cover image The Book of Dreams

The Book of Dreams

. Subterranean Press, $20 (125pp) ISBN 978-1-59606-284-9

Robert Silverberg and Lucius Shepard headline this above-average anthology of five short fantasy stories. Silverberg's ""The Prisoner"" is an effective exploration of Twilight Zone themes; his protagonist, Dave, is haunted by dreams in which he is first struggling to avoid dying by various means, then calling for help, apparently to the real-world Dave. The many readers who anticipate his fate will still find the ending powerful. Shepard is less successful with ""Dream Burgers at the Mouth of Hell,"" a fantasy satire that takes easy shots at the soullessness of Hollywood. Jay Lake fares better with his story ""Testaments,"" a mystical account of six significant historical figures ranging from Joan of Arc to George W Bush. A lesser-known contributor, Kage Baker, demonstrates his skills with ""Rex Nemorensis,"" in which a burned-out Vietnam veteran carves out an unusual home for himself in his grandfather's undeveloped property. Finally, ""86 Deathdick Road,"" by Jeffrey Ford, is an offbeat, creepy horror yarn in which attending a suburban dinner party featuring The Smartest Man in the World turns into a surreal nightmare.