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What Dreams May Come Mass Market Paperback – October 15, 1998


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (October 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812570944
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812570946
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 4.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (297 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #613,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A classic novel of love after death, from one our greatest fantasy writers. The premise is deceptively simple: Chris Neilson has died in a car accident, but his life-force--his spirit--is still conscious of this plane of reality. And he is still too in love with his wife, Ann, to completely let go. She in turn does not want to go on living without him, as each regards the other as their soul mate. What Chris will do to get back with Ann after she dies makes for one of the most unusual love stories ever told. Even though the story can be enjoyed as pure fantasy, what makes What Dreams May Come unique is how the author spent years researching the subject of life after death. (An exhaustive bibliography is included to verify this.) And while Matheson admits that the characters are of course fictional, he also states that "With few exceptions, every other detail is derived exclusively from research." Whether, after reading this novel, one believes in life after death is of course a matter of opinion. At least you'll entertain the possibility that, even though we may not live forever, true love can be eternal. --Stanley Wiater

Review

"Richard Matheson is worth our time, attention, and great affection."--Ray Bradbury
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Richard Matheson was born in 1926. He began publishing SF with his short story 'Born of Man and Woman' in 1950. I Am Legend was published in 1954 and subsequently filmed as The Omega Man (in 1971), starring Charlton Heston, and I Am Legend (in 2007), starring Will Smith. Matheson wrote the script for the film The Incredible Shrinking Man, an adaptation of his second SF novel The Shrinking Man. The film won a Hugo award in 1958. He wrote many screenplays as well as episodes of The Twilight Zone. He continued to write short stories and novels, some of which formed the basis for film scripts, including Duel, directed by Steven Spielberg in 1971. A film of his novel What Dreams May Come was released in 1998, starring Robin Williams. Stephen King has cited Richard Matheson as a creative influence on his work.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

134 of 136 people found the following review helpful By Kylopod on May 7, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This novel is the most vivid, complex, and surprisingly convincing depiction of afterlife I have ever encountered in a work of fiction. Nothing else I have seen on the subject, in literature or in film, comes close--certainly not the 1998 film. Before I read the novel, I had no idea that a story about Heaven and Hell could have such a profound effect on me.

In the metaphysics of the film and the book, dying involves shedding your physical body and entering a mental environment shaped by thoughts. Your fate in such an environment is largely self-imposed. That much of the movie intrigued me, the first time I saw it. The problem was the schmaltz. I mean real schmaltz, piled on in large mounds, in place of strong narrative.

It's hard for me to convey just how very different the novel is. Of course there are major differences in the plot. One such difference is the ending. (Even Roger Ebert, who heaped high praise on the film, was disappointed by the ending.) Another is the beginning, where the film adds Chris's children to the list of characters who die and go to Heaven. In doing this, the movie (1) makes the early scenes so depressing they become surreal (2) needlessly clutters the story with extra characters (3) introduces a silly and confusing subplot about Chris's attempts to find his children, who are in disguise.

In the book, Chris's children are adults, not youngsters, and they're minor characters who never die in the course of the story. The details of Chris's life on Earth differ so greatly between the book and the film that it's like reading about a completely different person. Even though I saw the movie first, the image of Robin Williams completely vanished from my mind as I read, because he was so unlike the character described in the book.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Michael Beveridge on August 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book touched me. Over and over again. Having already seen the movie, I alredy knew what to expect, but I was wrong. The book is soo much better and DIFFERENT than the movie which is great. The story is basically the same outline, but there is just soo much more heartfilled moments in the book u just couldnt capture on film. So much sorrow and sadness and of course happiness. Not a long read, but the amount of feelings u get out of this book just might change the way you think and live your life. It made me reflect on my life and the people in it that I love and take for granted.
Just a powerfull thought and emotional prevoking story, and Im not ashamed to say that I loved it.
totally worth the read.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By J. Fermenich on December 20, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sobbing...
That sums up what I did for the first quarter of the book. Somehow Richard Matheson was able to pull every one of my heart strings. But unlike the movie this wasn't his only objective. Bringing out these emotions tapped into the deep realms of what you believe afterlife is.
I think that many of the other reviewers that only gave this book 2 or 1 star may have missed the point of what matheson was getting at. He did not say that everyone, even those who didn't believe in god, got to go to heaven. As a matter of fact, heaven was only briefly mentioned in this work. It was stated that everybody makes their own existance in the afterlife. And only those who have improved themselves, and became better people move on to another, even higher realm. this resembles many of the christian teachings I know of. Now this may break the traditional mold of what the afterlife is for many religions, But in no way should this prevent anybody, from any religion, from reading this masterpiece.
This is the only thing I can say with certainty about this book. My grandmother died last week. I would never have gotten through her suffering & death without "What Dreams May Come". I was able to smile & feel at peace during the funeral. Thank you Richard Matheson. You have enriched my life, and made an optomist out of a person who never looked toward the future.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer on December 27, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I can't force you to read this book, but I can promise that it will be one of the best book investements you can make. Without forcing you to, Richard Matheson makes you evaluate your own life and existence and in my case- made me a little less scared to die. Beyond the afterlife content, its an awesome love story that literally made me sob. I now know each of us has a soulmate out there. Good luck in the search!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Brandi Denson on November 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
Though Matheson writes this in fiction form, he uses a great deal of research in forming his theory of the afterlife. Anyone questioning their personal beliefs about this great unknown will find solace from reading "What Dreams May Come"... you don't have to believe this is how things are, but it offers a compelling and beautiful picture of what might be.

This book was more influential than the Bible in shaping my own spiritual beliefs. What I love most about it is that any and all religions, or people of no faith at all, can enjoy and be inspired by this tale. Even if you don't view this from a spiritual perspective, and you are just looking for a good read, you will be entertained. This is so well written and easy to read that it is hard to put down.

Most importantly, please don't judge this book by the movie. Though I'm a fan of Robin Williams, the movie really doesn't come close to conveying the deep spiritual journey the protagonist, (an atheist until death), embarks upon.
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