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Dream Thief

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  1,409 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
Every morning Dr. Spencer Reston, dream-research scientist on space station Gotham, wakes up exhausted with the nagging feeling that something terrible is about to happen. Spence soon discovers that he has become a vital link in a cosmic coup masterminded by a mysterious creature known as the Dream Thief . . . and all civilization hangs in the balance.Here is science ficti ...more
Paperback, 484 pages
Published June 18th 1996 by Zondervan Publishing Company (first published June 1996)
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Rating details
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Jay Michaels
"Fast-paced adventure?" Maybe for religious fiction in 1983.

"Cliff-hanging suspense?" With all due respect, the story was dragged out to almost 500 pages. That's hardly suspenseful.

I can't help but wonder if Lawhead were writing this novel today if it wouldn't be a much faster read. If this were adapted as a screenplay, the story would have to be much faster paced to keep a 21st century audience's attention.

I ended up skipping ahead from chapter 19 to chapter 30 or so.

The plot for C.S. Lewis'
Nov 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very good book, although it suffers somewhat from a very poor supporting character. The story is suspenseful and the settings are very cool. The main character, Spencer Reston, is very likeable at the beginning of the book at least, although he becomes less likeable after his return from Mars. The real strong point of the book is its setting. Most of the supporting characters (Dr. Packer, Kalnikov, and Kyr) are likeable as well. However, the only thing serious gripe I have would be th ...more
Matthew Hodge
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, christian
This religious sci-fi tells of Spencer Reston, a sleep scientist haunted by strange dreams while on the space station Gotham.

There are some good ideas in this story (especially striking is the introduction of Martians, where we discover they share the same belief in God as us). But much of this feels clichéd, without really the narrative drive to sustain it.
Mar 17, 2013 rated it did not like it
I gave this one star because you can't leave zero stars. I know Lawhead has written some good books; this is not one of them. The characters are one-dimensional and underdeveloped. And his portrayal of an evil scientist in a wheelchair comes awfully close to slandering Stephen Hawking. I disliked this book immensely--read C.S. Lewis's science fiction trilogy instead.
Sep 03, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
All I can remember about this book is that it put me off reading any more Lawhead.
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dreams - a portal to more than your thoughts.

Belief is the sense organ of faith, as your eyes are the sense organ of sight. With sight you see the world, with faith you see God. Belief has the power to shape reality.

The story starts as a sci-if mystery and evolves into mysticism- that said, it’s a darn fine read which you could almost believe in. The book shows its age, but 20 or more years later, buy it, devour it and then make up your own mind. I think it will be a classic.
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian-sci-fi
Written in 1983, this story is not outdated in the least. A good sci-fi book with plenty of technology and philosophy, brimming with adventures and suspense. I loved the hero's development as the story moved along. It carries a message of hope that we can trust God in the midst of dreadful circumstances and that He has a plan bigger than anything we can imagine.
Jonathan C Wedge
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good story but certainly not fast paced or suspenseful. Still I enjoyed it overall. Lawhead seems to enjoy adding a lot of details that don't add much to the overall plot. It just makes the book feel drawn out. The up side is it gives him plenty of time to work out a character arc.
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My favorite book by my favorite author, Stephen R. Lawhead. I've read it 5 or 6 times now, and have to come back to it every few years. It's a sci-fi story about God, friendship, and Hindu beliefs colliding over alien control of mankind. I love a sci-fi book that takes you somewhere unique.
Taylor Hohulin
Jul 01, 2017 rated it liked it
A bit of a slow starter, but fun once you get through the first third. There's planet-hopping, aliens, weird dreams, and a mystical sense throughout.
Michelle R. Wood
Jul 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: solo, science-fiction
I've read from several sources that one way to cut down on stress is to avoid reading books that you don't like. The idea goes that if after a few chapters (or pages, depending on the attention span of the advice giver) you don't like the story, ditch the book and move on to another. I don't necessarily disagree with this idea as a whole; I just find it very hard to put into personal practice. Once I make a committment to read a particular story or watch a specific program, I usually try to give ...more
May 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I don't read a lot of Christian fiction, mainly because I find the Christian elements are usually clumsy and heavy-handed. This book didn't have that problem. I thought the Christian elements blended well with the rest of the story. I also don't read a whole lot of sci-fi, mostly because I find the concept overshadows the characters and I end up not caring about any of it. This book didn't have that problem either. I liked the main character well enough, and ...more
Mar 31, 2009 rated it liked it
Stephen Lawhead writes very good historical/fantasy books with Celtic settings. He’s a sure thing; all of his books are quite enjoyable. So when I borrowed another of his books from a friend that wasn’t a Celtic fantasy book, but rather an outer-space sci-fi book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would Lawhead prove as adept at writing in a very different genre? Would I enjoy the book as much?

