Tag Archive: Daydream


Straight up: you are going to get to the end of this book, and let out a little squeally gasp reserved for something slimy slithering down the back of your shirt.  That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Tony Bertauski has the uncanny ability to split and sustain a climax over a sequence of several events.  You’re hoping the heroine makes it out alive…the tension drops and immediately begins to rise…you’re hoping the heroine manages to save the rest…then the third time, you’re hoping the heroine has the ability to lay a whooping on that guy.

51pzT8Sl3ULIn Foreverland is Dead, Tony Bertauski creates a world that was first intimated in Annihilation of Foreverland.  While this place is alluded to, it is only a small element of that tale.  This world is entirely different, and lends a new meaning to ‘the cold, harsh world’.  Annihilation of Foreverland isn’t required reading to enjoy Foreverland is Dead and it doesn’t matter which you read first.  The plots are completely distinct and where the stories overlap, they are not hindered by too much or too little information.

While Annihilation of Foreverland ponders some philosophical ideas, Foreverland is Dead contemplates them with much greater earnestness.  Tony Bertauski presents concepts that have been the burden of philosophers since man began thinking.  He explores the meaning and complexity of self and reality. He asks who are we, and who we are at the same time.

What does it mean to ‘be’? Do we consist solely of our bodies? Or are we the thing inside? What comprises the borders of our selves?  Are we nothing more than the sum of our memories, and if so what becomes of us if our memories are lost?

What defines reality? In Annihilation of Foreverland, a character declaims, “Reality is what we perceive in our minds.”  The reply, “That is the definition of delusion.”  If reality is not what we perceive  (and how can we know what is strictly a mental perception or what is an accurate representation our senses give of the world around us?) then how do we determine reality?  Is this a dream, and if I wake from this dream, how do I know that I am not waking to the dream of my dreaming?

In the midst of this, Bertauski weaves a well-crafted tale of exploitation, selfishness and deceit.  Yet, Foreverland is Dead is a greater tale of strength and survival.  To find the way in a world that has undefined rules with very harsh consequences, when resources are scarce and not all are who or what they seem, somehow, six young girls manage to waken from that very dream.  What they awaken to, however, is a question of reality.

Bertauski infuses his stories with hard concepts and encourages, even challenges his readers to answer the question for themselves.  Not many authors can claim success at telling the story and being responsible for answering the questions raised.  I’m hoping there is another Foreverland story out there that might take up where that squeally gasp left off.

This is probably the best philosophical science fiction I’ve read in years. I’m looking toward Bertauski’s other series to draw me in like this one has.

There’s a limit to everything, and at some point you have to ask yourself if you are capable of stepping beyond that limit.  Are you capable of truly identifying reality and yourself?

Work, run, sleep..work, run, sleep…lather, rinse, repeat

Something is seriously not right.

Attic Clowns — Jeremy Shipp

These are stories told from dreams that became nightmares, then became dreams again. The author’s nightmare is quirky and humorous and kinda’ scary all at the same time.

 

It’s a collection of wildly imaginative stories, currently in four volumes, that revolve around a single premise. Well, a single premise in two parts. One, there’s always an attic and two, there’s always a clown.

 

You can just imagine what a clown is doing is in an attic, and you’d be wrong. You see, not only does it involve clowns and attics, there are angels and demons, and somewhere in there you’re going to find hell.

 

Hell. Gehenna. Hades, Purgatory, the Underworld. Whatever you want to call it. It’s there. In the attic. With the clown.  Sometimes you might be well into the story before you realize there’s a clown, and an attic. But Hell? It pretty much jumps right out at you.

This is not really science fiction, nor really horror, although an argument could be made for a little of both. Tortured souls can be devils, demons, angels and the occasional human, being tortured by devils and demons and angels.

 

These are well-developed stories that stick in your head long after you read them (if you’re paying attention).  Is there absolute good? Absolute evil? Will the demon give up the camera for the toe jam? Really? Can the angel be redeemed, does he even realize the evil in his actions? And what did the little guy do to him anyway? Oh, and that pony.

 

There’s not a lot of guessing the outcome in most of these stories, simply because the story itself is so…utterly not right. As you read, you realize something else is not right, not right, in such a not right sort of way.

 

You want to understand, you want to figure it out in advance.  Then, you get to the end of the story, and you think: well, I didn’t see THAT coming. Then you think: what kind of freak…? No, where did this guy come up with this? And THEN you think: what kind of freak am I that I find this turn of events so ..so.. satisfying? It’s because there’s a clown…and an attic.