More dream than memory the inextricable link between fiction and dreaming : a novella, "Daydreams of empty skies," together with a critical essay presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters in Creative Writing at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand

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Massey University
Miller, Peri
There is a clear and inextricable link between dreaming and fiction. Because of the way REM- sleep dreaming functions, as a hyper-creative state, dreams often serve as the source of inspiration for many authors. Dreaming is also, as one of the most central and yet mysterious aspects of the human experience, commonly used as a plot device or theme in multiple genres of fiction. Furthermore, in terms of how it works in the brain, the experience of reading fiction is remarkably similar to that of a dream. The critical essay argues the above and investigates the use of dream-related themes and devices in Banana Yoshimoto’s Asleep (1989) and Ursula Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven (1971). The three short stories that comprise Asleep each take place in a transitional period in each of the respective protagonists’ lives, and the protagonist is required to confront and come to terms with the past in order to escape this dreamlike limbo. The Lathe of Heaven protagonist George Orr’s ability to change reality via his dreams is reflective of the fluctuating dreaming/creative process itself: it is only once Orr loses this ability that he is able to escape the entangled dreams and realities. In the novella, Daydreams of Empty Skies, the protagonist, Astra, finds that her dreams are direct reproductions of her memories. She is recruited to be part of an experiment by Tenjin, a researcher, in Tokyo, Japan. Throughout the story Astra finds the divisions between dream, memory, and reality becoming increasingly thin, and by the end it is unclear whether or not she has escaped this state of being. The novella, in its form and construction, is much like a lucid dream itself—a point which is enlarged upon in the essay.
Dreams in literature, Dreams, New Zealand fiction, 21st century, Tokyo (Japan)