Perchance to Dream

Cover image for


Published: 1954
Language: English
Wordcount: 6,910 / 27 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 87.9
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 1,328
Added to site: 2010.06.18 28183

If you wish to escape, if you would go to faraway places, then go to sleep and dream. For sometimes that is the only way....

Show Excerpt

any event he had to sleep in the tube that night and he definitely wanted to dream the dreams on the cards he had just gotten from the man on the corner.

He dropped the cards into the slot at the top of the panel, climbed into the tube and pressed a button. The top closed over him, like a hand. He lay still, feeling the warm clasp wash over his body. There was darkness and silence and a cool motion of antiseptic air. He could try the first dream. If it wasn't right, he could shut it off and sleep without dreams.

He pressed another button.


The sound of his regular breathing.

Then a sighing came into his mind, and a green haze. The sighing became a soft breeze; the green, tree-covered hills rolling off to the horizon. He relaxed, aware in a fading, sinking part of his consciousness that the machine worked as usual. He would dream and wait and hope....

And so the wind was breathing across the land from off a vast stretch of blue water, which broke along a sandy


Average Rating of 4 from 5 reviews: ****
Henry L. ratliff

(1954) Sci-fi / Short story

Plot bullets

  • It is the year 2563.

  • Working under the great city dome, life is quite organized, repetitive and quite fulfilling for most, but not all.

  • The Super Fathers (foreman/overseer) take care of all personal needs, as the state has defined them.

  • Personal waking hours are programmed.

  • Personal sleeping hours are programmed, by the Dream Cards.

  • Can the Dream Cards be both the problem and the answer? Will they perchance be the final dream for which some have been waiting?

From 'IF Worlds of Science Fiction', May 1954.

Sardo Weems

Another forgotten-city-underground-after-the-last-nuclear-war story. Just average. Because everyone is supposed to be alike in a society is no excuse for neglecting to create distinct characters.

There are too many unexplained aspects of the story (e.g. the red-haired dwarf, telepathic shopping for suitable minds, etc.)


The government in this brief tale of the 24th century so thoroughly controls the populace that it makes Big Brother look like a social worker. Even dreams are managed, which is how the powers-that-be ultimately manipulate everyone. But one man uses his dreams in just the opposite way -- as a means of escape -- and therein lies the story. Tense and entertaining read.


Excellent short story, worth the read to any sci-fi fan!


This story is set in a domed city in a dystopian future where men live pointless lives, are designated by numbers, and whose dreams are strictly controlled in order to maintain contentment. The reader follows one individual, 23, as he struggles to break free of the establishment.

Has a Logan's Run flavor to it.

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