What Dreams May Come [NOOK Book]

Overview


The New York Times bestseller

A LOVE THAT TRANSCENDS HEAVEN AND HELL

What happens to us after we die? Chris Nielsen had no idea, until an unexpected accident cut his life short, separating him from his beloved wife, Annie. Now Chris ...
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What Dreams May Come

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Overview


The New York Times bestseller

A LOVE THAT TRANSCENDS HEAVEN AND HELL

What happens to us after we die? Chris Nielsen had no idea, until an unexpected accident cut his life short, separating him from his beloved wife, Annie. Now Chris must discover the true nature of life after death.

But even Heaven is not complete without Annie, and when tragedy threatens to divide them forever, Chris risks his very soul to save Annie from an eternity of despair.

Richard Matheson's powerful tale of life---and love---after death was the basis for the Oscar-winning film starring Robin Williams.

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.


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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"One of the most important writers of the twentieth century."—Ray Bradbury

"Matheson is one of the great names in American terror fiction."—The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Matheson inspires, it's as simple as that."—Brian Lumley

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429913690
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 76,531
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author


Richard Matheson was The New York Times bestselling author of I Am Legend, Hell House, Somewhere in Time, The Incredible Shrinking Man, A Stir of Echoes, The Beardless Warriors, The Path, Seven Steps to Midnight, Now You See It…, and What Dreams May Come, among others. He was named a Grand Master of Horror by the World Horror Convention, and received the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement. He has also won the Edgar, the Spur, and the Writer's Guild awards. In 2010, he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. In addition to his novels Matheson wrote several screenplays for movies and TV, including “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” based on his short story, along with several other Twilight Zone episodes. He was born in New Jersey and raised in Brooklyn, and fought in the infantry in World War II. He earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. Matheson died in June, 2013, at the age of eighty-seven.
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Read an Excerpt



