Ross’s landmark new novel, this funny, moving and brilliant sixth book cements his position as the most exciting storyteller around for readers of 10+.
When 11 year-old Malky and his younger brother Seb become the owners of a “Dreaminator”, they are thrust into worlds beyond their wildest imagination.
From tree-top flights and Spanish galleons, to thrilling battles and sporting greatness – it seems like nothing is out of reach when you can share a dream with someone else.
But…impossible dreams come with incredible risks, and when Seb won’t wake up and is taken to hospital in a coma, Malky is forced to leave reality behind and undertake a final, terrifying journey to the stone-age to wake his brother…
In coming up with the idea for When We Got Lost In Dreamland, I knew I needed some sort of device, or machine, or something that would cause Malky to have these vivid, liveable dreams.
My thoughts turned to “dreamcatchers” – a decorative item that became briefly fashionable in the 1990s, and was (fairly loosely, I think) based on Native American legends. I think the purpose of them (apart from looking pretty) was to catch bad dreams, like a sort of “dream filter” above the sleeper.
What I ended up with was difficult to describe on paper – the reader is a better judge of whether I succeeded. I turned the dreamcatcher on its side, and added a pyramid above it and crystals illuminated by a battery. I made it the invention of a retired stage “psychic” called Kenneth McKinley. The book’s designers put the front page of the instructions on the cover which you can see here.
As for the name: Dreaminator. I really have no idea – I just dreamt it up!
“Lucid dreaming” really is a thing, and “dream Yoga” really is an element of some Buddhists’ meditation practice.
As the book explains, lucid dreaming was popularised in 1867 by a French researcher Marquis Hervey de St Denys – although there are reports of the practice dating back to the ancient Greeks.
It gained new popularity in the 1970s and 80s – this is when I imagined Kenneth McKinley becoming interested in it. In 2010 the film Inception created a complex and fascinating story about a group of lucid dreamers.
Although widely accepted as possible, in practice lucid dreaming is – for most people at least – very difficult and requires far more practice and meditation than most of us are prepared to devote to it. There are countless books advising how to achieve lucid dreams, foods that are supposed to be helpful , and yes even devices that claim to make it easier. None that I know have achieved provable results.
And as for me, well sadly, all through the months that I was writing When We Got Lost In Dreamland, I don’t think I ever had a lucid dream!