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[Dream Report] Road Trip to a Futuristic Desert Colony


I’m looking to diversify my content lately. VR game reviews generate only so many views, as not many people have the hardware yet. But if you’ve read my article on inward exploration, you’ll know VR is but one of many methods for turning inward, to explore the world of imagination.

I’ve always had unusually detailed dreams, when I dream at all. Factors affecting this seem to include how sleep deprived I am, how long I stay asleep for, diet, level of physical activity and sleep cycle. The most intense, lengthy, detailed dreams occur after staying up all night and then going to bed early the next day, sleeping for 10–14 hours.

I can’t really get away with that except during periods of unemployment, or when I’m doing freelance work thanks to the flexible schedule. It’s hell on my health, but the memories of the dreams I come away with (when I’m able to retain them) make it all worthwhile.

Remembering dreams is the hardest part. Our natural inclination is to forget them soon after we awaken. However if one holds them firmly in memory, repeating key details over and over while showering/eating breakfast, these key words become mnemonics by which you can dredge up the rest of the details from the depths of your subconscious on demand.

It is by this technique that I’ve been able to document many of my dreams over the years. Some have become the basis of stories I’ve written, such as The Background of Your Memories, Mansionarium, and The Black Pool. Now and again I’ll borrow aspects from various dreams and cobble them together.

One recent dream took place in a vast desert. The color saturation was very high, such that the sand was more yellow than tan. Everything had a very slightly cartoonish quality, though photorealistic. I was on a road trip with a friend. We came upon some construction work, there were a bulldozer and a dump truck blocking the road.

This halted our progress while we negotiated with the workers. With no possible detours, we’d either be permitted to pass, or run out of gas and die of thirst before reaching civilization if forced to go back the way we came. Cooler heads prevailed, and we were permitted to pass.

There were stone pillars to either side of the road. Something like mesas, but thinner. All of them looked identical and had a poor 1990s CG quality to them. If you’ve ever played any of those old super scaler SEGA arcade racers like OutRunners, the repetitive rock outcroppings to either side of the road closely resemble what I saw in the dream desert.

Everything had a sort of hokey, bad CGI look to it, including the car. Perfectly smooth phong material, slightly reflective with no dings, scratches or dirt. Eventually we came upon a hotel with architecture the likes of which I’ve never seen before. We stopped just to get a bite to eat in the attached cafe.

It was all polished wood, painted red with gold trimming. Very “Christmassy” complete with holly plants here and there. We ate something but I’m not sure what. We were brought empty decorative plates yet I was still able to eat something from them. I never looked at it, and never tasted anything but could feel myself chewing the food.

“What brings you all the way out here?” the waitress asked. “I don’t know. Looking for someplace we fit in I guess.” She asked our names, then what we’re good at. I told her I’m good with computers, and my buddy can fix cars. Her eyes lit up. “It’s your lucky day. If you follow these directions, you’ll wind up someplace I promise you’ll fit in just dandy.”

The paper had squiggly lines on it that shifted around when I tried to read them. I can never seem to read anything in dreams. My friend could read it though. Maybe because he was part of the dream, while I was just a “visitor”. Dream rules are a mystery to me.

Anyway, when we get back in the car, it turns out the directions call for us to turn off the main road where the GPS says there isn’t any road to turn off onto. We head to a gas station down the road and fill up to be sure. Worst case, we drive around the desert for an hour before giving up and getting back on the highway.

We turn off where the instructions say to and proceed perpendicular to the highway we left behind. It doesn’t take long before I figure it all for a mean spirited prank. But then something appears on the horizon. It’s almost like a crater with very high walls, or a caldera. All around, it’s made out of those same identical bad CGI rock columns.

As we draw near, a road appears. Most of it must be buried by sand storms? Or they have some way of making it appear and disappear as desired? When we reach the entrance, it’s a round concrete tunnel burrowed into the rock. A voice asks over intercom what our business is.

We explained how the waitress gave us a note with instructions how to get here. The voice asked for the code on the note. Sure enough in small print, my friend found a code beneath the instructions. Upon reading it, after a short wait, something like blast doors slid open to allow our entry.

Inside was an incomparable utopia. A little microcosm of civilization! A glittering crystal fountain stood at the center. Overhead, the caldera, or whatever they built this community within, was domed over by a transparent geodesic dome quite like these ones.

The architecture was elegant but humble. All wrong for the desert, the buildings were wooden and resembled luxurious mountain lodges with dark brown wood and green roofs. The climate inside this bubble was cool and just the right degree of humidity. It smelled heavily of the pine trees growing everywhere, and the lush green grass underfoot.

There was a parking lot by the entrance for cars, but no roads for actually getting around once inside. There were paved bicycle paths, along which single occupant electric vehicles scooted. Light weight, low speed, mostly white plastic. Quite like the Sinclair C5 or those fancy golf cart lookin’ things.

We were approached by a man who, when he spoke, I realized was one in the same with the voice we heard through the intercom. We were reluctant to leave the car, but he explained that in the enclosed, controlled atmosphere, internal combustion engines couldn’t be used or the exhaust would build up to lethal levels.

“The other thing is, because they don’t have to share the road with big, heavy, fast gas guzzlers, these little buggies can be very lightweight and thus get away with using a relatively small, cheap battery. This makes individual vehicle ownership vastly more affordable for our citizens.”

Three of the little recumbent electric scooter thingies approached automatically. We got in. When they set off with a quiet electric whine, they linked up in formation as if a single vehicle. He proceeded to give us a tour of the place, explaining how their society works.

“When I say affordable though, don’t get the wrong idea. There’s no money here. We trade labor directly. It’s a marketplace of skills. It works fine in a small, controlled environment like this with a fixed population. Every citizen is responsible for their particular role in keeping it all running smoothly, and we discourage learning multiple skills so as not to step on one another’s toes.

It also keeps our lives leisurely when there’s only one thing any of us has to worry about. We have one plumber, one carpenter, one electrician and so on. That way there’s never any competition to lead to exploitation, and everybody is self employed.”

I remarked that it sounded like the Smurf village. He rolled his eyes and chuckled. There was some sort of transit system suspended from a rail mounted in a circle to the rim of the caldera. Like those sight seeing cable cars you see taking tourists up and down mountains.

He explained that their computer technician and auto mechanic left recently after breaking the rule against having children. I balked, asking how they replenish the population without having kids. He answered that they regularly bring in young people in search of someplace they can get a fair shake and feel a sense of belonging.

“And the people who grow too old to work?” He explained that they are sent to a retirement community in a nearby town owned by the same organization which built this domed desert community. But I couldn’t be sure whether he was telling the truth. For all I knew they just dumped their retirees out in the desert somewhere.

I realized movies have made me inclined to be deeply suspicious of apparent utopias, such that I always expect them to have some awful, sinister secret. Probably if I dig deep enough, I told myself, I could find something like that here. But I didn’t want to. It’s not as if major world governments aren’t hiding their own mountains of skeletons in their closets.

I accepted the offer to live there as a full time resident, knowing full well there was probably something wrong with the place. I resolved to cross that bridge when I came to it and take the good with the bad, as everything I’d seen so far led me to believe it would be worth it.

Follow me for more like this! And why not read one of my stories?




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Alex Beyman

Alex Beyman

I post text here, often accompanied by images and sometimes video. People then clap or don't depending on whether they enjoy what I posted.

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