Book Jacket

 

rank 5905
word count 55724
date submitted 31.12.2009
date updated 15.05.2010
genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, Young Adu...
classification: universal
complete

The Dream Machine

J F Riding

What happens when a game meets reality? What is real, what is a dream?

 

A crew of space salvagers stumble across what appears to be a genuine alien artefact. Connecting to the computers, the aliens pull both crews into an alternate universe of medieval battles. But is this just a computer game, or is there really a parallel Universe where these things exist? Is it going to be possible to return to the "real" Universe, or are they doomed to travel through an infinity of parallels forever?

 
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tags

fantasy, gaming, science fiction, space, time-shifting, young adult

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41 comments

 

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CarolinaAl wrote 1314 days ago

A thrilling science fiction adventure. Well-imagined storytelling. Vivid, believable characters with tense relationships. Compelling dialogue. Intricate plot. A well-crafted wonder. Backed.

richard thurston wrote 1315 days ago

Superb imaginative musings. A well crafted beginning and full of well focused ideas. Backed with pleasure.


Best wishes and good luck with your writing
Richard

name falied moderation wrote 1328 days ago

Dear J F
loved your short and long pitch both really sell your book which they are meant too so CONGRATS, and love the way you write. Your ability with words to craft an orginal read is amazing. the characters have decided to take up permanent residence but i will insist they leave soom to go home. ha! I have to wonder on this site at the
creations that come from peoples heads and of course the immense talent of those like yourself to animate
such colorful characters. I truly wish I had half your talent.

BACKED BY ME FOR SURE.
Please take a moment to look, COMMENT which is important to me, and BACK my book. if not that is OK
also

The VERY best of luck to you

Denise
The Letter

SusieGulick wrote 1328 days ago

Dear J.F., I already backed your other book & am now backing this one. :) Your pitch beckoned me to read your space adventure :) - what a ride. :) You have nice crisp dialogue & paragraphs making for an enjoyable read. :) Is there a 3rd book in the brew, now? :) Could you take a moment to back my 2 memoir books? :) Thank you so very much. :) Love, Susie :)

David Fearnhead wrote 1395 days ago

I really just have to say I agree with Owen. This is an excellent concept for a novel and you wrap a solid tale around your central mystery. I too can envisage it as a computer game. Nice work.
Backed - hope you'll return the favour
David
Bailey of the Saints

J F Riding wrote 1395 days ago

Thanks for your comments, Owen, I originally thought of it as a gaming mechanism that came to life.

Owen Quinn wrote 1397 days ago

great concept with good characters and a terrific central mystery. Your writing is excellent, taking us along for the ride. great visuals when we hit the worlds which could easily be translated to a game. Exciting, entertaining and a great read. Very well done.

J F Riding wrote 1425 days ago

Thanks for your comments, Jim. Yes, some word counts crept back in, but I don't think they're too much bother? Thanks for your comments.

Jim Darcy wrote 1426 days ago

This is pitched just right for teenage boys who have some knowledge of gaming and probably watch Stargate etc. Description reads like a visual of a game and builds into a ghood read. Plenty of action to keep interest, some bacvkground on Ste and the rest to flesh them out. Didn't notice any major typos etc.
Jim Darcy
The Firelord's Crown
only little thing I noticed was that some chapters seem to end with a word count?

Sandie Newman wrote 1430 days ago

I absolutely love this! Excellent title and brilliant idea, the second I read about medieval battles I was hooked. The opening is excellent, right in the middle of the action as the rider goes straight into the castle, arrows flying. This has some brilliant descriptions and you put the reader right in the middle of it all. Excellent, backed with greatest pleasure.

Sandie
The Crown of Crysaldor

thrillerlover wrote 1431 days ago

I’ve added your book to my watchlist. Best of luck with it!

A Knight wrote 1450 days ago

This is a wonderfully imaginative piece, and the concept is fascinating, and one I've often considered myself. Questioning the line between fantasy and reality has been done before., but nowhere near as good as this.

Backed with pleasure.

Abi xxx

S Richard Betterton wrote 1455 days ago

Really intriguing premise (I love the reality/fantasy question) and great action at the start. Your characters are well drawn with imaginative names (my favourite Binty - I know someone nicknamed Binty!)
A very promising start. Backed.

Burgio wrote 1470 days ago

I like stories that picture an alternative universe perhaps a person could escape to on bad days. So your pitch popped out at me. And I'm glad it did because this is a good story. Not the alternative universe I'm been looking for, tho (I want to be able to come back easily when I want to). You flesh out your characters well. Makes this a good read. I'm adding this to my shelf. Burgio (Grain of Salt).

