Lincoln’s Dreams (1987)

by Connie Willis

To begin with, Lincoln’s Dreams is misnamed. It should be Robert E. Lee’s Dreams. A modern-day young woman is having the Confederate general’s Civil War dreams. Why? That’s what Jeff Johnston wants to find out.

Johnston works as a historical research for a novelist who is writing a book about Lincoln. The novelist hopes to talk with Johnston’s former college roommate, now a psychiatrist studying sleep disorders, about Lincoln’s dreams. (Thus the book title.) The roommate shows up with Annie, the one who dreams Lee’s dreams. Intrigued by Annie and distrustful of his old friend’s intentions, Jeff secretly spirits Annie away on a research trip. The rest of the novel gets into various psychological explanations for Lee’s invading Annie’s dreams, Annie’s not wanting to “desert” Lee, and Jeff’s growing love for Annie.

For Civil War buffs, the novel may provide some interesting details, but the plot about the dreams is confusing. This was an early novel from speculative fiction writer Connie Wills, who went on to win more Nebula and Hugo Awards than any other science fiction author.


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