cover image Witches in Dreamland

Witches in Dreamland

David Barker and W.H. Pugmire. Hippocampus, $20 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-61498-230-2

Riddled with associations from the dream world fantasies of H.P. Lovecraft, this wispy fantasy adventure from Barker and Pugmire (The Revenant of Rebecca Pascal) advances two intersecting plot lines through the magical “dreamland of witchery.” In one, witchy crone Edith Gnome dispatches her protégé, Agnes Aspinwall, in the company of Simon Williams—the self-styled “first-born beast” of the Sesqua Valley—on an unspoken mission in the dreamland. In the other, Mandy Peaslee and Penelope Armitage, both librarians at Miskatonic University in Arkham, Mass., join forces in the dreamland to retrieve Penelope’s brother, Jimmy, who was abducted to the realm by night-gaunts when he was a child. The resolutions of both plot lines hinge on the legacy of Rebecca Pascal, an actress who exists as a discarnate soul in the dream world and whose occult activities are instrumental to their different outcomes. Although there’s an anything-goes quality to how complications and dramas are resolved in the dream world, the authors show a fecundity of imagination in their portrayal of differing dream realms and their overlap with waking reality. Readers taken by this imaginary-world fantasy will appreciate that several plots threads not tied up at the end suggest the likelihood of further dreamland adventures for these characters. (Dec.)