19 December 2013

13 reasons to enter the Dream Land

Late at night, or more often early in the morning, I have nagging doubts about the meaning of the Dream Land. The title seems at once somewhat vague and suggestively poignant. Is it just a story where the hero awakens at the end only to discover the whole trilogy has been a dream? Absolutely not!

Sure, there's a lot of playing of that theme, back and forth along the border between reality and...umm, what we might as well call "dream" for lack of a juicier word. What could be wrong with juxtaposing reality, or one reality with another reality? And then what is so awful about calling one of those two realities "The Dream Land"? 

So The Dream Land trilogy is a story about reality...and another reality. While looking for a secluded spot to make-out one summer, two young people discover an abandoned quarry with an odd phenomena. When the circumstances are just right, a point of light marks the spot where the reality of Earth (and the quarry itself, which is to the east side of Kansas City, Missouri, USA) can be pried open to reveal the other reality: what the natives call Ghoupallesz, a planet much like Earth but 101 light-years distance if one bothered to travel by spacecraft.

Anyway...what do these two young people, Sebastian and Gina, do there? Being scientific-minded geeks, they study the place, learn all about it, gradually fit in, eventually function there like it was their own world of Earth. But things are different enough that Gina wants to stay, wants to make it her home forever. Sebastian, the younger of the two, is hesitant to stay, remembering what awaits him back on Earth: his scholarship to college and a career in science. So he returns. 

But there is a bug set inside him that keeps him returning through the "tear in the air" at that quarry and having his own adventures there. One time he is forced to join an army during a war. Another time he meets a beautiful woman and has an affair. Another trip, he marries her, has children, does his best work as commander of a cavalry regiment--where the animals they ride seem a cross between donkeys and rabbits. He has a knack for getting into trouble, of course--Gina recognized that. Despite that, he manages to return and rescue Gina time and again from her adventures. 

Still, they do not, cannot remain together; each must partake separate journeys, it seems. And that is where our trilogy begins. Sebastian is stuck at a third-shift clerk job at the IRS service center when he feels the familiar sensations of a cosmic calling from Gina. He knows what comes next but it has been a while since he last walked through the interdimensional doorway. But Gina is his Long-lost Love, his soulmate, so he must go and, if necessary, save her. Simple enough, right? 

First, he must get through the doorway, then round up some of his former soldiers to form a team of mercenaries. Then he was lead them across the towering Zet mountains and enter the plateau kingdom of Zetin, sneak into the castle of the Zetin warlord and free Gina from wherever she might be held in the castle. And then get out. For this mission, he must put away his pencils and adding machine....

I must leave you hanging, of course. I am not allowed to leave spoilers just laying about.

That was Book I, a sprawling epic of twin universes and choices with no easy options, and all the magic and terror of alternate reality. In Book II, the adventures of Sebastian continue as he tries to right wrongs and undo evil. You can probably guess that he actually makes things worse. Hence, the need for Book III.

I loved inventing this story, creating the characters (yes, some based on people I've known), and molding the world of Ghoupallesz into a playground of devilish delights and angelic horrors. Playing with words is what I am happiest doing. And I hope you enjoy the result. Tell your friends and family; invite them into the Dream Land too!

Oh, wait! I promised thirteen reasons to enter the Dream Land, didn't I? Sorry; got carried away....

1. Science-fiction on an epic scale: two worlds and a cast of millions.
2. Steampunk and cyberpunk duelling for control of your mind.
3. Geek romance (PG-13 in Book I and II, borderline R in Book III).
4. Old fashion chivalry versus New Age feminism--see which will win!
5. Strange flora and fauna...what would you expect on another planet?

6. Explore the weird lives of third-shift IRS service center workers.
7. Relive the 1980s: the music, cars, fashion, hair styles, attitudes, historic events.
8. Sweeping battles, military strategy, manly manliness, blood and guts.
9. Existential angst.
10. Alien marriage customs!
11. How to use exotic drugs for pleasure and pain.
12. Interspecies romance (mostly in Book III).
13. How to deal with a fatal comet (Book III), politically, socially and technologically.

For Kindle (also in paperback):

US links:

UK links:

(C) Copyright 2010-2013 by Stephen M. Swartz. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog, whether text or image, may be used without me giving you written permission, except for brief excerpts that are accompanied by a link to this entire blog. Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off. Serious violators shall be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the United States of America.


  1. I love the whole concept of your Dream Land Books! They are well written and keep my attention. The mashup of genres in these tales, introducing steampunk into fantasy and so on, is intriguing and I have each and every one of them so I must be a fan-girl.