Dillons Dream: Water and Earth is a speculative fiction novel by Dr Shawn Phillips and has been written for young adults and adults alike.
Dillon lives in the picturesque Antelope Valley in California and ready to graduate high school very soon. One fateful day his life is torn apart by a nearly fatal car accident. It's at this point that his whole perception of reality is turned upside down when the driver of the car (a 1998 Honda Accord) rushes him to the "Mulshin observation post" on the moon, in the Honda Accord!
Events spin out of control from there, sparking a sequence that thrusts him and his friends into a new reality where futuristic nanotechnology and chi-based magic are the ultimate chest pieces for the domination of two coalescing worlds. Can Dillon and his friends escape a treacherous planet and save Earth from a tug-of-war battle between highly advanced aliens and magical creatures of lore?
Dillons Dream: Water and Earth is a very interesting novel, clearly written for the young adult market with clear and uncluttered dialogue along with loosely described technical details. Writing for this market does have it's advantages and when fully mastered you will expand your audience to cover adults as well as juveniles. As an adult this means that you get a fast paced story that's very easy to read.
Overall this is a great book, full of likeable characters, good fight scenes and some very imaginative story arcs, but it is far from perfect, the beginning is fairly weak and lacks sufficient explanation and it does take a while to smooth itself out. There are also a myriad of different influences present from the RPG games that the characters play to Orson Scott Cards Enders Game series. The merging of genres also feels somewhat disjointed, you can almost see a line where fantasy meets science but this is partly due to the use of an "epic fantasy" style which is an anathema to science fiction.
Back on a more positive note there is a great deal of detail and back story regarding the martial arts, weapon training and chi based exercises / meditation and you can tell much research has been done by the author, who is an actual rocket scientist (not many people can claim this job title). Much of the first part of the novel is involved with the training of the group and this is quite reminiscent of Enders Game along with a matrix-esque knowledge download.
Despite it's flaws, I really do like this novel, it is full of ideas and strong messages underlying the narrative, the author does genuinely attempt something quite different, for which he should be applauded and most of the time it works really well. I also feel that it will appeal to the younger audience even more than the older one, persevere past the first few pages and you won't be disappointed.
Written on Saturday 18th September 2010 by Antony.
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