Wake up, Polly Parrot.


The Brain Planet Galaxy Of Hair
by Brian Plante

After writing short tales of science fiction, horror, and fantasy for the past eight or nine years, my career has stalled. I think my writing is better than ever and my plots semi-nifty, but I've reached some kind of plateau and I'm having difficulty reaching the next level professionally. Rather than give up, or worse, remain stagnant, I decided to do a little research into exactly what was missing in my writing career.

It turns out the answer I was looking for could be found by studying the career development of one of my all-time favorite authors: Dean R. Koontz. His achievements have succeeded on the grandest of scales, and he rivals other contemporary literary giants such as Stephen King, Ann Rice, R. L. Stine and Lemony Snicket. But it wasn't always so! There was a point in Koontz's career when he, too, had peaked and needed a little something extra to move forward and become the giant he is now. Granted, the plateau he was stalled on was rather lofty compared to my own, but the priciple is still the same.

The big clue for me was a cryptic message Koontz left in the dedication of his 1993 novel Mr. Murder: "Thanks to AHS for covering me." I didn't know who AHS was or what he meant by "covering me," but a little research uncovered Koontz's secret of success. I discovered on the Internet that AHS is really an outfit called Authors' Hair Service. Damn, the light bulb over my head switched on when I saw that. Why, I remember from all Koontz's early books, his cover photo always showed him looking somewhat like G. Gordon Liddy. And now, on all his newer books and reissues, he's looking 20 years younger! Take a look:

Old Koontz picNew Koontz pic
Old: Mister KoontzNew: Your pal Dean

The secret of Koontz's success is the hair! He had transplants, or got himself a toupee, and boy did it work out well for him! Surely we all know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover or an author by his haircut, but results are results. Frankly, I have to admit I think Koontz's earlier works are a bit more fun than his later novels, but damn, he's so good-looking now, how could you not buy these books? They even read better, sort of, than they probably are, since I now have such a nice picture of the author in my mind as I turn the pages. Not that creepy Liddy-lookalike with the mustache on the back of those older books. Why, it's almost like he wasn't allowed to smile back when he had that old hair. Now that friendly new-look Koontz smiles at me from the back of every new book, and I'm glad.

So how can I benefit, as a writer, from my new-found knowledge? I contacted Authors' Hair Service and asked what, if anything they can do to revive my flagging career. Yes, constant readers, I, too, am follicly-challenged. Somehow, through the curse of tainted DNA and an over-abundance of testosterone, I have been growing increasingly light on top through the years. I'm losing my hair, and worse, failing to move forward in the publishing world at a speed appropriate to my obvious talent. Here's what I look like these days:

hair00 pic

The good folks at Authors' Hair Service said they can fix all that. I was directed to a local office (hey, did you know they're, like, everywhere!). I couldn't believe all the portraits of famous authors on the wall when I entered. And not just transplants and wigs -- they service all sorts of authorial hair problems. Like Isaac Asimov's muttonchop sideburns -- they did that! And China Miéville's shaved head -- yeah, they did that, too. Damon Knight's beard -- that was theirs.

So I asked them, "What can you do for me -- a struggling SF short-story writer with more talent than hair?"

"The possibilities are endless," they said. They digitized my head and made computer models of how I could look after their treatment. But now I'm more confused than before. They just hit me with way too many possibilities!

That's where you, my faithful Plain Banter readers, come in. I need your help. The AHS folks were kind enough to let me take copies of their digital hair solutions. I need all of you to look at the photos below and let me know which one looks best. Which one tells you that you'll be reading a story by a master of the literary arts? Which one, when printed on the back of a $29.95 hardcover will send them flying off the bookshelves? Which will make Katie Couric, Oprah Winfrey and Terry Gross swoon with admiration (and lust . . . let's not forget lust) when they interview me on their respective shows?

I need to know. Help me, please, to realize my ultimate potential as an author. One day, you'll be able to see my hirsute head on the Today show and think, "Hey, I picked that hair!" Send your votes now to brian_plante@sff.net. And bless you for all your support.

hair01 #01hair02 #02hair03 #03hair04 #04

Copyright © 2002 Brian Plante Count=8603

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