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Dream London

3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  381 ratings  ·  75 reviews
In Dream London the city changes a little every night and the people change a little every day. Captain Jim Wedderburn has looks, style and courage by the bucketful. He’s adored by women, respected by men and feared by his enemies. He’s the man to find out who has twisted London into this strange new world, and he knows it. But the towers are growing ta ...more
Paperback, Cover art by Joey Hi-fi, 404 pages
Published October 29th 2013 by Solaris (first published October 1st 2013)
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George I wish I knew why you're asking. Because you want to read romance, or because you're making an academic survey and wonder if this novel qualifies, or…moreI wish I knew why you're asking. Because you want to read romance, or because you're making an academic survey and wonder if this novel qualifies, or what?

Romance is not utterly absent. But if there were an ingredients statement, it would come after a dozen or more others.

Our narrator IS very aware of his relationships with women, both the group he's exploiting and responsible for, and the others he encounters during the events. Other people periodically remark on his very good looks, and he knows he's an even more attractive rogue when he's got stubble. But there's essentially no sex, either.

Hope this helps somebody, if not XDXD.(less)
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114th out of 156 books — 129 voters
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Need to read!!
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,003)
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Pippa DaCosta
Firstly, I noticed there are no gif reviews for this one, and it definitely deserves a gif, or three...

This book opens as it means to go on, with weird sh*t happening, a death threat, and a gritty stuck-in-your-teeth kinda atmosphere.



Want something a tad different? Something crazy, but fun, with an MC that talks about himself in the third person?



Dark, twisted, with a fairytale feel (I mean a Grimm fairytale, not a fluffy one), Dream London is a book you'll either love, or hate. I dare you to t
...more
Scott
London has been infected, or infested, by...something. Buildings grow like living things, rivers and streets literally wander, the parks are congregating, and the #1 tourist attraction is not Big Ben or the palace but a massive spiral path that has opened up in the middle of the city. Even the people are changing. Welcome to Dream London.

The other governments of the world want to stop it before it spreads any further, and they are willing to go nuclear on London if they have to. They enlist form
...more
E. A. London
Honey Peppers was a fantastic character. This book had little spurts of brilliance like her - some great metaphors, some great characters (Honey Peppers and Mister Monagan, really), some great lines of dialogue, some great weird ideas - but mostly it just wasn't for me. Too often, it felt disjointed, frustrating, obnoxious, and confused, which maybe was the point, but it wasn't what I happen to like in a novel, haha. The main character didn't feel likeable. I think this is a book for people who ...more
Dergrossest
This is either a brilliant political commentary on how the politics of Reagan and Thatcher have dangerously disrupted the social fabric of the West or just a damn good story. Either way, I could not put down this tale of a slightly self-deluded hero attempting to prevent a near-future London from slipping out of our reality and into some other world that has unleashed all the baser instincts of mankind. And I do mean “man” kind as there is a heavy dose of heaving breasts, tight skirts and whorin ...more
Mark
Originally published at Walker of Worlds.

Until fairly recently I hadn't realised that Tony Ballantyne was releasing a new novel. I'd read Twisted Metal a few years back on its release and very much enjoyed his depiction of a robot only society and its workings. I never did get around to the sequel, Blood and Iron, instead deciding to patiently await the completion of the Penrose trilogy before diving in further. However, due to a variety of personal factors the final novel was delayed, and news
...more
Rebecca
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrew
Another weird-London entry. Not a hidden kind of weird; weird crawls out of the financial district and starts infecting the city, mutating everything and everybody. Our protagonist-not-hero is Captain Jim Wedderburn, charming rogue, or so he insists. It stops being believable around the third repetition.

The scenery is good, but this sort of thing can't survive on scenery alone. In fact the author has a whole mess of notions he's trying to stuff in: protest and poverty and stereotypes and sex wor
...more
Tina Rath
The tone of this urban fantasy is set when Captain James Wedderburn wakes in a bedroom that is a slightly different shape than it was when he went to sleep (but you have to expect that in what London has become) to the sound of munching and sees two glowing salamanders eating a green beetle the size of a dinner plate on his bedroom floor. The fact that his first thought is that they would be worth quite a lot if he can move quickly enough to catch them tells you a lot about the kind of London th ...more
Elisa
3.5 stars
So, this is a bizarre book, with a lot of different elements influencing it. The lead character is being led around by his, um, nose and doesn't generally know what is really going on. The action sort of meanders and changes like a dream sequence can, so if you need things to make concrete sense, steer clear. But this is different than most UF/Sci Fi, so if you are looking to change things up, try it out. I enjoyed it. There were times when I got a bit frustrated with the unknown and so
...more
Ken
There seems to be a new emerging sub-genre - “saving modern London from magic attack” - which has mushroomed recently. In just the past year I’ve read several of Kate Griffin’s light-hearted Matthew Swift and Magicals Anonymous series, the first two of Paul Cornell’s blood and grit James Quill books, most of Ben Aaranovich’s increasingly dark Rivers of London series, and China Mieville’s excellent and unique Kraken.

