The World Is Broken. Have a Beer. Happy New Year.

“Once,” [I said,] “There were no predators, no prey. Only harmony. There were no quakes, no storms, everything in balance. In the beginning, time was all at once and forever–no past, present, and future, no death. We broke it all.”

[Police] Chief Porter tried to take the fresh Heineken from me.

I held on to it. “Sir, do you know what sucks the worst about the human condition?”

Bill Burton said, “Taxes.”

“It’s even worse than that,” I told him.

Manuel said, “Gasoline costs too much, and low mortgage rates are gone.”

“What sucks the worst is…this world was a gift to us, and we broke it, and part of the deal is that if we want things right, we have to fix it ourselves. But we can’t. We try, but we can’t.”

I started to cry. The tears surprised me. I thought I was done with tears for the duration.

Manuel put a hand on my shoulder and said, “Maybe we can fix it, Odd. You know? Maybe.”

I shook my head. “No. We’re broken. A broken thing can’t fix itself.”

“Maybe it can,” said Karla, putting a hand on my other shoulder.

I sat there, just a faucet. All snot and tears. Embarrassed but not enough to get my act together.

“I’m a mess,” I apologized.

Karla said, “Me too.”

“I could use a beer,” Manuel said.

“You’re working,” Bill Burton reminded him. Then he said, “Get me one, too.”

Dean Koontz, Forever Odd, pp. 321 – 323

16 thoughts on “The World Is Broken. Have a Beer. Happy New Year.

  1. Wowzas! Excellent quote. I’ve really liked some of the Koontz stuff I read. Specifically “The Taking” and “Odd Thomas”. Have you read this and would you say it’s an equal caliber to “Odd Thomas”? A 🍺. 🌝

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha ha, nice beer emoji.

      I checked out the first 3 Odd Thomas books from the library in case I had many chances to read over the holidays. Yes, I finished Forever Odd, and now I’m starting on Brother Odd.

      Sure, I would say Forever Odd is just as good. This scene is an example.

      I now find out that there are, like 10 books about Odd Thomas. It makes me worry a little about whether Koontz will be able to sustain the quality, especially since he seems to put poor Odd through quite a lot in each book. I don’t want Odd to get burned out by all his ordeals. But Koontz is a master, so perhaps he can pull it off.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. For me, this actually highlights one of the main problems I ended up having with Koontz. The idea that WE have to fix things as best as we can. On our own, by ourselves. He even acknowledges that we can’t but then continues on saying all we can do is try. I get he’s preaching Feel Goodism and not Christianity, but the problem is that he really hijacks explicit Christian terms but uses them the way HE wants to, not the way they’re supposed to be.

    Sorry. Didn’t mean to go off there πŸ˜€

    Great quote! Good job. Very uplifting and encouraging

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I don’t have the benefit of your perspective, having read the whole series. Perhaps you are right.

      The way I read this scene was that it was just establishing some basic Christian truths, such as: we broke it, we can’t fix it, but everyone’s reaction is “Maybe we can. You know? Maybe,” because what else can people say, especially when they are trying to comfort someone who is staring down the barrel of the fallen world.

      But, there were a few lines I left out of the quote where the Chief tells Odd that, if fixing it were all on Odd’s shoulders, that would not be a bad thing for the world, and Karla agrees. I figured that was just there to boost Odd, not have him replace Jesus. I thought it was pretty obvious from the story thus far that Odd, just like all of us, is in fact just as weak and ineffective as he thinks he is, but no one else sees it. If that is Koontz’s point, it’s a good one.

      If, on the other hand, he is trying to create a character who THINKS he’s weak and ineffective against the world’s evil, but actually without knowing it is the messiah (and so are we all!), then you are right, that is a very disappointing solution to the problem Odd describes so eloquently.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My reaction here is based on not so much this series but the rest of Koontz’s books where he does state that it is up to us.
        Koontz is an ecumenical of religions, not just Christian sects. There is no Christ and God is a watchmaker at best.

        Koontz had been vague enough for me to accept stuff up until I hit Cold Fire. Then it was just too much for me.

        Obviously, depending on what books of his you read and where you draw theological lines, that will determine how long you stick with him πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I can handle a little Unitarianism in fiction as long as I know what I’m getting. πŸ˜‰ That is too bad, though, because the books of his that I’ve read so far had led me to expect (even) more.

          Koontz is billed as a horror writer, so I was really surprised by the warm humanism in his books. His bad guys are really scary, but he also seems to have a good grasp on what’s wholesome and normal. A good author can uncover quite a few truths about the fallen world and about man being a glorious ruin, and can go quite a long ways on that, even if not all the way home.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes, Koontz definitely aimed for the “good” kind of horror, where Evil is Evil and Good is Good and Good wins.

            My advice would be to stay away from Coldfire and hopefully your Koontz journey will be longer than mine πŸ˜€

            Liked by 1 person

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