cover image A Dream Wants Waking

A Dream Wants Waking

Lydia Kwa. Wolsak & Wynn, $22 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-989496-75-6

Kwa (This Place Called Absence) explores the intersection between artificial intelligence and creativity in this ambitious postapocalyptic sci-fi fantasy set in near-future China. Half-human, half-fox spirit Yinhe reincarnates through many lifetimes. At the end of a past life as Qilan in 750 CE, they lost the soul of their love, Ling, while trying to take her with them into their next cycle of reincarnation. Now, in 2219 CE, they are tasked by End Decoder, “the de facto leader of the Dream Zone,” where the totalitarian Central Government experiments on chimeric creatures, to retrieve a Tibetan drawing that can summon Ao, the turtle god who created the world. This drawing has been passed down through generations of humans, but the demon Gui, who possessed Yinhe’s present mother, steals it first for his own evil means. Meanwhile, the Central Government’s most powerful AI grows in intuitive psychic power. Against this backdrop, Yinhe must stop Gui and find a way to reunite with Ling. Though the AI subplot feels slightly out of place in Yinhe’s action-packed narrative, the melding of the technical with the mystical is masterfully done. This thrilling and innovate tale will have readers hooked. (Oct.)