I read this decades ago—probably in the 1960s—and am pretty sure it was from an anthology. It was English language. As a boy, our hero had nightmares, and his father taught him how to mentally bring something into his dream to protect him. I think his father might have been a police officer, so the item was his gun, which had a nickname. The trick worked. Then, as an adult, the man runs into something supernatural or occult, perhaps a curse used against him, and the curse or entity invades his dream. He remembers to call on his father's gun, which grows to enormous proportions in the dreams and offs the bad guy.

Having used lucid dreaming myself I have always remembered the story. I used it as a plot device in a short story, and I would like to give credit to the inspiration.

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    I may have read the same story. The handgun's name was Billy. As a boy, the protagonist used Billy against clawed, shadowy dream-monsters. The protagonist then grew up to be a therapist who entered other peoples' dreams to help them overcome their delusions. The story's setting was inside a client's dream. The client suffered from sword-and sorcery fantasies. Billy came into play during the story's climax. I haven't identified the title or author yet. Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 19:29
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    That sound's right! If I can find it first, will want you to get credit for the answer! The Billy clue might be the key. Thank you!
    – user160795
    Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 20:07
  • It has some elements of Neuromancer, but I definitely don't remember a gun. It might be a related title by Gibson, or someone inspired by him. Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 21:18
  • The Gun was the star and the main driver of the plot. I think it predates Gibson, but that is just an ill-informed guess on my part.
    – user160795
    Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 21:36

1 Answer 1


Is it Dreams are sacred (GoodReads link).

"Dreams are Sacred" is a science fiction short story by British writer Peter Phillips. It was first published in the American magazine Astounding Science Fiction in September 1948. [...]
Pete Parnell is a cynical sports reporter. Early in his childhood, he was cured of frequent nightmares by being taught how to shoot a Colt 45 revolver on the farm where he lived. He was then able to imagine the gun in his dreams and use it to "kill" the monsters. He went on to serve in the army before becoming a reporter.

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    You beat me to it. Now make that into a real answer. The story is available at the Internet Archive: archive.org/details/Astounding_v42n01_1948-09_cape1736/page/n49/…
    – user14111
    Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 21:55
  • Please post an answer that's actually an answer.
    – DavidW
    Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 22:09
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    I am grateful! to you all. From my point of view, the first answer - even though it is on GoodReads and not accessible without an account - is the right answer and deserves to be acknowledged, even though it is not formatted according to the rules - and thanks for the Internet Archive link. There is so much more to it than I remembered. But so happy that I can acknowledge it with my story.
    – user160795
    Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 22:37

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