THE HOUSES OF TIME by Jamil Nasir

THE HOUSES OF TIME

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Nasir (Distance Haze, 2000, etc.) explores the realm of lucid dreams.

Forty-nine-year-old lawyer David Grant enters the Life Revision Program at the Trans-Humanist Institute hoping to enhance his lucid dreaming abilities. Along the way, he runs into Kat Hatshep, the double of a girl he met in a lucid dream. Astonishingly, Kat similarly recognizes him. They have dinner, and Grant thinks Kat stays overnight—although he also recalls her taking a taxi home. Kat, the daughter of THI director Dr. Piotr Thotmoses, tells Grant that he exists in other universes; he can switch his awareness into another “him,” whereupon he remembers both sets of memories. Kat subjects Grant to a headache-inducing, video game-like device that she says will enhance his ability to travel into distant universes. When Grant fears he's losing his ability to distinguish dream from reality, Kat retorts that there's no difference anyway. Is she crazy or is he? He consults a psychiatrist and learns he has epileptic seizures—did Dr. Thotmoses deliberately damage his brain? Grant finds he's able to dream-travel to specific places and times to meet Kat, who now asserts she's of a different human species; she needs Grant's superior traveling abilities to visit God and present a prayer for her people's continued health and prosperity. Meanwhile, Grant finds himself in a psychiatric hospital, strapped to a bed, quadriplegic, drugged to the eyeballs and unable to dream lucidly. Even if he could escape, where would he go?

Well worked-out and agreeably challenging, even though the ending’s a bust.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-7653-0610-4
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2008