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Dean Koontz on the 50th Anniversary of His First Novel, Star Quest

January 22, 2018

50 years! Wow! And to get Dean speaking on the record about his early SF work, that’s a rarity these days. But SyFy Wire has done it.

How did Star Quest come about and what was the inspiration for the story?
Dean Koontz: As a kid, all I read was science fiction. I started out with probably the Heinlein juvenile, young adult novels and then just read, read, read constantly in the field. So by the time I was graduating college it was very natural for me that that would be the genre I wanted to write it. And I had sold a number of short stories first, but I can’t remember where that idea came from for that novel. All I know is that I wrote it over a summer between teaching jobs. I had no agent, you just sent things over the transom in those days. I sent it to Ace Books and they made me an offer for it.
One thing I vividly remember is that at that time, Ace paid $1,500 for one half of an Ace Double. They came back to me and said, “We can’t pay you $1,500 because your novel is short, so we’re gonna have to pay the guy on the other side of the double, $1,750, so we can only pay you $1,250.” It was the first time I had ever sold anything in book length so I jumped at that and said, alright, I’ll take the $1,250! Some years went by and I was still writing only in the science fiction genre and was somewhere where I ran into the author who was on the other side of that double. I said to him jokingly, that because of you I had to take $1,250 instead of $1,500. And he said, “What do you mean? They told me mine was shorter. I’d have to take $1,250!” I discovered we’d each been chiseled out of $250. Which explained to me why, when I looked at the book, it didn’t seem to me that his was a lot longer than mine. And it was a little warning that there were certain publishers in the world that would save the $500 at the risk of annoying the hell out of the writer down the road. That’s my biggest memory of that. I do sometimes say if I’d just thought of calling it Star Trek instead of Star Quest, maybe I would have been famous long before. (Laughs)

Read the full interview @