“BEGIN AT THE BEGINNING” IS THE PHRASE. I CANNOT DO THAT. I begin at the end—the conclusion of my life on earth. I present it to you as it happened—and what happened afterward.
A note about the text. You have read my writing, Robert. This account may seem unlike it. The reason—I am limited by my transcriber. My thoughts must travel through her mind. I cannot surmount that. All the grains will not pass through the filter. Understand if I appear to oversimplify. Especially at first.
Both of us are doing the best we can.
* * *
Thank God I was alone that night. Usually, Ian went to the movies with me. Twice a week—because of my work, you know.
That night he didn’t go. He was appearing in a school play. Once again—thank God.
I went to a theatre near a shopping center. Cannot get the name through. A big one which had been divided into two. Ask Ian for the name.
It was after eleven when I left the theatre. I got in my car and drove toward the golf course. The tiny one—for children. Cannot get the word through. All right. Spell it. Slowly now. M-i-n…i-a…t-u…r-e. Good. We have it.
There was traffic on the—street? No, wider. Av…e-nue? Not exact but good enough. I thought there was an opening and pulled out. Had to stop, a car was speeding toward me. There was room for it to move around me but it didn’t. Hit my left front fender, sent me spinning.
I was shaken but had on my belt. Not belt. H-a-r-n-ess. I would not have been too badly injured. But a van came up and hit the right rear fender of my car, knocking me across the middle line. A truck was coming in the opposite direction. Hit my car straight on. I heard a grinding crash, the shattering of glass. I hit my head and blackness swept across me. For an instant, I believed I saw myself unconscious, bleeding. Then came darkness.
* * *
I was conscious again. The pain was dreadful. I could hear my breathing, an awful sound. Slow and shallow with sporadic, liquid sighs. My feet were icy cold. I remember that.
Gradually, I sensed a room around me. People too, I think. Something kept me from being sure. Sidayshin. No, re-do. Spell slowly. S-e-d-a-t…sedation.
I began to hear a whispering voice. I couldn’t make out the words. Briefly, I could see a form nearby. My eyes were closed but I saw it. I couldn’t tell if the form was male or female but I knew that it was speaking to me. When I couldn’t hear the words, it went away.
Another pain began, this one in my mind, increasing steadily. I seemed to tune it in as though it were a radio station. It was not my pain but Ann’s. She was crying, frightened. Because I was hurt. She was afraid for me. I felt her anguish. She was suffering terribly. I tried to will away the shadows but I couldn’t. Tried in vain to speak her name. Don’t cry, I thought. I’ll be all right. Don’t be afraid. I love you, Ann. Where are you?
That instant, I was home. It was Sunday evening. All of us were in the family room, talking and laughing. Ann was next to me, Ian beside her. Richard next to Ian, Marie on the other end of the sofa. I had my arm around Ann, she was cuddled against me. She was warm and I kissed her cheek. We smiled at each other. It was Sunday evening, peaceful and idyllic, all of us together.
I felt myself begin to rise from darkness. I was lying on a bed. The pain was back again, all through me. I had never known such pain before. I knew that I was slipping. Yes, the word is slipping.
Now I heard a ghastly sound. A rattling in my throat. I prayed that Ann and the children were not around to hear it. It would terrify them. I asked God not to let them hear that horrible noise, protect them from that horrible noise.
The thought came to my mind then: Chris, you’re dying. I strained to draw in breath but fluids in my windpipe kept the air from passing through. I felt thick and sluggish, trapped in density.
There was someone by the bed. That form again. “Don’t fight it, Chris,” it told me. I grew angry at the words. Whoever it was, they wanted me to die. I fought against that. I would not be taken. Ann! I called to her in thought. Hold on to me! Don’t let me go!
Still, I slipped. My body is too badly hurt, I thought in sudden dread. I felt the weakness of it. Then a strange sensation. Tickiling. Odd, I know. Ridiculous. But that was it. All over me.
Another change. It was not a bed I lay on but a cradle. I could feel it rocking back and forth, back and forth. Slowly, I began to understand. I wasn’t in a cradle and the bed was still. My body was rocking back and forth. There were tiny, crackling noises deep inside me. Sounds you hear when pulling off a bandage slowly. Less pain now. The pain was fading.
Afraid, I fought to re-establish pain. In seconds, it was back, worse than ever. Agonized, I clung to it. It meant I was alive. I would not be taken. Ann! My mind cried out, pleading. Hold on to me!
It was no use. I could feel life draining from me, heard the sounds again, much louder now; the tearing of a hundred tiny threads. I had no sense of taste or smell. Sensation left my toes, my feet. Numbness started up my legs. I struggled to recapture feeling but I couldn’t. Something cold was drifting through my stomach, through my chest. It stopped and gathered icily around my heart. I felt my heart thump slowly, slowly, like a funeral procession drum.
I knew, abruptly, what was happening in the next room. I could see an aged woman lying there, gray strands of hair across her pillow. Yellow skin and hands like bird claws; cancer of the stomach. Someone sat beside her, speaking softly. Daughter. I don’t want to see this, I decided.
Instantly, I left that room and was in mine again. The pain was almost gone now. I could not restore it no matter how I tried. I heard a humming sound—yes, humming. Still, the threads kept tearing. I felt each severed thread end curling in.
The cold “something” moved again. It moved until it centered in my head. Everything else was numb. Please! I called for help. No voice; my tongue lay paralyzed. I felt my being drawing inward, totally collected in my head. Mimbins were compressed—no, try again. M-e-m-b-ranes. Yes. Pushed out and toward the center all at once.
I began to move out through an opening in my head. There was a buzzing noise, a ringing, something rushing very fast like a stream through a narrow gorge. I felt myself begin to rise. I was a bubble, bobbing up and down. I thought I saw a tunnel up above me, dark and endless. I turned over and looked down and was stunned to see my body lying on the bed. Bandaged and immobile. Fed through plastic tubes. I was connected to it by a cord which glistened with a silver light. Thin, it joined my body at the top of my head. The silver cord, I thought; my God, the silver cord. I knew that it was all that kept my body living.
Revulsion came now as I saw my legs and arms begin to twitch. Breath had almost ceased. There was a look of agony on my face. Again, I fought—to go back down and join my body. No, I won’t go! I could hear my mind cry out. Ann, help me! Please! We have to be together!
I forced myself down and stared at my face. The lips were purple, there was dewlike sweat across the skin. I saw the neck veins start to swell. The muscles of my body had begun to twitch. I tried with all my will to get back in. Ann! I thought. Please call me back so I can stay with you!
A miracle occurred. Life filled my body, healthy color suffusing the skin, a look of peace across my face. I thanked God. Ann and the children wouldn’t have to see me as I’d been. I thought that I was coming back, you see.
Not so. I saw my body in a sack of many colors, drawn up by the silver cord. I felt a dropping sensation, heard a snapping noise—as though a giant rubber band had broken—felt myself begin to rise.
A flashback then. Yes, that’s correct. A flashback; just as in the movies but much faster. You’ve read the phrase and heard it many times: “His whole life flashed before him.” Robert, it’s true. So fast I couldn’t follow it—and in reverse. The days before the accident, back through the children’s lives, my marriage to Ann, my writing career. College, World War Two, high school, grammar school, my childhood and my infancy. 1974-1927 every second of those years. Each movement, thought, emotion; every spoken word. I saw it all. A blur of rushing images.

