The best fiction books incorporating dreams

Matt Watters Author Of Dream Phaze - Germination
By Matt Watters

Who am I?

Everyone dreams, even if you don’t remember them, you dream. I have researched dreams and stories concerning dreams for decades. There are more than a handful of dream fiction books I admire and would recommend, but here are five that I think should be singled out. I am a member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams to try to keep my finger on the pulse of peer-reviewed papers concerning the ‘yet-to-be-explained’ purpose of dreaming. I wrote this story because I can see a future where dreams become mainstream entertainment, it is just a matter of time and technology.


I wrote...

Dream Phaze - Germination

By Matt Watters,

Book cover of Dream Phaze - Germination

What is my book about?

Everyone dreams. All Saxon Zynn wanted to do was dream, not for himself, but for everyone. Back in 2037, Saxon stated, "Dreaming is a reality to be experienced." A decade of research later and his Dream Immersion technology is poised to become the major entertainment medium of the 21st century, but will unforeseen obstacles prevent him from achieving his purpose?

Dream Phaze is about the inception of engineered dreams and the evolution of indulgence. Set at the crossroads of alternative realities in the near future, it plunges into a world where every human desire, no matter how heroic or evil, can be fulfilled. Dream Phaze – Germination is a “Global Ebook Award” winner - Bronze 2021 Sci-fi category.

The books I picked & why

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Mirrormaze: A Dreampunk Anthology

By Cliff Jones,

Book cover of Mirrormaze: A Dreampunk Anthology

Why this book?

Cliff Jones Jr. has threaded together an impressive anthology with Mirrormaze: A Dreampunk Anthology. I think the structure of the book with prompts to guide you through the maze makes this anthology distinctive. The stories cover a variety of genres but are always tied to that central topic, dreams.

There are many outstanding stories that I found interesting in their structure and content, but I won’t give anything away to influence your choices, you have to determine your own gems. The stories are well written, enjoyable, they make you reflect and with almost 30 stories, there are many viewpoints of what constitutes a ‘dream’.

It took me several weeks to meander my way through the maze, I’d jump in every time I had free time. I love short story anthologies, you can read a couple, be carried away to an imagined time and place, fall back to reality, until it’s time to ‘dream with eyes wide open’ again when you open the book or device.

I strongly recommend Mirrormaze: A Dreampunk Anthology to all readers because everyone can relate to the fascinating journeys dreams take us on.


The Dream Master

By Roger Zelazny,

Book cover of The Dream Master

Why this book?

The Dream Master was originally published in Amazing (Jan/Feb 1965) titled, He Who Shapes. The novella won Roger Zelazny a Nebula Award in 1966. I have re-read this novel several times over the years, and subconsciously I think it influenced the premise for Dream Phaze. Some of the tech is a little outdated by today’s terms, but the overall idea is still fresh.


The Lathe of Heaven

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Book cover of The Lathe of Heaven

Why this book?

This is a novel I have read several times. George Orr, the protagonist, has the power to alter the past and his present reality via his dreams, which gives him an unwelcome God-like advantage. The skillfully descriptive narrative explores psychological and philosophical threads of what George does with this power compelling the reader to think about the moral dilemmas and consequences. I think this is one of my favourite novels because it analyses the morality of how George and others use his “gift”. Ursula K. Le Guin is one of my favourite sci-fi authors and this novel was nominated for several awards and won the 1972 Locus Award for Best Novel.


The Handmaid's Tale

By Margaret Atwood,

Book cover of The Handmaid's Tale

Why this book?

I first read The Handmaid’s Tale in 1986 and it had an immediate impact. The dark dystopian world that Atwood creates could be compared with George Orwell’s, 1984. Offred escapes her dismal existence through dreams, as did Winston Smith in 1984. The book conveys powerful messages on society and how quickly things can unravel. There are only a handful of novels since 1980 that I feel are influential in near-future science fiction and The Handmaid’s Tale is definitely one of them in my opinion.


Number9dream

By David Mitchell,

Book cover of Number9dream

Why this book?

With similarities to Haruki Murakami’s style of writing, I love the structure of this novel. Told in the first-person narrative via 8 eclectic chapters, Mitchell weaves the captivating story of Eiji. Don’t try and preempt or anticipate what is going on, just go with the words written on the page and you will be swept up into Eiji’s surreal quest. The theme is a common one, boy searches for father, but it is beautifully written and executed.


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