SPOILER thread - 77 SHADOW STREET

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SPOILER thread - 77 SHADOW STREET

Postby WhiteWolf on Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:12 am

Here be Sea Monsters, er, SPOILERS, for the latest Dean Koontz novel, 77 SHADOW STREET (aka 77SS).
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For anyone who doesn't know what that means, it means: Everything contained in this thread might possibly contain spoilers for the book, 77 SHADOW STREET. This allows discussion for everyone who HAS read the book without having to worry about spoiler tags.

Therefore, if you HAVE NOT read 77 SHADOW STREET, and you don't want all of the wonderful, creepy, fungus-like *spoilers* to sneak down your throat and turn you into a Pogromite...

Turn Back Now!


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You have been warned.
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Re: SPOILER thread - 77 SHADOW STREET

Postby WhiteWolf on Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:15 am

Definition of "pogrom,' from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pogrom

An organized massacre of helpless people; specifically : such a massacre of Jews

Origin of POGROM:
Yiddish, from Russian, literally, devastation
First Known Use: 1903
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Re: SPOILER thread - 77 SHADOW STREET

Postby dnurse on Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:14 am

I didn’t even notice Pogrom was a real word! How interesting.

The more I think about it, I think I need to upgrade my 3.5 star rating to a 4 or maybe read it over again knowing what I now know. I don't get into very bizarre creatures in any novel and I rushed through some of the lengthy depictions and scenes describing them and this affected my rating.

1)Do you feel like this book discriminated against scientific advances or just the questionable application of them. Nanotechnology can be great if it is used to take out plaques in arteries but what about making people perfect with very long lives and disease free? Is this why Norquist created a religious vision or Progrom to reduce population with the killing weapons called Progromites or was Norquist always wanting to do this?

2) Did you feel weird when Bailey murdered Dr. Kirby Ignus or did you think it was justified? It felt weird to me. Was it like killing Einstein because his work would lead to atomic bombs or more like killing Hitler before he could harm people. Norquist felt like more of the villain but now I'm not sure.

3) What did you think of the One? Did it make sense to you in how it evolved from AI manager of the Progromites into this all encompassing entity of nature and humanity? It was strange to me at first because I kept trying to make it into some kind of religious Satan like creature especially when it talked about worshiping only it. Now I see it better, I guess the way Mr. Koontz intended.

I was confused about the guy at the end of the book with the binoculars. Another reader felt he was Bailey Hawkes who was a soldier at heart. .. I forgot that his mother called him "my guardian" when he was a boy and he was really bothered by the idea that he failed to protect her. Add that to him being a soldier at heart like the reader said, it must've been him.

I laughed when Vernon Klick went into his multiple name calling rant against Bailey Hawks in chapter 24. Klick was just awful seeing the worst case scenario out of anybody's actions but I had to laugh at that rant.

I enjoyed Logan Spangler, chief of security, in chapters 10 and 13. He was a grump and funny one to read.

Fielding Udell was one of my favorite oddball characters. Poor guy lost in conspiracy theories and the Ruling Elite but when he felt like all his suspicions had proved to be true...he didn't know what to do, he lost his "purpose" in life. At the very end, when all was said and done, was he about to start back up with his conspiracy search or was he cured of that obsession? I wasn't sure.



Snowman stated that DK said that 77 Shadow Street was suppose to be a cautionary tale about technological advances but not against science.

4)What was the significance of the Pendleton being on the time fault? I got the impression that it wasn't a coincidence. Was it like divine intervention or something else?


The Moonlit Mind had a very different feel to it than 77 Shadow Street. I was expecting something very different for the novel. I enjoyed the novella the most and it didn't have all the bizarre creatures. No matter how they come about, bizarre creatures put me off because I can't relate to them on a scary level. The Taking had them more to my liking (and the fungus) and it's one of my top DK books ever. Anyway, I enjoyed 77 Shadow Street, just not as well as other books of his. I was hoping for more dialogue between all the residents of the Pendleton throughout much of the book. For some reason it was to keep all the characters straight at times and I kept getting a couple mixed up. I even highlighted all the characters and noted their backstories on my kindle thinking this would help but now I need highlights for my highlights.

When Fielding Udell finally encountered one of the "Ruling Elite." I compared it to F.Paul Wilson's Repairman Jack series, Fielding fits right in with the book Conspiracies. .I wanted Martha Cupp to be in the same room with Fielding when he starts talking conspiracies but never got my wish..

