Kim Newman – Bad Dreams

The programme of reissuing the excellent Kim Newman’s back catalogue is coming along nicely. Unlike previous releases such as Jago and The Quorum, I don’t recall having read Bad Dreams before, and given how warped it is, I’d probably have remembered.

Bad Dreams deals with an immortal(ish) not exactly a vampire, more of a psychic parasite that can warp the reality you experience, get into your dreams and suck all the life out of you. Oh, and your consciousness can sort of survive the experience for a while.

It’s not a fun read in the way the Anno Dracula books are – far from it. This is Kim Newman in full-on horror mode, and lots of very nasty things happen to a lot of people. Some of the things that happen may not actually, err, happen as such, as they may be part of a very bad dream.

Also included in the book is a novella called “Bloody Students”, previously published as “Orgy of the Blood Parasistes” under Kim’s Jack Yeovill pen-name. I definitely hadn’t read that before. It’s another dark and bloody tale about things going slightly wrong with some scientific experiments in a campus university. When animal rights activists attack, intending to release the poor little rabbits, they find the bunnies are a wee bit more aggressive than you’d normally expect. And that being bitten by one is likely to have interesting effects…

Both stories are good solid page-turning stuff – perhaps not as good as Kim’s later work, but well worth a read if you like your fiction on the dark side.