The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

When I was a small child, I was always told never to be boastful, never to shout about my successes. I’ve tried to live by this advice as much as possible, never show off or trumpet my achievements too much.

However, perhaps there are times when a little self-promotion is permissible?

I’ve been on a blog tour for Life and Other Dreams, 21 blogs in a week.

It’s great to see them posted in various places on social media and on the bloggers websites. I’m sharing a few of my favourites here, with the names of the posters removed. But you can find them all by following the links below.

As an author, feedback is very important, it’s always nice to know what people think of the product of my imagination. And it’s often a surprise to see how differently they viewed something that I assumed would be seen in a certain way when I wrote it. And they also spot things that I never noticed when I was writing, little links, passages with multiple meanings and connections. All things that I must have subconsciously inserted.

We’ll start with

The Good,

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.

or this one,

This book was brilliant!  I wasn’t sure what to expect at first but I was soon drawn in to the story, and fully immersed in Rick and Dan’s worlds!!  I really didn’t want to put it down!

Honestly….the blurb says it all! I don’t think I can expand much on it without giving anything away! What I will say is that….even after reading the book, I’m still not entirely sure what’s reality and what isn’t!

I really enjoyed the descriptions of Ecias which made it really easy to picture the place that Dan and Vanessa live and work, and really made me think about the fact that this could really happen in real life in the future! There is so much we don’t know about the universe, how do we know there aren’t place out there like Ecias!?

Rick and Dan are brilliant characters which are interlinked through dreams….although overlapped by reality! And it’s so intriguing to see how this plays out….Dee has done a fantastic job!

Life and other Dreams is a fast-paced, well written easy and enjoyable read which honestly will have you hooked! I was so thrilled to get to the end, and find out there will be a sequel…….a sequel which I literally cannot wait to read!!  I NEED to know what happens next!!!

Or even this one,

I really enjoyed this one I thought that this was a very well written, and well crafted story with an excellent cast of characters!

The plot line was excellent and I thought that the author’s writing style for this one was perfectly suited.  He is very well matched to this genre and I would love to know where he gets all his ideas from!!

I thought that the story flowed really well and it was easy to dip in and out of and I read it over the course of a couple of days.  Really looking forward to the next book from Richard now!!

4.5 stars from me for this one rounded up to 5 stars for Goodreads and Amazon – very highly recommended and a complete treat to read!

Then we had the bad,

Richard Dee tends to write sci-fi but I had never read any of his work, despite this being, I think, his twelfth book; as such, I leapt at the chance to review his latest, ‘Life and Other Dreams’, as part of a blog tour.

In it, we follow Rick, who in real life (present day England) works in advertising and is married to a nurse, Cathy. However, in his dreams he is transported to the planet Ecias, 600 years in the future, where he is Dan and married to Vanessa. But which life is real and which is the dream? When these two realities start to bleed into each other, Rick’s world and assumptions start to fall apart and questions must be asked.

It’s a familiar device, as any reader of SF and Fantasy will know – very PKD – and this is executed better than most writers’ attempts at it. On his website, Dee calls himself a world-builder – and he certainly is that. Dan-of-the-future’s Ecias is vivid and has a solid sense of place about it; more vivid than the London of Rick-of-the-present, which I’m certain is deliberate and equates to some clever writing on Dee’s part.

However, I was disappointed to find most of the characters quite two-dimensional, lacking the nuance and depth I look for, and which would have elevated this aspect of the book into the upper echelons. Even the main characters. The writing generally was very competent, but I felt that Dee rushed the finale (I imagine very tempting for any writer to do, towards the end of completing a novel!); the last 15% of the book threw previously unknown (and sometimes unneeded) information at us, there was a lot of unnecessary exposition and it was simply overwritten in places. It was an advance reader copy, so there are bound to be typos and grammatical / punctuation problems – I am sure that these issues will be tightened up in the final edit.

It needs tweaking but I enjoyed the read and look forward to reading others of Dee’s.

I’d give it 4*

Or this one,

‘Life and Other Dreams’ by Richard Dee is my first encounter with this author and I thought it was an okay read.
I mean, it was quite entertaining and it kept me hooked throughout, but it felt like there could be more to it.
I really enjoyed the chapters of Dan and Vanessa on Ecias as this world was best build in my opinion.
The storyline of this world, set somewhere in the future, was intriguing and fascinating.
It stood, for me at least, in a rather big contrast with the story of Rick and Cath, which I found a bit dull and weird.
Bland as it was for the most part telling instead of showing and abnormal because of Cath’s reactions.
I know she’s supposed to be overly jealous and controlling, but she was a bit too much for me.
I also didn’t experience these chapters as very interesting as it all felt rather as an ordinary life on earth for most of the time, nothing as exciting as Ecias.
I believe it’s supposed to be like that to show contrast and to confuse, not only Rick, but us too, when everything collides, but I’m no fan of the earth chapters.
I’m afraid I must say in general that I’m not satisfied with the quality of execution of this remarkable idea that Richard Dee had.
I think it has something to do with self-publishing.
In my experience it means the book didn’t had a good brush through from an (professional) outsider and for me that’s showing, sorry.
I however do want to know what’s going to happen with Rick/Dan after that huge cliffhanger by the end!

And as for the ugly, how about this awful picture?

(Although the cover’s quite good)

If you want to look for yourself, you can find all the stops on the blog tour here, with all the reviews.

I hope that wasn’t too boastful for you, I’ll be back on Thursday with another Indie Showcase, see you then.


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