere overseas that has not been published in the U.S. first.
As Dean was leaving the science-fiction genre, in which he began his career, he expanded his novella, “Grayworld,” into a novel, which was published by Popular Library in 1975 as The Long Sleep, under the pen name John Hill. This was the only book Dean wrote under that pen name. Later, a real John Hill wrote a novelization of his own script for a movie titled Heartbeeps, but this was not Dean’s work.
See “Pen Names” herein.
How To Write Best-Selling Fiction
This book was published by Writer’s Digest Books in 1981 and was only in part an updating of Writing Popular Fiction, and contains mostly new material. It is now out of print, and we are asked weekly if Dean intends to let it back into print. Although 19 years passed between Writing Popular Fiction and How To Write…, the second book is more than 25 years old and out of date in many ways. Instead of putting it back into print, Dean hopes to write an entirely fresh book about writing fiction within the next five years. He suggests this book is only for collectors who are completists, and he doesn’t recommend that anyone turn to it for valuable writing advice. The publishing world has changed drastically in the last quarter century.
Intensity (the TV miniseries)
Readers frequently ask Dean where they can get a DVD of this miniseries, which is one of the few successful TV adaptations of his work. The running time was most likely too long for videotape, but with the advent of DVDs, this should have been released. Dean has no idea why it hasn’t – except that it has been licensed for rerun on a lot of cable channels. He has no control over distribution of the miniseries, as these rights belong to the studio. If Sony ever decides to release a DVD and we learn about it, we will let you know.
From time to time, people have put Dean’s letters on the market, and collectors have bought them. Some of these letters have been forgeries – or to be polite, hoaxes – and collectors’ money has been wasted. Thus far, to Dean’s knowledge, all the hoaxes have been typed on plain paper, not on Dean’s letterhead stationery. Dean began using letterheads in 1968 and he has in his personal files samples of each of the many stationeries he has used over the years. For your assistance, we considered posting all letterheads (with dates of use) on this website, but then realized we would be providing the bad guys with information and materials that would undeniably help them with future forgeries. Suffice to say that a letter on plain paper purporting to be signed by Dean, after late 1968, is all but certainly not a letter written by Dean. If you have in your collection what you believe to be genuine Koontz letters, on letterhead, you can photocopy the document, send the copy to Dean at his snail-mail address (Dean Koontz, P.O. Box 9529, Newport Beach, CA 92658), and he will confirm that it is indeed – or isn’t – his stationery and his actual signature.
See “Fanzines” herein.
Library Of Congress/Copyright Office Verifications
Some dealers claim that a book entitled Hung, which was published under the pen name Leonard Chris in 1970, was actually authored by Dean and that the Library of Congress and/or the Copyright Office has “verified” Dean’s authorship of this book. Two things you need to know: One, neither of those government entities will ever verify the accuracy of information in its files; they only record what is submitted and are not able to verify the accuracy of any submission. Consequently, dealers who claim such governmental verification are either confused or not truthful. Two, once an incorrect attribution of authorship or copyright ownership is in these files, the Library of Congress and the Copyright Office do not remove or modify the documents containing the incorrect information – but they do permit clarifying statements to be filed to correct the record, and these clarifying statements, once recorded, can be found whenever a search is requested regarding a particular work. As Dean has learned that certain works have been recorded in the Library of Congress or U.S. Copyright Office which misattribute authorship to him or his wife, Gerda, he has filed clarifying affidavits so that the governmental records are now quite clear when Gerda or he disavow authorship of any particular literary work.
Love Heels is not a book by Dean. He wrote only the forward. This is a beautiful 224-page volume printed on high-quality paper. It is about Canine Companions for Independence and includes scores of wonderful photographs of the magnificent dogs that CCI breeds and trains, as well as numerous inspiring stories about disabled people whose lives have been changed by these incredible canines. It’s worth more than its price for the uplift it provides.
