THE DREAMACHINE

by William Dickerson

Verdict: The writing in THE DREAMACHINE is vivid and dynamic and cleanly written and edited. The pacing also works well, and the story progresses logically throughout and ends with just enough temptation to lure interested readers into a sequel.

IR Rating

 
 

3.0

IR Rating

What if you began having frightening dreams and memories from a past life that couldn’t possibly be your own – or could it? That’s what happens to Jasper Keepnews, an average man, who is married to a seemingly loving wife, works as a web designer, and suffers from a diabetes-related leg problem. Yet, when a co-worker tells him about a dreamachine, and Jasper researches the devise, his strange dreams and memories become more frequent and more vivid. Before long, he pieces together bits of his past – dreams of Paris, a woman in high heels, a fatal fall from a balcony, a long-lost daughter – and realizes his identity has been changed and an attempt had been made to erase all his memories.

The problem lies in the story’s unmistakable resemblance to Total Recall, (the movie) and the book by Piers Anthony, which was based on the novelette We Can Remember It For You Wholesale by Philip K. Dick. Similarities include the brainwashed secret agent/assassin, the frequent dreams of another place, the phony wife/job/co-worker scenario, the mind-altering technology, drug-induced paranoia, a written note/card used as a clue to his identity, a physical journey to discover the truth, the jolting realization that he committed an atrocity as his former self, etc.

Emphasizing the more original elements in this book, such as how The Beats liked to create various art forms in altered states, the father-daughter relationship between Jasper and his rebellious offspring, his martial arts expertise, the first biracial Hispanic female president of the United States (given little more than a mention or two), musical connections to the story, and past links to the city of Paris, would give this book a fresher feel. As written, there’s too much emphasis on a derivative plot and characters. Anyone who has seen the movie Total Recall or read the book has a good idea of the true identity of Jasper and how the story will progress.

The writing in THE DREAMACHINE is vivid and dynamic and cleanly written and edited. The pacing also works well, and the story progresses logically throughout and ends with just enough temptation to lure interested readers into a sequel (if one is planned).

~Carol Michaels for IndieReader

 

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