Readers will delight in the world Watters has created. They will long to be one of Saxon’s customers, who can experience soaring through an asteroid belt, drinking molten lava from a Mars volcano, or literally tasting a rainbow. The standoff with the Fundamental Purists’ is high tension; it threatens the life of Saxon’s son Hugo while illuminating secondary characters such as Saxon’s strong-willed wife Margo, her father Walter, and Hugo’s mysterious fiancée Christine. A glossary makes it easier to decode the technical jargon of the opening chapter, and soon the mechanics of immersive dreaming take a backseat to the nail-biting action of Saxon’s personal and professional dilemma.
Watters masterfully pits Saxon’s most closely held values against one another for a page-turning thriller. The novel also considers the broader social implications of the technology, such as individuals manipulating the program to fulfill their own perverse desires, but the heart of the story is Saxon and his desire to create a beautiful dream experience. Science fiction fans will revel in this high-stakes, character-driven thriller that careens through an imaginative future of manufactured dreams.
Takeaway: This high-stakes science fiction thriller will win over readers with its dynamic characters and unforeseen plot twists.
Great for fans of: Roger Zelazny’s The Dream Master, Christopher Priest’s A Dream of Wessex.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
An incredibly interesting plot, enticing characters, and definitely a hard sci-fi book for lovers of the genre. Watters' attention to detail and the ability to write with such fascinating ease to the genre made for a really enjoyable read. The addition of a futuristic dream technology made it feel very much like a less harrowing episode of Black Mirror. There was something about this book that felt very abstract and ephemeral (much like a dream itself) and I really think it worked.
Well-written and immediately engaging, ‘Dream Phaze’ clips along at an almost breakneck pace. The main narrative is broken up by a series of vignettes offering readers a glimpse into just how powerful a Dream Immersion experience can be. While the story’s length and dialogue-driven plot create the illusion of a ‘quick read,’ ‘Dream Phaze’ poses a ton of intriguing ideas and questions. All in all, ‘Dream Phaze’ is a solid sci-fi action/thriller that should appeal to a wide-variety of genre fans. Bonus points for offering a fresh, new take on a tried and true premise.
Dream Phaze - Germination is an enthralling Sci-Fi novel set a few decades into our future and kept me engaged throughout. Author Matt Watters employs a beautiful kind of descriptive writing style that thrusts the narrative into action while thrillingly captivating readers in immersive action-packed character dialogues.