The Solaris Book of New Fantasy edited by George MannIn Between Dreams
by Christopher Barzak

If there’s a story within The Solaris Book of New Fantasy that I enjoy more than Christopher Barzak’s In Between Dreams I’ll be mighty surprised (and mighty pleased, for that matter). Like the words and actions of many of its characters, In Between Dreams is a surreal, mysterious but ultimately powerful and rewarding riddle.

Barzak gives the reader credit and doesn’t hand anything to them on a silver platter. Instead we get to follow the progtagonist, Ai, on a journey of self discover through two interweaving (but very related) plots. Ai herself is a well drawn, interesting young woman, and her internal struggles are sure to feel familiar to any reader.

One major draw for me was the Japanese setting. I’ve always been fascinated by the Japanese culture and mythology and it was nice to see Barzak tackling it with a steady hand. It isn’t easy to present a foreign character in such an easy to understand manner. Ai, and the heartbreaking story she tells, is sure to make any reader stop and take the time to consider their own life. And if that isn’t a sign of terrific fiction, I don’t know what is.

In Between Dreams is the tremble of a lip just before a floodgate of tears. It is the tender caress of a lover in the night. It is the confident stride of a professional athlete at the top of their game.

Most importantly, though, it is a story that will touch your heart.

  • Robert November 26, 2007 at 6:40 am

    This was one of my favorites too! Interestingly, according to Chris, the short story is actually a chapter from his next book “The Love We Share Without Knowing”, though there are a few minor changes…

  • aidan December 1, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    I’m glad to hear it’s from a larger work, Robert! I’ll be sure to check out Barzak’s next novel, I’m eager to learn more!

  • JDavidBodzin January 4, 2008 at 7:49 am


    First, thank you for reviewing this compilation.

    I to thought this was an excellent and beautiful piece of work. The sexual imagery that was used and the feelings behind the actions were both startling and familiar. So familiar and universal that you can not help but look at yourself.