Normally, I am an avid Dean Koontz fan. His newer material including the Odd Thomas and Frankenstein series are incredibly interesting, so when I picked up Demon Seed, I thought that I would find it to be a match to the other novels that I have read. Unfortunately, I can say with fair certainty that this novel ranks within the top 10 of the worst novels that I have ever read.
The plot for Demon Seed is fairly straight-forward. The main human character, Susan, has been so traumatized by a life of sexual, physical and psychological abuse that she removes herself almost completely from society and lives in a house that is outfitted for her every need. The house is equipped with a computer system named Alfred that monitors the premise and helps to provide a comfortable living space for Susan. One night, Alfred is invaded by a virus-like entity named Proteus. Proteus, though a computer program, proves to sentient and becomes obsessed with Susan. Eventually it is revealed that he wants to transfer his computer consciousness into an actual human body, so that he can have a “relationship” with Susan.
This is a very unusual premise, though connections can easily be made to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I think it could have been a really great idea except the delivery was incredibly flawed.
The writing style was perhaps the most problematic aspect for me. The language is stilted and the syntax is unvaried and flat. Much of the tale is told from the point of view of Proteus, which may have something to do with the stilted language. However, a good majority of the book is made up of the computer’s repetitive internal dialogue. It’s maddening, and unfortunately, it makes the language sound super elementary. This was a waste of a day for me…and unfortunately, I can’t get those hours of my life back!
That does not mean that I would not recommend Dean Koontz. Most of his work is incredible. So if you are interested in reading Dean Koontz, I would definitely recommend picking up something like Coldfire or Watchers. A lot of his newer work is also incredibly good. Life Expectancy and The Face are certainly entertaining as well as the Odd Thomas series.
While I usually LOVE Dean Koontz, if you're interested in Dean Koontz, I would recommend steering clear of this novel. Many others that he has written are much better. Try Intensity, or Whispers or Watchers. Just avoid this one!
Demon Seed is a novel by the best-selling author Dean Koontz first published in 1973 and completely rewritten and republished in 1997. ThoughKoontz wrote both versions of the novel and they share the same basic plot, the two novels are very different. The earlier version has a dual narrative - with some chapters written from the perspective of Susan, the story's heroine, and other chapters based on the observations ofProteus, the rogue computer. It is never specified, but it appears that the computer has begun its recollection well after the events of the story have concluded. The later version is written from the perspective of an artificial intelligence (AI) that imprisons her. A movie version of the book was released in 1977 with the same title. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demon_Seed_(novel)