Communion Of Dreams

“Without gratuitous sex or violence”

One of the more enjoyable aspects of having Communion of Dreams out there is the consistently positive response it is generating. Reading reviews, seeing what others post about it in comments & blog posts, getting messages – all of these help affirm that the work which went into writing the book was worthwhile.

This morning I opened my CoD inbox to find a very nice message from someone who had just read the book. After favorably commenting on my book, and then relating some other books by VERY big-name authors he had read recently, he said this:

The [other author’s] novel mentioned was, I think, his best to date, and while it ended beautifully, there was a darkness behind it that left a tragic feeling when I was done. The other two are very, very grim indeed. I mention all of these because in the absence of the awe and sense of newness of the pioneers of science fiction, most authors take the route of being deliberately cynical–often bolster their flagging motivation with plenty of sex.

I am greatly impressed that you have created a suspenseful novel without gratuitous sex or violence, and paint a hopeful human picture in what could easily have been the run-of-the-mill depressing post-apocalyptic world.

I have to chuckle – it seems almost like a back-handed compliment, though I know it wasn’t intended that way. And in truth, he’s quite right. In fact, this is what I said in regards to that in my return note:

Thanks – both the core story and the decision to leave out the gratuitous sex & violence was very deliberate (as you know) because I wanted the book to be akin to the SF I enjoyed in my own youth. I wanted not just my contemporaries to enjoy the book, but for it to be enjoyable by their kids and grandkids. I agree that it is impossible at this point to recapture the innocent optimism of Clarke and others, but there’s nothing wrong with trying to again find optimism in understanding the limitations of the world – I think we’ve lost that in the last couple of decades.

Anyway – yeah, I’m guilty of being a cynical old bastard. But my book isn’t.

And on that note, a reminder that today is a promotional day: you can get the Kindle edition for free, all day. Help me get the word out, if you would be so kind.


Jim Downey

3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Innocent optimism of Clarke et al.? Not hardly! These were people who lived thru the Depression and WW II, in an era when firebombing cities was commonplace! They worked at their optomism!

Comment by smuhlberger

Fair point – but my correspondent had been talking about their optimism specifically about space exploration. Here’s an earlier passage from the message I hadn’t included:

“While in all fairness you were not able to capture the wonder at (and lyric enthusiasm for) space and science that prevails in Clarke — to say nothing of the prose poetry of Bradbury — their joy and innocence can never be possible in our time, and you did marvelously well considering our limitations.”

Comment by James Downey

Still can’t agree — joy and innocence is as possible now as it was in the 40s and 50s. And they weren’t easy then. I think yr correspondent needs to reread Bradbury — a dark writer who said himself that he didn’t want to describe the future, but to prevent it. See the last story in the Martian Chronicles.

Comment by smuhlberger

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