Thursday, November 16, 2017

Review: New Reality by Jessica Payseur

new realityTitle ~ New Reality

Author ~ Jessica Payseur

Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press

Published ~ 8th November 2017

Genre ~ Science Fiction, M/M Romance





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.


Sally’s Review

There's a lot to like in this unusual little sci fi novelette from Dreamspinner Press. For a start Connell isn't one of those ripped, twenty-something gym bunnies we come across so often but an older man, in not the best shape, trying to cope with the loss of Jason, his lover and his clever and charismatic business partner. Partners for years, Connell had always been the practical one who got the boring mundane jobs done while Jason was the front man making new contacts, finessing the deals. But for all that, it was Connell who was the dreamer, who looked forward to a time when they could settle down together and just enjoy each other's company. Now he is left to try and continue the business of obtaining and transporting luxuries and necessities across the vast distances of the universe with only the ship's AI as company. His vivid dreams of a ship-wrecked man – a modern Crusoe – are a great comfort, even though at times they are terrifying in their reality. Is Connell going mad? Or could he really be seeing something, someone, that exists. Equally bothered by his dreams is Wystan, sole survivor of a crashed surveying mission, marooned for almost two decades. He too suspects his mind might be breaking under the strain, especially when his visitor begins to leave physical evidence.

How Connell tracks Wystan's location down is the plot of the first half of the book. I really enjoyed the details of the trade that Connell engaged in, the pitfalls, the problems and dangers. I also loved that the author allowed Connell not to be good at some things. He had a vulnerability that made me care about him right from the start. I also liked that it was acknowledged that his needs still had to be met even while having his vivid dreams, and that the men from whom he took comfort were decent people. There was also the uncertainty of how Connell would manage to find Wystan – one single needle in the haystack of the whole universe – and if their shared dreams would be enough of a foundation for a forever relationship.

There's only one omission – the dreams are never properly explained. It's a minor thing but it bothered me. But on the whole the book is a satisfying read with plenty of tender moments for the romantically inclined and some great details of shipboard life for sci fi fans.

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