by Kenneth A. Marston

"Get a good night’s rest and we’ll talk tomorrow. ‘Dreamberries’ are a unique fruit with a very interesting history."

On the afternoon of July 29, 2012, James Elliot McGuire III embarked on his usual afternoon ride with his horse Jette, never suspecting that his life would, in the space of hours, be changed irrevocably. He would espy a beautiful young girl and Immediately fall in love. Lightning would cause an enormous fire from which he and Jette would barely escape, and he would awaken in a strange room to find himself transported, not only to the year 1885 but also into the body of a woman. After escaping the fire, James abates his hunger by eating several unusual berries he finds along a riverbank. He is soon to discover that these berries, called Dreamberries, have the ability to cause the person eating them to travel through time. Unfortunately, James also discovers that berries with this miraculous power are a magnet for evildoers. The unscrupulous Sullivans have grown rich from them and their many uses. Now, James and a few friends, in the past and present, agree to work together to stop this evil and bring justice to the guilty.

As characters move through the plot of Marston’s novel, they occupy the bodies of others in this time-traveling fantasy. With the ability of the author’s time travelers to go from male to female and back again, he does a good job of keeping their many identities straight in what otherwise might have been a confusing traipse through the centuries. The plot moves rapidly as James and his companions search for evidence to convict the Sullivans. The premise is intriguing as there is not only a fantasy element to the novel but also an aspect of the supernatural, which is handily tied into the physicality of time travel. This novel—the first foray into fiction by the author—shows an ambitious scope of ideas and a unique take on the time travel genre. It is a many-faceted work that delves into such themes as extraterrestrials, the vast potential of the mind, and medical experiments.

Marston began his writing career after working at a number of occupations, such as lab technician, chemist, document control specialist, and social worker. Perhaps the wearing of so many hats in his professional life led to his unique handling of time travel in this novel. Rather than have his characters arrive in the past or future as themselves as in other works in the genre, “one of the characteristics of ‘Dreamberries’ is that if you concentrate on or constantly think about another individual before consuming the berries, you will become that person in the past or future.” This melding of personalities and sexes makes for an unusual blending of memories and traits which the characters carry with them back and forth in time and lends the novel its distinctness.

According to Marston, this story was ten years in the making. After many edits, he finally landed on an ending for his sci-fi/fantasy, and the novel was finally completed. Readers who enjoy a fast-paced read with a bevy of interesting characters will appreciate this author’s unique approach to the genre. Marston’s engaging novel is a distinct work that will hold one’s interest from one century to another.

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