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A Dream of Wessex

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  266 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
A Dream of Wessex is a “story about a group of twentieth-century dreamers who create a consensus virtual-reality future. Once they enter their imaginary world they are unable to remember who they are, or where they are from.”
Mass Market Paperback, 224 pages
Published November 3rd 1978 by Pan Books (first published 1977)
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Jack Tripper
As much as I want to like Christopher Priest -- his mind and reality-bending tales should be right up my alley -- there's something in his prose style that prevents me from totally connecting with his work, although I did mostly enjoy The Affirmation and the Prestige, even if I had similar issues with those. His writing is so devoid of emotion, so distant, as are his characters. Which is a shame, as the story here had the potential to be a good one.

Sometime in the near future, scientists have de
This took me right back to the 1970s when I read most of my sci-fi. Thoughtful political and social background to a story set in the near future (early 1980s) with projections to a further future. The decay of the environment, scarcity, the division of the world into not surprising blocks all rang true. The world is largely composed of an Islamic bloc including North America and a Soviet bloc including the UK where the story is set. Australia, I'm pleased to report, is one of the few independent ...more
Feb 01, 2015 Onni rated it it was ok
This story didn't feel right to me. The sensibilities of the late 1970s England, mixed with a pseudo-futuristic "machine" to project the characters into a multi-consciousness vision of the future is a time-shifting story that left out too many details and that plagued me throughout the book. For example, if David Harkman has been in the projection for two years without retrieval, how is he fed, cleaned, and allowed to "linger"? No round mirrors in the future? Every woman's purse has a round ...more
Mar 21, 2010 Raj rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I have to admit that I approached this book with some trepidation, having not really liked The Separation, but I enjoyed this quite a lot. It's about a group of scientists who explore the nature of reality by creating their own "projected" world and living in it, with alternate personalities for months at a time. A nice little piece about the nature of reality, and a good human story of conflict with one of the participants having to deal with an abusive ex-boyfriend. The end was confusing, but ...more
Jonathan Norton
Aug 14, 2015 Jonathan Norton rated it it was ok
From 1977, a tale set a few years in the future where a psychological experiment is underway to "imagine" life in the 22nd century. The process is mediated by gadgetry, but the emphasis is on "the unconscious" as the driver and the real magic-box that makes things work. The term "virtual reality" didn't exist back then, but there's no suggestion computers have any control over the process. The notion of communal hallucination was already well-established in SF by then however.

The point and pract
Dan Yingst
Sep 16, 2016 Dan Yingst rated it liked it
3.5 stars, I always enjoy Priest's ideas, but the central conflict here was underwhelming. For the majority, it was unclear why Paul was so threatening, and when his actions take a dramatically evil turn they're so extreme that it makes Julia seem like an idiot for not responding more forcefully. We're repeatedly told about his hold over her, but the showing is lacking.
Jul 10, 2016 Mitchell rated it it was ok
A Dream Of Wessex is a serious science fiction/romance novel about virtual reality and the subconscious.

It's quite confusing for the first third or so, but it eventually becomes clear what is taking place: a group of scientists in the 1980s (the near future at the time of publication) have developed a machine that can project a shared virtual reality. They choose to "project" the future of England in the early 22nd century, a utopia, with the hope of discovering how that utopia was accomplished.
Alex Storer
Nov 28, 2014 Alex Storer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved A Dream of Wessex. This book really sets the scene for Priest’s later work such as, The Affirmation and his ‘Dream Archipelago’ that would become a recurrent environment in his writing. A Dream of Wessex is brilliantly told and despite the science fiction aspect of the story, relationships are really at the heart of the story.