When I finished the One chapter where it reveals what it was I was surprised. I kept trying to make it into a biblical Satan character and not AI. This story was Singularity nightmare to Ray Kurzweil’s visions about nanotechnology and wondered if Mr. Koontz had him in mind at times.

There’s a link at Dean Koontz’s site to play in the Pendleton mansion. I had fun at that link. I played with that late into the night instead of reading. It genuinely scared me several times (especially that butler guy in the hall). What a great idea...it helped me visualize things so much better..
I am inclined to believe in parallel worlds filled with darkbound Snow and Odd adventures.
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Re: SPOILER thread - 77 SHADOW STREET

Postby Nemesis0 on Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:50 pm

The fielding Udell parts were kind of boring at first. They got a little better later on, but they were probably my least favorite parts of the book. Maybe it's cause i don't like listening to conspiracy theory stuff.

I was kind of disappointed in how the Mickey Dime stuff played out. I was expecting him to play a more violent and bigger role in the book. Especially with all that talk about Sparkle and her daughter Iris. I figured there would have been a little part where he captures them sort of for a little bit maybe. It was kind of a let down when he just surrenders himself and becomes all docile.

I was surprised a little in Bailey killed Dr. Ignus. Don't usually expect the hero type character to kill someone like that, but it worked. I'm pretty sure the guy with binoculars was Bailey. It wouldn't make as much sense otherwise to have any of the other characters do it.

The stuff with the One wasn't bad, but once they revelation of what it was kind of wasn't as good as I was expecting, but still worked out well. The Witness was more interesting to me and was surprised at his identity/link to Dr. ignus and the One.

I dunno about a significance of it being on the fault. I figured it was just a building that happened to be built there. Maybe since it was where Ignus was the time fault was somewhat created by "the One" because they made a comment of why the transitions were there at the Pendleton and not a place special to the other doctor that worked with Ignus.

I liked 77 SHADOW STREET, just not as much as i was expecting too. Several people gave rave reviews so maybe i got my hopes up real high for it. It was a bit different in style i think then his more recent novels. It was nice to have a little change and not have another similar novel to the previous books.
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Re: SPOILER thread - 77 SHADOW STREET

Postby Schrijvertje on Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:44 pm

I have yet to write my review on this, but here are some thoughts I'll include about the "revelation" of what the real enemy is.

The AI. Okay, I understand it might have been DK's intention to have it all deal with human technology gone awry; but I'm getting a bit tired of putting the blame on science. This started off as a similar creature as the Ancient Enemy in "Phantoms", and I would have much preferred for it to have been a real supernatural entity than a human-made one.

Then the pogromites. Did anyone else think of the bone-like entities in "Brother Odd"? The Builders in the last Frankenstein books? Way too similar to those in my opinion. I would have preferred had they been actual monsters in true "Silent Hill" style, their appearance psychologically linked to the people perceiving them.

In fact, the whole first half of the novel had a very "Silent Hill"ish atmosphere, down to the map of the Pendleton at the front of the book (anyone else here who would've liked that map to have been on a separate sheet you could actually take out of the book so you wouldn't have to flip to the front all the time? I wanted to follow everyone's path on the map, but gave up on that not that many pages in).

The novel had too many characters for my taste. In that, it was a bit too much like "The Dead Town" as well. I was anticipating too hard all the minor characters to get killed off one by one, like in your standard horror slasher movie.

I gave the book 4 stars, since it was still a very enjoyable read, very well written, though I still wouldn't say the "old" Koontz is back as I've read here and there.
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Re: SPOILER thread - 77 SHADOW STREET

Postby Nemesis0 on Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:59 pm

There was enough hints at what the "One" was before it was finally revealed to know what it was. I was disappointed in it when i figured out what it probably was.

I didn't mind the multiple characters most of the time, but there were instances where i had to go back to figure what was going on in some sections because after three or four character shifts i'd start getting stuff mixed up.

I expected more to die as well. I didn't think most of them would have made it out mostly unscathed.