Famlavan wrote 1470 days ago

The Dream Machine

I really like the pitch it made me feel instantly. ‘How’s this going to develop?’
The fight scene (very well written, with great sensory language) doesn’t mess you about, straight into the action! And the wyvern (no capital) is a great hook.
The whole concept behind this is very, very imaginative and so engaging, I really enjoyed this.

Sheila Belshaw wrote 1472 days ago

THE DREAM MACHINE:

J F Riding

Fascinating and imaginative. The voice is just right for the genre, and the writing is lively and full of vigour.

Lovely detailed descriptions that brought the story vividly to life.

Backed.

Sheila Mary Taylor (Pinpoint)

J F Riding wrote 1496 days ago

I went back in and had a look - I don't know how this has happened! I'll contact the authorities. Thanks.

I don't know if it's intentional, but the chapters appeared out of order when I read, jumping to the teens when the section number was in single digits. I didn't mind, myself, because it gave me a little extra challenge of piecing things together, but it might put other readers off proceeding.

bmlg wrote 1496 days ago

A good read with an unusual blend of fantasy and sf tropes. I was reminded of C.J. Cherryh's Port Eternity, but with a decided working-class twist. The writing is a bit rough in the opening, but settles down quickly, and the plot is intriguing, raising a number of questions of what is real and who (what?) is behind it. The character names in the 'fantasy' storyline felt appropriate, and I liked the variety of names in the 'sf' storyline, but some there were a bit awkward in that I kept misreading them (obviously not a major problem, just something I noticed.)
I don't know if it's intentional, but the chapters appeared out of order when I read, jumping to the teens when the section number was in single digits. I didn't mind, myself, because it gave me a little extra challenge of piecing things together, but it might put other readers off proceeding.

dianna wrote 1507 days ago

A richly complex and imaginative story, and I think it would be well worth a reread as I am sure I missed some of the nuances and plot twists first time round, especially as I read it over a period of days. I think it could use a few more prominant female characters to appeal to girls in the YA market, where I am sure it would be a big hit with boys blending computors and fighting as it does. I hope this story is published. Very well done. Dianna

AlanMarling wrote 1508 days ago

Dear JF Riding,

Thank you for sharing your story with us. The first paragraph drew me in, a scenario in which I feel at home. The third paragraph has a repetition of the word “wore”. I liked the combat, and it seems reasonable an archer took out the mailed knight. Also reasonable to keep the fortress from burning. You start with action, and you introduce the strange wyvern character, and I question whether he’s good or evil.

In my fallible opinion, you could make your beginning even more exciting by cutting some of the dying-gasp dialog (which I don’t find emotional, not knowing the background) and instead add some more life to the protagonist. Add some humor, or the cause he’s fighting for so I feel more for him.

This small matter aside, I enjoyed your story. Bravo! Backed.

Best wishes,
Alan Marling

lionel25 wrote 1510 days ago

Ms Riding, your first chapter is professionally written and reads smoothly. I can't niptick either narrative or dialogue. Good work.

Joffrey (The Silver Spoon Effect)

J F Riding wrote 1511 days ago

Thanks for taking the trouble to comment, Karen. Editing should tidy up the loose ends - I am taking note where people trip over the narrative!

Karen Eisenbrey wrote 1516 days ago

I really like the "It's a game! . . . Or is it?" premise of The Dream Machine. Chapter 1 presents a nicely detailed but standard hack-and-slash scene, like a Fire Emblem boss battle. It's a nice surprise to learn that it is, or was, a game that has somehow become real and the players are stuck in it. That's a nice way to mess with the medieval setting, so you can have a spaceship while still having swords and armor.

I noted few obvious nitpicks. In chapter 2 (your 15), I saw these:

Bint's mouth should be Binty's mouth.

poured a mug for it should be poured a mug of it.

There were a lot of two-word adjectives that looked like they could use a hyphen, so that's something to look for as you edit.

Good luck with this. It should appeal to the gamer crowd.

Karen Eisenbrey
CRANE'S WAY
TIME SQUARED

bonalibro wrote 1523 days ago

Hi,

I have backed your book because I found it eminently readable
but have to cover 25 books a day just to keep my place on here.
If you would like a more specific comment please return the favor.
Good luck with it.

Tim Chambers
Moonbeam Highway: With Apologies to Miguel de Cervantes.