The story’s focuses on Julia, who has rebuilt her life following a turbulent relationship, and has joined the “Wessex project” – a collective of 38 minds
Carl Bennett
May 07, 2013 Carl Bennett rated it liked it
Some nice poetic verging on the mystical lines about Wessex but the characterisations aren't very deep and so much of it is so dated. First published in 1977 it goes on a bit about typewriters and the idea of a futuristic society without computing jars too much to not irritate. I liked the conceit about Dorchester Marina, but otherwise it didn't really engage. You may not be able to judge a book by it's cover ("The flares! The lapels! The shirt collar! The length of his hair!") but some of the ...more
Apr 14, 2013 Mei rated it really liked it
This book, like the other Christopher Priest books I have read, kind of made my head hurt a little and I find myself having to slow down (no bad thing) to try and get the timeline/plot/dimension right in my head. Without giving too much away, it's a loop within a loop within a loop, and the kind where you have to sit down and actually conceptualise it, at which point your head either explodes or you realise it doesn't work. I'm not going to tell you which is which! But it's a piece of nice ...more
Comment ça finit?

C'est ce qu'un groupe de scientifiques et d'universitaires cherchent à savoir en projetant un futur possible grâce à une machine de leur invention. Se nourrissant de l'inconscient des participants, cette invention pourrait bien vous faire changer d'avis sur la potentialité et la relativité de notre frêle réalité.

En dire plus serait criminel tant Christopher Priest est passé maître dans l'art de nous surprendre par ses fins et ses retournements de situation dans les vingt derniè
Martin Lake
Apr 28, 2012 Martin Lake rated it it was amazing
This book left traces in my mind.

I've often thought that the most exciting art is when a writer works at the boundaries of genres and in this Priest dances along the boundary between science fiction, alternate history, utopia and dystopia with a mature love story thrown in for good measure.

It's superb. I was so in awe of it that I couldn't write for ages. (Got over that though.)
Sep 12, 2014 Cheryl rated it liked it
"Like a recollection of a dream it had momentary conviction, but unlike the breaking of a dream, the memory remain in her mind to explore."

The plot plays in your mind and makes you wonder what is real. Some of it seem real but not quite. It like the book before inception.
Sean Randall
Jul 12, 2015 Sean Randall rated it liked it
I wasn't captivated by this. Parts of it did interest me, but there was something about the writing style which I found it a little difficult to connect with. I shall put it on my "to reconsider" pile and read it one day when I am in a different frame of mind.
Erik Graff
Dec 24, 2011 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sf fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
Christopher Priest, author of the Inverted World (1974), is an exceptionally good writer and inventive author in the science fiction genre. Anything by him is worth picking up.
Gabriel C.
Nov 03, 2011 Gabriel C. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
how dare they compare it to the magus? More like proto-inception, written by a self-centered idiot with no talent.
Saxon Roach
Sep 08, 2013 Saxon Roach rated it really liked it
Inception appears to influenced by this... Short, hauntological, slightly odd... And it's aged much better than you'd think...
Stagger Lee
Dec 11, 2013 Stagger Lee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2013
like an acid fuelled late night brainstorm about consciousness and identity and Wessex, not especially well written but interesting and good old school headtrip fun
Feb 12, 2015 Martin rated it it was amazing
I read this about a dozen times between 1980 and 1985 when I lent it someone and never got it back. It was exactly as I remembered it, very special and very good.
Andrew rated it it was amazing
Sep 04, 2012
Kam-Hung Soh
Kam-Hung Soh rated it really liked it
Nov 02, 2014
Paul Frost
Paul Frost rated it really liked it
Mar 13, 2014
Sophie rated it really liked it
Feb 06, 2016
STEPHEN M GRAFTON rated it really liked it
Mar 03, 2016
Laurence rated it really liked it
Feb 06, 2011
Rob rated it liked it
Nov 20, 2008
Benjamin rated it really liked it
Jun 02, 2012
Dan Pavelescu
Dan Pavelescu rated it liked it
Dec 14, 2012
Dave Bonte
Dave Bonte rated it it was ok
May 22, 2016
Dave rated it it was amazing
Nov 04, 2009
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Valancourt Books: A Dream of Wessex (1977) by Christopher Priest 1 14 Jan 23, 2016 10:44AM  
Thoughts On The Ending 1 3 Aug 12, 2012 04:10PM  
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Christopher Priest was born in Cheshire, England. He began writing soon after leaving school and has been a full-time freelance writer since 1968.

He has published eleven novels, four short story collections and a number of other books, including critical works, biographies, novelizations and children’s non-fiction.

He has written drama for radio (BBC Radio 4) and television (Thames TV and HTV). In
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