Just before the holidays, I broke one of my own rules about making requests on NetGalley. Generally, I avoid requesting self-published novels. I don’t believe that everything self-published is bad, but I also haven’t read any self-published books that I’ve enjoyed either. For that reason, I avoid reading them to spare myself an unpleasant experience and to avoid giving scathing reviews.
I came across While We Dream and my self-made rule went out the window. While I did have some problems with it, I also actually enjoyed this short story collection.
While We Dream is a collection filled with short and speculative tales of science fiction. Many of the stories within had unique enough concepts that I’ve never before encountered them anywhere else. Le Dain’s writing is fairly to the point, with no unnecessary flourishes of prose to pad out the tales. Within these pages you’ll find tales of clones, ghosts, murder, and dictatorship. You’ll be entering worlds where doppelgangers roam free and your fate is decided by a series of pre-determined tests.
The story for which the title was named was perhaps the least original of the bunch, but also had the most emotional impact
My imagination was captured by many of the stories, but there was one important factor that stopped me from totally enjoying this book.
The dialogue was awful.
Whenever people spoke aloud they sounded completely unnatural. Except for in one instance, there are absolutely no contractions used in this book, even when conversations are casual or when children are speaking.
Though I did like the stories, I thought that this book fell short where most self-published novels do: the editing. Given a good edit with an eye for dialogue, I could easily see this finding its way to my bookshelf and those of my friends. Some of the stories within also seemed cut short before their full idea came through, and thus their full potential was never reached. A good editor could also go over this with the author to give him a sense of what to expand upon.
I’m not sorry I broke my own rule by reading this book, and I will certainly seek out Le Dain again should he self-publish or traditionally publish any other work. I do hope that before then, he finds an editor who can help him reach his full potential.
What are your thoughts on self-published novels? Are there any great ones you have to recommend? Let me know in the comments below.