The Psychic Realm: The Physics of Psychic Dreams

Secret Legacy takes my Dream Theory research deeper–playing with the space time continuum in a way that made my editor nervous until we agreed that SL was pushing even further into the fantasy genre than Dark Legacy did.  That the particle physics and precognition and the law of causality and something called Maxwell’s Theory I was continuing to base my evolving stories on were here to stay, or I couldn’t finish the project. A project that challenges readers to wonder whether one moment can cause the next, or if the effect of our actions can be predetermined and or changed in the past regardless of what whe choose to do here and now…

Let’s face it, we realized. My Legacy books were never urban fantasy or technically even paranormal romance. There was psychic war and relationships and lots of “on the run” suspense and even mystery. But what drove my imagination as I wrote, and the readers who enjoyed the first story, was the science behind what was happening in my characters heads, and through their minds and emotions onto the page. I was crafting plots around the plausibility, no matter how faint, that there were real world explanations for the freaky things occurring in our reality that could be fictionalized on a grander scale, for kicks and giggles, into the larger-than-life realities of my characters.

And that, I was almost the last to realize even though I read the genre like an addict as a young adult, is fantasy. Sort of. It’s the kind of contemporary, parallel-reality fantasy I want to write, anyway (with a hint of science fiction and a heavy dose of the community and relationships that have driven my other work).


One genre clearly isn’t enough for the concepts I play with. They don’t fit into any one box, much like my characters never have. They’re their own publishing, creative black whole. Or they’re wholly unique. Insanity for a working writer, or pure creativity? Time alone will be the judge. But while we wait for the verdict, I’m writing what I’m writing for as long as I and readers are thrilled with the result.

NOTE: Those of you who are writers, come back for my Thursday Publishing Isn’t For Sissies post for more of the business realities behind taking this kind of risk with your career. NOT an endeavor recommended for the faint of heart. In this Psychic Realm post, however, I’m letting my hair down and focusing on the creative ;o) This is the stuff that made Secret Legacy an obsession I couldn’t not write, no matter how badly I felt and how little energy I had to work last year.

OK. Dream theory first. Remember from earlier posts that dreams and their symbols are about emotion. The emotions and experiences driving our dreams accumulate over a lifetime, and some dream sequences and symbols are developed over decades of processing our core motives and obsessions and anxieties and fears. Time isn’t a continuum in dreams. It’s a reflection of the deeper meaning glimmering beneath our waking reality.

Next, some psychic terminology: precognition. A gift of prophecy or the ability to see the future. I was reined in from delving too much into this in Dark Legacy, but the psychic issues I couldn’t pull out of the story were strong enough still to confuse a few reviewers into calling that book Urban Fantasy, which it so wasn’t (hence more than a few confused readers who promptly emailed to say the book was lovey but it SO wasn’t UF ;o).

Basically in DL, my estranged, borderline psychotic psychic twins are being driven by nightmares to find each other and then the real-world identity of the “wolf” dream image threatening their and their mother’s and the world’s safety from some pretty nasty weapons-based dream research.(SPOILER ALERT) The series of dreams guiding the twins in DL turns out to be a premonition of the book’s final confrontation. Only, as dreams so often are, it was unclear until the actual event who’s going to die in the nightmare battle (there, I left you a little cliff hanger to tease you into reading the ending yourself ;o). 

What I wasn’t able to explore as much as I’d have liked, what I’d love to do a set of reader’s guide questions on, is the way the hints and clues and dreams symbols in each nightmare paved the way for the reality to come. How the dreams themselves drove the characters’  behavior, making a potentially tragic result inevitable unless the twins took hold of their gifts and owned the psychic talents that could save them. Precognition was used as part of the mystery and suspense thread that drove the external spine of the book–not believing in the dream’s revelations and her own psychic gifts became Dark Legacy’s heroine’s greatest weakness.

