The Dreambook by Skyler Dread by Jason Murk

Read about the author here.

While reading this book and planning this review, I originally intended to post this on my other blog.  After all, Murk has written fiction than non-fiction/art history coffee table books.  Then I remembered, I am reviewing John Ruskin’s fiction along with his non-fiction.  Plus, I read and reviewed Murk’s Antique Clouds before I read his other books.

The story revolves around half-Bengali, half-British mesmerist Skyler Dread.  He spends his time getting high and interpreting his dreams in colonized India.  Meanwhile, aliens (in stone ships) invade Earth.  In response, the others and Skyler Dread do not do anything heroic.  In fact, Dread spends most of the story oblivious to the alien invasion and treats it like it ruined his schedule.  The other British characters act the same way.  How very Douglas Adams and Good Omens.  In fact, the writing reminded me of the audio adaptation to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (listened to some of it) and Good Omens.  Dreambook also reminded me of Roald Dahl.  Plus, the pacing of this book reminds me of War of the Worlds (still in the middle of reading it) if Wells wrote it as a black comedy. Also, Murk makes fun of Colonialism, White Man’s Burden, and the “Othering” of India.  Regarding his writing, Murk writes with such anarchic relish and glee.

On the negative side, Murk goes into a few tangents, which messes up the stories’ pace a bit.  This pace also suffers when he focuses on other characters while Dread goes on his oblivious way.  However, I do not view his oblivious attitude as a negative, because I found it hilarious.  I found him as a good example on how to write a protagonist who does not do anything heroic but still has likeable qualities.  Furthermore, Murk’s heavy and overwhelming prose sometimes forces the plot into the backseat.  So for readers who want plots, I recommend not buying this.

By the way, Murk provides drawings and photography while he weaves this tale.  They give a nice and funny visual accompaniment.  The images themselves range from old photos to references of the Old Masters and Pop art such as Roy Lichtenstein to stylized art.  All in all, I enjoyed this book.

ETA 3-30-2015:  Removed some links and one sentence.  I also added a link.

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