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Dean Koontz’s Black River – Paradise or Devil’s bargain?

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Warning: Spoilers ahead!

The wife and I watched Dean Koontz’s Black River this evening.

It stars Jay Mohr as Bo Aikens, a young writer trying to escape the phoniness of Los Angeles and the film industry. He starts off trying to find a funeral parlor to take care of his dog that recently passed away. Unable to find any place that isn’t soulless and fake, he drives out to the country and stops at a random farm and Bo somehow convinces the farmer to allow him to bury his dog in his field.

He continues until he gets to an idyllic little town called Black River. He stops at a diner and picks up the local paper, looking at the real estate section. The guy sitting next to him happens to be the Mayor, who says how much Bo will enjoy living there. Bo says he is just passing through.

Then strange things start happening. There are cameras everywhere that seem to follow Bo. He is pulled over by the police as he tries to leave town. He gets arrested. The next morning when he gets released, it seems the local police got an alert from CHP that his car was stolen. In turn, his car was towed to an impound lot in another town.

There is a self-driving car that follows Bo. The payphones in town ring as he passes by. If he answers the phone, the voice on the other end makes cryptic threats. A real estate agent stalks him trying to find him a perfect home. No matter what he does, he can not leave this town.

Everyone else in town is happy. Good things happen to them. The orphaned waitress finds her long-lost sister. The sister is an architect and the Mayor hires her to build the new town center, because the town got a one hunder and twenty-five million dollar government to fund the project. A golden retriever follows Bo everywhere trying to be his friend.

The town is being run by an artificial intelligence, a research project of one of the big tech firms in town. It wants Bo to live there and be happy. Ultimately he gets a house, that is already furnished and has a computer. The computer screen keeps going back to a word processor with a template that has the words ‘by Bo Aikens’ written at the top. He gets a new vehicle, a new girlfriend, and he adopts the dog. All he has to do is live in Black River and write.

I see this and have to ask – why would this be a bad thing?

Let’s see – nothing to do but sit around and write all day OR have to scramble all the time trying to get clients, deliver on their projects, and try to cover all the bills, on top of everything else I have to do to get along in the modern world.

I’ll take the former please.

If you’d like to support my efforts, why not buy me a chocolate chip cookie through my Ko-Fi page?

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