And, finally, some Physics–the physical science and debate behind all this that makes it impossible for a geeky girl like me to walk away. Technically, precognition violates the law of causality (cause and effect). If you can see what’s going to happen before the events that cause the result take place, if prophecy is possible, the physical laws that control our reality begin to break apart. There are theories in particle physics, like Maxwell’s Theory, that for a time might seem to suggest a plausible explanation for this phenomenon, but in the end no scientist  has yet been able to prove precognition is physically possible without accepting a fundamental shift in our understanding of the physical world.

But their has been research for years that suggests that  concepts like teleportation (transporting objects) and telepathy (invading private, intimate thoughts) and psychokinesis (mind over matter) and paralellel universes (alternative realities playing out simultaneously at different frequencies of energy, but sharing the same physical space and time) and even precongnition might one day blow the laws of our physical world away. We simply can’t understand how at this point in our scientific journey.

Several of these principals are the basis for Book 2’s, Secret Legacy’s, adventure into one character’s dreams since birth. And how those visions, even when the protagonist herself was a child, were being driven by the psychic power of a human being who wouldn’t be born for decades to come. The psychic backbone of the three new books I’m planning to continue the Legacy series follow a similar, but different in their own way, route. Because I want to know more about the things we can’t quite explain, but scientists are fascinated enough by their possibilities that even they can’t stop themselves from researching more. I want to see how our realities aren’t quite ours to control or define. I want the reader to let go, as I do when I write, of the rules that hold us back and imagine what lies just beyond our reach, when we close our eyes and allow our minds to break all the laws.

If you loved the movie Inception, you know exactly what I mean. That could have been a mess of a movie, if you held too tightly to reality. But the story and the science they fed you throughout were exciting and intriguing enough that you didn’t care. You had to know more. And you wondered, as you were watching, didn’t you? Could this really be possible? Could it really be that simple, and impossible, to control reality and time and cause a predetermined effect through your intrustion into someone else’s mind and thoughts and dreams?

In next week’s Psychic Realm, I’ll weave a tighter connection between the dream science used in Inception and my Dark Legacy (which hit shelves a year before the movie released). It’s pretty fascinating stuff, how similar the scientific basis of both stories are, even though the plots went in wildly different directions.

Why so similar? Because the science is there. It exists. The power of derams and the study of psychic ability are such real phenomenons and fit so clearly into a physical debate about our reality, how can writers fascinated with contemporary fantasy or science fiction NOT be writing stories based on them? They have been for generations. I suspect I will be in some form or another for as long as I’m writing fantasy.

Which I am, I’ve accepted.

Resistance is futile ;o)

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4 Responses to “The Psychic Realm: The Physics of Psychic Dreams”

  1. Irene says:

    There’s always that problem about precognition–if you know something is going to happen in advance, you can do something to change or prevent it from happening, but then, you’d know you could change the events from taking place, so you’d have to precog that, too.
    Which is why, evidently, you can’t ever change what will be, even if you know how and when and why….
    Because you know you won’t or can’t change what is to be…round and round and round we go. AAARGH! :)

    • Anna says:

      LOL! Exactly ;o) Except there’s this idea (I’ll talk more about it next “Psychic Realm” post) about energy flowing forward and backwards freely, causing what should happen both “before” and “now,” irregardless of what we perceive as the “real” flow of time. Things in the future driving the past to make the future happen as it should. So, what’s causing what, in the end? What mucks with reality, then, becomes free will and whether or not we let resutls flow as they should, listen to our instincts (our subconscious mind talking to us) and learn what we need to before an alternate reality takes a hand… THAT’s what I enjoyed playing with in Secret Legacy, and am really running with in the new Legacy spin-off I’m proposing next.

  2. Pamela Mason says:

    I’m so sending my sci-fi geek son here.
    I’m afraid you lost me, but this is right up his brainwaves.
    And I don’t want to know what’s doing in my dreams… bears, clowns, gladiators– think I’ll leave all that in my dream box, thanks.

    Anna, have you heard any research into past lives with your fluid time continuum ideas?

  3. Angie T says:

    My husband has this uncanny ability to meet someone and pretty much tell you if they are what they seem. 99% of the time he is spot on. He also has these dreams that occur prior to a loss of someone. It is totally crazy, but we have known each other and been together over 30 years and it has always been that way!

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