Title: New Reality
Author: Jessica Payseur
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: November 8, 2017
Genre(s): Science Fiction
Page Count: 52
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
It’s lonely running a small transport ship across the galaxy when you’re as old and as single as Connell Smyth. So when the dreams start up, Connell assumes they’re his mind’s way of working through what his life has become—until he discovers the man in his dreams might be much more than a figment of his neglected imagination. Connell can’t quite believe it could be real, but he can’t help becoming obsessed with this new lover on an unknown luscious planet.
Seventeen years ago, Wystan Kreeger’s survey mission crash-landed on a hard-to-reach planet. Sole survivor Wystan turns desperate after his computer, the only companion he’s had since, gives out. Even in the improbable event that the man in his dreams is real, he’ll face the same risk from the planet’s storm-charged atmosphere if he tries to track Wystan down, and he could end up just like Wystan’s former crew. But finding each other across so many light-years can’t be a mere coincidence. Now they must find a way to realize the happiness they’ve found in sleep during the light of the day.
After the sudden death of his long-time partner Jason, 53-year-old Connell finds himself alone on their space transport dreaming of their days together – the good and the bad. “Jason had been a good partner, and Connell had loved him. But it had been Jason who had laughed off anything too serious. Never agreed to marry Connell, never tried to plan retirement with him.”
Connell begins dreaming of a transport ship-turned-shelter on the edge of a cliff, with large windows overlooking the ocean, and a mysterious lover:
He couldn’t shake the dreams, though. Sometimes he was running again, along the path in the forest. Sometimes he explored the house, a place lovingly made by hand yet somehow empty. But the dreams that drove him the wildest were those where he was not alone. Even though he could never get a proper look at his lover, never really hear what he was saying, those were the dreams Connell obsessed over.
As the dreams become more detailed and he finally sees the face of his lover and learns his name is Wystan, Connell wants to find out if the planet is real, and if the man he dreamed about actually exists.
For such a short novella, Jessica Payseur does a great job of world building and developing a plot that is engaging and feels wholly complete at the end of the story. I’m not the biggest fan of science fiction, but I really liked New Reality and give it 4 stars.
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