J F Riding wrote 1538 days ago

Thanks for that, paxie - yes, I do have to watch out - my writing can appear to be "at one remove" from the action. I'll run through when I'm on the next edit.



fiery light seemed to spill from the sword.......Mmmmm..... fiery light spilled from the sword......conjures more imagery......

paxie wrote 1539 days ago

JF Riding

This is very good.....You have a powerful writing voice.....Sci Fi isn't really my take, but I enjoyed this because of the 'dare I say it without offending'.......historical language and medieval sense of time and place.....

fiery light seemed to spill from the sword.......Mmmmm..... fiery light spilled from the sword......conjures more imagery.....Often the word seemed gives a passive tone to what you want to say.....Do a word search.....I deleted about a million of them...

Best of luck with this...I enjoyed the read.

LearnMeGood wrote 1561 days ago

Very interesting premise! You have a very active imagination, just to come up with the characters' names and their alternate universe lives!

Backed!

John Pearson
Learn Me Good

J F Riding wrote 1561 days ago

Thanks for that comment - I wrote this as it "appeared" in my mind, so yes, there are probably too many adverbs. Once I get around to editing, I will look carefully at your points. Thanks for backing me.

Make a note of your adverbs. There are plenty of them milling about and I am not sure they mkae your writing stronger. Sometimes they even take away. A roughly made stretcher? Show us why it is rough. The twine coming apart, holes in the fabric. ECT. A lot of the time adverbs allow a writer to be, (forgive me for saying this), lazy. Instead of describing something they slap an adverb in and tell us instead of showing us.

T.L Tyson wrote 1561 days ago

In general I don't like Sci-Fic but this is different. Once I read the pitches I was like, hmmm interesting.
I made some notes about issues with repetition but I see others have too.
I will only comment on the plot which seems strong.
Make a note of your adverbs. There are plenty of them milling about and I am not sure they mkae your writing stronger. Sometimes they even take away. A roughly made stretcher? Show us why it is rough. The twine coming apart, holes in the fabric. ECT. A lot of the time adverbs allow a writer to be, (forgive me for saying this), lazy. Instead of describing something they slap an adverb in and tell us instead of showing us.
The YA genre does allow leeway for some adverbs, but try to ensure you are not over using them.
A cracking idea.
Backed
T.L Tyson-Seeking Eleanor

soutexmex wrote 1564 days ago

Gotta agree with Simon on your book. SHELVED!

I can use your comments on my book when you get a chance. Cheers!

JC
The Obergemau Key

beegirl wrote 1565 days ago

I think my best help for you would be to deal with your pitches, The pitches are the first thing to pull readers or maybe even agents ti your book. They need a zing, Something like (just giving an example and know it may not be the right thing to express your book) "A deadly war and a game of fanasty. Can the players afford not to know the truth?" Then the long pitch--again I don't know your story but the long pitch needs to make me WANT to read. "When the team of scavengers find a strange artifact in space, they are suddenly transported into another realm. They enter a war of breath taking intensity, is this real or is this some kind of deadly game?"

This is just a few thoughts to speed you on your way to making your pitches work better for you.
Backed this a few days agol
Barbara
The Sea Pillow

Simon Swift wrote 1565 days ago

Fascinating premise and well written! Well worth a spin on the shelf!
Simon

JD Revene wrote 1565 days ago

JF

Stumbled across this amongst new works and thought I'd take a look.

Starting, as is my want, with the pitch. In the short version the first sentence provides an interesting premise, but for me the second sentence does little more than repeat it. I'd like to see some context here.

The long pitch is a little short, you give me the inciting incident, a little about the setting and the story question, but nothing on the characters. I'm no expert, but I can't help feeling that's an opportunity lost.

Good opening scene, very vivid, a couple of observations you might like to consider:

--First sentence of the second paragraph uses the word light twice.

--Last sentence of same paragraph uses 'as' twice (second incident could be avoid by rephrasing to 'the castle guards racing down the staircase', or similar).

With chapter two we cut from the game to the players and it strikes me as interesting that you effectively have both a fantasy story and a science fiction story here.

This second chapter is dialogue heavy and after the interesting beginning, where the two players wonder why the weaker won, does, I feel, drift a little into exposition. The focus on the games feels just a little overdone.

And in chapter three game discussion continues but broken up by the rountine of space duty and I find this more convincing (and I get a better feel for the setting). One observation, characters quite often use each others names in dialogue, this sounds a little unnatural to me.

