Book Title: Klarissa Dreams Redux: An Illuminated Anthology
Produced By: Shebat Legion
Publication Date: November 6, 2019
Available on: Amazon as an eBook and as a paperback
Indie Athenaeum Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Dreams. We all have them, we all experience them in some way, shape or form. Sometimes they’re frightful or captivating, conjuring something from our imagination and making it real, if only inside our minds. Sometimes a dream is an aspirational goal, a driving force to move forward or the pursuit of a lifetime. Dreams affect us our entire lives. But what if those dreams are curtailed by a sickness that has the potential to cut our lives short?
The exploration of this idea is the theme of this anthology. Some of the topics utilizing this theme include cancer, illness, aging, end of life, coping with adversity and finding strength. All of the stories here use this idea to showcase a wide variety of stories, poems, and artwork. The ideas that this theme inspires are completely unexpected, bursting with imagination and quality storytelling. Read on to find out more about:
Daniel Arthur Smith’s “Interstellar Dreams of the Sleeper Ship Somnium Six – Somniare Ignis: The Recurring Dream of Horatio Millet” – A man and the love of his life are on their boat in the lake and their joy is palpable. But when she notices something strange in the sky, their lovely day takes an unusual turn.
What happens next is a treat with an unexpected twist, filled with concise and descriptive prose that paints an enchanting picture and then warps it with its odd circumstances. It’s also illustrated so vividly with its words that I was immersed in that situation and felt my mind react to what happened as if I was there myself.
Andrew Robertson’s “Sundowning” – Zena is a senior citizen sitting in front of her fireplace, warm despite the winter outside. When her granddaughter Ariel arrives to see her, Zena wonders why Ariel hasn’t visited in a while. When Ariel talks about how she did visit yesterday but Zena doesn’t remember, I took a journey into Zena’s memories to see what was really happening to her.
It’s a heartbreaking and disturbing tale that firmly placed me in the mind of someone with dementia, with an innovative revelation at the end.
Deanne Charlton’s “Dream This One” – Moe runs a shop and customers come in and out, asking various questions about their dreams. Can Moe find them? Can Moe provide more dreams? Moe seems to know all and knows he can help everyone, no matter how difficult the problem is. But can he help our protagonist?
The story sets the stage with its setting that stimulates the senses and my imagination along with it. There’s a subtle wistfulness to it, as it knows the story it is telling and wants the reader to figure it out based on the clues we’re given. It’s a delightful tale that gave me goosebumps as I processed what it was telling me.
P.K. Tyler’s “El Naddaha” – Nadirah never needed much sleep as a child and was considered a medical oddity. Her parents tried to “cure” her of this perceived affliction but nothing worked. However, when Nadirah starts college, suddenly, she needed a lot of sleep and experienced lucid dreams for the first time! Why is this happening to her now of all times?
The answers to this conundrum will surprise you, entrance you and maybe even terrify you as we experience what Nadirah is going through. The prose is luscious, ethereal and immersive, as I felt I was walking in Nadirah’s shoes, both in her dreams and in reality.
Ann Stolinsky’s “Voices in the Wind” – A grandfather and guardian of his young grandson Aaron live deep in the woods, far from society. When Aaron turns thirteen, he asks about his father and what happened to him. When Grampa tells him an unusual story about the origins of Aaron’s father and why he left, we’re left with many questions.
The origin story of Aaron’s father is fascinating. How it impacts both Grampa and Aaron over the course of their lives is startling and heartbreaking. As a result, it pulled at my emotional heartstrings as it unspooled with a graceful and appropriate ending.
Jessica West’s “Vending Wishes, Candy Shop Dreams” – Mandy is sitting in the car, obediently waiting for her mother to leave the post office. A cowboy is nearby, flipping a coin. Allowed to get something from the vending machine, Mandy approaches it and the cowboy starts talking to her. What kind of unusual deal is he proposing?
This story is darkness personified with a creepy kind of charm, as I never could guess what was going to happen next. It also sets up an evil story that contrasts with the joy and sincerity of a child who dreams of simple wishes that will bring her unbridled happiness.
Charles Barouch’s “The Teaser Before the First Commercial” – Necroni is a night janitor in a hospital and is also a vampire (!). He carefully picks those whom he drinks his blood from for his meals while being very discreet. So hungry, he nevertheless bides his time until his next meal. When he leaves to go find it, will he actually get to eat?
The development this story takes is shocking in a very funny in an unpredictable way that made me laugh out loud, especially with its outrageous finale. The author’s humorous plot and quick wit made this tale a pleasure to read from beginning to end.
Samuel Peralta’s “Radar” – A woman is flying in her airplane high in the clouds, remembering a life-changing discovery from over a month ago. What is this discovery and how will she cope with it?
It’s a beautiful and uplifting poem about trying to find hope when it is difficult to see. It also poignantly explores how love can be an inspiration and a source of inner strength that I could feel in my heart.
When I saw the author lineup for this anthology, I immediately knew I wanted to read it. For the stories I read and reviewed here, I have enjoyed other stories written by these authors before. These stories were of their usual high caliber and highly gratifying emotionally. I also wanted to try Andrew Robertson’s tale, an author who was new to me. I was very pleased (and sad) with the story he had to tell as well. All of them told intriguing stories that mesmerized me with their ideas and wouldn’t let me go until I saw how it ended.
While I’ve only read eight stories in this collection, there are plenty more tales and poetry here to enjoy, with sixty-three authors total contributing prose works. I also savored and appreciated the artwork interspersed within its pages by acclaimed artist Klarissa Kocsis. This collection is produced by author Shebat Legion, Klarissa’s daughter. Shebat is a breast cancer survivor and a fierce advocate for breast cancer screening. Proceeds from this anthology will go to the Peterborough Regional Health Centre Foundation and affiliated charities.
It’s an inspiring collection that will demonstrate, the creativity of our fertile imaginations, the power of dreams and their ability to motivate us to do what is seemingly impossible, no matter the odds.
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