Communion Of Dreams



This blog started initially about my efforts to get my science fiction novel Communion of Dreams published. That was five years ago, and there’s been a lot of life, and a lot of blog posts, since.

Some 1,200 blog posts, as a matter of fact. About writing. About technology. About being a care-provider for someone with Alzheimer’s. Yeah, that latter topic turned into a book all on its own.

Some of these posts have become quite popular. Most were just for the amusement and edification of a couple dozen people. Feel free to browse the archives to your heart’s content. Also feel free to “follow” the blog if you want to get regular updates – most days I write about something I find of interest or want to rant about. But it’s not uncommon for me to be silent for a few days now and then.

Anyway, there on the upper left is a “Blogroll”, though it is actually a list of links to other things I am involved with. The care-giving book. My ballistics research project with some friends. My professional book & document conservation website. Yeah, I manage to keep busy. There’s also a Wikipedia page about me that’s mostly accurate.

And if you haven’t already done so, go check out the novel. That’s where all this stuff started, after all.

Jim Downey
March, 2012

19 Comments so far
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Communion of Dreams is the best science fiction novel I’ve read in the past 18 months or so. I rank it ahead of Charles Stross’ Accelerando, Greg Bear’s Blood Music, and two enthralling space operas by Vernor Vinge. I’d love to own it in hardcover. -krs in Indiana

Comment by Ken Sibley

Hardcover? Hell, I’d be happy to have it out in paperback… 😉

But thanks for the comment, and the rec!

Jim Downey

Comment by Communion of Dreams

Thanks for writing the story Communion of Dreams. I just finished reading it and I loved it. I hope you get it published soon.

I am an aspiring SF writer (7 chapters done on 2 stories).

Do you write about your techniques? Do you write every day or at a certain time? How long did it take you to write Communion? Do you work with a writers group?

Comment by Frank

Hey Frank!
Thanks for reading the book, and more thanks for stopping by to leave a comment.
I do include some thoughts on the writing process in my blog entries, along with comments on the process of getting published and ruminations on current tech/fiction/life as it pertains to the novel. Look through the archives, you might find what you’re looking for, or just jump in any current thread and ask.
I tried to be consistent about when I wrote, doing so each evening starting about 8 for an hour or two. It was a good time for me then, although I was usually tired an only able to focus for that limited period. It took me about three years working that way to do the initial writing (revising as I went along). Then after a break, I spent about another 6 months doing the first major rewrite of the book, which excised out over 25,000 words (about one-sixth of the book). Then a longer break of a couple of years, and I did the final version you read in about two weeks – I’d had plenty of time to think about tweaks I wanted to make. While there were some substantial changes, the word count wound up being almost exactly the same.
I do not work with a writer’s group, though my initial grad school experience was in the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and that taught me a lot about how to critique and edit my own work. While writing Communion on the first go, I would send out finished chapters to about two dozen friends, getting feedback and encouragement that way.
Hope that helps! Good luck with your own writing, and when you get something in shape to share, drop me a note.
Jim Downey

Comment by Communion of Dreams

I’m on chapter 10 and .. it’s pretty good. Some questions are banging around that I’m sure will be answered in good time.

* The idea of the fire-flu and a depopulated world is fascinating.

* Your spaceship crews work in two twelve-hour shifts for the duration of the voyage. Standard shifts are divide a 24 hour day into 3 chunks, which might be more workable, or at least they are in the surface Navy and most factories.

* Pg 122 a character peers into the faceplate of another to divine who it is.

If you’ve got a culture that does a lot of EVA slapping a name tape on suit and helmet is going to be SOP.

Also same scene – I’d expect a few able spaces to be on hand for cargo unloading.

Put it this way; a terrestrial ship delivers a crew of scientists and technicians via longboat to shore. There is going to be a sailor driving the boat, plus another two or three along to handle the boat, unload cargo and do the scut work. Your scientists could unload the cargo but not being used to the work they might also drop an important box in the drink and who needs that?

But really, those are just nits – I like what I’ve read so far.

Comment by Brian

Brian…thanks for the little suggestions. I do very much appreciate it. Posting such here is great because it will make it easier when I do any further editing.

Chap 10…ah, it’s just *starting* to get interesting. Hehehe.

Jim Downey

Comment by Communion of Dreams


Comment by Brian

Just finished reading communion. I really enjoyed it. In your infinite amounts of free time you should consider reading it aloud and podcasting on I loved your recovered post apocalyptic setting. It was hopeful and positive in spite of the vast terrors (extinction and other more spoilerish problems) faced by humanity in your book. It read like science fiction should, giving the hope that the future can be shaped by our will and effort.

Comment by elicivilunrest

Eli – thanks for dropping by and leaving a bit of feedback! Always enjoy hearing what people have to say – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I kicked around the idea of podcasting the thing a few months back in this post. Now that I am actually getting more sleep and regaining some energy, maybe I should revisit the idea…

Anyway, thanks again – and I enjoyed checking out your blog, as well!

Jim D.

Comment by Communion of Dreams

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Comment by bibomedia

Great read! I’ve been a SF fan since grade school (the ’50’s) and this is a good one. It makes me want to get back to work on my own stuff.

As far as publication, have you considered any of the self-publication routes? More options are available lately; the “vanity” presses such as Trafford have been around for a while, but there are now outfits that will print on demand, so you don’t have to buy a minimum number of copies (and wait for someone to order one). Also, you might look into Amazon’s publishing for their Kindle reader; you set your own price for the book, and get paid per sale.

You might also try to get it reviewed by someone. Although the book is probably too long for serialization in a magazine such as Analog, their book reviewer(s) might be persuaded to read it.

BTW, I found the book from a link you posted on

Comment by Curtis

Curtis, thanks. Glad to hear you’ve enjoyed the book!

Yeah, I am giving a look towards different POD options – now that my life has settled out from other things, it looks like this will be a good way to go. And thanks for the suggestion about Amazon and the Kindle option.


Jim D.

Comment by James Downey

I located the book reviewer for Analog, (Don Sakers) and sent him a query as to whether he reviews e-books; also linked yours. Hope you don’t mind the unsolicited help.
Good luck with the critters in your attic!

Comment by Curtis

No worries, Curtis – I do appreciate the help!

Toodles . . .

Jim D.

Comment by James Downey

The camouflage suit you described is becoming a little closer to reality . . .

And this article . . . it doesn’t bear directly on your story, but you’ll probably appreciate it:

— this reinforces my own notion (central to my adoption of atheism) that everything we think of as spirituality or religious experience is nothing more than brain chemistry.

Comment by Curtis

Yeah, if you poke around my archives, you’ll find that I address the development and application of metamaterials – check under “Predictions”. But thanks for the link – another step in the process.

As to the atheism thing: check out UTI.

Jim D.

Comment by James Downey


Comment by Anton

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