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I am looking about a story, where dreams where commercialized. The protagonist is a professional dreamer, who basically chooses what he dreams and sells the dream, like a TV show. The antagonist works for the same company, but is a more talented (master or grand master?) and is capable of dreaming virtual worlds, where people can actively partake in the fantasy instead of just consuming it.

The antagonist then goes crazy. I think the cause was a combination of his mother dying (weird relationship there) and his girlfriend leaving him. This causes many people to become trapped in his dream and the protagonist has to enter the dream and end it from within.

I think it is from the Vance/Zelazny/Farmer period and the book was not too thick. Any ideas?

EDIT:

Some more details came to me while thinking about it: the ex-girlfried of the antagonist is one of the persons trapped in the dream and I think she ends up with the protagonist.

Also at some point in the past, the antagonist helped the protagonist make his dreams feel more real, by giving him relevant source material (books, movie?).

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    I don't think this is what you're looking for, but just in case - The Whole Man by John Brunner (also published as Telepathist) has some very loose similarities. – Harry Johnston May 9 '16 at 1:47
  • Unfortunately not, but thanks for the try. – Erik May 12 '16 at 12:54
  • When you say "a story" do you mean a short story or a novel? – Mike Scott May 12 '16 at 12:59
  • @MikeScott I think it was a novel, but a fairly thin one. Maybe 200 pages? Comparable to one of the Demon Princes books, I think. But I am not 100% certain. – Erik May 12 '16 at 13:01
  • Maybe a Philip K. Dick short story/novella? – RobertF May 12 '16 at 13:15
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The book is called "And Not Make Dreams Your Master" by Steven Goldin.

Dream broadcasting is the latest entertainment medium. Wayne Corrigan and his colleagues at Dramatic Dreams can broadcast dreams directly into your mind as you sleep for the ultimate in personal adventure. But when a mysterious malfunction occurs, Wayne is called on to enter a Dream started by another Dreamer. Once inside, he finds a situation run wild and people enslaved by the original Dreamer--a genius bent on self-destruction. Now, tens of thousands of people--including the woman Wayne loves--are in danger of dying or going insane unless he can find some way to wrest control of the Dream away from a madman. (Synopsis from Amazon)

You've nailed the plot exactly. I've read this one a couple of times myself.

Here's the cover I remember. enter image description here

  • This is it! Thanks! Bought it on amazon as ebook right now. – Erik Sep 4 '17 at 9:49
  • Glad I could help. Goldin's "Eternity Brigade" isn't bad either. Sort of "Forever War" light. – Emsley Wyatt Sep 4 '17 at 15:43

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