Tony Ballantyne (whom I count as one of the most innovative and imaginative scie
...more
Ubiquitousbastard
Honestly, part of me wonders why I gave this four instead of three stars. I hadn't considered the rating I was going to give the book whilst I was reading it, and when it came down to it, four stars it what developed. I think if there was an option, I would put it at three and a half. I have mixed feelings on this book, but overall a favorable impression,

At first, the book mildly intrigued me with its bizarre atmosphere and later annoyed me with its overabundance of repetition. I almost felt lik
...more
Matthew Baker
Thanks to author/editor Tim Marquitz, I have recently become a huge fan of Urban Fantasy. In case you don’t recall, Tim was the editor of Angelic Knight Press’s book MANIFESTO UF. I had read UF before, but I didn’t really fall in love with it until the publication of Tim’s book. This is partly what drew me to DREAM LONDON, the latest release of author Tony Ballantyne. And I’m sure glad it did; this book is chocked full of quirky characters and amazing landscapes, a true cult classic in the makin ...more
Fantasy Literature
Antihero (n): Protagonist who lacks the attributes that make a heroic figure, such as nobility of mind or spirit.

Tony Ballantyne’s Dream London opens with a stunner of a first chapter. Captain Jim Wedderburn awakens in his room to find two fiery salamanders munching on a green beetle the size of a dinner plate. It only gets stranger from there, as he confronts a business rival (Wedderburn is a pimp); bumps into his old girlfriend who hands him a scroll with his fortune on it; and meets a strange
...more
Gavin Gates
Dream London is about as perfect a mix of gritty, far fetched sci-fi fantasy and sleaze as I’ve found to date, Ballantyne has penned what, by every right, should go down as a classic, from the lead character through to the smallest part being played every one is memorable and has a part to play in the intrigue at hand. The very liberal use of the background and nods to old fashioned stereotypes hit their mark to a tee. It took a few chapters to really pick up speed and get through to what was pr ...more
Bookgirlr
Dream London is truly a fantastic read! Ballantyne’s writing is superb. The main character of James Wedderburn is a very good example of the antihero, you aren’t supposed to like him and you won’t. But who he is has been molded by Dream London, just like it’s changed everyone else, it’s not who he really is so you feel sorry for him and find yourself cheering for him when he fights back. Even the minor characters are intriguing and well thought out. Ballantyne has even turned London itself into ...more
Coral Davies
This tried hard but didn't deliver much.

The message was delivered in a brick to the face fashion with little subtlety; 'working selfishly as individuals, the human race will fall. Stand together and fight for the common good and you will succeed. Also, the best type of heroes are the ones who don't receive the glory'.

The main problem with this novel was the the protagonist and the fact the story was told from his first person perspective. The guy is an ass. Selfish, deluded and quick to anger.
...more
Andrew
There aren't many books which genuinely leave a smile on the face whilst tantalising the intellect. Dream London is one of these. The author must have had great fun writing this - it's convoluted, sometimes insane, sometimes poignant, but always entertaining.

Captain James Wedderburn finds himself at the heart of Dream London, a city which - much like the location in the movie Dark City (I wonder whether Tony Ballantyne has seen this) - mutates on a daily basis. Buildings, streets, railtracks, ev
...more
Andy Tischaefer
I bought this while in London on the strength of the cover art and book jacket description, and because I had never heard of it or the author.

