Review: Dream-Weaver by Louise Lawrence

18. Dream-Weaver by Louise Lawrence
Publication: Clarion Books (October 18, 1996), Hardcover, 240pp / ISBN 0395718120
Genre: Sci-Fi, MG/YA
Read: January 24, 2010
Source: Bought (library book sale)
Summary from Amazon:

An intricately woven and brilliantly conceived novel dealing with the confrontation between gentle, nature-loving psychics of the planet Arbroth of another solar system and the technically superior invaders from Earth en route to colonize Arbroth.


I picked this up at the library book sale a few months ago mainly because of the cover, which looked like an awesomely cheesy 80’s sci-fi movie poster. The book it contains is sort of an 80’s sci-fi movie, too, but more cheesy than awesome. (Also, it was written in the 90s. Whoops.)

On the face of it, Dream-Weaver is about one world– Earth– setting out to colonize another world– Arbroth– even though it’s already got an advanced civilization on it. It’s got questions about morality, about mental and spiritual health, about who has the right to interfere in another person’s life, and it’s got questions about love. Those are pretty heavy questions, and Dream-Weaver tries to answer them with…psychology and New Age beliefs.

Okay, that’s not so bad. Psychology is a good thing, most times, and it’s even been used in another sci-fi book in an interesting way. But in this book I got the sense that it sort of took a left turn somewhere off the road of Good Ideas. Psychology does not solve everything if your society has the propencity to victim-blame, as the Arbrothians seem to be doing, and psychic psychology where the psychologist goes into the mind of the “patient” without the patient’s knowledge or consent is just WRONG. And the explanations (or excuses) aren’t good enough for me to accept that this society is as awesome as they want us to believe.

Also, the characters in Dream-Weaver are so ridiculous, so hormone-riddled and so utterly convinced of their own righteousness that the whole book becomes ridiculous. There are entirely too many exclamation marks, no one acts like a real person would (albeit a real person who can use their minds to psychically place a dream into another person’s mind), and beneath the plot I can sense holes lurking.

The protagonists are both teenagers and they’re the ridiculous sort of teenagers that I dread coming into contact with. Utterly self-involved, emotions flying all over the place, paranoid/delusional, and prone to arguing over every little thing. Those sorts of teenagers are, fine, realistic but a) this is a sci-fi novel! and b) it’s annoying. I can’t help but feel that a story involving teens who have to deal with life-or-death situations need some amount of maturity, but these ones don’t. And when they do “mature?” It’s completely unconvincing, like the author is trying to make me believe that they’re having all these flashes of insight when they’ve never been inclined towards that insight’s direction before. I just don’t believe a eureka moment can come out of nowhere, okay.

Seriously, it’s just all over the place. I understand that the author was trying to get across a message that people need to calm the heck down before they destroy Earth, but surely there was a better way to do it than this. If Dream-Weaver was a movie it’d be an MST3K episode, for reals.


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