What Dreams May Come

What Dreams May Come

Book - 1978
Average Rating:
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"Struck down in an automobile accident that kills his body but not his spirit, Chris Nielsen is tortured by the despair of his loving wife which leads to her suicide, and must choose between life in hell with her or in paradise without her"-- Novelist.
Publisher: New York : Tor, a Tom Doherty Associates book, ©1978
ISBN: 9780765308702
0765308703
Branch Call Number: MATHESO
Characteristics: 288 pages ; 21 cm

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crankylibrarian Jan 27, 2014

You are about to learn All About Death. Matheson's ponderous and self important introduction reads: "only one aspect...is fictional: the characters and their relationships. With few exceptions, every other detail is derived exclusively from research.

In case you're curious as to how Matheson "researched" the afterlife, he provides a 6 page bibliography of sources from theosophy, parapsychology, and spiritualism, but nothing from biology or neuropsychology. Terms like "aura", and "etheric body" get tossed around, but there is no coherent logic or ethical system at work here. Ann, the hero's loving and emotionally fragile wife, is damned to a hell of her own imagination for committing suicide, yet her grieving husband is smugly informed that this is "the law", but NOT a "punishment", (sounds pretty darned punitive to me.) The "Office of Records" can determine how long a person is "supposed" to live, (who decides?), yet apparently this can be short-circuited by accidents or suicide. There can be reincarnation, yet souls may choose to wait until the kid is a few months old before incarnating so as to avoid soul-death if the baby doesn't live. I found this aspect particularly fascinating: if we know how long a person is "supposed" to live, why would anyone pick a baby marked for sudden infant death syndrome? And what's up with all those soulless 2 month olds? That would explain some horrendous babysitting experiences, but still. Vincent Ward made a reasonably entertaining movie out of this with Robin Williams a few years back, wisely focusing on the love story and the adventurous rescue angle, and leaving out the New Age mumbo jumbo. As a fantasy adventure, it works, barely; as a serious exploration of immortality and the nature of death it's glorified pseudo science.

s
snoopluv
Nov 26, 2012

I loved this story !!! It was very well written and even though it's a work of fiction it makes you take a real hard look at your beliefs and values.

j
Jade2011
May 17, 2011

The greatest love story ever written!

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