Everything You Dream is Real by Lisa de Nikolits

I’m happy to tell you that the first reason I wanted to read Everything You Dream is Real by Lisa de Nikolits is that the cover is so bold, striking, and fun. Don’t underestimate good cover design, friends. The yellow with a psychedelic butterfly is also a great introduction to de Nikolits’ world inside the novel: a strange, dystopian world with a lot of drugs, chaos, and multiple strange compounds with bizarre leaders. Everything You Dream is Real is fast-paced and more than a bit bonkers, with a cast of characters trying to live in a world populated by endless dangers and yet entirely focused on their libidos.

“de Nikolits has created a wild, wild world in this novel.”

Set in the year 2055, the novel follows a group of loosely connected people who belong to two different groups vying for power in a world attempting to recover from a world war which destroyed the previous world order, driven by Materialism. One group, led by the strange OctoOne, seeks to return to nature, while another group led by the plastic surgeon Axel Patterson, also known as Alpha Plus, lives in a compound with many of the things OctoOne’s group lacks, but all funded by an underground sex trade. Noelle, a member of OctoOne’s group is focused on freeing Sharps, her lover and father of her children. Sharps is trapped in a system called the Mainframe. While Noelle is focused on this, his mother, known to all as Mother, is kidnapped by Axel, setting off a cascading switching of allegiance, new lovers, and a closer look at Axel’s instability and plots to take over the world.

De Nikolits has created a wild, wild world in this novel. It’s fast-paced, bouncing between characters, who tend to be wrapped up in their own problems. A refreshing change of pace for dystopian novels: very little time is spent on the characters pondering the great implications of their world, which strangely felt a lot more real than it might have otherwise. The focus of the characters in Everything You Dream is Real is the pettiness of their days and their preoccupations with sex and drugs.

Everything You Dream is Real is a sequel to de Nikolits’ The Rage Room, which I hadn’t read before this. Everything You Dream is Real has enough exposition to keep you from feeling totally lost when reading it, but I suspect I missed some of the finer points in my read because I didn’t have the full context. There were a handful of moments where I felt that I’d plunked myself in the middle of a story. I really wanted to know more about the world of Materialism, for example, but in a second book, not getting as much detail on that is to be expected. If you’re not keen on that feeling (this has never overly bothered me; see all of the book series I started out of order as a kid), I strongly recommend reading The Rage Room first. This is a bright, wild, chaotic novel, and certainly not like much I’ve read before. For a strange, trippy ride, check it out.

Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits is the award-winning author of eleven published novels. She has appeared on recommended reading lists for Open Book Toronto, 49th Shelf, Chatelaine, Canadian Living, Hello! Canada, the Quill & Quire, and most recently, the CBC’s 65 works of Canadian fiction to watch for in fall 2022. The Occult Persuasion and The Anarchist’s Solution was longlisted for a Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of The Fantastic and The Rage Room was a finalist in the International Book Awards. Lisa lives in Toronto. www.lisawriter.com

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Inanna Poetry & Fiction Series (Oct. 18 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 300 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1771339306
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1771339308

Alison Manley has ricocheted between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for most of her life. Now in Halifax, Nova Scotia, she is the Cataloguing and Metadata Librarian at Saint Mary's University. Her past life includes a long stint as a hospital librarian on the banks of the mighty Miramichi River. She has an honours BA in political science and English from St. Francis Xavier University, and a Master of Library and Information Studies from Dalhousie University. While she's adamant that her love of reading has nothing to do with her work, her ability to consume large amounts of information very quickly sure is helpful. She is often identified by her very red lipstick, and lives with her partner Brett and cat, Toasted Marshmallow.