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Communion of Dreams by [Downey, James]
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Communion of Dreams Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews

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Length: 348 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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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: 919 KB
  • Print Length: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Artifact Imprints (January 17, 2012)
  • Publication Date: January 17, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #669,113 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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