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Dream London

(The Dream World #1)

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  861 ratings  ·  152 reviews
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 in Dream London the city changes a little every night and the people change a little every day. The towers are growing taller, the parks have ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 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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Average rating 3.29  · 
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Mar 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
What a pleasant surprise this was. I only read ‘Dream London’ because I came across Dream Paris and found it was the second in a series. I was less enthusiastic about the potential of ‘Dream London’ as I much prefer to Paris to London, moreover it has an unpromising male narrator. Still, it seemed fairly intriguing and necessary to read for the sake of the sequel. As I began, my spirits fell as I realised the narrative was in the first person and the person in question was an irritating macho ca ...more
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
I've been sitting on this review for awhile because I'm not really sure what to say about it...

This is a Weird London book which puts much emphasis on the 'weird' part, and a bit less on character development and coherent storytelling. I suppose some of this fits with the whole "dream" aspect of the story - but I've read stories which read like dreams, and this didn't really fit the bill. The writing itself is pretty standard fare, to be honest - it's the events themselves which create the weird
K.J. Charles
Weird novel of living in a dreamlike version of London with plots and strangeness. Concept reminds me a lot of early Michael Marshall Smith, which good, but the premise is basically that Dream London is this horribly retro place where all women are grossly treated as sex objects including by the narrator (the word 'whore' is used relentlessly), being gay is vilified, Indian people are forced into offensive stereotypes, etc. I get the author is telling us this is a Bad Thing via the very unlikeab ...more
Jan 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Pippa DaCosta
Aug 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
E. A. London
Dec 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-read
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
Rebecca Barber
Apr 19, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 11, 2015 added it
I tried and tried I could not do it.
Seregil of Rhiminee
Oct 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Originally published at Risingshadow.

Tony Ballantyne's Dream London is a delightfully gritty new weirdish urban fantasy book. It's one of the freshest and most exciting takes on urban fantasy I've had a pleasure to read, because it's a thrilling combination of science fiction, fantasy and new weird elements. It's a refreshingly original book that differs quite a lot from several other urban fantasy books.

I'm a bit difficult to please when it comes to urban fantasy. Urban fantasy can be fun to re
Jun 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: i-own
A 'meh' read. I liked the idea the blurb sold but didn't like the execution. ...more
Tina Rath
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Dev Null
Feb 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Cool concept. I rounded down half a star instead of up because the relentlessly misogynistic world it's set in irked me. This is not to say the _author_ comes across that way - there were several strong and interesting women characters in the book - but the magic of the Faerie (or whatever) seems to have bent everything such that all men were forced to become bastards and all women whores. And while this is adequately explained by the story, which as I say I quite enjoyed, it still got tiring to ...more
David Hesson
Sep 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Trippy! You never know where it's going - I've never read anything like it that's for sure ...more
The writing was fine, but there author made a lot of boring choices when it came to choosing how to change London into Dream London. In a book where Dream London literally warps reality so that buildings move and grow daily and an orange frog the size of a person comes to Dream London to learn how to be human, nearly every woman is a whore, a housewife, or a mother. He could have made literally any other decision (women transforming into trees, into statisticians, into anything really), and he c ...more
May 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Honestly, I'm not sure what I thought of this one. Extremely weird, with an unlikeable main character who turns out less unlikeable. I had this constant feeling of not liking where something seemed to be going, but then turning out to be wrong. So does that mean I liked it? At any rate, this was definitely one of the most original stories I have read. ...more
Hanaa Nisaa
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
I picked this book up from the library because it seemed like a really good premise, and for the most part, the world bulding was great. Where it fell flat was with the protagonist. Jim Wedderburn just isn't likeable at all, and I couldn't bring myself to root for him in any way. He's a dick, honestly and I hated the whole Elizabeth Baines subplot because it didn't add anything to the story and them getting together & his feelings for her came out of nowhere and felt like an undeserved reward fo ...more
Oct 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Matthew Baker
Nov 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Tony Ballantyne brings us a rather unusual tale in his urban oddity, Dream London. Here, we enter a world where the famed city is no longer recognizable, as every night, the city changes, houses and buildings growing and twisting, the streets moving into new formations, and every day people wake up a little different. Here, ex-soldier Captain Jim Wedderburn, the young strapping rogue of Belltower End, fights to keep hold of his own little empire, overseeing a ring of prostitutes and drug traffic ...more
Mar 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 is 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
Fantasy Literature
Dec 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 20, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Feb 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Has a great premise, a lot of very interesting characters (Honey Peppers and Mr Monagan), and is definitely completed with elements that are absent in the mainstream line of pop cultures. It'd be very bold if a movie director decided to make a movie based on this novel, because those elements that I meant was the non-vague vulnerability of the main character (Captain James Wedderburn), because of him being exposed blatantly in a very opposing manner to his 'natural' role of a protagonist. Hence ...more
Gavin Gates
Sep 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Kori Klinzing
Jan 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: urban-fantasy, dnf
Honestly, I was very meh about the whole thing, which is sad because it sounded like a cool concept. I guess I should have known from the "charming ladies' man blah blah blah" on the back of the book. The world was strange, but the strangeness seemed to be all over the place instead of following one, even weirdly logical vein.

But what really lost it for me was the "whatever is going on here forces every one of their gender into a stereotype," and then that freaking scene in the lunchroom with th
Feb 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Original and dark enough to satisfy. Plus, i'm a sucker for anything set in London. I know everyone knows the feeling you get when you're reading a book and it just feels like it has everything you want from a book at that time. This book was that for me this past month. I've already begun the next book in this series, Dream Paris ...more
Michelle Hall
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strange, disconcerting, and utterly fascinating

This is, perhaps, the !most imaginative thing I've read in a very long time. I was hooked from the go and the words that wrote Dream London into existence grabbed my imagination in a way that was completely foreign and more than a little dizzying. The novel is exquisitely illustrative with its imagery, and scary as all hell.
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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

Other books in the series

The Dream World (2 books)
  • Dream Paris

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“I began to walk. Not back to my room, but out, instead, out into Dream London. The stars were so heavy that the purple sky bulged in the middle, sagging down to pierce itself on the city spires.” 0 likes
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