The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Dream: Or, The Simian Maid was written as the first book of a trilogy that follows the adventures of Marguerite Leinster as she experiences a magician’s induced dreamworld. The magician causes a dream that will suspend Marguerite for two weeks in real time but will seem to her as if it lasts a year. Stephen Cranleigh, who is her fiancé, and his sister Elsie buy the same dream from the magician and follow her to a primitive land a million years in the past. Marguerite is incarnated as a chimpanzee-like creature named Rita who becomes the self-appointed guardian of Stephen’s persona, Stele, the Law Maker’s son in a cave-dwelling tribe. Elsie becomes Elsya, Stele’s sister. The Law Maker sends them both on a mission to find respective mates in other, unknown cultures that he assumes exist but are not under attack by the horrible Ogpurs, the savages constantly endangering his people.

Rita is a tree dweller with limited communicative skills. She is attracted to Stele, and she follows him and Elsya at a distance. She aids their journey by killing a tribe member bent on having Elsya as a mate and eventually guides them down a steep cliff to a land of people who have domesticated horses and who live in two environs, a valley protected by alligator-infested waters and a land bordered by ever-attacking swamp rats called Thlantus. An elaborate, labyrinthine cave system separates the two distinct kingdoms. A select force of neutered amazonian women...

(The entire section is 477 words.)