Dean used the following pen names early in his career. The number in parenthesis is the number of titles written under each name: David Axton (1) Brian Coffey (5), Deanna Dwyer (5), K.R. Dwyer (3), John Hill (1), Leigh Nichols (5), Anthony North (1), Richard Paige (1), and Aaron Wolfe (1). Two of the Brian Coffey books have been reissued under Dean’s name – The Face Of Fear (Berkley Books) and The Voice Of The Night (Berkley Books), one of the K.R. Dwyer titles – Shattered (Berkley Books), the lone Richard Paige book – The Door To December (NAL/Signet) and all five Leigh Nichols titles (Berkley Books). Chase, by K.R. Dwyer, was extensively rewritten by Dean and published as a full-length novel in the collection Strange Highways, published by Warner Books (now Grand Central Publishing).
Pen Names, Secret
There are no secret pen names used by Dean. Over the years, numerous books have been incorrectly attributed to Dean – such as the novels of Shane Stevens – which he did not write. Some bibliographers have in good-faith cited “proof” of authorship, but none of the proofs stand up to scrutiny. Some book dealers have claimed that Library of Congress and/or Copyright Office records supposedly prove their contentions. While certain misinformation has previously existed in the Library of Congress and Copyright Office files, we have made every effort for Gerda or Dean to file clarifying affidavits with these governmental agencies. If you are ever told that the records of the Library of Congress or Copyright Office verify that a work of collectible pen-name fiction you are considering buying was authored by Dean but that book is not listed in this collector’s section or in the bibliography available elsewhere on this web site, you are not being told the truth.
We receive requests from collectors in search of a novel by Dean titled Trapped. Trapped is actually a novella, which first appeared in 1989 in Stalkers, a story anthology edited by Ed Gorman and Martin Greenberg. It was subsequently published in a hardcover graphic-novel adaptation by Eclipse Books in 1992, but there was no real full length novel published under this title or expanded from the original novella.
Unauthorized Mutilation Of Dean’s Works
In 1969, Dean agreed to have a small publisher publish two of his non-fiction works (one entitled The Sick Society and the other entitled Going Underground) and two of his fiction works (one entitled Hung and the other entitled Tiger 650). All four books were presented to the publisher as finished manuscripts and Dean fully expected for them to be published in the form submitted to the publisher. Unfortunately, all four books were put into production before Dean learned that the publisher had arranged, without Dean’s knowledge or consent, for them to be so completely rewritten that none of them, as published, bore much resemblance to the original manuscripts as submitted by Dean. Although he wasn’t able to stop publication, he did get the publisher to contractually agree to publish all four books under a pseudonym. The publisher further agreed to indemnify Dean against claims arising from the material added by the publisher: “Author and Publisher acknowledge that…the Work will be published with material changes from the original manuscripts of same, that the Publisher assumes all liability for the content of those new chapters and passages.” However, only one of the four books was published under a pen name – Hung was published under the pen name Leonard Chris. The Sick Society manuscript was published under the title Pig Society, the Going Underground manuscript was published under the title The Underground Lifestyles Handbook, and the Tiger 650 manuscript was published under the title Bounce Girl – all with Dean and Gerda Koontz as the credited authors, and therefore in breach of Dean’s contract with the publisher. Copyright Office files on all four of these books now reflects affidavits from Gerda and Dean stating that (1) Gerda did not participate in writing any portion of these books and (2) Dean disavows any claim of authorship or responsibility for the content of these four books due to the substantial nature of the unauthorized changes to his original manuscripts.
Writing Popular Fiction
This how-to tome was published by Writer’s Digest in hardcover in 1972, and has long been out of print. Although completists might want to have this in their collections, Dean does not recommend this book for anyone wanting to learn to write fiction for the contemporary market. For one thing, he was only 26 years old when he wrote it, and he says that although he thought he knew everything then, he eventually realized that he “had known nothing.” In addition, the fiction market has changed radically in the past 35 years, and the marketing advice in that book is terribly out of date. Furthermore, because the publisher wished to cover two genres in which Dean had little or no experience–Westerns and erotica–he turned to a friend and editor, Robert Hoskins, who was experienced in those genres, to ghost-write the material for Chapters 6 and 7.