Most visitors to this website know the story of Ishmael’s creation – the twelve years of labor, the eight successive versions (the eighth version being Ishmael itself).
What very few know is that, after the sixth version, Daniel needed a break. And after six years of failure he needed to prove to himself that he really was a writer. He’d always thought he could write a great horror novel, and in 1985 that’s what he set out to do.
The novel was called Dreamer, and it’s about Greg Donner, a Chicago freelance writer. . . . Things are looking great for Greg. He’s got a terrific project, and he’s met the woman of his dreams — literally, his dreams (though they’re rather odd ones). But then, one night, he falls asleep and awakes . . . to the beginning of a nightmare he just can’t seem to wake up from. . . .
Although it was written in New Mexico (at a time when Daniel and Rennie were publishing the East Mountain News), it’s set in Chicago and drew upon Daniel’s experiences there as an editor and freelance writer.
The novel was published as a paperback original by TOR in 1988. Although named by Ellen Datlow as one of the year’s best in her annual review of fantasy and horror, it was not a commercial success and was soon out of print. It nonetheless continued to enjoy an underground notoriety and in 1995 was included in a “Horror at the End of the Century” list that appeared in the New York Review of Science Fiction.
Even out of print, rare copies of the book went on being tracked down, read, and passed from hand to hand for the next twenty-odd years, and fans kept on urging us to put it back in print. Daniel finally relented, and we’re delighted to have Dreamer back again.
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