Title: Perchance to Dream: Selected Stories.
Author: Charles Beaumont.
Genre: Fiction, literature, short stories, horror, science fiction, fantasy.
Publication Date: 1952-1961 (this collection 2015).
Summary: This collection includes 23 short stories in the horror, fantasy, and science fiction genres. In Perchance to Dream (1958), a man seeks the help of a psychiatrist when he believes that he has lost control of his imagination in his dreams, and is convinced he would die the next time he allows himself to sleep. In The Jungle (1954), in an over-populated and half-exhausted world, Richard Austin builds a high-tech city that replaces the jungles of Kenya, but there is a severe clash with the local native population, and they have ancient and menacing powers at their disposal. In Sorcerer's Moon (1959), the last two warlocks left on earth try to do away with each other with the help of an opportunistic private detective. In You Can't Have Them All (1956), an exhausted and emaciated man relates to his doctor his fantastic and obsessive quest of conquering every woman in the world he finds attractive. In Fritzchen (1953), a pet shop owner's son finds a strange creature in a cove of shallow water, and the father makes the ill-advised choice to add the thing to his shop. In Oh Father of Mine (aka Father, Dear Father) (1956), a man is possessed with the question of what would happen if he went back in time and killed his own father before he himself was conceived, and gets a chance to satisfy his burning curiosity when he succeeds in building a time machine. In The Howling Man (1959), an American man recovering from a sudden illness in an abbey in a small town in Germany, comes across a mysterious man locked away from the world who may or may not be Satan himself. In A Classic Affair (1955), a man decides to take advantage of his friend's sudden fixation on a car to swindle him out of a wife. In Place of Meeting (1953), after all humans on earth perish of a disease, a mysterious group of all somehow left alive gathers for a meeting. In A Song for a Lady (1960), a newly-married couple take a British cruise on a decrepit cruiser on her last voyage, but soon notice the boat is full of only elderly people who don't seem too thrilled with the newlyweds' presence. In Blood Brother (1961), a vampire comes to a psychiatrist to complain about his blood-thirsty existence. In In His Image (aka A Man Who Made Himself) (1956), a man suffering with muddled memories finally comes to face the tragic origins of his own existence. In The Monster Show (1956), two movie executives discuss their new vapid, brain-washing programming techniques with a sinister ulterior motive. In The Beautiful People (1952), a young woman living in a world where people are modified to be perfect and flawless at the age of nineteen fights against the society she lives in to remain herself. In Free Dirt (1955), a man obsessed by bargains begins to spin out of control when he realizes that the free cemetery dirt the cemetery makes vegetables thrive in large amounts, and becomes obsessed with getting more. In The Magic Man (1960), an old travelling magician drawing to the end of his career, makes an ill-advised choice of trying to repay the town who's loved him the most. In Last Rites (1955), a dying man summons a priest, a good friend of many decades, to his death bed to present him with a stunning theological and philosophical conundrum. In The Music of the Yellow Brass (1958), an impoverished young man is thrilled when he's finally given the chance at fame and fortune as a Matador, but finds out the tragic truth of his newfound dream-come-true shortly before his match. In The New People (1958), after a young family moves into a new neighbourhood, they soon find out their neighbours are engaged in a bizarre and dangerous games of seeking to alleviate their ever-present boredom. In A Death in the Country (aka Deadly Will to Win) (1957), an ageing and broke race-car driver enters a small-town race and is threatened in his need to win by a enthusiastic and young but rash and inexperienced driver. In Träumerei (1955), two criminal lawyers who lost a case for their death-row client discuss his claims that the world is his dream and if they put him to death, they will cease to exist. In Night Ride (1957), a jazz band gets an incredibly talented but depressed pianist, and things get dark when it turns out the band's manager believe only the heart-broken and damaged can play good music. In The New Sound (1955), an audiophile's life begins to spin out of control as he gets deeper and deeper into his obsession, deciding to create the world's most comprehensive library of death sounds.
My rating: 7.5/10.
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