Set in , Dreamhunter describes a world very similar to ours, except for a special place, known simply as The Place, where only a select group of people can go. These people are called Dreamhunters and they harvest dreams which are then transmitted to the general public for the purposes of entertainment, therapy — or terror and political coercion. Fifteen-year-old cousins Laura Hame and Rose Tiebold both come from famous dreamhunting families, but only Laura proves to be blessed with the gift and once inside The Place she finds out what happened to her missing dreamhunter father and reveals how the government has used dreams to control an ever-growing population of convicts and political dissenters. What was the spark that set off your imagination? EK: In mid I had a back injury. For months I was able to sleep only when I was absolutely exhausted, in effect every second night.
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ISBN: Chapter One On a hot day near the end of summer, Laura Hame sat with her father; her cousin, Rose; and her aunt Grace against the fern-fringed bank on a forest track. She watched as her uncle Chorley and the rest of the picnic party passed out of sight around the next bend.
Chorley turned and waved before he disappeared. Laura stared at the empty, sun-splashed path. She saw black bush bees zipping back and forth through the air above the nettles and heard the muffled roar of Whynew Falls, where the rest of the party were headed.
Laura, who had never been allowed near the falls, tried to imagine how they would sound up close. Her father said, "Think how startled Chorley would be if one of these girls suddenly skipped up behind him.
Laura and Rose were too. The family had owned a summer house at nearby Sisters Beach for ten years, and at least once a year they would go with friends for a picnic up in the old beech forest. Every summer those who could would continue along the track to see the falls.
And every summer the girls were forced to wait at the sign with their dreamhunter parents. They would walk out of the world of longitude and latitude, and into a place called simply the Place. Tziga and Grace were part of a tiny minority for whom the rules of the world were somewhat different.
He was a quiet man, self-contained, secretive even-but his manner had changed. His face had. Laura thought that looking at him now was like peering into a furnace-its iron doors sprung open on fire. Her father was a small man. He was a mess, as usual, his shirt rumpled and grass-stained, his cream linen jacket knotted around his waist, his hat pushed back on his dark, springy hair.
Both dreamhunters were thin, tanned, and dry-skinned, as all dreamhunters became over time. Rose was already taller than her spare and weathered mother. She was little and dark, like her father. But-Laura thought-her father, though small and shabby, still had the aura belonging to all great dreamhunters. For when Tziga Hame and Grace Tiebold ventured into the Place, dreams were what they brought back with them. Dreams that were more forceful, coherent, and vivid than those supplied to all people by their sleeping brains.
Dreams they could share with others. Dreams they could perform, could sell. Do you remember? That moment was all your own. Grace stood up. But then she saw Grace turn to look up the track toward the border.
Her father got to his feet too. She said, "Wait! What about our Try? I was only trying to follow the law. He offered his hand to Laura. She looked at it, then took it and let him help her up. She busied herself brushing dry moss from her skirt. The others began to amble slowly along the path.
Laura caught up with them and gave her hand to Rose, who took it and squeezed it tight. Around the first bend was another, very similar. The track was flanked by black beech trunks. The sun angled in and lit up bright green nettles and bronze shoots of supplejack. No line on the ground. Laura felt that their progress was almost stately. She felt as though she were being escorted up the aisle, or perhaps onto a scaffold. It was too soon. In two weeks Laura and Rose were due to Try.
Any person who wanted to enter the Place for the first time had to do so under the eye of an organization called the Dream Regulatory Body. The Body had been set up ten years before. The dream parlors, salons, and palaces in which working dreamhunters performed had to obey laws enforced by the Regulatory Body and its powerful head, the Secretary of the Interior, Cas Doran. The parlors, salons, and palaces were businesses and had to have licenses. Dreamhunters, too, had to have licenses.
A Try was the first step on the road to a license, and a livelihood. The Body held two official Tries a year-one in early spring and one in late summer. Each Try found hundreds of teenagers lined up at the border.
Any children who showed an inclination-vivid dreaming, night terrors, a tendency to sleepwalk-were thought, by hopeful families, to have a chance at the life. A dreamhunter or ranger in the family was another indicator of potential talent. More boys than girls Tried, since parents were more permissive with boys, and the candidates were, by and large, in their midteens.
The earliest age of a Try was legally set at fifteen. Rose and Laura had celebrated their fifteenth birthdays that summer. Walking along the Whynew Falls track hand in hand with her cousin, Laura felt desperately unprepared for an impromptu Try.
She had felt as though she were hurtling down a slope that got steeper and steeper the farther she fell. She would have a calling or be free to continue her education, to travel, to "come out" when she was sixteen and appear at every ball that season. And, free, she would lose Rose, because Rose fully expected to walk into the Place, fall asleep there, dream, and carry back her dreams intact, vivid, and marvelous.
For Rose had already been into the Place, had been a number of times, because Grace Tiebold had gone on catching dreams when she was pregnant with Rose. When her sister-in-law Verity said to her, "Did you ever think that you would go there and leave the baby behind?
What a bloody thought. Rose gave her hand a sharp tug. We could have tried last year, or the year before, or when they were only ten. We would have learned whether they could cross or not, and just waited to make it official. Laura gave a little sob of tension. Then she crashed into her aunt, who had suddenly stopped in her tracks. They all stepped on one another.
When Laura righted herself, she saw a ranger approaching along the path. The man came up to them. He looked, in quick succession, surprised, suspicious, and polite. Hame, Mrs. Tiebold," he said respectfully. Are you going In? He stared pointedly. They went along to the falls. He stood blocking their path. He cleared his throat. But because he was addressing the undisputed greatest dreamhunters-one of them the very first-he at least had the decency to blush.
Why would we spoil that by sneaking across now? He looked blockheaded. She turned Rose and Laura around and propelled them back along the track. Laura swallowed hard to suppress her sigh of relief. The ranger hovered for a moment. He seemed to realize that Tziga Hame meant to stay put, so he followed Grace and the girls. He shot them pointing up at the waterfall, wet from spray. When he was finished, Chorley packed up his movie camera, hoisted it onto his shoulder, and followed his neighbors back along the track.
Chorley picked up his pace to catch up with the others. He passed the orange-painted circle of tin tacked to a tree trunk-the border marker. He went on a few steps, then for some reason glanced back. He saw the track, tree ferns, gray, knotted sinews of a redbush vine. Then he saw a flicker of color and shadow in the air, and his brother-in-law, Tziga, materialized on the track behind him. Chorley flinched. He had filmed this phenomenon-people passing into and out of the Place on its busiest border post, the cairn beyond Doorhandle.
Synopsis[ edit ] Southland is an alternate universe Edwardian version of a New Zealand, one without any indigenous inhabitants. As a result of the discovery of guided dreaming, a dreamhunter industry has been created. Grace Tiebold and Tziga Hame are sister and brother in law by marriage, and are particularly potent dreamhunters. Each year, scores of teenagers attempt to become dreamhunters in a rite of passage , but few achieve interdimensional transit to the Place.
ISBN: Chapter One On a hot day near the end of summer, Laura Hame sat with her father; her cousin, Rose; and her aunt Grace against the fern-fringed bank on a forest track. She watched as her uncle Chorley and the rest of the picnic party passed out of sight around the next bend. Chorley turned and waved before he disappeared. Laura stared at the empty, sun-splashed path. She saw black bush bees zipping back and forth through the air above the nettles and heard the muffled roar of Whynew Falls, where the rest of the party were headed.