While there were some interesting ideas underpinning the whole thing, it never felt like the author had control over what he was writing. Maybe some of this was the narrative point of view, as Wedderburn (the main character) was not exactly a reliable narrator. Still, my impression was that the story couldn't decide what it wanted to be, was it an adventur
...more
Matthew
I was drawn to the premise of Dream London, that the city of London and its occupants keep changing little by little according to a bizarre sort of dream logic, and found the execution mostly solid. The imaginative details at play and the side characters were engrossing, but the book's greatest weakness is its main character, Captain Jim Wedderburn. He is by far the blandest character in the story and the least developed. His backstory could be summarized in a single sentence, and there is littl ...more
Elana
Another addition to my rapidly growing pile of urban fantasy. This one reads like a cross between the populist outrage of "A Tale of Two Cities" and the morning-after of a drug party. I mean the latter in a good sense: the novel is very imaginative, the urban setting is even more memorable than that of China Mieville's "Perdido Street Station". The fact that all these dreamscapes with infinitely growing towers, labyrinthine parks, and orange frog-men are superimposed onto the actual map of Londo ...more
Tim Hicks
Toppled by the weight of its own ideas, this is.

We're in a Miévillean London, but William Burroughs or someone also slipped in. There are 80 weird things going on where 20 would have been plenty.

It became clear quite early that any kind of explanation for this was going to involve some major hand-waving, smoke and mirrors - and sure enough it did.

Our antihero drifts from event to event, becoming less and less relevant and rarely having a choice in what happens next.

People have scrolls that t
...more
Jason
A clever, bizarre, original story that appears to actually have some meaning to it. Set in a London that appears to constantly change, with Big Ben being in one part of the city one day and another part the next and modern architecture turning into steampunkesque buildings, and the people changing just as much, the story is about an alien invasion.

However, it appears to be far more than that in three major ways; Ballantyne seems to have made critiques on modern society and how it is swinging bac
...more
Robyn
From my dad.

Complicated, and I waver between a 3-star rating and 4. Would probably require a second reading to really know how I feel about it. I was interested in the book because of my enjoyment of books in which the characters are experiencing a changed or altered version of a city we all know. Whether that be an underground London in Neverwhere or a parallel one in Un Lun Dun, I've always found books on that theme fascinating and with such opportunity for presenting ideas.
ThisOneGuy
Not going to lie - I bought this book because it had a kickass book cover. The story sounded just pretty off-the-walls creative, so it piqued my interest as well.

Here's a quick synopsis.

Strengths: extremely imaginative story, an interesting blend of Victorian and fantasy motifs, believable old-school dialogue, and a mystery that keeps one at least somewhat interested.

Weaknesses: unpolished protagonist who lacks realism, a plot that advances aimlessly and in leaps and starts, and a lack of explan
...more
Kian
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rebecca
Originally posted on Powder & Page

First off, I just want to say that I sorta picked up this book based on the cover, which is gorgeous. I do judge books based on their covers after all, even though it might be frowned upon by some readers. Anyway, the cover was really cool so I read the little blurb on the back and it sounded pretty neat too. I decided that I would buy this book and see if it was as interesting as it sounded and, long story short, it was SO weird but also SO awesome! Dream L
...more
Kate
It was definitely a lot different than I expected. I was thinking it may be something similar to the "Dark City" movie, where everything changes, but no one realizes until the main character comes into play. It definitely took a different turn, where everyone was aware of the changes but had no other choice or protests than to go along with it. I really liked the crazy, fun manipulations with the setting and creating an overall sense of weirdness and other. You just wanted to keep reading to see ...more
Fred Hughes
Could be confusing at times.

More of a fantasy than a Steampunk story. Full review to follow
Maria Vanessa
I only got through half of this book, so if it somehow developed into something amazing, please excuse this review.

The reasons why I had to put the book down half way are plenty. Lack of character development and messy scenes that sometimes had no purpose (at least in my opinion) were some of them. What got to me the most were the constant telling and no showing. I am no writing expert, but I can spot obvious "show, don't tell" mistakes. The author kept telling us how the main character was a c
...more
John Herbert
Like many others, I suspect, I was drawn to this book by the strange concept of a twisted London, and like the citizens themselves, constantly changing.

By the time I got to page 135 of this 347 page book, I decided to quit.
Whilst some interesting characters turned up now and again, the story kind of gets lost in the constant small talk. The tale, promising so much, simply fails to progress, whereupon I found myself looking for something else to do, rather than struggle on with this disappointmen
...more
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the ending - good or bad (spoilers probably) 1 8 Dec 26, 2013 05:54PM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Anthony Ballantyne, is a British science-fiction author who is most famous for writing his debut trilogy of novels, Recursion, Capacity and Divergence. He is also Head of Information Technology and an Information Technology teacher at The Blue Coat School, Oldham and has b
...more
More about Tony Ballantyne...
Recursion (AI Trilogy #1) Capacity (AI Trilogy #2) Divergence (AI Trilogy #3) Twisted Metal (Penrose, #1) Blood and Iron (Penrose, #2)

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