Copyright © 1978 by Richard Matheson
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 100 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(64)

4 Star

(21)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 100 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Very influential

    Though Matheson writes this in fiction form, he uses a great deal of research in forming his theory of the afterlife. Anyone questioning their personal beliefs about this great unknown will find solace from reading "What Dreams May Come"... you don't have to believe this is how things are, but it offers a compelling and beautiful picture of what might be.
    This book was very influential in shaping my own spiritual beliefs. What I love most about it is that any and all religions, or people of no faith at all, can enjoy and be inspired by this tale. Even if you don't view this from a spiritual perspective, and you are just looking for a good read, you will be entertained. This is so well written and easy to read that it is hard to put down. Highly recommended.
    Most importantly, please don't judge this book by the movie. Though I'm a fan of Robin Williams, the movie really doesn't come close to conveying the deep spiritual journey the protagonist, (an atheist until death), embarks upon.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2008

    Fantabulous! :D

    This novel changed my life. Yes, my life. Previously having been completely atheistic, this book opened up possibilites of what life is really all about, and the hope that there is something afterwards that makes living actually worthwhile. This book gave me hope, inspiration, and something to look forward to. It gave me something to believe in, and something to put my faith in.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    O.o READ THIS

    Words cannont explain how good this book was. I saw the movie and thought nothing can get better than this until i read the book. Please read this is so sweet it made me want to cry. A tiny depressing but terrific reaaaaaddddd

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2012

    Great read

    Draws you in from the first sentence and keeps you until the end. Loved it. The movie is also great and has a whole new take on the idea.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 1, 2011

    unforgettable

    It's been years since I have read this book, but I decided my nook library is completely incomplete without it. As others have said, I am and always have been an atheist. This has not made me believe in a higher being, or given me faith, but it has brought me to tears because it is a beautiful love story. That is enough to make me recommend it. It is well written and is told with an imagination that I wish I had myself. (BTW, yes this was made into a movie, and yes without a doubt, the book is better)

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Perfect

    I am an avid reader and until reading this novel, no book had ever brought me to tears. I am in no way a religious person, so this book touched me in a way that is hard to explain. I have always been terrified of death and I'm not sure that I am anymore. That may sound really stupid and not make sense if you haven't read this book, but it's true. So, aside from just being a very well written and interesting novel, for me it was also life changing in a few big ways. I literally could not put it down. I feel like this should be required reading for all adults. It has beautiful messages that I think every single person would agree with. I have never felt quite so strong about a book before.

    Read this. It could literally change you life.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 6, 2009

    What Dreams May Come

    This is one of the best books I've ever read. Much better than the movie. I appreciate all the research the author did. Spiritually, it all rings true to me.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2008

    Excellent!

