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SAURIAN CITY

Dreamed 12/1/1996 by Chris Wayan

I'm reading a fantasy novel by Byron Preiss. He's mostly an illustrator not a writer; he wrote this book largely to have an excuse to draw its world. I skim the first few pages, expecting mediocrity. But it comes alive, and suddenly I'm there, seeing the real world he based it on.

The world's labeled "New Earth (Earth)"--the parenthesis apparently meaning it's not the future, no interstellar colony, but Earth itself in another time. I don't recognize the landforms. Wish he drew a map! Turn the page and there it is--but I know no more than I did, for none of it fits Earth today. Unsure if I'm eons in the past, future--or an alternate present. The last, I bet--an Earth where the K-T comet missed? It's evenly tropical, and the people are saurian, not much bigger than us, grinning, bigheaded, scaly, gaudily splashed with pure colors. Several species, but they all fly small biplanes everywhere--no roads. They either walk or fly.

They land their planes in trees! I wonder how they do it?

Even several species of birds are intelligent--in flocks. Group minds. They're migratory, and when they migrate, they too fly planes! I thought "if I could fly, I'd never want a machine to do it for me."

Oh? Since people can run, they don't need cars, right? Flying's a shamanic treat for you, Wayan; wait till you've trudged through a few thousand miles of air before you judge professional migrators. Even flying gets old fast when it's work, not play.

At sunset, my friends take me in a plane to the city. We zooms up toward a forested hill. No. A city of treehouses. Trees spangled with light. I wonder though--the density of planes parked in the trees just seems impossible, they'd collide all the time. Saurian psychics tend to be illusionists--maybe this is a collective projection.

There does seem to be a glimmery dome, but I took it to be a warding field. Very thin and transparent for a physical shield, and as flyers I can't imagine they'd tolerate that. By their teeth these folks are fighters, the grandchildren of T. Rex... I think that dome is the edge of an illusion thrown up as a civic defense. The city IS huge and dense, I can feel the buzz of energy even before we land--but individual houses may be decoys. Maybe the illusion just displaces them all a bit, makes the place harder to attack by air.

I won't know till we land. And here we go...

NOTES IN THE MORNING

Illustrator Byron Preiss DID write a book or two. Dragonworld, was that the title I read? It wasn't bad--about a slightly hobbitlike inventor, in a world of dragons and gliders, like the dream.

In my dream FISHERGIRLS I met a saurian being a lot like these: is this his home world? Earlier in their history, though! Biplanes, not starships...




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