BRUTE FORCE – on dreams and dreaming

Here’s a small spoiler-free section from BRUTE FORCE, the next Rachel Peng novel. I’m brushing up these pages today and thought you might like a look at this, and some of the research that informed it.

Her dreams had never been anything close to vivid, not until she and Santino had fished a piece of ancient history out of the basement of the White House. Since then, they had turned into living Technicolor on top of Technitouch and Technisound, with some Technismell creeping in around the edges.

She had asked her doctor about this, and her doctor said that it was most likely that Rachel’s dreams were changing as her senses redefined how she perceived the world. Her doctor pointed out that much of the early research on dreaming indicated that dreams took place in black and white; later, it was later found that these colorless dreams were attached to kids who had grown up in the era of early cinema. Black and white dreams were the exception, and once television sets got a bunch of extra tubes crammed into their cases, most folks went back to dreaming in full color. Her doctor said Rachel’s subconscious was probably adapting her dreams to align with her new senses, and it wasn’t anything to be worried about.

Rachel, who still had the occasional dream of being torn apart by small crustaceans on the bottom of the Mediterranean, didn’t agree. Especially as every other Agent who had touched the artifact had stopped eating seafood, too.

I might cut this section as it seems a little similar to one in an earlier Rachel book. For the time being, it’s staying: it’s realistic to think that Rachel’s dreams might adapt in ways that are similar to the general changes in her perceptions. And it’s a nice nod to how the Agents have not just been plunked down into the EMF, but also the supernatural.

Here’s some information on dreaming in color versus dreaming in black and white:

Some people dream only in black and white

Do people still report dreaming in black and white? An attempt to replicate a questionnaire from 1942

Why did we think we dreamed in black and white?

Published by KBSpangler

A freelance editor who writes novels, comics, and repairs a disaster of a house in her spare time:

5 thoughts on “BRUTE FORCE – on dreams and dreaming

  1. Please leave this in for the final paragraph about not eating seafood, it gives me the shudders (after the “wait, what?”)

  2. Agreed! The “every other agent too” has a massive sense of foreboding about it 🙂

    I guess Rachel is one step closer on her supernatural Journey. It all began with that hallway in the hospital where she experienced tiny blips of cerulean[1], and it will end with her slugging her boss[2].

    [1] Rachel Peng books; I believe in Maker Space, when she lies down in the Hospital hallway connecting two buildings and just lets her mind wander

  3. I never object to occasional repetition (or recapitulation), since I have a memory like a steel sieve and can’t remember any but the broadest strokes of what was in any prior books in a series. All I ask is that it be smoothly integrated with the surrounding/following context.

    What I’ll probably do is restart the series just before BRUTE FORCE is released, just to ensure I remember who Rachel Peng is. And I’ll probably still benefit from some extra context.

  4. You might want to mention which doctor had told her this. From the context, I can’t tell. I mean, when Rachel says “her doctor,” the first person that comes to mind is Jenny, but I have a hard time believing that she’d repeatedly refer to Jenny as “her doctor” instead of by name. And then she’s seeing both a visual specialist, and (IIRC) at least one psychiatrist.

    Now, it might be obvious in context within the book, but it’s certainly not obvious here (there isn’t even a pronoun to indicate “her doctor’s” gender).

    Or is the repeated “her doctor” just a change you made to keep it spoiler-free and/or accessible?

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