PERCHANCE TO DREAM

This very mixed bag of stories and poems all share one attribute: every one is derived, however loosely, from my dreams, thus justifying the Shakespearean allusion of the volume title. I have always been a great dreamer, and many years ago I got the idea of painstakingly recording all of my night visions, however trivial. I now have thousands on file. Many have lent themselves in some fashion to literary treatment.


A Curious Incident at the Office (ss)
This oddball tale reads like a puzzling dream, which is no wonder, since it is a pretty literal presentation of one. In a small business office time goes haywire with lurid results.
Published in Strange Mysteries 3 by the Whortleberry Press.

The Voices of Pain

A Late Night Errand (ss)
This story bears similarities to "Alone With the Night Crew", in that the troubled hero sets forth for a little night-time shopping, only to find himself in a ghastly alternate world.
Published in Science and Sorcery II by the Press of Dyrezan.

The Witch's Cave (ss)
An anthropologist assigned to study the traditional folkways of Copper Hill, AZ, uncovers a murderous supernatural force reaching out from the pioneer past to the present day. The village is fictional, generally based on the copper mining town of Jerome, but the locale was inspired by second-hand reports alluding to the village of Cherry, an isolated habitation far up in Arizona's Black Hills. I have lately visited the site, to learn that my literary description is nothing like. Oh well; fiction, after all, is a state of mind.
Published by Wicked Industries.

The Mystery of the Old Church (ss)
This story fairly follows the dream which spawned it (and inspired the next poem), but the addition of Professor Vorchek as the hero and the considerable historical back story are wholly conscious, as was the decision to move the story from England to Arizona. The forested area above Oak Creek Canyon is well described, while the encroaching development suggests the region nearer Flagstaff.
Published in Science and Sorcery II by the Press of Dyrezan.

Cockroach Night

The Hive

The Old House On the Hill (ss)
This is a story written for the sake of weirdness, combining elements of alternative realities with alien invasion, all set in an oddly malleable Sedona, AZ.
Published in Science and Sorcery II by the Press of Dyrezan.

The Chamber of Horrors (ss)
This tale is a twist, hopefully, on a tired theme. A man visits a wax museum, is terrified by what he sees; why do the exhibits disturb him so?
Published by Alienskin.

Expedition ZB-12 (ss)
Here is another utterly weird tale (dream images lend themselves well to such excesses), ostensibly a Sci-Fi story about the exploration of a newly discovered planet. A previous expedition went missing; the crew of a follow-up space ship want to know why. What they find is pretty strange.
Published by Bizarrocast.

The Mirror

The Palace In the Land of Ice (ss)
This very short story and the following poem share the same source. A man falls asleep, finds himself in a mysterious, exotic land. It offers him everything he desires, but perils lurk.
Published in Science and Sorcery II by the Press of Dyrezan.

The Ice Palace

Morstenburg (ss)
Jacob Bleek, always on the road seeking new and dreadful knowledge, pauses in the titular village, where he uncovers nameless rites of ancient horror.
Published by Tower of Light.

The Mystery of the Inner Basin Lodge (ss)
Professor Vorchek and Theresa are attending a scientific conference to be held at the remote lodge, located within the caldera of the dead volcano that now forms the San Francisco Peaks of Arizona. The lodge is fictional, the Inner Basin a real and beauteous locale, especially in the winter. Among the snows the pair face monstrous peril.
Published by Flagship.

The Spirit of Lenny Gilk (ss)
Here is a rare treat from me, an honest to goodness ghost story, flavored with unusual manifestations of haunting. Lenny Gilk has died; his best friend inherits all, but will not be left in peace to enjoy it.
Published in Strange Mysteries II by the Whortleberry Press.

The Dark Tower
This poem contains a simple image, much better developed in the later short story "Xenophor's Children".

The Twenty-Sixth Extract From the Black Book of Jacob Bleek

The City At the End of Time (ss)
Jacob Bleek employs his magical arts to propel himself into the far future, that he may learn the destiny of mankind, as well as his own. What he learns does not gratify.
Published in The Temporal Element by Martinus Publishing.

The Diary of Philip Wyler (ss)
This story, from the files of Professor Vorchek, uses the old standby of a narrative disconnected from reality, in this case a document which does not appear to accord with history. The diary recounts a freakish mystery, but the volume itself may constitute the strangest element of the case. The story is set in the real town, now a ghost town, of Fairbank, AZ.
Published by Sonar4.

The Return of Vanek (ss)
This lengthy story is a rare science fictional outing for Professor Vorchek and Theresa, who investigate the amazing case of an astronaut who returns to Earth from certain death. He should not be alive at all, and what murky antics is he getting up to since he disappeared from public view?
In a side note, Vorchek and his lovely companion attend a play at a Phoenix dinner theater (based on the genuine Peoria, AZ Broadway Theatre). He picks up a clue from the play, The Ventor Story, by Morris Lockhart. That tidbit stems from a dream, separate from the one which suggested the main story.
Published by Strange, Weird, and Wonderful.

The Saturday After the End of the World (ss)
This is some kind of a science fiction story, sharing a theme with the following poem. What if the world had ended, but you were not entirely certain of it? In such a case the cumulative revelations might prove terribly disconcerting. Is the craziness in you, or everywhere else?
Published by Nihilist Sci Fi.

When the World Ends

My War Against the Invisibles (ss)
Another Sci-Fi tale-- I was in the mood, I guess-- with sinister aliens on the march to murder and enslave. My redoubtable hero rallies the troops to do battle. Munds Canyon and the town of Page Springs, in the Verde Valley of Arizona, form the setting.
Published by Short-Story.Me!

The Cave of Ceratos (ss)
In this, one of my favorite Bleek tales, the wizard learns of an ancient colleague's discoveries from a horrid painting hidden away in a private gallery. Bleek investigates the subterranean realities that inspired the artwork, finds that the piece is remarkably accurate.
Published in Science and Sorcery II by the Press of Dyrezan.

The Ghost Town (ss)
This story was suggested by the AZ ghost town of Fairbank and the awesome ruins of Millville along the San Pedro River in the south-eastern part of the state. An unhappy man slowly drifts into an alternative time-line, where the ghost town never died.
Published by The Harrow.

A Simple Solution (ss)
In this fun little tale Vorchek, on his own, looks into the seemingly unexplainable murders plaguing the household of a wealthy friend. Something other than commonplace nastiness is going on.
Published by Tower of Light.

At the End of a Dusty Road (ss)
A man sight-seeing in south-eastern AZ stumbles across the enduring, if warped, legacy of the Old West. This is yet another example of dream lunacy making its way into a story. The setting derives from my drive along Forest Service roads 49 and 61, while the peculiar town was suggested by the real village of Lochiel.
Published by Aurora Wolf.


Return to Introduction