What If?


The Kickstarter for In Our Dreams Awake #2 is still going! Find it here!


I’ve talked before about how the process of In Our Dreams Awake came about all those years ago. But just like every idea, it’s meaning and purpose have changed over the years. The way the project started, and what it has become are ever changing in ways I don’t know that I completely understand.

But it all stems from this central idea I have about the What If Game.

What is the What If Game? It’s the thing that every (or nearly every) human on the planet plays at various points in their lives. It is the time we take to daydream about decisions we’ve made in the past and how they’ve affected our current state of being.

It can be very big decisions:

What college will I go to (or do I even go to college)?

Should I ask this person out?

Should I maintain this friendship?

Should I take this job or another job?

And sometimes it can be very small decisions which could add up to something bigger.

Should I go talk to the professor about my grades?

Should I spend more time working on this project?


Image by John Hain from Pixabay

The thing is, this is a good exercise for a person to go through. We should constantly evaluate what we have done, and look into not only the results of those decisions, but anything which might have led us to the moment. In the same way you might analyze your victories and defeats to see what you can do better the next time… the very same thing for the various life decisions we must all make.

However, it is one thing to use this in a way to better yourself. To propel you forward in your life. Like everything, it can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you use the self-reflection.

I have a friend who for many years focused a bit too much on the What If Game. They were so busy looking backwards at the things they didn’t have that they didn’t see all the gifts and opportunities right in front of them. Fundamentally their world view became a bit skewed because the path not taken was the path they thought they should be down.


In many ways, In Our Dreams Awake, is that idea taken to the next level. It is about a burning for something extra in our lives. Jason Byron lives his two very different lives, but he isn’t happy in either one. In the Fantasy world, he is willing to risk everything he has for an artifact of an outlawed era. And for what purpose? Because he wants to have a life different than the one he currently enjoys. In the Future world, he loves his life so much that he is trying to doublecross everyone and escape off world.

Because he is simply not happy with where he is.

He looks to the past or he looks to the future, but neither sate his appetite for much of anything. For Jason, both of these paths may lead to destruction.


In Our Dreams Awake is a reminder, of sorts, to myself that I should take time to be in the present. To experience things as they are and not constanly look back or forward. Time already flies by. If I’m not enjoying the present… what’s the point of any of it?


A quick reminder to go and check out the comic book, In Our Dreams Awake #2 on Kickstarter!


John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com


About John McGuire

Writer of comics and novels. In 2006 his first short story "The God That Failed" was published by Terminus Media in their debut comic Evolution Book 1. Since that time he has had stories published in Terminus Media's Evolution Book 2 and Evolution Special, Kenzer and Company's The Knights of the Dinner Table, and Four J Publishing's The Burner #3. Currently he is eagerly awaiting the digital publishing of his first creator-owned comic The Gilded Age #1 to be published online as well as his first novel The Dark That Follows later this year.
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