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  • By Craig Hilton
    Oct 15, 2009
    "Dreamscape by Paul Kidd" This stunning new work by Australian author Paul Kidd is quite simply the most powerfully affecting novel I have read in years. Kidd’s narrative skill in unfolding an imaginative and fiercely gripping techno-fantasy is matched in equal measure by a mature passion. A generation on from cyberpunk, and well to the fore of the twenty-first century’s milieu of on-line gaming and alternate virtual worlds, Dreamscape is a thriller told entirely from the other side of the mainframe. Or appears to be. The rules are revealed and created as you go along, very much as you are constructing the small but growing universe, valley by valley and town by town. The ten-year-old girl in a Japanese dress and a samurai sword with a butterfly hilt adopts the role of mother and protector to the embryonic world of which she is a part. She is on her own at first. In time, there are others. A black scaled, female lizard warrior, a humanoid falcon, a sweet baby-girl unicorn,... More > and a huge apparition of a goldfish floating above the landscape like a blimp or silent god. And others still appear, appreciative visitors from some outside world. Anthropomorphic animals, fantasy elves and avatars of all descriptions. Figures faceless with coverings of wet tissue paper. The reflection of a hateful woman seen in cracked and blood-stained windows. And executives in suits, checking out their product. This other-worldly paradise, lovingly fashioned from a little girl’s dreams, may be nothing more than some corporation’s virtual real estate. They want to merchandise it. They let people pay to come in and rape it. What makes Dreamscape such a work of power is the way it dances on the frighteningly thin line between strength and utter vulnerability. The emotion of that terrifying, midnight-knock-at-your-door scenario is a thing Kidd handles with fine, delicate pathos. The five creators - Steel, Silk, Squeee, Liz and the God-Fish - who hold debate on a desert peak like a council of history’s wiliest generals. They commit themselves to a match of attrition with an invader they are still in the process of sizing up. And what at first appears to be a struggle for their very existence, as in the best of ripping yarns, goes further, several steps further, than that. “High spirits do sometimes break out.” “Then they must accept that high spirits come with a great deal of pain attached.” The spiritual discipline of the sword, described by Kidd with intimate familiarity, is an excellent metaphor for this. Tuition, practice (“several lifetimes of practice”, in Steel’s words) and scrupulous care of the weapon demonstrate a protagonist not with innate super powers, but applying herself correctly to the task. The battles are graphically described as well. This is not a book for the squeamish - the violence hits as hard as the emotion. Nor is it a simplistic story, deceptive as the vigilante narrative may appear. The kinship of power and duty is at work, the message being whatever meaning Steel makes of her world, so we can make of our own. A particular delight in Paul Kidd’s works is to experience his very great strength – a mischievous, Addamsesqe sense of humour, shown as a macabre quaintness. But Kidd can also turn on profundity, sheer nourishment to read. Obviously, I won’t reveal the final direction of the plot, except to say it’s a ripper to the very end. You may even cry. Anyone picking up Dreamscape will find it a thoroughly good read, at the very least. In addition, though, for many a thoughtful person, it can be a rallying cry for passion, a validation to dreamers and arguably a spiritual compass for a secular new century.< Less
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Product Details

Paul Kidd
March 16, 2007
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
1.1 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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