‘Awake’ by Andrew Palmer – Review

An original techno-psychological thriller that captures the essence and surrealism of dreams with a sinister edge…

In the not too far future ‘Edward Morrison’ is a computer programming prodigy with a million dollar corporation behind him. His main objective in life is to create and complete a ‘dream machine’ prototype that looks to replicate REM sleep conditions while also providing a virtual reality that cannot be distinguished from the real world. And what exactly is real and just a dream? Well that’s the partial genius readers face in this story as the lines become blurred capturing the surreal element of what our dreams can be.

While Edward is determined and engrossed in the work he also carries a complex childhood trauma that plagues his nightmares throughout the story, hence the connection between him and the dream concept. He’s a reclusive type and initially helped only by ‘Athena’ who eventually serves as something with too much control and power which becomes a threat – like the technology in this story, it’s created with the best intentions but humans have a tendency to foster the worst outcomes. Control seems to be the metaphor that holds everything together here.

In the latter stages there were a few moments that felt a little hard to follow as the concept of what was a dream and what wasn’t played out. While readers will need to pay close attention at this point it also heightened the psychological sense of what was going through the MC’s mind. The writing style is descriptive and easy to follow with chapters that are well paced.

The concept of connection through the unconscious as mentioned by Andrew Palmer in the acknowledgment brings a twist and satisfying resolve via the estranged ‘Cura’ who serves as an important character throughout. Dreams and the human mind make for a fascinating subject which is put beside the perhaps danger of technology making this story an interesting and imaginative read.

4 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

Weekly Ramble #44

It’s taken every ounce of my writing strength to reach this moment. Those words, those two words only the real writers will ever know and feel. It’s removal but with satisfaction. It’s acceptance but regret knowing it probably isn’t the best you could do, but nonetheless the track is laid, the motions are in place and the draft is done. Everything else after is yet to come and this is truly the beginning.

The real hard part is done. Getting it out of the thought process and onto pages and into words. Although some elements remain incomplete I am without the strength to carry on. I’ve used it all up creating something only now I was totally ready for. I’ve been on this journey since I was twelve years old, I realized this dream at fifteen and at thirty I finished drafting it. My whole life, my whole purpose as a story teller is to tell one story, everything else is for that, to prepare myself as a writer, to learn my craft, to find my voice, all of it is for that story I first devised over half my life ago.

Dreams have that power, they drive our existence and go deeper than anyone could possibly imagine. They grow as you do, they fight with you and they fight for you. Dreams can be bold, they can be crazy, they can be absurd but they are ours, and nothing will ever take them from us. The characters in my head have carried my dreams with me for as long as I remember and soon, on the horizon compared to the road before me, they will appear for everyone else. I urge you all to dream on, you never know where it will take you…

Jack Thorn and the maverick prophecy is a story that will change science fiction. And I’ll prove a bunch of people wrong along the way… feel that fire inside me yet, its wholly and entirely mine, but you’re invited to help it burn too…

300 Followers Special

There aren’t a lot of folks out there who realise their dream at the age of twelve and then stick to it. Life happens, we grow up, we move away, we get jobs, we build a family, some have their hearts broken, some lose fortunes and others become a success. Throughout my life all of those things have happened to me in some capacity but no matter what has happened I have never ever let go of that dream I had. And like anything worthwhile having in this world it takes work and it takes time.

I’ve never considered myself an academic or clever in any capacity, the daunting task of writing a book is something I taught myself, something I found within because that desire I had, that dream, never ever died. And yeah, it started out awful, maybe a sentence in one hundred actually sounded good, but the story, the story has always been in my heart. I’ve known for a long time I wanted to be a writer, a story teller or whatever you call it. My calling was realised way back when I was reading and found myself immersed in a world to the point where I forgot my own. I was floating in another world and that desire to immerse others like I have been is where all of this stands.

Eventually that solitary good sentence was paired with another, and then another and before I knew it, I had a book’s worth of stuff. After all this is just words or good ideas in an orderly fashion. Long gone are the days when I would come home from work and then my actual work would begin nightly. Four hours a night for four years I toiled and typed, figuring out how the hell I’m gonna get these stories inside me onto a page. But I did it, by hard work and dedication alone.

There is no real science to hard work, you show up, you roll up those sleeves and you get to it. Results don’t happen at the start and they should never be expected on this solitary journey, results are a side effect of that work and those words you put down.

I started this blog to put my words somewhere for others to enjoy. Whether or not they enjoyed them is their choice. What effect our art has on people can be wonderfully unexpected. If you work at it and try to improve eventually you will and eventually something awesome will happen; you’ll gain a following, some people who you may never see in the flesh but they are there because they can feel something in your words, in your art. Some of them will even be immersed. Eventually people will listen to what you have to say but you’ve got to be persistent. 

My number one lesson in blogging is simple: Create content that people want. Have something that people want. And be persistent. 

To have 300 people follow this blog has been an enduring journey of figuring stuff out. I already knew how to write but to find a way to write that reaches and speaks to people, that is the true art of blogging and I am only just realising that. I know this is pretty deep for a blog post but these words are truth, they are real. And when something is real, people listen.

Thank you to everyone who follows this blog. To those who like my stuff without fail and who are always there for me. To those just starting this journey with me and to everyone else.