    This is about the fifth or sixth Matheson book I have read and by far it is the best! What set Matheson apart is his excellent prose and compelling characters. In this one Chris, a family man and devoted husband, is killed in a car crash. In scenes reminicent of the hospital scenes in the movie Ghost, Chris's life expires (I am sure Ghost was inspired by this novel). Chris lingers around or should I say stumbles around observing everything including his funeral and tries to contact his loved ones to no avail until his son brings in a medium who can see Chris (again like the movie Ghost). Eventually Chris is able to leave Earth and discovers the real meaning of what it is like to be dead when he ends up in Summerland (a type of Heaven). There he is watched over and instructed by one of his dead uncles. Though Chris' new existence seems ideal, he misses his wife and feels that she will not be able to cope in a world where Chris no longer exists. His fears come to pass as she commits suicide not too long after. Chris then learns that death has rules governing suicide and that his wife cannot be with him because she is sent to another place. Chris has to decide whether or not to sacrifice Heaven, to try to aid his wife. However, even if Chris can locate her, there is no guarentee that she will even know him or that Chris will be able to escape from the dark place that she now resides in. The book is impossible to put down and makes us examine our own inner selfs more thoroughly! There is a poor imitation of this book (A Brief History of the Dead) that was published recently but it nowhere hits the mark that this winner by Matheson is!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2008

    The Very Definition of True Love

    If you want a real romance with deep themes, humanity, and true love, you must read this book. Even though it was, in parts, a bit long-winded, I was instantly pulled into it from the first page and was simply consumed. I read it within a few days and was in another world with each turn of the page. I found myself literally sobbing and sniffling for about four pages straight in which the main character, Chris, tells his wife all the things he's grateful to her for and why he loves her. The clincher was - quite arguably the best line in the whole book - 'Let this hell be our heaven'. There was no stopping the flow of tears. I felt remarkably uplifted, enlightened, happy, bittersweet, etc. when I finished it. And I think I fell even more in love with my own sweetheart, who thought it was a bit funny, albeit cute that I was crying so much. 'What Dreams May Come' makes you think, laugh, cry, cringe, and appreciate life and love much more than you did before. It did for me, anyway.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 15, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    If you liked the movie you will love the book. Original and swee

    If you liked the movie you will love the book. Original and sweet. I normally hate romance novels because its predictab , she loves him he hates her than he realizes he loves her but now she despises him he forces her into sex and suddenly everything is great....*yawn* and they use the same words to discribe charecters "rouge" "dark and beautiful" (rolling eyes) and don't even get me started on the lame sappy promotion titles...seriously! "A fist full of love" "for a few kisses more" (gag) So if you want original read this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2012

    Book much better than the movie

    If you saw the movie and liked it then you should give this short novel a read. It is different than the movie in many parts. But, I liked the book so much better because of the descriptive words used. It was easier for me to imagine what everything was like due to the attention to detail. I read the paperback version and enjoyed it immensely.

    -AvidReaderMS

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2012

    Loved this book!

    A truly inspiring and deeply moving novel

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    AMAZING!

    One of my all time faves! A must read for everyone!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Must read

    Absolutely amazing

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 19, 2011

    Great book

    The movie was horrible, read this! I love richard mathesons work.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Different from the movie...

    ...in a great way! While the movie had some unforgettable imagery and moments, the plot and character differences make the two works akin to distant cousins rather than identical twins. Or perhaps fraternal twins. They're both stand-alone works w/ the book giving you a greater sense of the immense research performed to write the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    My Favorite book ever

    This book changed my life. Read it!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2010

    An astounding book, and more.

    Before reading "What Dreams May Come", I had only seen the 1998 movie of the same name starring Robin Williams and Cuba Gooding Jr. I was a bit hesitant buying this book at first, since I'd already seen the movie. Let me tell you now, that even though I was familiar with the plot and characters, this book was worth every gosh darn penny!

    I'm not a religious person, and I won't bore you with my personal beliefs. Let me tell you, though, that this book is truly an eye-opener. You will not regret reading it, I can assure you. If you're like me and you read fictitious books with an open mind, you will *not* put this masterpiece down until you finish it.

    In a nutshell, allow me to say this; read this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2013

    Camp is next res

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2012

    Repulsive

    This book paints a vile portrait of an alleged afterlife where souls are permitted to view their own rotting corpses and the soul of a suicide is trapped in a run-down house. If you have any Christian values, do yourself a favor and leave this piece of literary trash alone. It is repulsive and an insult to our Savior.

    0 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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