So three chapters in is where I stop. There's a depth to this, when the two stories blend. I found that particularly in the third chapter, where routine activity was woven in and feel that the second chapter could do with a little more of this.

Four characters stick out: the main character, his young privileged opponent in the game, the unconventional captain, and the wise old-timer. However, each of these still has room to grow, and two and three other characters have played bit parts without sticking in my memory. To the extent you can reduced your cast in these early chapters I would: Make it easy for the reader to remember everyone.

Chapter one was great action, chapter thre a clever blending of character revealing action and exposition around the theme through dialogue. There's a lot of promise here and I'll give this a spin on my shelf.

J F Riding wrote 1565 days ago

Right - (racks brains to think which character is best suited). I have you down for leading lady. OK?

I like this a lot. It's exciting and I want to be in the film

Ferret wrote 1565 days ago

I like this a lot. It's exciting and I want to be in the film

Alexander De Witte wrote 1565 days ago

Apart from the fact that I'm not sure the name 'Binty' works because of the British colloquialism of Bint to disparagingly describe a woman I don't find much that is obviously ripe for the nitpick. You get right into the action with an engaging pace and events that drew this reader in - such that I was wondering when there would be time to stop for breath. I think your names (apart from Binty) are conducive and the dialogue and interactions between them are dynamic.

A well written story from its beginnings - unfortunately I'm not able to trek further with it at the present time but the direction of the story feels promising.

The Dream Machine holds promise - and since you seem eager to refine your work in the light of suggestions, I think you possess the wherewithal to take it to the next level of polish and up into the ealy hundreds at least on authonomy.

The very best of luck. BACKED

Alexander *The Wisdom Tree and the Dormouse*

J F Riding wrote 1565 days ago

Thanks for that, jhoom. I'll go back and take a look at those pointers from you.

Hi.
The pitch for this is excellent, and really caught my attention. I have read a few chapters and the story is well constructed and moves at a good pace, keeping my interest. I really like this and want to read more. I am intrigued by the medieval fantasy world with created mythical creatures and the contrast with the space era team.

There are a couple of slightly clumsy sentences in the opening that you might want to revist. The first sentence is a bit confusing as to where the foot soldiers are (are they following the gap or the rider?). The description of the sword uses "light" twice in the same sentence - maybe consider "Silver gleamed from the runes..." . There are some very long sentences here, that may be slightly troubling for a YA reader. When the wyvern turned and walked away from (2nd para from end of page 1) - that could be broken into several shorter sharper sentences and all the information would be there and with more impact - and less opportunity for confusion about the subject of the clause. Such as who was still just a clumsy Ordineer - Guidon or the wyvern? Another example is when Guidon lifts Falamar onto the bier and drew a cloak over his face and body - whose face and body?

It must seem that I am being very critical but I really did like a lot about this and will back it.
I think that if something stops me in my reading tracks, it may also be off putting for other readers so I should mention it.

You can write, you have a great imagination, and have the basis of a really interesting story here. Good luck! And Happy New Year

Beval wrote 1566 days ago

Back on form I see:-))

Sparty wrote 1566 days ago

Interesting

jhoom wrote 1566 days ago

Hi.
The pitch for this is excellent, and really caught my attention. I have read a few chapters and the story is well constructed and moves at a good pace, keeping my interest. I really like this and want to read more. I am intrigued by the medieval fantasy world with created mythical creatures and the contrast with the space era team.

There are a couple of slightly clumsy sentences in the opening that you might want to revist. The first sentence is a bit confusing as to where the foot soldiers are (are they following the gap or the rider?). The description of the sword uses "light" twice in the same sentence - maybe consider "Silver gleamed from the runes..." . There are some very long sentences here, that may be slightly troubling for a YA reader. When the wyvern turned and walked away from (2nd para from end of page 1) - that could be broken into several shorter sharper sentences and all the information would be there and with more impact - and less opportunity for confusion about the subject of the clause. Such as who was still just a clumsy Ordineer - Guidon or the wyvern? Another example is when Guidon lifts Falamar onto the bier and drew a cloak over his face and body - whose face and body?

It must seem that I am being very critical but I really did like a lot about this and will back it.
I think that if something stops me in my reading tracks, it may also be off putting for other readers so I should mention it.

You can write, you have a great imagination, and have the basis of a really interesting story here. Good luck! And Happy New Year

Suzannah Burke wrote 1566 days ago

Hello and well done indeed. Another genre I don't normally read, the pitch caught me. The story held me.


Backed with Pleasure

Suzannah Burke
Dudes Down Under

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