Tor.com content by

Will McIntosh

My Not-So-Excellent Lucid Dreaming Adventure

In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to describe a specialty in their lives that has nothing (or very little) to do with writing. Join us as we discover what draws authors to their various hobbies, how they fit into their daily lives, and how and they inform the author’s literary identity!

I started writing fiction because of a dream. I was in my mid-30s, and the last fiction I’d written was in English Comp class in college, but when I had this cool dream of a guy parachuting off a chip of Manhattan hanging in an otherwise empty sky, and landing days later on another small piece of the world, I couldn’t resist trying to write it as a short story. Just recently, I turned that first story into a novel, titled Faller.

Meanwhile, until four years ago I made my living as a psychology professor, and one of my favorite lecture topics in Intro Psych was sleep and dreams. My students were especially fascinated by the idea of lucid dreaming—being consciously aware that you’re dreaming while you’re still in the dream. The thinking is, if you learn to become aware in your dreams, you can take control of them, and when you face your unconscious fears while dreaming, you can more easily face them in the waking world. I decided to give lucid dreaming a try. I figured if I had more control over them, I might be able to boost my creative firepower. Plus I was just curious to see what would happen.

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It Wasn’t Aliens, and They Weren’t Dead All Along: The Big Reveal in Blake Crouch’s Pines

A planeload of people crash-land on a seemingly deserted island where strange and unexplainable things happen.

A town wakes to find a mysterious dome has descended to trap them.

I love these sorts of stories, where the characters don’t understand what’s happening, and things grow stranger, and as I read I keep asking myself what the hell is going on. More often than not, though, I’m disappointed when the mysterious circumstances are finally explained.

[Don’t worry, there are no spoilers ahead!]

Series: That Was Awesome! Writers on Writing