Once you find out what exactly the pogromites are then yea they do bare a similarity to the Builders. He seemed to re-use a few things from previous stories in this book. Another one i thought was the Julian Sanchez (i think that was his name) lost his eyes when he was a young boy made me think of the boy in FROM THE CORNER OF HIS EYE.
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Re: SPOILER thread - 77 SHADOW STREET

Postby dnurse on Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:49 am

Nice posts everyone. This book made me think of Midnight a couple of times with the bizarre transformations. Later, Masha mentioned that she thought the book was similar to Midnight but with different reasonings than my initial thoughts.
I am inclined to believe in parallel worlds filled with darkbound Snow and Odd adventures.
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Re: SPOILER thread - 77 SHADOW STREET

Postby masha99 on Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:59 pm

This is a great discussion, and I think it shows we have a very complex and thought provoking story on our hands. I'd like to respond to dnurse's comments from the beginning.

1. This is not an anti-science story, it's a cautionary tale, to me more about dangers of science disconnected from morality than the Crichton-esque "man creates something he can't control" tale, although there's obviously some of that as well. Ignis and Norquist are both guilty in different ways, which is why both had to die. Norquist's goal was to reduce the size of humanity which he viewed as a plague on nature. So he came up with a way to have fewer people by making them immortal. When he finds out of the future, he's satisfied instead of horrified. Ignis is the lesser of two evils as he doesn't hate humanity. He want to use science for good, but he's arrogant enough to think he can unleash this technology on the world and risk this future after having seen it. This still makes him dangerous. Not because he invented something, but because he refuses to see the danger when it's right before his eyes.

2. So... I think the killing was justified. Doing it in cold blood did make me squirm, which I guess was the point too. Bailey does conduct a mini-trial to figure out the correct thing to do and I think what finally convinces him is that Dr. Ignis will NOT give up on the technology. If he was promised to confine it to "clearing the arteries" and such, that would be different, but he kept talking about changing the world.

3. The One made perfect sense to me as AI, maybe because I read Demon Seed not long ago and it had the same kind of feel to it. It just didn't sound like divinity of any kind.

4. Time travel- not sure how it fits in, except maybe the ancient forces residing in Shadow Hill decided to do something to bring the humanity back? Or divine intervention. It's one of those unexplained Koontzian mysteries.
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Re: SPOILER thread - 77 SHADOW STREET

Postby WhiteWolf on Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:13 am

Man, I started this thread and I'm already missing out. Let me address a few things from dnurse's initial post:

dnurse wrote:I didn’t even notice Pogrom was a real word! How interesting.
I didn't either, but it seemed like one of those things where Koontz probably didn't make it up, or at least got the inspiration from somewhere, so I looked it up. It's very appropriately used, don't you think?

1)Do you feel like this book discriminated against scientific advances or just the questionable application of them. Nanotechnology can be great if it is used to take out plaques in arteries but what about making people perfect with very long lives and disease free? Is this why Norquist created a religious vision or Progrom to reduce population with the killing weapons called Progromites or was Norquist always wanting to do this?
In the long history of cautionary tales, especially in science fiction, I don't think anyone is ever necessarily saying "this is bad," even though sometimes it sounds a lot like "this could be bad." When Ignus made his long argument about how science is "applied," and how if you are responsible then terrible things won't happen, I found myself wanting to agree with him, even knowing that his applications would have a gruesome outcome. The worst part about any great advance in science, even when done with the best of intentions, is that evil people are waiting in the wings to take it over and use it for their own purposes. Advances are great, but we need to protect ourselves from their consequences, intended or otherwise.

2) Did you feel weird when Bailey murdered Dr. Kirby Ignus or did you think it was justified? It felt weird to me. Was it like killing Einstein because his work would lead to atomic bombs or more like killing Hitler before he could harm people. Norquist felt like more of the villain but now I'm not sure.
I was definitely uncomfortable, at first. I agree with everyone else; I think that was kind of the point. I didn't learn enough about Norquist to know if he was the "villain" or not, but Witness said he was, and what reason does Witness have to lie?

