Dreams less Sweet by John Crowdell
Kaleb and Dee work in the Department of Dreams in a world where anything a person wants can simply be wished into existence. This world has forbidden many of the “old” ways such as marriage between two humans, expression of any kind of negative emotion, and the existence of other life forms (one can “wish” whatever kind of creature into life, so who needs the old creatures?).
Instead of marriage with another human, each person is matched with his/her anime or animus that is drawn out of his/her own psyche and placed into an automaton. Negativity is drawn out of each person each day. Failure to use the machine designed to siphon out negative thoughts is a major crime. People are forbidden to dream. They are also not allowed to have any sexual feeling for another person. Such feelings are punishable by frontal lobotomy.
In this land of positive thought and instant gratification, the Dark draws near. Ra has come from a land of the old ways to find a Hero to free the world from the restrictions and save them from the encroaching Dark. While Kaleb and Dee find themselves dangerously drawn to each other, Ka searches for Kaleb through the Darkening city.
The premise is interesting; it seems to be a reflection on the massive immediate gratification mentality often seen in much of today’s consumer based society. The creations in Crowdell’s novel were forbidden to dream for themselves; likewise, we often forget to dream for ourselves.
Crowdell’s Dreams less Sweet is definitely thought-provoking, and my dreams will probably be less sweet tonight worrying about the Dark.