Science fiction author talks recent book, creative process of writing about insanity

By Nick Glover, Lifestyle Editor

Author E. S. Fein has built a niche following for his speculative, philosophical science fiction. Based out of the Chicago suburbs, Fein has published four books, two collections of short stories and two novels. 

His most recent book, “A Dream of Waking Life,” came out earlier this year. 

E.S. Fein, a science fiction and thriller author released his new book “A Dream of Walking Life” earlier this year. The book follows a man’s journey through space and mind to discover his identity and find the love of his life. (Courtesy of E.S. Fein)

“I knew I wanted to write a story about lucid dreaming, about insanity, about exploring what we know to be real,” Fein said. 

While this book sounds super heady and intellectual, it was funny too. 

“I thought there was a decent amount of levity,” Fein said. “Don’t be daunted, you could read it as a light and fun thriller too.” 

Fein described the process of creating a work that features all of these elements. 

“I wrote this in a serial fashion. I wrote it chapter by chapter. I would show it to my wife. She’s my best critic and she always hears my stories first, but after every chapter she would go ‘But now where are you going to go? We don’t know anything,’” Fein said. “Now, in the end, I did not want there to be a clear way to interpret and read this story, in the same way that there is not a clear way to interpret and read life itself. We can interpret life however we want.”

Fein talked about wanting to work this lack of clear interpretation into the form of the novel as well. 

“The form, obviously it’s nonlinear, but the form I wanted to play with was a constant, constant state of every time we are also contracting,” Fein said. “That’s the feeling you get when in this labyrinthine nature of existing in lucid dreams of all times. You’re not sure what the progression and linearity is.”

This phenomenon of constant questioning is embodied in this work due to another large factor of this novel: drug use.

“Drugs are a key point to the plot of life itself. All of life is a series of drug intake and drug chained with our neuro-chemistry,” Fein said. “People wake up, drink some coffee, watch some TV, change their alpha to beta waves while watching that their entire brain nature changes. All of these are drugs; they alter our brain chemistry.”

Fein is not wholesale arguing for rampant drug use. Instead, he hopes for something more. 

“As an individual who has arguably broken my mind with the number of psychedelics and meditative experiences I’ve had, I’m letting you know, as a guy who has already gone there, there’s nothing to get,” Fein said. “All you’re gonna get is more questions, more confusion. Instead, you’re better off when you find something wonderful and find love, stay there and be with that.”

Fein reiterated that his goal was to help readers be content with love.

“I want readers to accept love as a viable endpoint. It doesn’t have to go beyond that. If you have love in your life, if you are loved and you experience loving others, this is great,” Fein said. 

You can purchase “A Dream of Waking Life” on Amazon. For more information on E. S. Fein, visit his website.