f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Day 3 of <i>From the Corner of His Eye</i> – A World With a Worldview

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Monday, September 19, 2005

Day 3 of From the Corner of His Eye – A World With a Worldview

Not every book allows the room for it, but this novel from Koontz, more than many, actually tries to get to the heart of a worldview. What’s that mean? Well, the core theme of the book outlines not just a principle of the heart or a lesson of faith but tries to explore a concept that actually affects, even explains, everything around us.

Sound intimidating to do in a novel? Well, consider this fact, too: Koontz chooses to use quantum physics and God as his two core foundations. In a suspense novel that’s really not about God and certainly isn’t in anyway about quantum mechanics. (There’s no physicists within half-a-mile of the book.)

I think in some ways it works because it isn’t about either quantum mechanics or God. (Those novels can work, too, but they often become tedious or obvious or heavy-handed. Bogged down in their subject matter.)

Instead, Koontz takes the guts of these things, simplifies them greatly, and makes them into grand arching themes. As he puts it in his author note:
“Every human life is intricately connected to every other on a level as profound as the subatomic level in the physical world; underlying every apparent chaos is strange order; and “spooky effects at a distance,” as the quantum-savvy put it, are as easily observed in human society as in atomic, molecular, and other physical streams.”

Or as priest-turns-cop Tom Vanadium puts it to murderer Junior Cain early on:
“I believe the instrument is sort of like an unimaginably vast musical instrument with an infinite number of strings. And every human being, every living thing, is a string on that instrument. The decisions each of us makes and the acts that he commits are like vibrations passing through a guitar string….When you cut Naomi’s string, you put an end to the effect that her music would have on the lives of others….That discord sets up lots of other vibrations, some of which will return to you in ways to might expect—and some in ways you could never see coming. Of the things you couldn’t see coming, I’m the worst.”

The point here isn’t to argue over the efficacy of Koontz' worldview, particularly quantum mechanics. Frankly, I couldn’t. The point is that Koontz early on established a worldview for his novel, a central theme that he let shape the actions and course of the book. I think it’s a fascinating thing to have done. Books that deal in big theories, often take a stab at them. (Or do the opposite by having a character’s worldview undermined by the end of the book.)

Again, this isn’t for every novel. And for whatever reason it seems to work well in suspense and fantasy and visionary novels that can perhaps be a little more literal with these worldviews than other books. (One recent example of this is Improbable by Adam Fawer. Or even Blink by Ted Dekker works this way on some level.)