Review: The Dreaming Fire
By Jeromy Henry
It has been said that intelligence is the ability to survive and thrive in any environment into which a person is thrust. The characters in Jeromy Henry’s book The Dreaming Fire are much like that: often propelled into unusual, life threatening situations where they have a choice: adapt or give up. Henry’s characters stand their ground, even though they’re often mere humans poised against overwhelming odds.
Case in point is Henry’s story Playing Cards in Limbo. Ben Washington finds himself confused when all his electronic devices go blank and he seems to have become a part of a foggy moonscape. He walks until he trips over Walter, a down on his luck elderly man who insists that he’d simply like to invite Ben to play a game of cards. The deck is worn from overuse, and Ben finds out what is really afoot when he views a human bone yard in back of the dealer. This human, thrust into an extraordinary circumstance, rises to the task – but will his efforts be enough?
I enjoyed these fourteen tales very much – as I often do when reading any tale from Jeromy Henry’s extensive body of work. The author creates worlds for his characters on fantasy spheres, far future Earths, and science fiction planets. Examples of the variety of settings: “The houses loomed over him like a great crowd locking shoulders, leaning over and hemming him in…”; “He raised his eye tendrils and looked again at the many husks of the dead, arranged on the twisty branches of the Corthwaite trees…”; “It says a lot about my luck that the only transport I could steal was a scooter covered in purple paint and faded Superman stickers. Then it happened. A bolt of green light split the darkness.”
Sometimes the element of change is magical, while in other stories it is technological, but we creatures who are merely mortal often turn the odds in our favor by using surprising twists in plot.
Definitely recommended as an entertaining and thought provoking read.
(reviewed 14 days after purchase)