Title: New Reality
Author: Jessica Payseur
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: Nov 8, 2017
Page Count: 52
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.0 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.
I’ll maintain that short stories are some of the more difficult aspects of literature to write – the author needs to convey emotion, action, or concepts in a limited number of pages. Description and dialog by default is almost minimalist.
I’m not going to re-summarize because it’s a short story and the summary captures the premise of the book – anything more would move into spoiler territory.
While the scifi and world building was solid in this book, the overall story didn’t grab me as much as I thought it would. Personally, I’m just not a fan of back-flashes, dramatic foreshadowing or breaking up a story line. I found the dream-time segments a bit too frequent for my taste, making the story feel choppy and disjointed, with left me feeling unsettled.
I was left feeling a bit dissatisfied with a lack of a reason with how the dreams were occurring. How was Wystan initiating them? Why was Connell susceptible to those dreams? Was it his intense feeling at the loss of his previous lover (who came across as a bit of a douche), was it because Connell was feeling lonely at the right time, right place? How could Connell leave physical evidence from dream-time in the real world, on a planet far far away? I totally understand that short stories are limited, but in this instance, I would have liked this concept fleshed out more.
I also struggled with the romance via dreams; while the author tried to build a connection in real-time, the attraction in dream-time came across as somewhat insta-love, without any foundations beyond two lonely guys separated by a universe, and it just didn’t work for me.
Ultimately, while I did enjoy the basis of the story, other aspects left me with questions and a desire for a bit more to the plot.