A government special agent known only as the Signalman gets off a train on a stunningly hot morning in Winslow, Arizona. Later that day he meets a woman in a diner to exchange information about an event that happened a week earlier for which neither has an explanation, but which haunts the Signalman.
In a ranch house near the shore of the Salton Sea a cult leader gathers up the weak and susceptible—the Children of the Next Level—and offers them something to believe in and a chance for transcendence. The future is coming and they will help to usher it in.
A day after the events at the ranch house which disturbed the Signalman so deeply that he and his government sought out help from ‘other’ sources, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory abruptly loses contact with NASA’s interplanetary probe New Horizons. Something out beyond the orbit of Pluto has made contact.
And a woman floating outside of time looks to the future and the past for answers to what can save humanity.
A government agent deeply disturbed my an event that no one can explain and something alien making contact!? Sounds like a story right up my alley, but sadly, Agents of Dreamland wasn’t for me.
If I had to describe this novella with just one word, I would probably say “confusing”. I had a hard time getting into the story, and even after I felt like I had more of a grasp on what is going on, it still felt like I just didn’t get it. Agents of Dreamland couldn’t hold my attention and I started to lose interest towards the end so that I’m still not sure about some things.
One of the reasons why I had a lot of trouble with this story is that it’s not told in a complete chronological order. I am not someone who is good at remembering dates mentioned in chapter titles, so this all added to my confusion.
It took some time until it was even made clear what exactly happened that was so disturbing. The point of the story seemed to be more about getting the reader to know the what and not the why. To me it also felt like the hints about what went down were hidden too much and not made clear enough.
Agents of Dreamland definitely wasn’t what I expected. I was hoping to read a rather dark story, events that might be disturbing for the reader themselves, but I didn’t feel any of that and was left with a story that confused me more than fascinate me.