Genre: Science Fiction
Format: ebook and print
Purchase from: Amazon
Submitted by Richard Dee on March 27, 2019
Life and Other Dreams
Rick lives here on Earth now, with Cath. His life is boring, writing adverts for cat food and exotic holidays. When he’s asleep, he dreams vividly.
In his dreams, he lives as Dan, spending his time with his wife Vanessa. They live six-hundred years in the future, half a galaxy away. They’re explorers, searching for valuable minerals on Ecias, an alien paradise.
Dan has no dreams about Rick’s life, he lives on Ecias, loves his life and Vanessa.
When the two worlds overlap, Rick starts to question what is real. Events in his waking and sleeping lives are mirrored, similar people inhabit both and coincidences mount up. Then disaster strikes in each world at the same time. In his dreams, Dan is accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Meanwhile, after one coincidence too many, Cath thinks that Rick’s dreams are hiding an affair and leaves him.
Is Rick going crazy, or can he be living in two places, in two times, at once? If not, then which one of them is the reality? Will one life carry on when the other is on hold?
Richard Dee’s fast-paced, edgy science fiction-cum psychological thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page!
Let me just start by saying I went into the book with no prior opinions or even knowing much about it and was so phenomenally happy with what I read.
The story concerns a man by the name of Rick/Dan, who experiences extremely lucid dreams of a life on a far off planet called Ecias, to the extent he begins to question which of these lives is true reality. Throughout his journey for the truth, both lives begin to fall apart and he has to deal with repercussions on both sides.
We essentially have 2 different intertwining stories that are both expertly written and meld into a fluid and near perfect dual story. Both have parallels which become more intense as Dan gets deeper into trouble. The story on Ecias could have easily been written as a separate book, as could the tale of Rick, but together they create a weird sublime beauty and one that questions identity and the human condition. The world which Rick lives in is so relatable and the small things such as the noise of an MRI scanner are spot on. While Ecias isn’t as relatable in terms of it being a fantasy place, it relatable in the sense of wonder and freedom it provides it’s inhabitants. They also have a logical and plausible reason for being on the planet.
Everything is so well thought out and every character is fleshed out to such great detail. I’d say there isn’t a badly written character anywhere near the book. Everyone feels like a real person and they act as such. The pacing throughout is impeccable and I found myself gripped. constantly wanting to know what would happen next and how everything fits together. The mind puzzle element of the book is so deep and enticing, it’s hard not to get caught up in it.
It’s a book you think about long after it’s finished and one that truly belongs in the upper echelon of sci-fi, surpassing much of what has come before. It creates its own identity which is an amazing thing. It’s rare for a book to feel as fresh and new as this. I wondered part way through if it would be similar to ‘We Can Remember It For You Wholesale’ by Philip K Dick (which was later turned into the film Total Recall) but no. It went its own path and one that I’d say works better than that of Dick’s story. I like the fact that no proper comparison can be drawn, as nowadays there seem to be so many similar books with the same themes and plot devices. It is really nice to have an author write what they want and not just pander to what performs the best in the charts.
If I had one fault with the book, it would be that there’s a sequel. So, in theory, it’s not a problem with this story, but it affects the overall ending. What’s there is perfect. It ends in the most sublimely, strangely beautiful way which makes you truly think. By knowing there is a follow-up, some of the perfection is sadly lost. That isn’t to say the sequel won’t be great, it just feels unnecessary considering the perfection that is the ending of this book.
Needless to say, I would consider this book a must read and one that I would happily read again. I would go as far as to say that I consider ‘Life and Other Dreams’ a masterpiece of fiction and one I am so glad to have experienced.