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.
About The Author
Richard Dee is a native of Brixham in Devon. He left Devon when he was in his teens and settled in Kent. Leaving school at 16 he briefly worked in a supermarket, then went to sea and travelled the world in the Merchant Navy, qualifying as a Master Mariner in 1986.
Coming ashore to be with his growing family, he used his sea-going knowledge in several jobs, working as a Marine Insurance Surveyor and as Dockmaster at Tilbury, before becoming a Port Control Officer in Sheerness and then at the Thames Barrier in Woolwich.
In 1994 he was head-hunted and offered a job as a Thames Estuary Pilot. In 1999 he transferred to the Thames River Pilots, where he regularly took vessels of all sizes through the Thames Barrier and upriver as far as HMS Belfast and through Tower Bridge. In all, he piloted over 3,500 vessels in a 22-year career with the Port of London Authority.
Richard is married with three adult children and three grandchildren.
His first science-fiction novel Freefall was published in 2013, followed by Ribbonworld in 2015. September 2016 saw the publication of his Steampunk adventure The Rocks of Aserol and of Flash Fiction, a collection of Short Stories. Myra, the prequel to Freefall was published in 2017, along with Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café, a murder mystery set in space and the start of a series featuring Andorra Pett, an amateur detective. Sequels to Ribbonworld and The Rocks of Aserol have been published, together with a second Andorra Pett story, Andorra Pett on Mars. He also contributed a story to the 1066 Turned Upside Down collection. Richard is currently working on prequels, sequels, and new projects.
You can find out more about me on my website at richarddeescifi.co.uk. Head over there to see what I get up to, click the FREE STUFF tab or the PORTFOLIO tab to get all the details about my work and pick up a free novel or short story.
As always, World Geekly News would like to thank Rachel’s Random Resources for arranging this blog tour, and many others, and for hooking us up with a diverse selection of books to review.