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Communion of Dreams [Kindle Edition]

James Downey
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The year is 2052, and the human race is still struggling to recover from a massive pandemic flu some 40 years previously. When an independent prospector on Saturn’s moon Titan discovers an alien artifact, assumptions that we are alone in the universe are called into question. Knowing that news of such a discovery could prompt chaos on Earth, a small team is sent to investigate and hopefully manage the situation. What they find is that there's more to human history, and human abilities, than any of them ever imagined. And that they will need all those insights, and all those abilities, to face the greatest threat yet to human survival.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James Downey has written for numerous blogs, websites, magazines and newspapers. His 2001 performance art project "Paint the Moon" (inspired by dialogue found in chapter nine of this novel) received considerable worldwide attention. He is a frequently-cited authority on handgun ballistic performance (see "Ballistics By The Inch"). And he is a highly respected conservator of rare books and documents (see "Legacy Bookbindery"). He was co-author of an Alzheimer's care-giving memoir (Her Final Year), and if you dig around a bit online you'll find out all kinds of things about him. This is his first novel.

Product Details

  • File Size: 619 KB
  • Print Length: 348 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0615590446
  • Publisher: Artifact Imprints (January 17, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #509,862 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow going at first but reasonably enjoyable September 3, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thought this book was reasonably good, fairly original, with a different take on a post-post-apocalyptic world where humanity has made it past a big disaster and has made some advances and is establishing itself in the solar system. It has a mystical, almost gnostic techno-spiritual flavor, which is fairly unusual for sci-fi these days, but also has some "hard" sci-fi elements and cool technology and stuff.

Overall it's fairly well written and has a less straightforward plot than a lot of modern sci-fi. Dialogue is ok. A couple of things prevent me from giving it a higher rating.

(1) the first part of the book really drags. It doesn't really become "interesting" until the final third or so. it just took me a long time to get into this.
(2) a lot of characters are introduced early on, but are very thinly drawn, to the point that it gets hard to tell who's who, and many of them are not that important to the story, or disappear off the map completely for long periods of time.

The pacing of the story is very leisurely until toward the end; I think the concept behind this story might work better as a novella or a short story.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a ride! February 1, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Few times in my reading life have I come across a novel such as Communion of Dreams. It is a fantastical yet grounded in real life adventure of our humanity on the verge of "growing up".

I am not the most eloquent writer, in fact I am a sculptor and professor by trade. However I can, without hesitation, state this is one of the most fascinating books I have read in a great many years. It keeps you transfixed on the characters, their moires and social foibles, and yet allows you to see them as human...even Seth!

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who even slightly questions our role in the universe. Mr. Downey has a touch on the universal pulse of being that unique. I look forward, with great anticipation, to the other "artifacts" he has hidden for us.

Thank You James for a wonderful ride!!!

Mark Alan Mueller

Communion of Dreams
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"Communion of Dreams" by Jim Downey is a very promising first novel in the spirit of Arthur C. Clarke's "2001: A Space Odyssey." Like "2001" it's the story of the discovery of a non-human artifact somewhere in the solar system. Downey's alternate future, set in 2051, is based on a society shaped by a disease that killed billions of people and rendered the majority of those who survived sterile. Computer technology has evolved to leverage bio-cybernetics and uses sophisticated new hardware based on unique organic matrices found only on Saturn's planet-sized moon, Titan. Advanced artificial intelligence systems, called "experts," support senior leaders as executive assistants. New discoveries have helped science to better understand gravity, generate local gravity fields and use gravity manipulation to build drives for space travel. Regularly scheduled reaction drive spaceships travel to Saturn and beyond, serving miners and settlers. Humans are exploring the outer reaches of the Solar system.

Against this background, Jim tells the story of assembling the team of investigators -- including artists, not just scientists -- and their trip to the artifact. Once they arrive it chronicles the challenges the team encounters as they try to make sense of the artifact and the deeper mysteries it represents. Like Clarke and Kubrick's "mystical" Star-Child in "2001," Downey takes his characters beyond the bounds of traditional science and into the realm of dreams and beyond. His ending surprised me and provided an intriguing take on the question "Why are we still alone?"

I really enjoyed "Communion of Dreams" and found myself wishing that it didn't end quite so quickly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking *and* entertaining February 9, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Communion of Dreams is of a genre I used to call "space science fiction" when I was a kid. Anything that took place away from Earth qualified. However, this novel takes it to another level entirely. Several levels, in fact.

First of all, the characters are wonderfully three dimensional, and felt quite "real". I liked them, or didn't like them, or wasn't sure how I felt, but I definitely felt they were actual people, not just black and white names on a page. I loved how, with the minimum of words to describe a gesture, or look, or a few words of dialogue, entire volumes of personality and attitude emerged. I enjoyed watching those attitudes change as the characters faced new challenges and wrestled with what was, for most, a major paradigm shift. My own opinions of those characters occasionally changed as well, as I watched them deal with the challenges with which they were faced.