In The Dream Thief, humanity has built a working space station called Gotham. Gotham is a city in space, wh
Dec 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is the first Lawhead book I've ever read, and I've got to say I was totally blown away. I have not been this captivated and in love with a book since the Harry Potter series. I opted out of my usual TV time to get in more reading, and had to force myself to close the book when it was time for bed. The author crafted a complex, highly-believable futuristic setting (he avoided the common sci-fi error of giving the date of the future time period). His vocabulary was exstensive, and his descrip ...more
May 21, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book had been sitting on my mom's bookshelf for a couple months before I finally picked it up and by that time, I was pretty psyched to read it. And the first half of the book really intrigued me. But the second half really let me down. All of the characters, who I thought got pretty good characterization in the first half, were suddenly downgraded to stereotypes. The best friend stayed his wise, all-knowing self and the chick stayed the innocent, helpless chick. Ugh. It really disappointed ...more
Jeffrey Weir
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good sci-fi

While I enjoyed this book, I'm glad that Mr. Lawhead has hit his stride in the fantasy world. I liked this book in how it connects humans to other beings to the Supreme Being of God. This is the first book I've ever read where a species other than humans believe in the Biblical God. It made me think that, if there is intelligent life on other worlds, is it too far fetched to believe that they have their own history of God's story in their world? While not the central tension in this b
D.M. Dutcher
Okay science fiction from Stephen Lawhead's early career. A steal as an ebook for 2.99, but okay at best.

Spence Reston is researching the effects of long-term sleep in zero-g, or something or other. He gets bad dreams, and soon finds that he has enemies. He escapes to Mars, but discovers something that just might help him fight back.

The writing is okay, at best. He makes the female characters a bit too cutesy, and the plot ambles on and on. It could be contracted to half it's length and work muc
Aug 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Very good story. Some parts of it seemed a bit mismatched, but overall it was pretty compelling. The newest edition of the story also comes with a very interesting introduction by him about the different scientific advances that have come about in the thirty years since he wrote it. The other reviewer commenting how the villain in the wheelchair is basically a slander of Stephen Hawking amuses me, given that, as Lawhead admits in the new intro, this book was written before Hawking became famous, ...more
May 29, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A interesting book by Stephen R. Lawhead, though I prefer his later style, the Dream Thief was still a interesting read of science fiction, which I quite enjoyed. The plot had some weaknesses, and the narrative was a bit hard to follow in parts, but the interesting characters, neat dreams, exotic settings, and interesting bits of made up history and scientific fact made up for the book’s flaws. I enjoyed Lawhead’s science fiction series, the Empyrion Saga more, but Dream Thief is still a good re ...more
Steven Crain
Fun Premise Marred by Improbabilties

The premise was fun. An early book by Lawhead. His books have since dramatically improved in detail and richness in language and detail. For this book, the protagonist was not likable initially and too much time was spent following his purposeless life. There were many situations that were improbable - simple scientists stealing a module and flying it through space to earth, space walking with no training, etc. My personal electronic copy was riddled with spel
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy
Recommended to Kelly by: Doug Wilson
Shelves: sci-fi
Pretty good overall. Seems like a few of the characters could have been fleshed out a bit more, but that didn't detract too much.

This is Christian fiction, but, you know, good. Written well. Not just a Roman Road sermon costumed in bad prose. Reminded me a good bit of C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy, as I see several other reviewers have mentioned. If you're only going to chose one to read, go for the Space Trilogy, hands down. But if you have the time, Dream Thief is worth a read.
Dec 13, 2011 rated it liked it
You can snap and shout at your girlfriend all you like if you're the hero. She'll forgive you, especially after the brain damage.

There are Aliens posing as Hindu gods, indifferent Buddhist monks, evil cripples, evil Indians, poor Indians, and a rich but dim girl who sees something in our hero that really isn't there. The religious element adds a certain something, if not for the reasons the author intends.

Buzz Park
Aug 12, 2014 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

A fun book about mind control in space.

While I enjoyed this book and it had some fun plot twists, it felt a very early novel by the author. The dialogue was seemed a little disjointed and unrealistic sometimes, and some of the characters a little shallow.

These are minor things and I did enjoy the book, but not as well-written as the Empyrion series or the Bright Empires series.

Joshua Spotts
Aug 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating sci-fi book. It is filled with mystery, excellent characters, and is an amazing piece of writing! In fact, it has to be well written due to the fact most of it takes place on one space station.
May 27, 2013 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this as Christian allegory, although it is not explicitly Christocentric. My expectations were that it was a bit of a dated work of science fiction and I was delighted to find myself drawn into the allegorical aspects.
Mar 15, 2011 rated it liked it
This book started off as one thing and then flipped to a totally unexpected place. I must be honest that the last 100 pages seemed to drag on without much addition to the story happening. Overall, a good book.
Nov 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fiction
This is one of my favorite Lawhead books. I started with the Dragon King series and then read this one. Loved it. Would like to find time to read it again. Another of his series that I love is the Empyrion series was two books and I believe it's been combined into one.
Jun 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite book by my favorite author, Stephen R. Lawhead. I've read it 5 or 6 times now, and have to come back to it every few years. It's a sci-fi story about God, friendship, and Hindu beliefs colliding over alien control of mankind. I love a sci-fi book that takes you somewhere unique.
Sep 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite Stephen Lawhead novel! I just really like the whole dream theme he had going on in this intriging story. I really wish Lawhead would write more scifi!
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Stephen R. Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. His works include Byzantium, Patrick, and the series The Pendragon Cycle, The Celtic Crusades, and The Song of Albion.

Also see his fanpage at Myspace:

Stephen was born in 1950, in Nebraska in the USA. Most of his early life was spent in America where he earned
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“Belief is the sense organ of faith, as your eyes are the sense organ of sight. With sight you see the world, with faith you see God. Belief has the power to shape reality.” 0 likes
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