It occurred to me, while reading Odd Hours, that Dean Koontz's character Odd Thomas had joined the ranks of fictional folk that I like to hang out with. It's funny how over years of reading, some characters have become almost like friends. You spend enough time with someone I suppose, even a fictional someone, and you start to feel as if you know them.
Just like real life, some are closer than others. Tarzan is practically a step brother. Conan more of a second cousin. Sherlock Holmes, a favorite uncle. Some I was once closer to than I am now. Doc Savage, Travis McGee. Lew Archer.
Over the years I have picked up quite a few other fictional friends who reside now in the labyrinthian corners of my brain. Whenever I return to their adventures or read a new one, it's like catching up with an old friend. Many are private eyes. Phillip Marlowe. Spenser. Mike Hammer. others are barbarians or sword and sorcery heroes. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. Elric. Solomon Kane. Thongor. Kull.
I find the ones that I discovered in childhood feel the most real to me. Tarzan. John Carter. Doc. Conan. Perhaps that's because I met them when my imagination was at its height and I could really believe in them. Anyway, it's always funny when I realize that someone new has made it into the club. David Gemmell's Druss. Bob Salvatore's Drizzt. Manly Wade Wellman's Kardios and John the Balladeer. And most recently Odd Thomas and Repairman Jack. The membership requirements have gotten tougher over the years, but it's nice to know that I can still make new friends.