Dreaming Your Dream by Starwing – Book Review
Dreaming Your Dream by Starwing – Book Review
Machine Dreaming Book One
- Author – Starwing
- Release Date – 10th November 2020
- Pages – 412
- ISBN 13 – 979-8707004025
- Format – ebook, Paperback, Hardback
- Star Rating – 4
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After a war that brought humanity to the brink of extinction, the survivors partnered with Artificial Intelligence to create a brighter future.
Centuries later, their survival depends on AI and it plays a bigger role in their lives than other people do. The people enjoy a virtual utopia every night by using interactive dream technology, but their AI-generated dreams are the only source of entertainment available.
AI determined the root of all harmful human behaviour was uncontrolled emotions, but balanced, harmonious emotions are an integral aspect of wellness. It concluded the only reliable way to achieve that was to eliminate emotion while a person was awake, then provide a safe way to experience the complete range of human emotions while engaged in dreaming.
John is a loner who struggles to hide the fact he can still feel a low level of emotions when he’s awake. He must keep his secret emotions and his mind strictly controlled—through the use of meditation—but he continues to make that harder and harder to accomplish when his life is on the line.
Review by Julie
‘Dreaming Your Dream’ is the first book in the ‘Machine Dreaming’ series by Canadian-born novelist, Starwing. We meet John in a fairly dramatic opening sequence which pulls the reader in immediately. He lives in a post apocalyptic world where every aspect of society is controlled by AI and works for a company that specialises in electronic equipment repairs. The atmosphere is toxic and it’s necessary to wear a gas mask when outdoors. Emotions have been neutralised through the mandatory use of neurotransmitter reuptake inhibitors. A label of mental illness is attached to anyone who rebels and is considered a threat to the stability of society. Unlike most people, John still experiences daytime emotions and struggles to hide these to prevent anyone from discovering his secret; if he gave himself away, he would be permanently ‘removed’.
After a strong start, the story fell into a formulaic structure based around John’s daily routines. He gets news updates on the bus to and from work and it appears insurgencies are increasing. At night John, along with the rest of the population, has a variety of dreams which are randomly selected and controlled by AI to enable everyone to experience emotions they are denied during the daytime.
I found some of the dream sequences rather long but they demonstrate how much time and thought the author has devoted to creating this book. Some are symbolic, some are dramatic and some are mentally challenging. There is an interesting plot dripping out as John and his foils start to discover ways to rebel against the level of control under which they are forced to live. If you persevere with the story, John and his fellow plotters develop a theory about the meanings of the dreams towards the end of the book.
This is an interesting read; everywhere is grey and decaying and I commend the author for creating an atmosphere of menace. We see all the action from John’s perspective, in the third person and the past tense. The author uses the inner dialogue method of putting John’s thoughts in speech marks and in these instances, he thinks of himself in the first person. When he’s interacting with others, it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between what he’s thinking and what he’s actually saying.
This book is illustrated with a smattering of pictures included in various scenes. No doubt some readers will find these enhance the story; I found them rather sterile and two dimensional but maybe this was the intention?
I would have liked some light to counterbalance all the shade in this tale. I found it all a bit gloomy but readers who enjoy this genre will appreciate it and no doubt find layers I’ve missed. To the author’s credit, it certainly brings some new ideas to the competitive dystopian market and there was a nice little twist at the end.
Starwing is a science fiction author living in Finland, who was born and raised in Canada. She enjoys writing about AI and technology in combination with mysticism and spirituality.
Starwing is also a member of the industrial rock band, The Fair Attempts. Her debut novel, “Dreaming Your Dream” has a companion album called “Dream Engine”. Starwing uses her creative pursuits to cope with the challenges of Multiple Sclerosis.
Not my kind of read, but glad you enjoyed it.