3) What did you think of the One? Did it make sense to you in how it evolved from AI manager of the Progromites into this all encompassing entity of nature and humanity? It was strange to me at first because I kept trying to make it into some kind of religious Satan like creature especially when it talked about worshiping only it. Now I see it better, I guess the way Mr. Koontz intended.
Oh yeah! One of my all-time favorite things about Koontz is his consistent ability to put a realistic spin on the fantastic. He has been doing it for years, although he hasn't done it quite this well in a long time. Anyone can write about ghosts and goblins or anything else and then just not explain any of it, and say, "yeah, well, that's why they are mysterious, because we can't explain it!" Nah. Not buying it. I like the Koontz model, which is to present these somewhat familiar mysteries of the natural or unnatural world, and then discover some truth that has been hiding in plain sight, and is the cause of all of that confusion. Or, at the very least, to make a suggestion about one or two possibilities. I could read anybody else's books to get nothing, but I read Koontz because he has two feet planted firmly in reality, even though he has an imagination that is inclined toward the fantastic, and that's something else. Ya gotta love that about him.

I was confused about the guy at the end of the book with the binoculars. Another reader felt he was Bailey Hawkes who was a soldier at heart. .. I forgot that his mother called him "my guardian" when he was a boy and he was really bothered by the idea that he failed to protect her. Add that to him being a soldier at heart like the reader said, it must've been him.
That was definitely Bailey. I think we can rule out any other name mentioned in the book. But tracking down Norquist at the end I don't think was really anything to do with him being a soldier, it was just about being thorough. I mean, the guy was there to receive a message from the One through Mickey Dime. He was just being thorough. If Bailey didn't track him down, then shooting Ignus would have been a wasted effort. And not only that, it would have been a huge plot hole or loose end in the story, and Koontz just doesn't do that kind of thing.

I laughed when Vernon Klick went into his multiple name calling rant against Bailey Hawks in chapter 24. Klick was just awful seeing the worst case scenario out of anybody's actions but I had to laugh at that rant.
Vernon Klick might have been my favorite character, and he died much too soon, because his thought process is so much like what I see in blogs and other media all over the place, distilled down in one character, that it was more of a caricature than a character, but brilliantly done anyway.

Fielding Udell was one of my favorite oddball characters. Poor guy lost in conspiracy theories and the Ruling Elite but when he felt like all his suspicions had proved to be true...he didn't know what to do, he lost his "purpose" in life. At the very end, when all was said and done, was he about to start back up with his conspiracy search or was he cured of that obsession? I wasn't sure.
Same goes for Fielding. He and Klick are two characters I could keep reading about for a long time after the book was finished, because they firmly represent a large portion of American obsessiveness. The insights Koontz brought to those two were perfect in every way.



Snowman stated that DK said that 77 Shadow Street was suppose to be a cautionary tale about technological advances but not against science.

4)What was the significance of the Pendleton being on the time fault? I got the impression that it wasn't a coincidence. Was it like divine intervention or something else?
Bailey asks about that at the end, and I think the significance has everything to do with Ignus having lived there, but beyond that I'm not really sure.


When I finished the One chapter where it reveals what it was I was surprised. I kept trying to make it into a biblical Satan character and not AI. This story was Singularity nightmare to Ray Kurzweil’s visions about nanotechnology and wondered if Mr. Koontz had him in mind at times.
The One kept using language that some sort of Satanic character or godlike mechanism wouldn't have used. The language was informal, and then formal, but always arrogant in the extreme, like it had no perspective. The AI revelation was great, simply because it was so unexpected. What would an AI have to do with ghosts and time shifts and weird monsters and everything else going on in the Pendleton? Well, EVERYTHING! It all fit together very well, and any other explanation would have just been too unbelievable or too much like what another author would lazily have written into a story like this.

There’s a link at Dean Koontz’s site to play in the Pendleton mansion. I had fun at that link. I played with that late into the night instead of reading. It genuinely scared me several times (especially that butler guy in the hall). What a great idea...it helped me visualize things so much better..
I played around with it before I read the book and stopped, because I was afraid of spoilers. I went back and explored further when I was about halfway through the book and it was a lot more fun. I was also pleasantly shocked a couple of times, and nearly jumped out of my chair twice. I wasn't expecting it.
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Re: SPOILER thread - 77 SHADOW STREET

Postby dnurse on Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:09 pm

I really enjoyed reading all these posts.

The butler at the interactive Pendleton website scared the heck out of me Whitewolf. I got stuck in that hall and couldn't get out before the butler came charging back to scream at me all over again so I jumped off my bed just to get away from my laptop because I couldn't think fast enough to slam my screen shut.
I am inclined to believe in parallel worlds filled with darkbound Snow and Odd adventures.
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