Second, the story was gripping and held my attention throughout (although I admit I tended to gloss over the more technical descriptions). A lot was happening to a lot of people in a short period of time, but I never felt overwhelmed since it was all presented in a logical and timely manner. Often when the characters themselves were caught by surprise, I was as well. When reference was made to events prior to the story, there was always an explanatory back story that fit perfectly and didn't feel like a flashback; just a few sentences that painted a detailed picture without pages and pages of detail. I have to say, the compact and concise way in which the entire novel was written was refreshing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid piece of science-minded space opera
James Downey's Communion of Dreams is a good read for anyone who enjoys fiction about space exploration, paranormal powers, artificial intelligence or any combo of the three. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Ray Anselmo
3.0 out of 5 stars Great idea for a story
Slick idea for a book. Don't let the cover fool you, it's a sci-fi book and it's an interesting story. A little slow in parts, but it's interesting to read.
Published 1 month ago by Kevin Gibson
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!
Very well written..kudos to author. Just like seeing an engrossing sci-fi movie. Time flies as you turn the pages in this book!
Published 2 months ago by desert lily
5.0 out of 5 stars well worth the read!
An excellent new version of a future, well presented, lots of new ideas and interesting characters Enjoyed not being able to predict what was going to happen next!
Published 2 months ago by Sidney T Coad
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow-moving sci-fi novel has fresh plot
An alien artifact is discovered on Titan, one of the moons of Saturn. It takes about 30% of the book for our hero to put together his team to go and investigate. Read more
Published 2 months ago by cheapcheap
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant surprise
Excellent story. Well written, well-plotted. The dialogue and scene-setting is sparse, almost minimal, but that allows one to appreciate the plot that much more.
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard to believe this is a first novel...
Well plotted with disparate characterizations. Avoids science fiction cliches by and large. An interesting yarn with lots of good new ideas, thought provoking, and moves right... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Paula Jean
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced but with some VERY profound themes... it's a keeper!
Very enjoyable book. At once both fast-paced and rich, full of very colorfully complex and provacative themes. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Johann in Elk Grove, CA
5.0 out of 5 stars Fear not, this is a remarkable.
James Downey has created a novel that compares favorably with the old masters of science fiction.

Our universe would be a better place were it more like the one he has... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jim Freeman
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read!
The author has done a great job of creating a world that's probably not all that far in the future, and one that is certainly possible given the current path of technology. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Fredip
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More About the Author

Are you a literary agent looking for new talent to represent? Consider this: the Kindle edition of "Communion of Dreams" has been downloaded more than 25,000 times. As I am working to complete the prequel "St. Cybi's Well" I am also interested in seeking a conventional publishing contract to get print copies of both books into brick & mortar venues, and would welcome professional representation. Contact me.


This is what it says about me in the 'About the Author' bit in "Communion of Dreams":

"James Downey has written for numerous blogs, websites, magazines and newspapers. His 2001 performance art project "Paint the Moon" (inspired by dialogue found in chapter nine of this novel) received considerable worldwide attention. He is a frequently-cited authority on handgun ballistic performance (see "Ballistics By The Inch"). And he is a highly respected conservator of rare books and documents (see "Legacy Bookbindery"). He was co-author of an Alzheimer's care-giving memoir (Her Final Year), and if you dig around a bit online you'll find out all kinds of things about him. And he is an all-around hell of a nice guy. This is his first novel."

But that's kinda boring. Oh, it's all true. But a bit boring.

The truth is, I've had an . . . odd . . . life. For complete information about that, check out my various blogs and websites. There's even a Wikipedia entry on me. But here's a non-boring thumbnail sketch of it:

I was orphaned at the age of 13; my dad was a cop killed on the job when I was 11, then my mom died in a car accident about 18 months later. My sister and I went to live with an aunt & uncle, who were kind, considerate, and loving - but you can imagine what kind of rocky adolescence I had.

Grinnell College (class of 1980) helped turn me into something resembling a human being. Then I worked for a few years before going to grad school at the University of Iowa. Initially I wanted to attend the Writer's Workshop, but came to realize that the level of angst there was just too much for me, so I entered the MA English program. Which put me in the right position to stumble into something new called the Iowa Center for the Book, which taught me to be a book conservator.
All through college and then grad school I was heavily involved in a historical recreation group which goes by the name of the Society of Creative Anachronism. That did even more to turn me into something resembling a human being, and I met many friends and my lovely wife there. (If you know about the SCA and want to look me up, I was Thomann Shadan Secarius. Yeah, him. Sorry.)

I mentioned the book conservator thing. It's how I have more or less supported myself over the years, and I'm actually quite good at it. For about 8 years I also was part of an incredible gallery of fine art - the largest in the state of Missouri. That was wonderful in many ways, but a bit of a financial debacle.

Following that, I was primary care-provider for my mother-in-law, who had Alzheimer's. I think that actually more or less completed my lessons in what it meant to be a decent human being, though of course we all need the occasional reminder.

And through it all, I've been trying to understand what it means to be a writer. For a while I was a newspaper columnist, writing about the arts. Then I wrote Communion of Dreams. Then I started blogging about my efforts to get it published. Then I started writing about being a care-provider for someone with Alzheimer's. Then that turned into co-authoring Her Final Year. And most recently I have been doing a lot of writing (features and reviews) for

Oh, yeah, see, that's something else. I got involved in this fairly nutty ballistics research project with a couple of friends. And that turned into this huge thing called Ballistics By The Inch. Yeah, it's pretty insanely popular. And we have a good time with it.

That gets me to where I am today. Oh, it misses all the little stuff - travels, travails, broken bones and broken hearts. But you can find that stuff on your own if you're really interested.

I do want to say to my (still) lovely wife, and all my friends and acquaintances: thanks for putting up with me, and for making it an interesting journey.

Jim's presence on the web can be found in these locations:

* Novel
* Memoir
* Blog
* Archive
* Business
* Ballistics research
* Feature writing
* Wikipedia entry
* Facebook
* Google+

You can contact Jim here:

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