Arc of the Dream by A.A. Attanasio


Science FictionArc of the Dream by A.A. Attanasio Arc of the Dream
A. A. Attanasio; Spectra 1986

An alien traveling in multiple time-space dimensions is attracted to the water creatures on the blue planet in one of those dimensions. It travels thousands of years until it finally escapes its own multi-dimensional universe to land on a deserted piece of land near those creatures. Unfortunately, its shell is found by a person who moves it away. Without the protective shell, the alien will explode like a nuclear bomb in a few days. In order to rescue itself, it reaches out to the person with the shell and three others.

Insideout (as the being calls itself) needs all four people to come together to return the shell to the main being. It doesn’t understand geographical differences, though. The original being is in the lava fields of Hawai’i. The teen bully who has the shell lives on a different island of Hawai’i. The other three are located in China, France, and Illinois. Insideout telepathically reaches out to all of them to pull them to Hawai’i and rescue him by returning the shell to the exact spot where it was found.

Arc of the Dream, published in the mid-1980’s, is a reflective science fiction novel. A.A. Attanasio uses temporal distortion to create Insideout’s universe. The humans involved in the rescue are disparate. Dirk is a teen aged bully who took the shell from a weaker boy. Reena is a schizophrenic w organic malformations in her brain that cannot be repaired. Jiang is an ancient Chinese man who has outlived his family and is no longer useful in his village. Howard is an average middle class American who wins the lottery. Each is given a mental gift so they can work together if they can all get to Hawai’i together.

It was difficult for me to follow Arc of the Dream, but I stayed with it. The main character is Dirk – who is in trouble with organized crime. Most of the action follows him as his past sins now catch up with him. Insideout has helped him change, but it may not be in time to save his life. All the characters learn lessons about themselves as they come under Insideout’s influence.

Attanasio brings a metaphysical work and looks at new possibilities of beings and universes. I was never pulled into Arc of the Dream. Attanasio’s meanings are too cryptic for me.

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